02 June 2022 |

Fintech’s Role in Ukraine



Fintech’s Role in Ukraine

After my mom told me about my grandma, I woke up to read my New York Times morning newsletter. It was dedicated to an overview of the Ukraine and Russia wars.

That’s when it struck me that just a tiny fraction of an audience saw my story on fintech and Ukraine on Feb. 24, when this horrific event took off.

Shortly after, I interviewed fintech founder Dmitry Norenko, who has financially supported his Ukraine-based employees and their families as some relocated and others stayed to fight for their home country.

Click here to read the full interview with Dmitry.

I hope you enjoy this story on fintech’s role in Ukraine, and it will help you understand the scope of the progress severely at stake as this war continues. 

In 2010, Ukraine was among 55 countries worldwide that made public commitments to advancing financial inclusion, making fintech development a top priority.

Since then, fintechs have been clustered around the capital, with 82% of companies based in Kyiv.

Of all fintechs, 27% are headed or cofounded by women.

However, globally, only 12% of fintechs are founded by women, and only 6% of fintechs have female CEOs. 

It wasn’t until 2015 that the majority (58%) of fintech companies launched in Ukraine, primarily focused on payments and money transfers. However, fintech started to draw attention in 2017 after many fintech forums and events began. 

Today, there are 235 fintech startups in Ukraine.

These companies mostly facilitate payment and money transfers (31.6%), provide infrastructure and enabling technologies (19.3%), and digital lending (14% of fintechs). 

Large and SMBs account for the majority (74%) of fintechs’ customer base in Ukraine, while individuals account for 21% of fintech customers.

The growing numbers of potential fintech clients are migrant workers and their families. Opening borders with the EU for Ukrainian citizens allowed work migration, thus creating a new target group for transfer services.

Blockchain and crypto assets have also trended in Ukraine.

The National Bank of Ukraine has committed to pilot activities to determine if blockchain technology can support its currency. 

It’s heartbreaking. Lives have been lost, families making progress in their financial futures have fallen back, and fintech initiatives are taking a backseat as people fight for their lives. 


Every organization in the world is at risk of cyberattacks and potentially catastrophic scenarios. The current environment presents an opportunity to consider your fintech company’s existing security measures. 

Businesses should have action plans for a degraded environment, like Plan B, if communications and systems fail due to an uncertain event. It’s critical to have a plan, like who will make immediate decisions when the centralized command or control system is compromised. 

That response plan should include contact information for local FBI field offices and a cybersecurity response team and alternative methods of communication in case it’s challenging to get in touch with these incident response experts.  

With the increase of fintech, many firms have adopted technologies that they have not vetted from a security perspective.

However, there are actions tech-driven firms can do today to prepare for something catastrophic to occur:

First, review the cloud security of vendors. Almost all information is in the cloud, and firms should consistently check what that cloud security looks like. An expert tip: Ask vendors if they have artificial intelligence to monitor potential threats.

Look at what data encryption is put in place within your firm’s partners. Solid data encryption protects data confidentiality by converting it to encoded information. Another practice is limiting the number of people that have access to a firm’s server. 

When reflecting on catastrophic events, it’s worth thinking of other emergency responders, like firefighters or even the military. Those experts are training every day. Organizations should do the same. 

(Sources: John O’Connell, president and founder of The Oasis Group & Gilles Hilary, a professor at Georgetown University that specializes in risk management)


Hurdles for LGBTQ+

Bestow, a life insurance tech company put together research around the financial needs of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Here’s the complete study to check out for yourself, but here are a few key highlights.

Negative experiences and lack of LGBTQ+ representation are critical barriers to financial security.

  • More than 1/3 (35%) have experienced discrimination or microaggressions by a financial services institution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

So unsurprisingly, more than 1/3rd (36%) of respondents prefer a financial advisor identifying as LGBTQ+.

  • LGBTQ+ respondents look to their family and self-directed sources for financial advice:
    • The top two sources for financial advice were family (58%) and online sources (35%).
    • Only 20% of respondents listed financial advisors as to the top 3 financial advice choices.

When it comes to physical health, LGBTQ+ couples must budget for costly family-planning services.

  • 25% of respondents with a partner are financially concerned about the cost of family planning, including fertility treatments, IVF, surrogacy, or sperm donation.
  • The average cost per IVF cycle, including medications for egg donors and surrogates, is approximately $20,000. Therefore, to secure an egg donor is, on average, $10,000 – $20,000 in compensation and fees. 


How a Navy Vet Drives Innovation at Nasdaq

Militaristic terms get thrown around on Wall Street way too easily. 

The need to destroy the competition, getting bombed with orders, or the battle to survive. But one Nasdaq exec knows firsthand how different it really is.

Here’s her story. 

On 9/11, 2001, Brandis DeSimone was attending the US Naval Academy. Decades later, she’s using everything she learned during this horrific time to transform financial services for good.

Brandis knows firsthand how different it is from active service and uses her influence to cut through the aggression and the egos.

In the latest episode of Humans of Fintech live from the Nasdaq market site in Times Square 

Brandis and I get into her experience as an outsider in a largely male-dominated environment and how her military experience translates to her Nasdaq role.

You’ll also hear about what it’s like watching the evolution of a fintech company from startup to IPO and the unique ways Nasdaq is working with fintech companies to drive the future of innovation in financial services.

Tap into the full interview here


  • YC advises founders to ‘plan for the worst’ amid market teardown
  • Sheryl Sandberg will step down as Meta COO 
  • Dialogue is ‘not enough’ to get more women into tech, says fintech CEO
  • Pay It Forward: The opportunity for digital banking to foster financial inclusion 
  • Wealthsimple launches fintech super app, combining startup’s financial products
  • Coinbase commits $1M for public goods in partnership with Gitcoin
  • Envestnet buys digital plan marketplace 401kplans.com
  • Fintech unicorn Slice raises $50M  funding led by Tiger Global, others