I Can See Clearly Now: FinTech Founder Has Vision For Easy Investing Globally
The numbers add up.At 23, Simona Vaitkune, CEO of Fast Invest, has expanded her company to 36 countries with 9,000 daily active investors, across three offices in Europe. In just three years, she has taken her investment platform with more than 50 employees to fulfill her vision of easy, inexpensive investing for anyone, anywhere globally.“I was searching not only to save money, but to have better income flow, and I could not find anything that fit for me,” says Vaitkune, based in her native Lithuania.With a FinTech company expanding to the U.S. this summer with an office in Miami, as well as new offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, Vaitkune says European investment companies required large entry points of big investments and were difficult to use, necessitating a depth of financial understanding inaccessible to most.“I wanted to find a good design and I saw the opportunity to create something I could not find in Europe for myself,” she says.“Fast Invest is a team of innovation enthusiasts, code gurus, finance world fanatics, product experts, and tech fans. We work together to balance the user experience and ease of use, with accessibility and innovation. Our goal is to change the future of how people see and carry out investments,” according to the company site.Read this recent post on three FinTech CEOs.The good news is creating the platform and launching the company in Europe was not met with resistance as, “I did not feel uncomfortable as a woman CEO in technology in Europe,” she says. Much of that ease and inspiration she can attribute to her mother, CEO of a financial institution.Others would agree.“Our industry is collaborative, innovative, hard working and agile. It does not matter what background, gender or color someone is, so long as they are able to bring real value to the clients and build a strong team, they will succeed,” Maria Scott, CEO, TAINA Technology Limited, told Forbes recently.But FinTech is far from gender parity globally.[bctt tweet=“FinTech is far from #genderparity globally.” username=“takeleadwomen”]“A ‘fintech census’ carried out by EY and Innovate Finance in September found women represent just 29 percent of staff in the sector,” according to Business Insider.“Anne Boden, the CEO and founder of digital challenger bank Starling, told BI: ‘There are not many women in finance, there are not many women in technology, and there are not many women entrepreneurs,’” according to Business Insider. “Just 26 of Innovate Finance’s more than 275 member companies are led by women.”“It’s very disappointing because it’s not getting any better,” Boden told Business Insider. “I think we all have to try harder. It’s not because there is a lack of female talent and it’s not because women have other responsibilities at home. We as organizations have to work together to find the talented women out there and make sure they are visible in organizations and they get promoted.““Fintech is a new and exciting industry that provides the perfect blank slate for us to do away with the ‘boys club’ image that has become associated with the traditional financial services industry. It allows women (and men) to demonstrate their success solely based on merit,” Monica Kalia, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Neyber, told Forbes recently.At 20 years old in 2015, Vaitkune was very young when she started the company, but she also started early in another area of her life. She married her banker husband at 18, and they have been married for five years, while she was earning degrees in Business Management and Fine Arts.Here are Vaitkune’s top tips for starting a FinTech company, or any venture as an entrepreneur.[bctt tweet=“Simona Vaitkune shares her top tips for starting a #FinTech company, or any venture as an entrepreneur.” username=“takeleadwomen”]Dedicate your life to your business. “You may not have time for yourself, so have a vision and love what you do.”Have the right vision for your company. “Make sure you know what, why and how you are doing everything.”Your team is the most important part. “My colleagues are my closest friends. Have good people on your team and build strong connections.”Learn from the hard lessons. “Everyone makes mistakes and we did it very quickly. I became a tyrant sometimes and that was a mistake.”Find joy in the job. “It is important to see the joy in your day.““I always had the vision of a great and global company with services that can reach every person in all places. We want to be everywhere,” Vaitkune says.Fluent in Lithuanian, English and Russian, with customers in Nigeria, Egypt, India, the Philipines, Brazil, across Europe including Germany, France and Poland, Vaitkune says the joy is in meeting customers from different cultures.“It is difficult to create one product for everyone,” she says. But that is the goal. And that is what keeps her busy, often at the office well into the evening.For now, Vaitkune says all her focus can be on the work and her vision for growth for the company. She adds, “If we will have children, they will grow up on the office floor.”Like what you see? Sign up for more and receive the Take The Lead newsletter every week.