Making progress: Championing diversity in the fintech sector
The last twelve months have been challenging for us all. During busy and uncertain times, it can feel difficult to carve out the space for reflection on wider issues, but it is important to do so.
In the fintech industry, equal representation of genders is a while off, with female representation outside of traditional job titles remaining low. For example, only of fintech companies have female founders and women account for less than 30% of the sector’s overall workforce.
Challenging the status quo
Clearly there is work to be done. But as much as we must push to address the gender imbalance, I strongly believe that we cannot do this without considering the wider issues of diversity, both in our industry and beyond in the wider business world.
When we examine the reasons for a lack of diversity, one that we as business leaders can help to address is that our future leaders often don’t recognise themselves in today’s leaders. Without role models or mentors across a diverse range of backgrounds to look up to, younger generations who feel they do not ‘fit’ are left hesitant to pursue a certain career as they feel that it isn’t for them.
This lack of diversity at the point of hiring can stem from an inability for those in decision-making roles to look beyond their own upbringing and background. We have seen time and time again leaders, consciously or unconsciously, choosing to work with those that have had the same experiences as them. But by doing so, business leaders are missing a huge opportunity. Embracing a diverse workforce means embracing a diversity of thinking, which can deliver more creative solutions and a better working culture for all.
Taking small but significant actions
So, what can we as individuals do? Whilst certain company-wide changes, such as changes to hiring practices, must be led from the top, we all have a role to play in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone. This includes listening to those who may have had different experiences to us and using those learnings to influence decisions in both our personal and professional lives. Importantly, it also includes recognising that we’re all unconsciously biased. It’s crucial that we make space for difficult conversations to be had, so that positive change can happen.
While the glass ceiling is still very much present in the fintech sector, by all taking small steps together, we have the best chance of breaking through it once and for all.
This article was contributed by Marieke Saeij, CEO, Visma | Onguard
Amber Group Valued at US$1bn in $100m Funding Round
Amber Group, a cryptocurrency financial services firm, has raised US$100m in a Series B funding round at a pre-money valuation of $1bn.
The funding round was led by Chinese investment firm China Renaissance, and other participants in the Series B include Tiger Brokers, Tiger Global Management, Arena Holdings, Tru Arrow Partners, Sky9 Capital, DCM Ventures and Gobi Partners. Existing investors Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Blockchain.com also joined in.
Michael Wu, co-founder and CEO of Amber Group said in a statement that the funding would be used to “expand global operations to meet client demand and develop market solutions for the world’s leading crypto investors and companies.”
“We’ve had record months over the past quarter across both client flow and on-exchange market-making volumes,” Wu said in a press release. “Our cumulative trading volumes have doubled from $250 billion since the beginning of the year to over $500 billion.”
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, with many people investing, although not everyone seems to know what they are investing in. Using survey data collected from 750 investors earlier this year, Cardify found that only 16.9% of investors who have bought crypto “fully understand” the value and potential of cryptocurrency, while 33.5% of buyers have either zero knowledge about the space or would call their level of understanding “emerging.”
Who is Amber Group?
Amber Group is a global crypto finance service provider with a presence in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Vancouver. Founded in 2017, Amber Group services over 500 institutional clients and has cumulatively traded over $330 billion across 100+ electronic exchanges, with over $1 billion in assets under management. The company said that its assets under management, or AUM, reached $530 million in 2020, representing a 275% increase from the previous year.
Instead of being a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade individual digital coins, Amber Group CEO Michael Wu said the company is bringing a “private banking experience to the everyday customer.”
Their goal is to optimise investment flexibility, maximise investment returns and deliver long-lasting value for their clients. In 2019, Amber Group raised $28 million in Series A funding led by global crypto heavyweights Paradigm and Pantera Capital, with participation from Polychain Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Blockchain.com, Fenbushi Capital, and Coinbase Ventures.