Exclusive Interview with Paula Tavangar About The Fintech & Financial Industry
The number of women getting involved in the finance and tech world is rapidly increasing. Right now, some of the successful companies are either started or co-founded by women.
This increasing growth and success of female founders have inspired millions of women around the world. There is no doubt that anyone with a clear vision, dedication, and commitment can achieve the desired career or lifestyle regardless of gender, background, and more.
Meet Paula Tavangar, serial entrepreneur and renowned leader within the FinTech, Blockchain, and Quantitative finance space. She is an excellent example of a female leader and often can be seen at global events sharing investment insights and innovation strategies to the audience.
What’s impressive about Paula is that she is always active in helping startups with her expertise to grow and thrive.
Today we’re thrilled to welcome Paula to our media. In this interview, we are going to talk about the need for FinTech, how to strengthen the business and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
Hello Paula, Thank you for your busy time. Can you please tell our audience a little bit about you and your work?
Paula Tavangar: Thank you for the invitation, I’m happy to be here and share my expertise. I have always been fascinated by the financial world and its importance as the backbone of the society. I’m happy that I found my passion very early and took finance as my career.
I’m from Istanbul and completed my bachelor in Finance from Bahcesehir University. I’m one of the people who completed the bachelor in 3 years instead of four. I was actively involved in BFRC (Bahcesehir Financial Research Center) in Istanbul, where I learned from different financial experts and got real-world experience.
I started my career at the derivatives trading desk in Garanti Bank, Istanbul. Then moved to Dubai, being a Trader in Renaissance Capital, and worked at Mashreq Bank where I managed everything from idea generation, pricing, execution, and risk management on the structured investment products desk.
Moving to Dubai gave me a different perspective, and the work experiences encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone and start something big. I co-founded the Islamic fintech startup Wethaq, in 2018 and exited the company successfully after 2 years. During the same period (2018), I became the co-founder of Genesis capital LATAM, where I developed high-frequency algorithmic trading strategies and managed them with the trading team under our Quant Fund, while overseeing the private equity investments. Currently, I made quite a change focusing on Blockchain PE investments.
The journey has been amazing and I still feel like I’m just starting.
Those are some impressive accomplishments, Paula. Congratulations on all your achievements. What do you think is necessary to become a successful entrepreneur?
Paula Tavangar: To become successful, an entrepreneur needs to evolve with time. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It requires continuous work and a clear vision of the outcome. The business and mindset of an entrepreneur should be relevant to the current period. Always be open to implementing new technology or methods to increase efficiency and productivity.
Many entrepreneurs are struggling because they don’t have the clarity. Often I meet people who are chasing monetary success rather than providing quality service to the customers. When an individual provides results that are beyond clients’ expectations, it brings referral and maximizes organic growth. By doing so, entrepreneurs don’t even have to rely on investors to build up. The company’s revenue can solely take the business to the next level. I am a huge advocate for ESG, my belief is that as founders and investors we should be focusing more on sustainability, giving and contributing back to society.
The journey of an entrepreneur is filled with success and mistakes. Always think about making a positive impact and never take “NO” as an answer to the things that will stop you. Learn every day, stay ambitious, build a network and inspire people around you.
Can you please share with our readers why they should adopt a FinTech solution in their business?
Paula Tavangar: For a company to thrive and become competitive, it’s crucial to digitalize their solution, whether FinTech or just automating operation or opening their business to online customers. With FinTech, the financial process becomes more secure, faster, and cheaper than traditional services. Being open to such innovation builds trust in clients and helps to differentiate from the others in the industry. Saying this, I like to note that not every business requires financial technology, sometimes the business model does not require sophisticated tech to be managed effectively, and founders should be cautious to not simply follow the trend, while ignoring efficiency.
Let’s take the recent pandemic as an example. People were able to make purchases from their phones without visiting stores or paying with cash. Those companies with fintech solutions were the big winners where many struggled and even went bankrupt.
And since the pandemic taught us as consumers that 90% of all our daily errands can be managed online from the comfort of our home, I see this as a trend that will last and only businesses that go digital will survive long term. On another hand, we are in the beginning of a tightening monetary policy and potential stagflation, which will put pressure on the businesses balance sheets and implementing tech can significantly cut many of those operational expenses long term.
As a business owner, the first priority should always be easy customer service. With fintech, clients can make seamless transactions without any hassle. The more straightforward and secure the buying process, the better will be the revenue of a business.
Those were some great perspectives to look at for the business owners who aren’t growing. Thank you for sharing the need for FinTech. Can you please share the current investment landscape and how early stage startups can thrive in the current economy?
As I mentioned above, we are in a high inflation environment, increasing Fed Funds rate and potential risk of a recession. Without being overly pessimistic, I recently read that Y Combinator warns startups “to prepare for the worst”. In times of uncertainty, the market becomes difficult for both parties, startups and investors. While the first look for fair valuations the lather are risk off and trying to get on as late as possible and at the best valuation.
The positive takeout of every economic downturn is that a new wave of resilient companies emerge together with a boom of innovation. As an investor, my first advice to startups is to do a very deep market and competitors research to position themselves right in terms of valuation when approaching VCs. As well as being aware of the current environment, cut costs to extend the runway and focus on early partnerships in parallel with funding. Detailed business plan with realistic growth numbers, clear roadmap and expected revenue reflecting valuation are all key to communicating the value of a startup to investors.
It was a great interview with Paula. We hope our audience found some valuable tips and got motivated. If you want to know more about her work or attend her events, feel free to connect with her via LinkedIn.