What’s Up In Fintech: Set the Record Straight
By Nicole Casperson
On Thursdays, I share news stories and trending pieces I’m keeping tabs on. Consider it your shortcut to shifting through the noise in the fintech news world.
#1 Venture Funds Rally Against Reverse Racism Claims, Highlight Urgency Of Diverse Investments in Fintech
In response to a recent lawsuit against Fearless Fund, numerous venture funds led by Black female general partners have united to set the record straight.
This collective of 70 venture funds released an open letter saying these claims are not only baseless but also totally ridiculous. Why? Because it unjustly targets Black Women while threatening the civil rights of all women.
The letter’s organizers, including individuals from Zane Ventures, Open Venture Capital, and Capitalize VC, recognize the potential chilling effect this lawsuit could have on the investment community. To counter this, they are mobilizing experts to support funds with diversity, equity, and inclusion lenses, reaffirming their commitment to advancing economic opportunities for women, particularly Black women.
Additionally, BBG Ventures unveiled its “State of Seed Stage Funding to Underrepresented Founders” report, revealing that white women secure the majority of funds allocated to “diverse” founders, both in terms of dollars invested (79%) and investments by deal count (64%). Only a tiny % of seed funds (just 5%) actively prioritize investing in “diverse” founders.
Why It Matters: It’s no secret that diverse teams consistently outperform homogeneous ones, making it imperative for investors to support founders from underrepresented backgrounds. Although VC-backed startups in the fintech industry are still predominantly led by men and white individuals, the research proves that diverse teams produce higher returns for investors and foster more significant innovation potential.
Dedicating resources to underrepresented founders is a matter of equity and a wise financial decision for the industry. Unfortunately, the homophily phenomenon (or tendency to be attracted to those similar to ourselves) has left only 2% of the $31 billion held by venture funds allocated to those led by women and minority leaders in 2022.
On top of that, DEI funds attempting to bridge the gap find themselves disproportionately underfunded due to tightening budgets and a need for the right networks to secure significant capital investments. In light of this, the importance of getting capital into the hands of diverse asset managers is well overdue. It’s not just about fairness; it’s a smart move for the fintech industry. If we want to keep innovating and making bank, diversity is the name of the game.
#2 Bracing For AI-Generated Identity Theft Wave
Isn’t it incredible how artificial intelligence is changing the game in various industries? We’re no exception. Take ChatGPT, for instance – the AI language model. In just two short months, it skyrocketed to 100 million monthly active users (that took Instagram two and a half years to reach and Tik Tok nine months). But, with great progress comes significant responsibility, as CEO, Frances Zelazny of Anonybit, points out.
You see, generative AI, the driving force behind this AI revolution, has a dark side. It’s called “deep fakes.” These sneaky creations blur the line between what’s real and what’s not, posing a real threat to our online identities. They’re so convincing that they can impersonate us to a scary level of accuracy, enabling fraud and money laundering schemes. In 2022, identity fraud caused a staggering $43 billion in losses.
Now, here’s where the fintech industry comes into play. We’re in the hot seat because we rely heavily on personal data and secure transactions. There are two big challenges we need to tackle: the central storage of personal data and our somewhat disjointed identity management systems.
To fight back against AI-generated identity theft, we’ve got five key steps to take:
- Ditch the centralized data storage – let’s embrace Privacy Enhancing Technologies.
- Keep biometric data consistent across the user journey.
- Use “liveness detection” to make sure that the biometric data presented is genuine.
- Be on the lookout for “injection detection” techniques to keep our sessions secure.
- Add some dynamic fraud prevention and risk detection to our authentication methods for good measure.
The fintech industry has its work cut out, but these steps are vital to creating a safer online world for everyone.
Why It Matters: Well, our industry relies on trust and security. The rise of AI-generated deep fakes puts that trust in jeopardy, leading to more fraud and financial losses. So, fintech companies need to adapt and tighten up their identity and security protocols. This way, we can keep our platforms secure and protect our customers’ financial assets. Ignoring this could mean even more fraud and less confidence in digital financial services. We can’t let that happen.
#3 Goldman Sachs Mulls Sale Of Personal Finance Biz
Remember those Goldman Sachs commercials with Rosamund Pike promoting Marcus, their consumer lending business? Well, turns out, they didn’t quite hit the mark. In July, Goldman sold a cool $1 billion of Marcus loans to another investment firm as part of a larger plan to pivot away from Main Street.
Now, they’re going a step further and thinking about selling their Personal Financial Management (PFM) unit, speeding up their retreat from everyday banking to focus on their true forte – making the wealthy even wealthier.
Back in 2019, Goldman scooped up the RIA unit, previously known as United Capital Financial Partners, Inc., in a cash deal worth $750 million. The idea was to broaden their client base beyond the super-rich and spread their wings across more places.
But here’s the kicker: PFM is just a teeny-tiny piece of their massive wealth management puzzle. It hasn’t really given Goldman’s business the boost they hoped for.
This isn’t the only change on their radar. They’ve also been on the hunt for buyers for their consumer lending platform, GreenSky. Goldman is basically streamlining its business, doubling down on investment banking and trading while giving the retail side a bit of a trim.
Why It Matters: Banks have been struggling to crack the consumer banking code, and that’s where fintech firms who are ready to capitalize on this opportunity can swoop in. Fintechs bring customer-focused solutions, innovation, and even partnership opportunities with the banks themselves. Sure, there are hurdles, like dealing with regulations and managing risks, but when fintech companies play their cards right, they shake up the financial world in a big way. And we love to see it.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
A Week In The Life
Tune in every Thursday to keep in the loop on the best fintech events happening next week! Whether it’s an online meetup or a fintech conference, these gatherings provide amazing opportunities to network, learn and connect with our incredible fintech community.
So, let’s fill up those calendars with all the awesome events out there – I’d love to see you at one, or even better, if you have one you’d like to share, please let me know!
- [Virtual] Millionaire Money Mindset Masterclass: This workshop is hosted by former fintech founder Suneera Madahni who now runs the CEO School where she’s teaching hundreds of women entrepreneurs how to scale their businesses. It’s free and I’m spending my Monday getting into my millionaire mindset.
- [NYC] DeFi Retreat US: The 3rd annual Chatham House gathering for TradFi and DeFi leaders and professionals in the US, will take place at the William Vale in Brooklyn, NY.
- [Virtual] When Women Lead: In this replay of a live event, I interview CNBC Senior Correspondent Julia Boorstin about her latest book, “When Women Lead.” Julia’s book covers groundbreaking and deeply researched studies revealing the common characteristics that help top female leaders thrive in the workplace, and she’s breaking them down live. Then, stay tuned for a round of audience-fielded questions.
- [SAN FRANCISCO] Connections, Conversations and Cocktails: An opportunity for the SF community to come together and meet industry professionals, startup founders, and investors – even if you are new to Fintech and curious about the industry.
- [NYC] Shakespeare in the Park: With the Labor Day weekend kicking off, why not take this opportunity to switch up your event circuit and have some fun? I’m a firm believer that one of the keys to success is to fill your creative soul with something that isn’t related to your business. One of my favorite ways to do this is to attend live performances, and my excitement grows even greater when the event comes without a price tag.
HUMANS OF FINTECH
Feminism, Fintech, Creator Economy With Keily Blair, CEO of OnlyFans
Keily Blair, the new CEO of OnlyFans believes that creativity, freedom of expression, and connectivity are at their best in a safe online environment and is committed to making OnlyFans the safest platform in the world. As a former “Big Law” partner Keily’s background is in law, operational strategy, and government affairs. Prior to her role at OnlyFans was a partner at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and led the Cyber, Privacy & Data innovation practice in London. Keily is a ranked practitioner and has represented the private sector at the United Nations and the European Criminal Bar Association.
Curious how she brings her experiences into her passion for elevating the female economy through the creator economy? Check this out.