What’s Up In Fintech
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.
Today’s Money20/20 edition showcases trends that are top of mind after attending, speaking, (and returning home via a red-eye flight). I’ll dive deeper into these trends in the coming weeks when I can keep my eyes open.
#1 The Humanization of Fintech – Women Leading the Way
Chaos might seemingly reign supreme in the hustle and bustle of the fintech world, where algorithms and digital transactions often take the spotlight. But beneath the surface, a profound transformation is unfolding – the humanization of payments and the financial industry as a whole.
What’s remarkable but unsurprising is that women spearhead this revolution.
The message reverberates during Money20/20 and between my conversations with leading women in fintech: humanizing payments is no longer a choice but a mandate. As consumers and clients, we yearn for authenticity. We crave genuine human interactions, empathy, and the assurance that our needs and values hold significance.
To bring this yearning to life, fintech leaders must do more than understand their clients; they must delve into end consumers’ preferences, values, and challenges. This understanding should permeate every facet of their operations.
So, how do we breathe humanity into an industry often perceived as cold and machine-driven?
The answer lies in entrusting leadership to those who comprehend that caring for people is the cornerstone of success. In this endeavor, women in fintech have taken the helm. They recognize the essential role of trust and reliability, the foundations upon which financial services stand.
In a world that can often feel like a lyrical rendition of Billy Joel’s hit, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” where chaos abounds, the clarifying truth about financial services and innovation is that they are deeply rooted in trust and dependability. Recent challenges within the financial sector have underscored the critical importance of maintaining confidence in these systems.
Consider the transformative role that fintech has played in peer-to-peer payment platforms. Take, for instance, the popular app Venmo.
With its user-friendly interface and social integration, Venmo has elevated the often mundane task of splitting bills and sharing expenses to a social and interactive experience. Users can attach notes, emojis, or even inside jokes to their transactions, making payments more personal and relatable.
What was once a straightforward financial transaction has morphed into a means of staying connected with friends and family.
This humanized payment approach has resonated with users, as they no longer perceive financial transactions as purely mechanical processes. Instead, payments on platforms like Venmo now embody fundamental interactions and relationships. In essence, these fintech innovations bridge the gap between financial transactions and genuine human connections.
The significance of this change cannot be overstated. Fintech has revolutionized how we make payments and redefined our perception of trust, authenticity, and the human element within financial services.
Whether it’s hearing from leading women in fintech like Stephanie Ferris, CEO at FIS, discussions on navigating change with Eva Reda, President of American Express, or insights from Lia Cao of JPMorgan, the future of our industry demands an infusion of humanity.
These leaders recognize that technology is a tool, but relationships, empathy, and trust drive
innovation. They are guiding the industry into the next era of innovation, where payments become more personal, human, and customer-centric than ever before.
It’s a remarkable stride toward a more humanized, trustworthy financial future, underscoring that in fintech, women are indeed leading the way.
Why It Matters:
The humanization of fintech represents a pivotal transformation in the financial industry. It recognizes the imperative of authentic and empathetic interactions between consumers and financial services providers.
With women at the forefront of this movement, the industry is making financial transactions more personal and rebuilding trust and reliability. Technologies like peer-to-peer payment platforms illustrate how these changes bridge the gap between economic processes and human connections.
This shift is significant for improving the user experience and redefining the essence of trust and authenticity in financial services. Women in fintech are driving this change, emphasizing that technology should serve as a means to enhance human relationships and create a more humanized, trustworthy financial landscape for everyone.
#2 Inclusion Is the Pathway to Profitability – We Need To Understand How to Use Data
Have you ever wondered why the financial playing field seems to have a few missing pieces, leaving countless folks stranded on the sidelines? The blame game often targets banks, painting them as villains who tightly shut the doors of financial opportunity. But the reality is more complex than that. And the banks are our best collaborators.
The heart of the matter lies in the challenges of assessing risk and turning a profit when dealing with many customers. Serving the underserved is daunting, primarily due to siloed data and fragmented information about individuals. These data hurdles make underwriting and onboarding such a costly, cumbersome process.
However, the financial world is witnessing a transformation driven by innovative fintech companies. They’re not just breaking down these barriers but obliterating them with technology.
By automating the process of gathering and making sense of fragmented data, they’re making financial services accessible to millions without incurring sky-high operational costs.
That’s a big learning lesson from Naré Vardanyan, founder and CEO of Ntropy. As an Armenian immigrant, Naré is all too familiar with how a lack of understanding of how to use customer data keeps many underserved communities out of the economic ecosystem. She built Ntropy to leverage language models to decode financial data from various sources, making it as clear as day for humans and computers.
Now, let’s talk about the actual dough. The cost of banking, especially for the little guys and gals in the US, has been hefty. But the game is changing, thanks to fintech companies tackling the expenses associated with account management, fraud prevention, and risk assessment. As these costs melt away like a snow cone in July, more people can access affordable financial services.
Why It Matters:
Financial inclusion isn’t just about profit margins; it’s about tackling the daily gritty, real-life financial problems individuals face. Consider checking accounts, accessing credit, and understanding cryptic credit scores. The fintech companies that can bundle these services and keep the price tag reasonable are paving the way for the future of banking.
But here’s where the real spark ignites: financial inclusion isn’t just about doing good; it’s about doing good and doing well. Fintech companies with a broad distribution network and consumer trust have a golden ticket to introduce new, cost-effective services to folks left out in the cold.
This doesn’t just result in warm, fuzzy feelings; it translates into millions of dollars and benefits for those who wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise.
Financial inclusion isn’t merely a talking point; it’s a driving force reshaping the economic landscape. Collaborative efforts and data diversity are the secret sauce that ensures fairness and accuracy in decision-making.
Fintech companies are tapping into the potential of AI and automation to serve more people effectively, addressing the biases and blunders humans bring to the table.
Financial inclusion isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a smart business move and a moral imperative rolled into one. By automating processes, slashing costs, and joining hands for data diversity, fintech trailblazers deliver financial services to those who most need them.
It’s about turning a profit and creating a more inclusive financial world where opportunities and prosperity are accessible to everyone. I am excited to see this conversation developing faster at Money20/20.
#3 The Case for More Female Entrepreneurs in B2B Fintech
During my “Humans of Fintech” podcast live recording, we delved deep into the world of female leaders in groundbreaking startups.
The spotlight shone on incredible women like Sasha Pilch from Fin Capital, Emma Zhang of PactFi, and Kathryn Petralia of Keep Financial.
Their insights, shared with a packed audience, unveiled the opportunity for more women to build in the B2B fintech sector.
Why It Matters
It’s not just about promoting diversity and inclusion, although those are noble goals. It’s about recognizing a tantalizing opportunity. B2B fintech is a goldmine for women entrepreneurs. Venture capital investors are starting to take notice, and here’s why.
Firstly, the allure of predictable revenue is hard to resist. Unlike their B2C counterparts, B2B fintech companies can chart a more stable course to substantial income. The ability to provide services to other businesses through subscriptions or contracts means they don’t need a colossal customer base to rake in significant profits.
For women entrepreneurs, this spells financial security and growth prospects.
And let’s remember the financial lifeline it offers. While B2C companies wrestle with costly and time-consuming customer acquisition, B2B fintech companies thrive with a select group of clients, keeping costs low. This could be a game-changer for women looking to make waves in the fintech ocean.
B2B fintech also opens doors to niche markets. These companies can craft tailored solutions for specific industries, addressing critical issues with finesse. For women entrepreneurs, this specialization becomes a powerful magnet for investors who crave innovative, female-driven solutions in these niches.
But the icing is the enduring client relationships B2B fintech fosters. Once a business adopts a fintech solution, it’s unlikely to flip-flop between providers. For female entrepreneurs, this translates into a dependable revenue stream, a fertile ground for growth and innovation.
Scaling up is a breeze, too. Secure a few key business clients and the possibilities for expansion multiply. This scalability gives female entrepreneurs a chance to broaden their services rapidly, outpacing the challenges faced by B2C companies in their quest for a colossal consumer base.
The regulatory terrain is friendlier here. Due to their direct interactions with consumers, B2C fintech often navigates a minefield of stringent regulations. B2B fintech, while not immune to regulatory challenges, often finds them more straightforward to traverse. This means less red tape and more focus on innovation for women entrepreneurs.
And what’s more, the potential for lucrative exits is tantalizing. B2B fintech companies can be a magnet for acquirers, whether large financial institutions or tech giants seeking to expand their horizons. Female entrepreneurs in this realm can strike gold with exit opportunities, fueling even more innovation and investment in the industry.
In the world of B2B fintech, the future shines brilliantly for women. With more female entrepreneurs at the helm, the industry stands to benefit from fresh perspectives, innovative solutions, and sustainable growth. It’s a win-win proposition that merits our undivided attention and unwavering support.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
A Week In The Life
Tune in every Thursday to keep in the loop on the best fintech events happening each 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!
MONDAY 10/30 – THURSDAY 11/2
As we all know, the hustle and bustle of life can sometimes be overwhelming, especially with the constant events and conferences that we find ourselves attending.
So, in the spirit of self-care and nurturing our relationships, I want to take a moment to encourage each and every one of you to REST.
Take this time to unwind, recharge, and spend quality time with your loved ones, whether it’s your family, your friends, or even just yourself.
- [VIRTUAL] Strut into 2024 w/ Performance Coaching: It’s a question I get asked time and time again – how do I manage to speak so confidently on big stages like Money20/20? Whether I’m acting as an interviewer, panelist, or podcaster, the answer lies in my secret weapon – Anton Briones.
Not only is he my fiance, but he’s also my performance coach. As a founder, I know the value of crafting my personal story in a way that resonates with my audience and aligns with the mission of Fintech Is Femme. With over 6 years of experience as a public speaker, I’ve learned that it takes dedication and skill to truly connect with a crowd and organically grow a following.
And now, I want to share these secrets with all of my community members. That’s why I’m hosting an exclusive event for my Real Talk members, where I’ll impart the same valuable skills that have helped me secure recurring invitations to prestigious stages.
If you want to level up your fintech game and join in on this special event, don’t wait any longer – grab your membership today and start elevating your speaking game.
Let’s take on the fintech world together.
HUMANS OF FINTECH
Anaid Chacon, SVP of Product Development at Argyle
With her extensive experience in the field, Anaid is well-aware of the challenges that come with building trust in fintech and the crucial role that behavioral finance plays in establishing it.
Through incorporating elements of behavioral finance into Argyle’s product, Anaid and her team strive to create a more trustworthy experience for their customers.
In our conversation (I had a girl crush right away), Anaid not only shares her insights into navigating the fintech space but also delves into her personal journey with the industry.
She emphasizes the importance of authenticity and diversity in an industry that is constantly evolving and encourages women to fearlessly pursue their passions in fintech without worrying about having all the answers.
Her warm and reassuring tone serves as a reminder that trust is built upon a foundation of honesty, innovation, and diversity, and that is exactly what Anaid strives to cultivate in the fintech space. Check out the full conversation, here.