If Not Now, and If Not Us, Then Who?

Aug 11, 2022

A Post Money20/20 Discussion with Audrey Mothupi

Audrey Mothupi, CEO of SystemicLogic Group, discusses and offers solutions to support and advance female positions within the fintech industry.

Audrey Mothupi is the Chief Executive Officer of South African-based SystemicLogic Group, a global financial innovation, data and technology disruptor, specialising in emergent business models. Audrey brings over 20 years of business experience and has been named one of Africa’s 1,000 most powerful women. The following Q&A with Audrey explores women’s roles within the fintech industry over the past two decades as they relate to diversity and inclusion. She recognizes there is still a long way to go to advance female executive roles and business support. Audrey offers strategies to create proactive changes that include sound solutions, such as pooling funds for female-owned fintech businesses.

Background and Context: Female-owned FinTech Businesses Globally

Around 50 years ago, the idea of a female entrepreneur managing her own company would have seemed ambitious at best. Discrimination and gender inequality were, and are still, factors working against women. However, compared to 50 years ago, there are a lot more women entrepreneurs who  are at an incredible high globally. Many women have started their businesses to break free from social constraints. Women who are business owners can achieve financial independence without relying on the status quo. In the last 20 years, women entrepreneurs’ statistics have shown that the amount of female business owners has increased by 114%.

According to the recently published reports in the FinTech Diversity Radar Report:

  • >Globally, 1,3% of total venture capital funding goes to women founders
  • 5% (16) of 1,032 best-funded private FinTech firms globally are founded solely by women and receive just 1% of total FinTech Venture funding
  • Of all fintech CEOs globally, 5.6% are women, and less than 4% of women hold the title of chief innovation or technology officer.
  • Asia has the highest proportion of female founders at 7.7%, followed closely by Africa at 7.4%. This compares to North America at 4.8% and Europe at 6.5%.
  • Africa has the highest proportion of female board members at nearly 15%

Noting the above, there is a considerable need to pool funds together to support women-owned FinTech businesses worldwide. There is no simple solution to help pool funds together, but there is a variety of methods that can be used to help accelerate the fund-securing process.

Below are some ways that I think will be beneficial and that every woman entrepreneur must consider:

  1. Government-deployed initiatives such as CDFI’s (Community Development Financial Institutions) pool money from willing large investor entities to provide funding to commonly underestimated groups. Across the globe, many funds exist to improve women’s business funding access. For example:
  2. Funds by founders, for founders: Funds created and run by women that have founded FinTechs have the capacity to bolster the funding landscape for women entrepreneurs. An interesting example of a fund run by founders is the Magic Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund built by founders turned investors. The fund is fuelled not exclusively by returns on investment but also by the value that can be added to the founders of new startups. A similar initiative starring women-founders in the Fintech space pooling their resources could provide an avenue of financial and strategic support to prospective women-founders.
  3. The women-entrepreneur stokvel: A stokvel is a savings or investment club. There is a  possibility for widespread, digital stokvels for women to contribute monthly and pool their resources for when their startup idea is nearing fruition. This concept would remove reliance on outside entities for funding, allowing women entrepreneurs to help one another in the pursuit of equity. The low barrier to entry, with some similar stokvels, run through WhatsApp, only further reinforces the opportunity.
  4. Collaboration > competition: Given the added challenges women entrepreneurs face compared to their male counterparts, an avenue to consider is resources and funds in a network of several individual companies. FinTech especially can take advantage of co-working spaces, sharing of equipment and internet plans.
  5. Pooled investor funds for women-owned enterprises: While inclusivity and equality are a significant focus as years progress, the bottom line is what investors usually have at the top of their list regarding future funding. Schemes of pooled funding, with multiple investors coming together to target the women-owned Fintech market, can mitigate concerns that individual investors might have in a segment which has been shown to receive less attention than their counterparts.

Lock In Your Funding

While women encounter far more obstacles than men when they pitch their ideas, your confidence is vital. Try to show your strengths and show them how you will be able to build a successful business. If you can pitch yourself as a venture capitalist, this shows you know the ins and outs of your business. Therefore, you lock in the opportunity to secure better funding for your startup and contribute to the shaping of women-founded FinTech’s for the future.