Dr. Carolin Gabor is one of the most influential women in the German fintech scene. As a managing partner of finleap, her mission is to reshape finance. Find out how and what role women will play in this endeavor in this interview:
You are regarded as one of the most experienced managers in the German financial world and have been a Managing Partner at finleap for two years. How has the industry changed since you have joined finleap?
I have been with the industry for quite a long time now. After having completed my apprenticeship at a bank I joined the Boston Consulting Group as a strategy consultant and worked on projects in the financial industry for more than ten years. During this time, the first fintech companies emerged, and I had the first touch points with new, digital start-ups in finance.
And in the last two years since I joined finleap, the industry has developed significantly. We can now see that few B2C fintechs are likely to scale strongly. At the same time, what we have called “disruption” has evolved to “cooperation”: partnerships between fintechs and established banks have prevailed.
The next step will deepen the connection and integration of the old and the new world. We expect a future, in which private and corporate customers will ask for a comprehensive and contextual approach to managing their finances. In this respect, contextual means that life situations, specific demands of an industry or the context of a region or a business transaction are addressed.
Dr. Carolin Gabor, Managing Partner at finleap
The next step will deepen the connection and integration of the old and the new world. We expect a future, in which private and corporate customers will ask for a comprehensive and contextual approach to managing their finances. In this respect, contextual means that life situations, specific demands of an industry or the context of a region or a business transaction are addressed. In the new world of finance, I as a customer, whether private or corporate, will get a recommendation for a financial product just at the right moment. What I need for that is a fronted with a cool UX, all my relevant data in one place, and financial products from partners with a fully digital value chain. The different portfolio companies of finleap offer all of these solutions to their customers and partners. These innovative platform systems allow a modularized approach in the form of packaged or complete digital financial solutions together with fintechs and providers of financial as well as value-added products according to their specific needs.
Did anything fall by the wayside during this transition?
I find it alarming that all big and relevant banks have either reduced their digital strategy to a bare minimum or changed it so often, that it is hard to take them seriously at all. I do not think this is good news for Germany’s financial industry. Moreover, the elephant in the room is how to finance fintechs in their next growth phase. Among the C-series investors will very likely be players from the US or China, or private equity funds, rather than European strategists.
While being a Managing Partner at finleap, you are also the founder of the organization fintexx – women in finance. What was your motivation to establish this organization and what would you like to achieve with it?
With fintexx women I want to connect women from the finance and tech industry through regular events to help them make meaningful professional connections among themselves. In addition to its commitment to networking and strengthening women in management positions, the network is also aimed at young talent. This April we hosted the first Texx Factor Female Hackathon under my patronage, which was a huge success.
However, despite the fact that it is already 2018, the gender pay gap is still a sad reality. This problem is deeply rooted in the industry’s buddy culture. Most men support and promote their buddies, which effectively keeps female talent from reaching top management positions. The most exciting positions are often passed from man to man.
Unfortunately, women are seriously underrepresented at the executive level. That is why we need possibilities to connect and to build strong professional relationships within our industry. Through fintexx women we will become more visible, also through media attention.
What is your advice to other women? What would you like to tell them regarding their journey of reshaping finance through more visibility?
In my experience, women are often too perfectionist and too self-critical – in contrast to a lot of men. But of course, the women in the industry are very skilled and more than qualified.
My advice is: Dare to speak on a panel, visit meetups and other events to connect. And it doesn’t have to be the big show. Just recently I got an e-mail from a woman who liked a talk that I gave. I was very delighted to receive such feedback and we had a connection immediately. I am pretty sure that we both can use this connection at a later point in time.