This week’s Shaping FinTech webinar looked at the topic of entrepreneurship. Chaired Stefan Haase, Tech and Innovation Lead at Whitecap Consulting, the panel included DirectID CEO and Co-Founder James Varga, Anthemis Associate Sophie Winwood, and Meeco CEO and Founder, Katryna Dow.
The panel had a lively discussion about the challenges of being a FinTech entrepreneur, the future of work, and why now might be the time to take the plunge.
Scroll down for the full video, or take a look at some of the things we learned…
Covid will change what it means to be an entrepreneur
The global lockdown has given us the chance to redesign what the workplace looks like across the world, and FinTech entrepreneurs have already had to get used to managing their team and conducting business remotely. This more flexible way of working could mean different talent can be employed – perhaps from further afield or those who require a more flexible working day.
It will also perhaps make the location of a business less important. FinTech entrepreneurs in the UK, for instance, may find setting up in London is no longer a necessity, which means they can explore more cost-effective solutions and look at the talent pools different cities have to offer. In order to make this work however, the right infrastructure needs to be in place that’s secure and compliant – this is something many entrepreneurs will have to shift their focus onto as they leave “emergency” mode and begin to rebuild.
FinTech still has a long way to go in supporting female entrepreneurs
Even though FinTech is sometimes seen as a more modern, innovative industry than traditional financial services, the statistics are still dire when it comes to gender equality. Only 2% of VC funding goes to all female teams of founders, and when there is one woman and one man on the founding team this only increases to 17%. The percentage is even smaller when it comes to other kinds of diversity, too. This is partly due to a higher number of men venture capitalists than women, and the problem that investment is still often based around who you know.
So times are still tough for women in the industry, but the tide is turning and there are some great resources and programmes available for female entrepreneurs, such as Anthemis’ female innovators lab.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path for all genders, so it’s important to find where you can get support and build up your network. However, if things are easy there is no necessity for innovation. The idea of wanting to bring something into the world and the challenges that go with it impact both genders. Thankfully, more and more young people are coming into the industry who have been educated with a different attitude to the way roles are defined in the workforce – but it’s still sometimes necessary for a female CEO to let a male engineer do the talking…