A Wide Open Field: Women in Fintech
By Mimi San Pedro
Chief Strategy Officer
The Venture Center
ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 3.0
Q: The Venture Center had many success stories from the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program. Why is it so important for women to be part of these Accelerator programs?
A: A few years ago, I read a report outlining the tremendous financial impact of working women on the economy. In 2015, the report by Buyup Index found, “Working women in the US generate $4.3 trillion of earned income. The eight million women-owned businesses generate $3 trillion.”
As an active career woman with 30+ years of experience in industries from advertising to fintech, I can tell you that while women’s economic impact is huge, there aren’t enough of us with seats at the leadership table. In too many instances where there are not enough women decision-makers, women’s opportunities to bring innovative technologies to market dwindle.
Women are driving business in the United States, and fintech is a critical component of our economy. When we have more women and more diversity in fintech, the entire industry will be better. That’s why it’s so important for women to apply to be part of these accelerator programs. Fintech is a booming field and women have a huge opportunity to define what it is to be a woman in tech through this niche.
Q: What is the biggest pain point for women in tech?
A: Securing funding for their companies is one of the most common hurdles. According to recent information from Pitchbook, women had a minuscule 2.2% of the $130 billion in venture capital funding for 2018. There is an incredible amount of funding out there, but women aren’t getting close to an equitable slice of the pie.
Q: How could women in fintech help change such a huge disparity?
A: According to Danielle Fave in a recent Investment News article, “Research found work-life balance, a lack of opportunities, and too few female role models as some of the barriers facing women in the financial advice industry. Those barriers aren’t as prevalent in fintech, where new ideas and companies are emerging all the time.”
The ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator is a perfect example of a solution to this problem. Women participating in the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator will have the opportunity to boost their businesses through meetings with up to 50 banks in 12 weeks. Further, pitching to hundreds of investors and venture capitalists at once during ICBA Live and at Demo Day grows connections and provides a degree of exposure that founders can’t achieve alone. It’s critical that for women to be in the accelerator programs because being part of this process today will grow our base of role models and mentors for tomorrow.
Fintech is a wide-open space, and it’s one in which we have the chance to remove barriers permanently. Stepping up and into that space is how we’ll have businesses that serve our interests, and workplaces that strengthen and grow the overall position of women in the workplace.
As we gear up for the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 3.0, we’re sharing stories of why the Accelerator is so important, the impact it has on the community and community banks, and success stories from past participants. Exciting times are ahead as we prepare to launch the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 3.0, so be sure to follow along through our social channels below and on the blog.