Standing up startups: Advice from eight women fintech foundersMarch 8, 2021 | By Vicki Hyman
Before the pandemic, women systematically outpaced men in starting new businesses of all kinds despite having less access to financial services and significantly less success obtaining venture capital. Yet despite the immense potential in financial technology to spur innovation, advance financial inclusion and stimulate the global economy, only 7% of fintech founders are women.
With COVID-19 threatening to roll back women’s progress in business by years, if not decades, the need for women’s perspectives and leadership is stronger than ever, says Jess Turner, Mastercard executive vice president of new digital infrastructure and fintech.
Turner’s division includes Start Path, the company’s startup engagement program that, among other goals, helps later-stage fintechs connect with investors. Start Path’s women-founded startups netted almost $1 billion in investments in the past year, and Mastercard is pushing its network of investors and angels to help increase the number of women founders and give them paths to scale, Turner says.
“We need to design a world with women in mind and women involved,” she says. “Diverse perspectives create more powerful ideas that have the most potential to shape the future of commerce.”
“There is never a great time to start your own business. I think oftentimes we might say, ’I don't know if my economic conditions are right, I don't know if the market is right, I don't know if it's the right time to start this business.’ And what I've learned is it's never the perfect time. My advice is just do it, get started, jump and the net shall appear.”
Catherine Berman, the co-founder and CEO of CNote, a San Francisco-based financial platform that directs every dollar invested toward funding woman- and minority-led small businesses, affordable housing and economic development in financially underserved communities across the U.S.
“One of the things I've appreciated about being an entrepreneur is that I am continuously growing and continuously learning. One of the biggest factors for success is grit, determination, and really just staying the course, and if you have that, you will make it through.”
Joanna Bichsel, founder and CEO of Nairobi-based Kasha, an ecommerce platform that confidentially delivers women's health and personal care products to urban and rural areas in Africa.