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Hi, this is Clément from HUB612👋
Welcome to all the new followers and hello to everyone!
This week I’m co-writing with Solenne Niedercorn-Desouches this issue about Women in Fintech. Aside from being a Senior Advisor and (Non)Executive Director of regulated firms, Solenne is hosting Finscale, a weekly french podcast in which she’s interviewing entrepreneurs, investors, C-Levels, .. from the Finance industry (including FinTech). Please check it out!
Fintech connects with women
Early in February 2021, you may have heard of the Bumble IPO. This dating platform, led by Whitney Wolfe Herd, has grown to over 100m users. The IPO got global press coverage notably because of the founder’s story, perseverance, and constant fight against discrimination, biases, and prejudices that paved its way and more generally one of any women in tech.
This signal struck me as it echoed the poor diversity I’m currently observing in the FinTech Industry. I questioned myself whether the sample of encounters after 2 years of VC was representative or not.
Studies are consistent about women in FinTech/finance/tech, the lack of diversity at the C-level is arguable as archaic as the legacy systems the industry seeks to disrupt. Here are a few figures and facts to underpin this idea:
There are only 9% of Fintechs founded by women in France today
In 2019, women held just 21.9% of leadership positions in financial services, and on boards, this number is even smaller. However, is expected to rise to 31% in 2030)
2.6% share of total VC money is going to companies with all-female founding teams (this is so little)
This newsletter issue isn’t about lamenting. I strongly believe that we are heading in the right direction and that changes are happening. Over the medium term, I expect the diversity to be much more balanced, and that’s in the best interest of the industry. The message here is to encourage women who are overlooking the finance and tech industry, to come and co-build an unbiased, inclusive and diverse FinTech industry.
A male industry, aiming at workplace diversity
We’ve arrived in a position where we are obliged to count women so that they count. Indeed, data is an essential driver to fix inequality and it allows us to see where we stand and how effective are the political decisions, corporate initiatives, and investment diversity strategies over the long run.
FinTech is clearly one of the few industries that combines two traditionally male-dominated fields – finance and tech. In 2019, women made up 25% of C-level executives at the top 1,000 U.S. companies (by revenue), and represented 19% of software developers. Their underrepresentation is notable.
The emerging FinTech industry that has been growing rapidly over the past decade has brought new promises. It opened up unprecedented career opportunities for women on a playing field that was seeming as level as that of men.
The industry has recently seen bold moves from incumbents, with respect to workplace diversity, for employees to executives. Creating internal policies that focus on including gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity :
Goldman Sachs will no longer do IPOs for companies with all-male boards
Visa announced two new partnerships strengthening the Company’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment (IFundWomen, Hand in Hand international)
These are favorable signals, but constant vigilance and real involvement are constantly necessary. Operational and structural reforms for an ambitious "women in FinTech" agenda are well identified. Here are the axis of work carried by a large number of supporting structures, initiatives, makers, advisors, media & institutions.
Numerous initiatives have been launched in Europe to get things moving. Some are generalists, empowering women in tech in any industry, while some are fintech-focused. I picked a few of them but please find here an ongoing list of development.
In 2019, Sista's drew up a charter, signed by 130+ investors, committing them to build up their portfolios with at least 25% of start-ups founded by mixed teams by 2025. With the recent merger with StartHer, the association has the ambition to grow. Their mission is to create a generation of diverse leaders. To achieve this, Sista is intended to be an association, a think tank, and a lobby all in one.
It’s an early-stage startup that matches women in tech with companies seeking to achieve more inclusivity in tech. 50inTech recently raised €600k to accelerate the emergence of female digital talent, pursue its international expansion, and recruit.
CEO and co-founder of the startup accelerator The Family, Alice Zagury has launched the bootcamp GoldUp focusing on the needs of female entrepreneurs and fostering sorority.
The clubs/initiatives/programs are blossoming globally, and it’s highly probable to see the merger of structures offering the same value proposition on the same geography (as it happened with Sista and StartHer in France).
Now, to build projects capable of supporting them, we must first identify the female talents who are working hard to develop the finance of tomorrow.
Role models to attract future talents
When we talk about female leadership, the notion of role models often comes up. Usually to underline the fact that women lack it and that this is a barrier to their ambition.
Role models play an important role in the construction of a professional identity. The concept of role model should not be mixed with that of mentor, where there are a personal connection and two-way benefit relationship.
But what exactly is a "role model"? It is an example, an inspiration, a guide that shows the way forward. It is an individual whose actions or behaviors serve as an example for others. A successful women role model in a male-gendered industry can have a powerful effect on women.
Many amazing women in the world are true role models. Amongst them: Sheryl Sandberg has clearly paved the way for many women in Tech, especially for being one of the first women to hold a C-Suite role in a tech giant (Facebook).
In the FinTech ecosystem, many women play that role. The be up to date and be aware of their continuous actions, we’ve put together a Twitter list of women operating in FinTech.
To date, there are many lists of women in FinTech that give more visibility to female decision-makers in the sector. Here is a selection:
Women In Fintech Powerlist 2020 | Innovate Finance
Women In Fintech | FT Partners
Top 10 Women in Fintech Power 2020 | Fintech Futures (top 10 ??)
On a French geography, these are a few female founders and C-Levels in FinTech, we could turn the spotlight on:
CTO in FinTech
A female CTO is almost a chimera. Laure Nemée is an exception to the rule. The Chief Technology Officer of MangoPay and Leetchi has been supporting the development and growth of the payment engine built for marketplaces, crowdfunding platforms and FinTechs by the Payment Institution.
CGO in FinTech
The emerging C-Suite function of Chief Growth Officer, mixing strategy, business development and marketing functions is a necessity for scaleups. This is a role currently endorsed by Sophie Guibaud at OpenPayd, the API-led Banking-as-a-Service provider (UK).
CIO in Banking
The position of Chief Innovation Officer in Banking is already relatively undeveloped, but even less endorsed by a woman. This is the challenge that Claire Calmejane decided to take up. She has been nominated CIO by Société Générale in 2019 to foster the innovation culture and identify new business developments and services for customers.
Media & Newsletters
When it comes to blockchain, the number of women appearing is literally shrinking. The French journalist Charlie Perreau (JDN) is specialized in FinTech and regularly publishes articles and substantive studies on crypto-related businesses.
Femstreet sends out a weekly digest of timely, must-read posts by female investors and operators. If you want to learn from incredible female founders, startup operators, and investors, stay on top of tech news, and maybe get your next job, you should look at it!
Communities developed by women in Tech
Founded by Julie Foulon, Girleek's mission is to make new technologies accessible to women by informing them about the latest Tech trends via its blog (articles and videos), to network and meet other talents during its events, train them to acquire digital skills.
Created by Marie-Adélaïde Leclercq-Olhagaray and Marina Andrieu, WIDE has been created to empower women with and thanks to digital as well as to increase the number of women seizing their opportunities in the digital economy and society.
In Venture Capital, the majority of VC firms in the US (65%) still don’t have a single female partner or GP at their firm. But the process of feminization is increasing and names of VC partners emerge. This evolution is crucial to ensure investments’ diversity.
Li Jin left A16Z and raised her own 10 million USD fund within a few months to invest in the Passion Economy. Super angel investor Cindy Bi has raised more than 3 million USD within a month since the public launch of her Rolling fund. Kirsten Green’s Forerunner Ventures has raised a new 500 million USD fund amid the pandemic.
In Europe, Blossom Capital, the early-stage VC firm co-founded by ex-Index Ventures and Local Globe VC Ophelia Brown, announced a second 185 million USD fund, less than 12 months since the fund one of 85 million USD closed. All Raise, led by CEO Pam Kostka, has raised 11 million USD to bring it closer to the goal of bringing equality to the tech world.
General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), Angela Strange focuses on investments in financial services including FinTech, Insurance, real estate, and increasing financial inclusivity
In sustainable investments, Clara Gaymard, who co-founded Raise with Gonzague de Blignière, has built a real ecosystem around this investment firm, including the launch of a foundation : Raise Sherpa. Clara has also been President of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society promoting women's vision of the world for 4 years.
Virginie Morgon, the CEO of Eurazeo has succeeded in a decade in transforming it into a multi-strategy international investment firm able to support companies across size and scale, from venture capital to large cap.
Marie Ekeland (co-founder of Daphni) has launched its own fund : 2050, focusing on 5 different areas : future of food, better healthcare, improving education, shaping a sustainable lifestyle and fostering trust in the media and financial institutions.
In Private Equity, there are many initiatives comparable to PE4W, an initiative, open to both women and men, which aims to build a platform for more equal opportunities for women in Private Equity in Luxembourg. Former CEO of LPEA : Rajaa Mekouar is a passionate advocate for Private Equity and a true role model for women in the Industry.
There are so many amazing women to quote in this article, acting daily to empower women, support females’ initiatives and being true role models in the startup ecosystem such as (in France and being generalist): Aurélie Jean, Roxanne Varza, Fleur Pélerin, Tatiana Jama, Nathalie Balla, Alix de Sagazan, Carole Juge, Rachel Delacour, Stéphanie Hospital, Valentine Baudouin, Hélène Falchier, ..
Fintech addressing women needs
Some may be surprised, but research has shown women to have distinct relation to finance. They are said to be strong and disciplined savers, better borrowers than men (women’s non-performing loans are 53% lower), invest for the long term and stay invested, .. and yet they have less access to all kinds of fintech-related services (credit notably), making them a valuable market opportunity for startups.
Furthermore, financial data is biased. These last 15-20 years, the financial world has become increasingly reliant on the use of machine learning to streamline decisions. To the point that we now face algorithmic biases within financial services technology. Sadly, this has widened the gap between genders.
To answers these points, fintech companies are now offering a variety of products and services that are designed to help women improve their financial wellness. Here’s a quick snapshot of the growing ecosystem of Fintech firms focused on serving women:
New female-focused robot-advisor and investment platforms are providing advice tailored for women.
Banking and financial planning solutions designed especially for women.
Female entrepreneurs are using new female-focused crowdfunding platforms to help raise funding for their startups. Also, some funds are specialized in women-founded companies.
Insurance & Healthcare
Insurtech & Healthcare companies are developing technology to modernize the processes within insurance and healthcare
If interested in articles, books, rankings, press, studies, .. about the topic, go check our airtable list.
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