On May 24, 2022, FinTech Nexus, formerly Lendit, drew more than 4000 attendees to New York’s Jacob Javits Center for two intense days of engagement and networking. Following are conference highlights:
Fintech women: Over 100 fintech female executives shared insights on career enhancing strategies and ways to achieve influence in a male-dominated field. The session began with 30 minutes of speed networking, followed by a talking lunch, sponsored by Deloitte, with four senior-level executives.
One-on-one meetings: Meeting rooms, provided by leading financial institutions, facilitated one-on-one networking sessions with fintech companies.
App-enhanced networking: Throughout the event, networking facilitated by a Brella app provided attendees with content, information and added value.
Well-organized sessions: Overall, the sessions were well organized and provided valuable information and data to aspiring fintech startups.
David Velez, Founder of Unbank, shared his story of how he brought the Nubank in Brazil from a 2013 startup to a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2021, as well as the most valuable financial institution in Latin America, sharing the following advice with other startups:
Build the right team: From the beginning, industry experts discouraged Velez from founding a bank, saying he didn’t have experience in the Brazilian market or financial services. Fortunately, he ignored this advice and focused on his strengths: raising capital, identifying gaps and recruiting qualified team members.
Focus on diversity: Velez intentionally set up a very diverse board, believing every board member needs to bring something different but complementary to the team.
Recruit outsiders: When building something new, too much experience can be a double-edged sword, Velez found, because it’s hard to be innovative when you think you have all the answers. Velez decided to hire people who had more questions than answers.
Time the market: There’s an art to entering a market’s small window of opportunity, Velez stated. You can’t be too early and you can’t be too late.
Maintain a start-up mindset: Keeping your company’s energy and entrepreneurial culture can be done in three ways, according to Velez. First, enable everyone to voice concerns and push back when necessary. Second, maintain your entrepreneurial DNA by giving team members autonomy and an environment where they are not afraid of taking chances. Third, continue to nurture that DNA and entrepreneurial spirit.
In the end, Velez was asked if he had a chance to do it all over again, would he have done anything differently? As he reflected on the past ten years, he mentioned he may have been a bit extreme about not hiring people with experience, which probably cost him some time. With a bit of hindsight, he conceded it’s probably okay for an innovative company to occasionally leverage existing infrastructure and knowledge.
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Partner at LYSTAR GROUP
Tracy Lai provides strategic and business development solutions to executives, and entrepreneur. Her professional experience includes work at Fortune 500 companies including Intel and RBS, and startups. Her expertise covers business development, risk management, project management and investor relations, in Financial Services, FinTech, Innovation, Technology and Education. As management consultant and FinTech advisor, she holds multiple senior roles with focus on cross border and cross industry collaboration, including projects in US, Asia and Europe.