The Fintech Ladies Europe initiative was established by FinLeap’s Managing Director Dr. Carolin Gabor earlier this year. At FinLeap, Carolin is responsible for venture development and growth. Before she joined the team, Carolin worked for Boston Consulting Group, was the CEO of Toptarif.de and, later, the CEO of autohaus24.de. Moreover, she is a member of the Women’s Council of HypoVereinsbank. As such, she supports the council by mentoring female entrepreneurs, using her experience to give advice.
To kick off the initiative, several dinners were organized throughout Europe with an aim to establish a top level network among women in Fintech. The Fintech Ladies Europe group brings together female guests from the Fintech, Insurtech, banking and insurance industries to share ideas on how to do business together, reshape the financial and insurance spheres and encourage more women to enter the financial field. To better facilitate these connections, the initiative organized the Fintech Ladies Europe Dinners.
Our first Fintech Ladies Europe dinner was held in Zurich, hosted by our partner bank coop. Together with Julie Bernet and Dunja Kern from bank coop, we welcomed our guests at the modern and exclusive Restaurant “Razzia”. Julie and Dunja gave some insights on the history of bank coop in Switzerland and also about their own women’s initiative called “Eva”. This initiative offers financial banking advice exclusively for women and considers maternal leaves, gap years and other challenges that mostly women face during their careers. On the same day as the dinner, the insurtech conference Finance 2.0 as well as the first Female Founder Summit took place, which gave us the opportunity to invite many of the conferences’ speakers and attendees.
The discussions at the dinner table were mostly about the growing women’s community in Zurich, Fintech development in Switzerland and Germany, as well as the future of Fintech in Europe.
Our next stop was London. Besides the NOAH 16 London conference, many other events were simultaneously happening in the city at that time. Our dinner was the sole women-only event, and thus highly appreciated by our guests. The ladies met in the reading room at the “Carlton House” terrace where great conversations and ideas were exchanged. Some of the major topics included the effects of the brexit for Fintechs and other companies in the UK, as well as the news of the newly elected US-President Donald Trump. Another discussion was about how regulations for Fintechs differ in different countries and if the sandbox model, as practiced in the UK, makes sense.
Our last dinner this year was our Fintech Ladies dinner in Frankfurt. Frankfurt is not only the top financial city in Germany with the most banks, but also a city with an emerging Fintech scene. Therefore, the opportunity to host a dinner there was incredible. Our ladies met at the Museum for Modern Art to network and exchange experiences. We were also proud to successfully win Morrison Foerster as the sponsor for the Frankfurt event.
Morrison Foerster is an international law firm with a dedicated fintech approach and special expertise in financial services, technology, intellectual property protection, data protection, and cybersecurity, as well as a deep understanding of how industry-specific practices and regulations affect the implementation of technology solutions. At the dinner, Angela Kerek, Partner at Morrison Foerster’s office in Berlin, talked about their fintech approach in general and their new team focussing on blockchain and smart contracts, providing their clients with a comprehensive approach to the emerging technologies.
Maria Pennanen from Accelerator Frankfurt gave us some insights on the Frankfurt startup ecosystem and the city’s opportunities. We also talked about the cooperation between corporates and Fintechs in general and discussed the benefits for both sides, as well as interesting recent collaborations.
The press, namely the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), also picked up the dinner and wrote a piece about women in Fintech. You can read it here:
The plans for 2017 are still in the making, but we plan to extend the Fintech Ladies network and build a unique community of women.