FinTech has always been a male-dominated field. In fact, a 2018 survey conducted by Lend Academy found that only 37 percent of employees in the industry are women, while only 19 percent of women are in executive roles, and a mere 16 percent have a female founder or co-founder.
But in Latin America, women are leading the way in the industry, with five times as many female-founded FinTechs as the global average. Last year, FinTechs received 31 percent of the region’s venture capital, and more than 35 percent of Latin American startups have female founders. Even better, companies with female founders generate 2.5x more revenue for every dollar invested than male-led companies—and have higher stock prices and a 35 percent higher return on investment.
That doesn’t mean that they have it easy. “There is a bias that men are more capable of leading a startup in the tech industry,” said Tatiana Guichard, founder and CEO of the Peruvian motorbike financing marketplace, Somos Moto. “People think that, as a woman, I don’t have the knowledge or the ability to lead a tech company, and I have to waste a lot of time to break down that barrier and demonstrate that I am capable of doing what I do.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on investments, there is now a fundraising gap to content with. Data shows that in a survey of 500 startups, 40 percent of female founders aren’t sure if they will meet their fundraising goals this year.
Women have responded by finding ways to support one another. Companies with at least one woman founder hire 2.5 times more women, and those with a woman founder and a woman executive hire six times more women. Many female leaders have also made it a personal mission to encourage females to succeed in FinTech. Ripple’s Kahina Van Dyke founded the Global Women Executive Leadership Council to connect, support and empower women leaders, while Claudia Quintanilla, COO and co-founder of currency exchange company Rextie, is dedicated to training and helping women find leadership positions within the industry.
Of course, these women also need support from government, universities, and corporations, which is ultimately beneficial for all. In Latin America, including women entrepreneurs equally could boost the global economy by $5 trillion. COVID-19 has boosted demand for digital financial services.
“There has never been a better time to start a business,” said Courtney McColgan, CEO and co-founder of Runa. “My hope is that we will see a boom in new businesses started out of COVID-19, and the percent of those that are founded by women will be significant.”