17 October 2023 |

The Future of Fintech Is Female at Money20/20


In our world of fintech, one event reigns supreme: Money20/20

Sure, plenty of incredible fintech events happen throughout the year, but this annual gathering has earned a reputation as the must-attend show for anyone remotely connected to the fintech universe. And for good reason.

Yes, the event is massive. With over 3,000 companies, 13,000 attendees across fintech and 60+ hours of content – it’s a lot to pack into just four days. But I, for one, am ready to turn URL connections into IRL ones. There’s nothing more powerful than humans coming together as a community to make change happen. Just remember to bring comfy sneakers. 

As a seasoned Money20/20 attendee and speaker, I can attest that the show is much more than a conference; it’s an ecosystem of knowledge, networking, and forward-thinking fun. Yet, a secret to Money20/20 often goes unnoticed. 

In the heart of Las Vegas, where the word “money” is emblazoned on banners and jingling in the slot machines, the event is not just about finance bros getting together to party. My experience has been vastly different.

Money20/20 presents a golden opportunity to connect with the brightest minds in fintech. Among these are women who drive the industry towards greater innovation. I wholeheartedly believe that women are the key to unlocking a better financial future for the world. Money20/20’s intentionality with its agenda is a testament to this belief.

While recording an episode of my podcast, “Humans of Fintech,” during Money20/20’s Europe show, I had the privilege of interviewing President Tracey Davies and Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Scarlett Sieber. They shared some striking insights about the event’s commitment to diversity. During our conversation back in June, Tracey revealed that Money20/20 boasts an impressive statistic: over 45% of the speaker faculty across all stages are women.

Of course, we recognize that we can still do better. I travel a lot for industry events, and I attended one last month where all-male panels (aka ‘manels’) ran so rampant that I stopped attending the sessions out of frustration. So, let’s clear one thing up. Money20/20 is not merely throwing women on stage to check a diversity box. 

The event doesn’t need to do that when there are more than enough brilliant and qualified women in fintech to put on stage. Instead, it reflects women’s wealth of knowledge and expertise to the fintech table. Like many others, the industry has been plagued by a lack of diversity, making it look as pale, male, and stale as traditional finance. 

The solution is simple: women need to control the narrative. Women are leading the way in venture capitalism, CEO positions, and founding startup companies in the fintech industry, and we need to hear their stories and insights loud and clear. 

Studies show that having women in leadership roles benefits businesses. A study by First Round Capital found that companies with a female founder performed 63% better than those without. Plus, businesses with at least one female founder are more likely to achieve profitability according to data from Crunchbase.

Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam Champion and tennis queen, exemplifies this narrative shift. Last year, she graced the Money20/20 stage to share her journey from tennis excellence to venture capital. 

She took this path after realizing the glaring gender and racial disparities in the venture capital world. Serena Ventures, the firm she founded, has raised $111 million for investments, focusing on health, wellness, femme tech, and fintech. Impressively, 78% of her VC’s portfolio comprises companies started by women and people of color.

Serena also revealed her ‘Play to Win’ strategy for investing in startups and entrepreneurs, highlighting five key factors she considers:

1. Get Personal: Serena and her team focus on the founder, valuing personal connection, passion, and a compelling backstory.

2. Reaction to Adversity: She believes adversity motivates founders to succeed, making it a crucial factor in her evaluation.

3. Uniqueness: Serena seeks products that address a gap in the market rather than adding to oversaturated sectors.

4. First 10 Employees: Understanding a company’s internal dynamics requires interaction with a broader range of team members.

5. Diversity: Serena firmly believes in the power of diversity, recognizing that ethnically diverse teams achieve tremendous success in the fintech industry.

For fintech to achieve its full potential, we must heed the voices of women shaping its future. 

This is why I’m excited to share with you my agenda for the big show – think of it like a special Fintech Is Femme track at Money20/20, where I’ll unveil the top sessions that I, as a passionate advocate of women in fintech, believe you shouldn’t miss.

Let’s amplify women’s voices, listen to their insights, and create a more diverse and innovative fintech landscape. In the words of Serena Williams, diversity means winning, and it’s time we let that truth drive the future of fintech.

Inspired? Stay tuned for Thursday’s newsletter, where I’ll drop a detailed list of sessions and events I plan to attend at Money20/20. Until then, here’s a sneak peek of where to find me:

Sunday: At 10:30 AM, join me in a dynamic discussion on bringing fairness to financial services through public/private sector collaboration. I’ll be in conversation with fintech luminaries Naré Vardanyan, CEO and co-founder of Ntropy, and Gavin Nachbar, CEO and co-founder of Column Tax

Then, from 5-7 PM, be a part of a live panel with my friend Alex Johnson at the Mirage’s VIP Capri Room. This event brings together 150 members of our fintech communities, and it’s your chance to join the conversation and connect with me and Alex in one room!

Monday: Don’t miss a special episode of my podcast, “Humans of Fintech,” where we’ll delve into the future of fintech with women leaders from the industry. Sasha Pilch, Emma Zhang, and Kathryn Petralia will join me to discuss why the future of fintech is female. Tune in at the MoneyPot podcast booth and say hi to us afterward.

Tuesday: An early start on Tuesday as I speak on a panel discussion about how fintech can help close the gender wealth gap. Alongside my friend Marla Sofer, Natasha Vernier and Anna Connors we’ll explore how fintech can play a pivotal role in addressing this critical issue. This conversation, hosted by Storm2, promises to be enlightening. RSVP here!

Later on Tuesday night, brace yourself for a unique experience. I’ll be joined by Zach Anderson Pettet, Dimitri Dadiomov, Prajit Nanu, and stand-up comedian Paul Virzi, the creator of Netflix’s “Nocturnal Admissions.” Together, we’ll flip the script in a session on “Founder Admissions.” It will be fun, but be forewarned – this might not be appropriate for the workplace. The content begins at 5 PM, so arrive early, and the networking continues until 11 PM. See you there for a night of laughter and revelations!

Wednesday: Wednesday brings an event I’m incredibly excited about. I’m tuning into the “Enter the Women CMOs Saving Fintech from Missteps Under The Stars” session at Money Hall. 

This session will feature remarkable women CMOs leading the way in building trust and cultural relevance for our fintech industry. Elise Brown, Jennifer Tramontana, and Sheri Chin will share their insights. 

Our industry is born out of expanding financial services to underserved markets, and at Money20/20, we’re not just celebrating women in fintech; we’re embracing their critical role in shaping the future of our financial system. 

So, join me next week for the curated Fintech Is Femme experience, where the future is female, and the fintech landscape is ripe for transformation. 

PS. See you Thursday when I drop my full Fintech Is Femme track list!