FemTech’s movers and shakers met up in London this week at their first event hosted by Starling. Taking place at Clerkenwell’s 155 Bar & Kitchen, the evening of drinks and discussion focused on ideas of community, communication and customer centricity. But even more than that, it was all about bringing people in technology together in a way that applauds diversity. There are awesome women working in fintech – here are just five you need to be following right now.
There are not that many women in fintech.
There’s not that many women in tech, full stop.
But this isn’t a blog about what’s lacking in fintech.
It’s not about how male dominated fintech is in the UK (69 per cent of fintech firms’ boards are made up of men only) or how few female founders there are in the sector (in the Innovate Finance community, only 21 out of 165 startups are founded or headed up by women. And it’s worse in the US). Nor is it a gripe about how our Big Friendly Tech Giants aren’t quite so friendly on the diversity front (Google only employs 30% women across the whole company, Facebook only 15% and Twitter just about 10%).
No. Instead, this blog is about the women who are in fintech – who make the sector so vibrant. And FemTech Global, who we recently hosted an event with, is a prime example of this.
A community challenging the gender gap in finance, the female leaders in FemTech are engineers, entrepreneurs, storytellers, bankers, creatives, problem-solvers. They constantly prove tech isn’t just a man’s world.
So with this in mind, I want to introduce you to a handful of women doing awesome things to move and shake the way we live our lives and manage our money.
1. Ghela Boskovich, FemTech Global
It’s only right to start with the queen herself. Spearheading the FemTech community, Ghela Boskovich is the boldest introvert you’ll ever meet, a collector of ‘wicked cool’ people, and a self-professed fintech fanatic.
FemTech Global is a thriving, welcoming, wonderful way to meet people from a thousand different walks in life. Because diversity isn’t just about gender – diversity is about race, age, culture, social background, and education. This is why inclusivity and community are so integral to FemTech, why networking and mentorship are at heart of Ghela’s meetups – and pretty much everything else she does too, especially on social.
Also note: hugs abound with Ghela in the room, so if you’re looking for an event that offers human-to-human conversation rather than stuffy corporate twaddle, then FemTech meetups are the place to start.
2. Christine Buske, Tech's New Neuroscientist
Christine is a new face in London (kinda). Born in Brazil, growing up in the Netherlands, she then moved to Toronto as a neuroscientist before finally reaching UK to enter technology. Beyond the impressive stamp collection in her passport, she’s also a speaker on technology and neuromarketing.
Her blog “Bench to Business” is definitely worth checking out as well. If you’ve ever had to transition from one role to another, had questions about your career, wanted to find a little work-life balance – then it’s a great read (and she’s even done a little blog of her own about our event this week!). Connect now.
3. Devie Mohan, Writer & Mentor
Say hello to one of City AM’s top 50 fintech influencers. Devie is a fintech industry advisor specialising in marketing, often working closely with fintech startups and supporting them on their journey.
She recently founded Burnmark, an independent research company focusing on trends in the financial technology industry supported by Berlin’s Finleap. You can read their report on challenger banks here. It’s pretty impressive.
What’s also impressive is Devie’s work as a writer. Wry but eminently readable, her narrative voice is astute and jargon-free. It’s refreshing. And her twitter account is full of those same gleaming insights.
4. Kate Bolton, #CommsForGood
Because being Head of PR and Comms for one of Europe’s leading banking software providers wasn’t enough for Kate – she’s begun a new project: Comms For Good.
Comms For Good is a simple idea. By putting generosity at the heart of corporate comms – especially banking – we can drive positive change. Linking up with other people in communications roles from banking, wider finance, and fintech, the aim is to do a little more good with the platforms we’ve earned.
Doing ‘good’ for the world is something close to many hearts. Lots of us dream of changing the world, of giving back, of making a difference. Far fewer people actually use this desire to propel them into actually doing something. But Kate’s doing it, inspiring others as she does so. You can find out more by following on Twitter.
5. Anne Boden, "No one sets up a bank."
And last but not by no means least, there’s Anne.
Anne is our illustrious founder. A computer scientist by background, she led her first technology team at the age of twenty-five for Standard Charter. She then progressed through a thirty year career at some of the world’s biggest banks before launching Starling in 2014.
As she said at the FemTech meetup, “No one sets up a bank. And when I said I wanted to they all looked at me like the women is crazy.”
Yet now Starling is gearing up for launch. We’re customer-first, community built, unusual in that we have an almost even split between genders in the office. We’re from all over the world. We’re artists, technologists, financiers, marketers, and all hell-bent on transforming the way money fits into everyday life. Connect with us on social – we’d love to hear from you.
So what about you?
The voices of women like those here captured my imagination. And there are so many more – Paulina Sygulska, Andra Sonea, Megan Caywood, Diana Biggs, Dora Ziambra, Liz Lumley. All of them talk tech and innovation in a way that’s accessible, intriguing. They have real conversations. Are dynamic. Inclusive.
Now it’s your turn.
Maybe you feel like I did: a little out of your depth. That’s ok. On paper, I’m far from what many might think of as a woman in fintech (word-nerd, would-be writer, background in highly transferable subjects like philosophy and psychology). Yet now I’m up to all sorts of marketing mischief at Starling, learning to code (at last), and finding out more and more about how fintech can make a difference to our lives.
So if you’re interested in fintech, want to change the world and have a load of fun whilst doing it, why not check out some of our vacancies?
Alternatively, there’s another FemTech meet up in a couple weeks on developing your #PersonalBrand – we’ll be there too and you can check out the details here.