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Fintech Thought Leaders
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Fintech Thought Leaders

Author: QED Investors

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Fintech Thought Leaders is your deep dive into the world of venture capital and financial services with today’s digital disruptors. It brings together the most talented entrepreneurs tackling today’s biggest problems. If you’re looking to learn more about the hottest trends in fintech, you’re in the right place. QED Investors is proud to provide the best fintech advice you can get. To learn more or to read the full show notes from today’s episode, check out
36 Episodes
What if your big idea began as a scribble on a napkin? Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, co-founders of Hello Alice, saw this idea through. Hear the captivating journey of these two astonishing entrepreneurs as they build a business that now connects more than 1.3 million small-business owners to critical resources, including capital, connections and opportunities. Learn how they developed their company from a simple napkin sketch to a groundbreaking platform that counts enterprise companies, banks and government among its partners.Their story is not just about business, but also about perseverance, partnership and the passion to serve traditionally underserved groups like women, people of color and veterans. They will share how they managed the trials of juggling childcare and long commutes, and how they steered through the challenges of leading a business during crises. They'll also share their candid experience on an unexpected challenge: a class action lawsuit. Find out how they're confronting this issue head-on, determined to continue providing underrepresented small business owners with access to capital. Finally, Carolyn and Elizabeth will share their lessons and advice for entrepreneurs. Their story exemplifies the importance of resilience, the power of making the ask and planning around passion. Listen in to hear the insights and experiences of these trailblazing entrepreneurs and their inspiring journey of building Hello Alice, a company determined to help small businesses thrive. Their story is a testament to the power of dreams, determination and the will to work for it.
In this episode of Fintech Thought Leaders, QED's Head of Early Stage Investments Bill Cilluffo speaks with Partner, Head of UK & Europe, Yusuf Özdalga.
What if the way you handle payroll could transform your business? That's the question Maya Dadoo, CEO of Worky, answers in today's episode. A trailblazer in the world of fintech, Maya's startup is shaking up the HR and payroll industry in Latin America.Maya takes us on a captivating journey, starting from her formative years, shaped by her father's entrepreneurial pursuits and his investment banking experience, to her transition from corporate behemoths like BCG, Citi, and eBay to her own venture. She unveils how Worky saw a unique market opportunity, pivoted its product to cater to blue-collar workers, and the implications of the recent Mexican government regulations. Dadoo's innovative approach to time management and payroll, you'll come to realize, is just the start. We dive into the nitty-gritty of Worky's decision to serve the mid-market and enterprise sector, and the journey of developing their payroll engine. Maya paints a vivid picture of the rewards, challenges, and the tireless efforts that led to a successful launch. And remember, this growth story is only getting started with ambitious plans to make a dent in the benefits space – their biggest revenue contributor. Maya's insights on effective leadership, problem-solving, and how they've built Mexico's largest employee database are particular highlights. 
What happens when an Armenian woman, born in a collapsing Soviet Union, goes on to head the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and then takes a leap of faith into entrepreneurship? You get Naré Vardanyan, CEO of Ntropy, whose journey we  unravel in our latest  episode. Her fascinating trajectory, from her humble beginnings to learning AI on Coursera and launching her own company, is inspiring. Prepare to be swept away by Naré's bold move to decipher the encrypted world of data privacy and security, especially in the domain of financial services. As we navigate through the tumultuous aftermath of COVID-19, Naré decodes the new dynamics of institutional data usage. Hear her commentary on the need for quality data in the era of open banking and get a glimpse into how industry heavyweights are leveraging data to customize their offerings. Naré takes us through the evolution of language models that are enabling companies to access data more effectively and efficiently. Finally, Naré explains why she views distribution as an engineering problem and how she grapples with the challenge of prioritizing immediate needs versus future possibilities. Reflecting on her personal journey, she talks about how motherhood has influenced her leadership style and the role of risk-taking in her venture. From discussing her hobbies to the importance of therapy, this is an episode you won't want to miss.
Imagine discovering that a family member, struggling with Alzheimer's, can no longer handle their own finances safely. That's the reality Kai Stinchcombe faced with his grandmother Ruth and what he used as fuel to create a fintech solution. In this episode, we journey with Kai as he reveals the personal origin story behind True Link's innovative mission. Hear how his commitment to empower those with Alzheimer's, addiction, special needs and mental health issues to make payments safely and independently, has shaped his path from Stanford-dropout to successful entrepreneur.Navigating the complexities of True Link's customer base, Kai sheds light on the unique challenges of supporting individuals in residential care and the intricate balancing act of rigorous research methodologies and entrepreneurial decision-making. Hear how he grapples with setting limitations around transactions and the delicate task of handling issues like Medicare eligibility and closing bank accounts. Get an insider's view of the overlooked issue of financial competency and how True Link fills that gap, ensuring their product reaches those who need it most.Kai opens up about the hard lessons learned on the startup journey, candidly sharing his realization of not being a natural-born manager and how he adapted. As we venture into our current reality of remote work, Kai discusses the challenges of maintaining True Link's mission-driven nature in a 100% remote environment. And to lighten the mood, enjoy a personal anecdote about the unconventional start to his romantic relationship with his wife, Julia. 
QED's Head of Early Stage Investing Bill Cilluffo sat down with Laura Bock, an alumna of Princeton and a former management consultant at Oliver Wyman, to hear her unique story and gain her insights into the financial services industry. Laura opens up the hood of startup culture and how it's changing the face of investment. She shares her thoughts on the agility of startups and the instrumental role of investors and advisors in this dynamic space.. Laura's insights on founder assessment shed light on the key qualities to look for, making this episode a treasure trove for any budding entrepreneur.Wrapping up, we delve into Laura's experience in the fintech industry and the lessons she has learned since joining as a principal. From the regulatory risks involved in investing in highly regulated industries to the delicate balance between optimism and realism, Laura's advice is practical and grounded in reality. If you're fascinated by the world of fintech and venture capital, this episode promises to be an enlightening journey.
In an exciting conversation, we had the pleasure of hosting QED Investors colleague Victoria Zuo.Victoria's journey from China to the U.S. and her endeavors in the payments industry, mobile and commerce sectors took center stage. The radical technological shift in China and its stark contrast with the U.S payments systems marked the key discussions in her episode with Bill Cilluffo. Victoria's unique experience in applying to Stanford and her decision to venture to the West Coast added a personal touch to the interaction. Experiences shape perspectives and in Victoria's case, her interest in fintech was sparked by something as simple as her parents purchasing fish through a WeChat group. This fascinating insight led us to delve into the robust growth in e-commerce penetration in the U.S. during the COVID-19 era. The role of fintech as a critical enabler in reducing CAC and aiding global shipping, cross-border payments and trade finance was a key focus of our discussion. The effects of COVID-19 on digitization and globalization and its impact on hiring strategies of companies were also touched upon. Victoria discussed at length how fintechs can empower merchants in managing their treasuries, bridging capital gaps and automating taxation compliance. Assessing the global e-commerce market size and the potential it holds for U.S. merchants to tap into global audiences was an enlightening exploration. As we looked into the future of e-commerce, Victoria shared her strategic investment approach. 
Ever wondered how a young entrepreneur from a small town in India scaled up his startup to onboard 4.6 million employees in just two years? Tune in as QED's Head of Early Stage Investing Bill Cilluffo sits down with Chitresh Sharma, the charismatic CEO of Refyne, India's largest online access platform and hear his inspiring journey from the heartland of Chattisgarh to the bustling streets of the Indian startup ecosystem.Chitresh gets candid about launching his first business venture at 19, his motivations behind creating Refyne, a game-changing platform that grants employees access to their salary round the clock, and how his first $300 check and the unwavering support of early investors propelled him on his path.The conversation takes an insightful turn as Chitresh shares hard-earned lessons from his past business encounters, shedding light on the three stages of sales and the critical role of people factor. As we navigate deeper into the discussion, Chitresh offers an intriguing perspective on his decision to adopt the earned wage access (EWA) model, the roadblocks he confronted in tailoring this model to fit the Indian market, and the significance of understanding local needs when transplanting global business operations. Listen in and discover how Refyne built an integrated and scalable sales function, assembled an eclectic team from diverse industries, and their innovative use of AI and ML to safeguard their EWA product from potential misuse.As they wrap up our conversation, Chitresh and Bill delve into the significance of value-based leadership, with a special focus on Refine's core principles of 'Call of Duty' and 'Celebrate'. Chitresh emphasizes the importance of connecting with employees on a deeper level, beyond monetary motivations, and how Refyne has fostered a culture of recognition and appreciation. 
What fuels the fire of entrepreneurship? For Roberto Biselli, CEO of Capim, it’s a potent mix of familial influence, tough life choices, and an unshakeable belief in the power of credit. From growing up as the youngest of nine in a Brazilian family steeped in entrepreneurial spirit to making pivotal decisions that veered him away from the trodden path, Roberto’s journey is captivating and inspirational.During our conversation, Roberto unravels his experiences at McKinsey and how they ignited the spark for Capim. We dissect the evolutionary process of Capim's business model, shifting its gears from a buy now, pay later model to a laser-sharp focus on healthcare. Roberto provides a fascinating insight into the intricacies of the credit-marketplace and how he harnessed its power to uplift small and mid-sized retailers in Brazil. But it's not all business. Roberto opens the door to his leadership style, the shared values that drive Capim and how he maintains a delicate balance between ambition and compassion. This episode is a deep dive into the mind of a man who has navigated the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship with steadfast resolve and an unwavering commitment to his values. So, if you're intrigued by the stories of industry leaders and want a dose of inspiration sprinkled with valuable life lessons, Bill Cilluffo's conversation with Roberto Biselli is a must-listen.
Venture into the world of real estate and learn how GetGround CEO Moubin Khan is turning the proptech industry on its head. QED Partner Bill Cilluffo and Moubin discuss the creation of a property investment marketplace, a solution to the lack of information, trust, and actionability in the industry. Marking a significant shift, the use of corporate vehicles has seen an increase of 15-65% in the UK in the past three and a half years. From the biggest challenges to the most rewarding victories, dive into the intricacies of scaling a business and maintaining customer proximity.
Has the war for talent mitigated? Is it as ferocious as it was during COVID? How does it differ between sector and stage? What can hiring managers and senior leaders do to ensure diversity is front and center, not just an afterthought?
Sandeep Patil shares how Asia's combination of technology talent and financial services talent has set the foundation for transformational fintech companies to thrive. 
QED's Managing Partner Nigel Morris and Head of LatAm Mike Packer discuss the findings of the Global Fintech 2023: Reimagining the Future of Finance report that we co-authored with the Boston Consulting Group. Mike discusses what we can learn from the global benchmark companies coming out of LatAm like Nubank, and he shares his thoughts on second-time founders, forward-looking regulators and the future of B2B innovation.
The similarities between fintech in LatAm and Africa is striking. Gbenga Ajayi shares how that gives him a blueprint for success. In this episode, QED's Managing Partner Nigel Morris and Head of Africa Gbenga Ajayi discuss the findings of the Global Fintech 2023: Reimagining the Future of Finance report that we co-authored with the Boston Consulting Group.
Yusuf Ozdalga shares why embedded finance, back-office automation and international payments are key themes QED's European team is excited by.
Are we in Chapter 2 or Chapter 8 of fintech's story? That was the question we have been discussing internally for more than a year as we tried to accurately outline and size the opportunity that stands before us.Through that lens, we have partnered with the Boston Consulting Group to co-author a research paper, Global Fintech 2023: Reimagining the Future of Finance, to frame the discussion and highlight the sizable tailwinds that, with the exception of the past two years, have have powered nearly two decades of fintech innovation and growth.QED's Managing Partner Nigel Morris joins fellow co-founder and Chief Investment Officer Frank Rotman to discuss the North America perspectives of the report.
Jordan shares the lessons learned from growing up in a family-owned business in Chicago, how he approaches hiring and scaling, and the importance of building meaningful business relationships.
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