4 Women with Radical Fintech Perspectives

Efi Pylarinou
6 min readJan 5, 2024

Happy New Year!

The intention this year is to curate more diverse perspectives by collaborating in small agile digital communities.

In this inaugural 2024 article, four women (Stessa Cohen, Theo Lau, Barb McLean, and myself) with diverse backgrounds share a radical Fintech perspective each.

Stessa`s perspective on the Personalization of Payments and Credit, the bread and butter of financial services.

I have advocated for fintechs to develop and offer technologies that deliver real personalization capabilities — based on individual preferences and needs and aggregate needs based on hidden tribes. During 2023, I thought and wrote a lot about the demise of branches — not bemoaning the loss per se, but about the twin impact of bank branches on neighborhoods: economic growth of communities and access to credit. As we move into 2024 and even more hype about AI, data and analytics, I wonder: What if people are the best source for personalized services and interactions? What if technology is the lazy approach to a challenge best and maybe only solved with people?

This possibility was underscored for me the day after Christmas when I took my teenage daughter and a friend of hers to a local coffee shop for breakfast. To my happy surprise, Meg, the shop owner was there herself pulling coffees. I have been coming to this cafe for almost as many years as she opened her first coffee shop on the other side of the neighborhood. Almost 20 years. Even though I haven’t seen her in quite some time, maybe even a year or more, she greeted me with a “Hi Stessa, how are you?” The young woman in front of the pastry display whom I didn’t know also smiled and said hello. I chatted with Meg for a bit as my daughter and her friend read the menu board to choose their breakfasts. We aren’t friends, but Meg treated me personally, remembering how I brought my kids into the cafe as toddlers and young kids. Many years ago, she told me that she hires baristas based on their ability to do the same, not on their ability to pull coffee drinks or make crepes.

As I drank my cafe au lait, I watched the customers come in and order. Meg treated everyone with the same personal friendliness. Meg asked about kids, dogs, wives with the same interest she showed me. The other young woman did as well. They also bid customers goodbye as they left with coffee cups in their hands.

Why do we expect or believe that technology can or should replicate this? Technology can remove friction, and make processes and transactions more efficient especially if the customer wants to do it herself. In financial transactions where trust is such a key if not required ingredient, can technology replace the personal service provided by a human? 2024 might be the year to stop trying.

Efi`s perspective on the role of Financing Innovation while building for a fairer AI-native era

I`ve advocated in 2023 that Fintechs need to invent ways to become Purple Cows — The six principles to become a Purple Cow.

One opportunity to innovate, solve a real-world problem, and disrupt the status quo while embracing and fueling the next generation AI-era, is enabling the valuation and financing of Intangible Assets.

As the AI hype cycle begins, huge investments in intangibles like software, data, and Intellectual Property (patents, trademarks) are required to build the tools and companies of the future AI-native era.

Intangible assets already comprise 90% of S&P 500 companies value. According to the Brand Finance Global Intangible Finance Tracker, the worldwide value of intangible assets was 74 trillion in 2021.

Yet IP-rich startups and SMEs struggle to secure financing against them. Currently, only Big Tech giants with sizable balance sheets and a handful of banks and VCs can finance the creation of cutting-edge general-purpose AI IP.

To prevent the concentration of AI progress and capability amongst just the tech magnates, fintechs must invent new ways to value and collateralize intangible assets. This will broaden access to capital to create the AI building blocks that will drive the next wave of innovation.

Democratizing access to financing for new intangibles is key to fueling an AI economy that benefits more than just a few companies.

Fintech has a vital role to play in valuing and financing IP to proliferate progress towards building a fairer AI-native era.

Theodora`s perspective on Financial Inclusion and the Digital Divide.

I’ve been catching up with reading over the holidays. One particular line from Dr. Joy Buolamwini’s new book: “Unmasking AI” deeply resonated with me. “How would someone without a smartphone be able to benefit from what you are proposing,” she asked.

This is precisely the question I often pose to founders and innovators: Are you developing something that can improve the well-being of more people in our society and help create a more inclusive world? Or is it benefiting the same few who have already reaped the benefits of the digital world?

This is not as much a prediction as it is a wish. With the abundance of technology and resources at our disposal, I hope that we will be more thoughtful in creating and deploying solutions that can help level the playing field and solve problems that truly matter to everyday people. The future of true financial inclusion should not be just about enabling access, but access to affordable and beneficial financial products and services, along with the creation of opportunities. We are faced with an increasingly uncertain future — from how we live, to how we work and how we earn. The time to act — to truly make a difference — is now.

Barb`s perspective on the Future of Work in Banking and VC funding

A radical musical take on financial services in 2024.

Since I’m at a disadvantage here with these other actual writers, you must know I’m including a song pairing with my predictions instead of some written storytelling to go with them.

o Prediction 1: A bank in the US goes to a 4-day work week. No, it won’t be JPMorgan[1]. Yes, it will be one of the 14 women-owned banks in the US.


o Prediction 2: The VC world stops funding grifters and puts their money behind woman-owned businesses that have demonstrably higher ROI.


[1] JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says AI could bring a 3½-day workweek https://www.cnbc.com/2023/10/03/jpmorgan-ceo-jamie-dimon-says-ai-could-bring-a-3-day-workweek.html

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Efi Pylarinou

№1 #Finance Global Woman Influencer by Refinitiv 2020 & 2019. Top Global #Fintech Influencer, Futurist, #AI, #Blockchain +: 30yrs FINANCE — https://linktr.ee/Ef