International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate all women – young and old, rich and poor, mother and daughter. To mark the occasion, we’d like to highlight the talent and commitment of those who have attained senior positions within a traditionally male-dominated mileu.
The following women are operating at C-level within their respective firms, which include VCs and banks. Fintech is a fast-growing sector, with cryptocurrency and blockchain-focused businesses increasingly attracting significant investment. Just last month, London-based crypto firm Blockchain.com received $120 million in new venture capital funding, taking its valuation past the $3 billion mark. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key decision-makers in the fintech and investment space.
Amy Nauiokas is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Anthemis, a global venture firm that launched in 2010. One of the fintech world’s most respected female investors, Nauiokas also has a side gig – if you could call it that – as Founder and CEO of media production company Archer Gray. Last year, she was recognized as one of 2020’s most powerful women by Entrepreneur Magazine.
With offices in London, New York, Luxembourg and Geneva, Anthemis is a thriving investment firm focused on digital financial services, and Amy is a major reason for its success. Prior to founding Anthemis, she was the CEO and Managing Director of Barclays Stockbrokers, the UK’s largest electronic retail broker, and before that Partner at one of the world’s leading financial services firms, Cantor Fitzgerald. At Anthemis, Amy says her goal is to invest in projects that are “for good, not for evil… We aren’t looking in any place where you see predatory opportunities to make money.”
As CFO and Head of Portfolio Financial Services, Fiona Blakemore is a major shot-caller at Balderton Capital, a London-based VC firm now in its third decade. Balderton invests in early-stage technology businesses, having injected capital into the likes of Revolut and Crowdcube. Fiona leads all financial activities at the company, including reporting to investors and monitoring portfolio performance. Having spent six years at PwC, then 16 years as Head of Investor Relations at Man Group, Fiona has a wealth of experience in asset management and has made an appreciable impact since joining Balderton early last year.
Rinat Remler sits at the top table of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), a longstanding venture capital firm founded in 1993. With offices in Israel and New York, JVP supplies both capital and strategic mentorship to early-stage portfolio companies, and Rinat taking responsibility for the financial affairs of the firm’s various ventures. Prior to joining JVP, Rinat served as CFO at both Elron Electronic Industries and agritech firm SCR. As a senior partner at a venture capital firm that’s raised well over $1.4 billion across nine funds to date, Rinat operates under a great deal of pressure – but performs with aplomb. Rinat is also a Senior Executive at Israel Initiative 2020, a leading NGO whose ambition is to establish seven ‘regions of excellence’ throughout the country.
Signature Ventures is a VC firm committed to bootstrapping early-stage blockchain startups. Based in Berlin and Munich, the company’s highly driven Founder and Managing Partner is Juliane Schiefer, a serial angel investor and consultant who previously headed the VC departments of two major German stock-listed companies. In her capacity as Managing Partner, Juliane was instrumental in funding projects such as Unchained Capital and Finoa, and her passion for the decentralized world informs every move Signature Ventures makes. An attorney by trade, Juliane is the former head of the New Ventures Department of Genesis Group, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining firms.
Last but not least is Casey Taylor, Vice President of Network & Development at the crypto-focused Digital Currency Group. The key point of contact for post-investment support and strategic partnerships across the New York firm’s extensive network, Casey previously worked as a community manager at the NY Tech Alliance before becoming Director of Community at Female Founders Fund. Having arrived at DCG in late 2017 – at the peak of Bitcoin’s first major bull run – Casey has a tonne of experience in the blockchain VC space: DCG is the parent company of several major names such as Grayscale, Coindesk and Genesis. Indeed, it’s probably the most active investor in the crypto industry.
As a Partner at Passion Capital, Eileen Burbage heads up a tech-focused VC that’s funded 81 early-stage startups in under a decade, backing more than 100 founders in the process. When she’s not making boardroom deals and zeroing in on the next tech unicorns, Burbage can be found on Twitter, entertaining her 76,000 followers with her sharp takes on pop culture, business, and current affairs.
Passion Capital has recorded three successful exits to date, while 28 of the projects it’s incubated have been granted follow-on investments. As a majority female-run VC, Passion Capital has a demographic that’s as refreshing as its tech-driven investment thesis.
Railsbank is a banking and compliance platform that unites a global network of partner banks with companies seeking API access to global banking. Louisa Murray is the company’s COO for the UK and Europe, where her team leadership and business acumen made her a natural candidate for the role. Prior to becoming Railsbank COO, Murray was the company’s Head of Business Development, where she was instrumental in onboarding companies to the Railsbank API to deliver global banking services, implemented in just a few lines of code. Not content with operating at the highest level in Railsbank, Murray prefaced her career in the city by performing as a GB junior show jumper.
Anne Bodem is the founder and CEO of Starling Bank, the neobank that’s taken the UK by storm. Bodem founded the bank in 2014 after 30 years spent working on the frontlines of finance. The award-winning bank secured the largest fintech funding round of the year in 2016 when it raised £48 million. After training as a computer scientist, Bodem has gone on to enjoy a glittering career, but it’s with Starling that she’s achieved the recognition she deserves. Voted Britain’s Best Bank 2020 and boasting a new customer sign-up every 39 seconds, Starling Bank continues to go from strength to strength, led by its talismanic founder and CEO.
We’d like to round off our top 10 by paying tribute to two women a little closer to home. First up is Dagmara Aldridge, Chief Operating Officer here at Zumo. An excellent leader and motivator, “Dag,” as she’s known, has 15 years of experience within the fintech sector, and is now working her magic with Zumo. Based out of London, our bi-lingual COO looks after Zumo’s workforce in Edinburgh and Slovenia. Aldridge’s rules for life include “Enable others by harnessing people’s collective genius; work smarter, not harder; plan like your life depends on it,” mantras that she puts into practice every day while keeping the Zumo team on track and in the loop.
Finally, we couldn’t sign off on this list without including Devina Paul. Zumo’s CFO also doubles as an early stage investor and co-founder of angel investment syndicate Galvanise Capital. If you’re wondering what drew her to Zumo, funnily enough, it was Galvanise Capital’s decision to invest in the company. Paul sits on the board of several companies that are in Galvanise’s portfolio, and as CFO of Zumo she applies the wisdom she’s acquired through years spent helping startups realise their full potential and attract the funding their innovative ideas merit. Devina Paul is a ball of energy and a beam of sunshine and we’re privileged to have her as our CFO.
There you have it: ten inspirational women operating at the cutting edge of fintech. On International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the accomplishments of the go-getting women who are leading from the front.