Inspiring Women in Fintech: eWeek UK’s Interview with Lissele Pratt

Our co-founder Lissele Pratt spoke had the pleasure of being interviewed by Antony Peyton at eWeekUK for their Inspiring Women in Fintech series. Find the full article below. 

Lissele Pratt is the Director and Co-Founder at Capitalixe. The London-based firm provides

Along with that busy role, she is the co-founder of payments firm Pinnacle; co-founder and COO of Athena Founders, a community for female founders; and a mentor at the organisation Virgin StartUp.

How and where did you start your career in fintech?

I got my first job out of college at a brokerage firm. For the next few years, I worked as a Junior FX broker and learned everything I could about fintech from there. I didn’t attend university, as I wouldn’t say I liked the traditional schooling route, so the only way to learn was through work experience.

In this role, you wear many hats depending on your clients’ needs. I learned a lot about how the economy works, and also how the impact factors such as fiscal policy and interest rates play on economic performance. I was trained to identify these opportunities for my clients and propose strategies to help them mitigate their FX risk.

After some years of learning the ropes, I decided to launch my own startup with my co-founder Ivan Kovachev. Here, we help companies in high-risk industries obtain the latest financial technology and banking solutions. Since then, we’ve scaled our business to $800,000+ (£610,000+) in annual revenue in just under two years.

Are there any women in tech (or fintech) that have particularly inspired you?

Many women in fintech have inspired me, but the person who immediately pops to mind is Suneera Madhani, CEO and founder of Stax. She is a huge advocate of women’s empowerment and women in fintech. Within seven years of launching her company, she has grown Stax from a startup to processing over $9 billion (£6.8 billion) in payments.

Like me, Suneera is also a minority leader in the fintech industry, which was highly motivational to see when I had launched Capitalixe. She continues to break down barriers with her visibility. She shows people, especially women in fintech, that there are no limits to where you can go.

What’s the most pressing issue for women in fintech today?

I would definitely say that being resilient and developing a thick skin are important traits that are required to be a woman in fintech. You have to be able to stand up for yourself and not let other people’s views influence you and go after what you want.

I would also say be proactive in finding support, mentors, and female networking groups to learn from others. Because fintech is such a male-dominated industry, there may be times when you feel isolated, or like you are not getting the support you need. I can’t tell you the number of times I was left out of the ‘boys club’ and often felt unwelcomed on the trading floor.

Finally, never doubt that there is a place for women in this industry. The need for women to be involved is stronger than ever, so it’s important to remain positive and emotionally intelligent regardless of what obstacles you face on your journey.

How do you think fintech solutions can help advance women’s financial health?

According to research by the Transamerica Institute, men have thrice the total assets as women. This gap can be attributed to many factors but mainly because men invest more and tend to do it more often.

I believe that fintech is making strides for women’s financial empowerment by facilitating regular investing opportunities and building resilience through learning how to make good investments. I think automated applications are a great way forward for women because they provide the platform and tools to help them achieve financial goals depending on their risk level and interests.

 

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