Wanted: entrepreneurs, CEOs, mathematicians, scientists. The fintech world needs more female talent. This is the irrefutable conclusion of the many different studies on the subject. Experts say it isn’t simply a question of numbers. There are also much more profound factors that could benefit industries such as the fintech sector. Given their influence in the global economy, women can help develop specific products and solutions for needs that have not yet been identified, or sufficiently explored.
The numbers speak for themselves. Only 9% of the management positions in the U.K.’s 50 most relevant fintech firms are held by women, the consulting firm Astbury Marsden reports. The list of Women in Fintech in 2016 shows that there is tremendous female talent, but only 21 of the 260 companies in this ranking were founded by women. The situation in Spain is similar, where only five companies were founded or co-founded by women of the 86 companies in the Fintech and Insurtech Association.
Addressing the challenge of diversity is, without a doubt, one of startups’ priorities, especially in financial startups where women’s voices are starting to be heard. Below is a glimpse of the 12 most influential fintech women – women who are leading the way for a new generation of female entrepreneurs and executives in areas like payments, blockchain, insurance, lending, investment banking and regtech.
Blythe Masters CEO of Digital Asset
Blythe Masters is one of the most influential women in blockchain technology. She is the Chair of Hyperledger’s Governing Board, and also leads the company Digital Asset that is developing distributed ledger solutions for the financial sector. An executive trained in JP Morgan Chase who serves as an adviser for important financial institutions and the U.S. government.
Christina Kehl Co-founder & Managing Director of Swiss Finance Startups
After founding Knip, an insurtech (a digital insurance company), Kehl joined forces with the Swiss Finance Startups association to promote Swiss fintech and create synergies.
Diana Paredes Co-founder of Suade
Diana Paredes had a brilliant career at Barclays and Merrill Lynch until the financial crisis made her realize that the financial sector needed to address its relationship with regulators in a more efficient manner. This led to the creation of Suade as a way to offer a technological response to banks’ regulatory requirements. Today, Suade is one of the most successful regtech firms.
Ghela Boskovich Founder of FemTech Leaders and Director of Zafin
Ghela Boskovich combines her executive work as director of Business Development for Zafin, a technological platform for banking services, with her activism for gender diversity. Her community of FemTech Leaders is one of the most global. With it, she intends to give greater visibility to female professionals in the few financial world.
Jacqueline Ko Matthews Founder of Investment PoD
With significant experience in investment banking, Ko Matthews has developed one of the most disruptive asset management platforms for institutional customers, brokers and insurance companies. Her company Investment PoD was a finalist in the 2016 BBVA Open Talent.
Kathryn Petralia Founder and Head of Operations at Kabbage
Hooked on technology since her parents gave her a TRS-80 computer at the age of nine, Kathryn Petralia has an extensive career in financial entrepreneurship. With the experience from several startups behind her, in 2008, she founded Kabbage, which has managed $2 billion in financing for SMEs.
Leanne Kemp Founder of Everledger
Leanne Kemp is a serial entrepreneur. Born in Australia, she moved to London to start her latest company Everledger. Everledger which uses blockchain to create a permanent historical record of valuable assets like diamonds and artwork, helping insurance companies and banks cut down on fraud and risks. Everledger is recognized as one of the biggest names in the U.K. in fintech in the Fintech 50 and won the 2015 BBVA Open Talent.
Mariana Larraín Co-founder of Comparaonline
With the idea of adding transparency to the process of purchasing insurance and applying for credit, Mariana Larraín created Comparaonline, which is now working in Chile, Colombia and Brazil. She is also a partner at the consulting firm Digital Talent where she identifies professionals working with technologies, ecommerce and marketing.
Marta Krupinska Co-founder of Azimo
Krupinska saw for herself how difficult and expensive it was to send money to her home in Poland while working as a waitress in Dublin. Seeing the need to a more effective international transfer service, she created Azimo. Today her company works in 190 countries and has one million people connected to her platform. She is considered one of the youngest, and most influential women in finance in the U.K.
Marta Plana Co-founder of Digital Origin
Marta Plana is Co-founder of Digital Origin, an alternative financing platform with a turnover of €10 million per year. She also chairs Foro Fintech in Spain. Plana has become one of the leading voices on new digital financial services in Spain.
Shaheen Kanda Founder of Syndicated Loans Direct
Kanda worked at Credit Suisse and Citigroup for eight years in the leveraged loans business until she decided to put her own idea in practice. She created Syndicated Loans Direct, a company that gathers data from legal documents to convert them into financial metrics. A combination of data analytics, finance, laws and technology.
Susan French Fintech Adviser
After a long career at Visa, where she led the developers program, Susan French has dedicated her career to advising companies regarding their payment strategies and API use. She considers herself as an open platform evangelist.