WEALTHTECH 3.0: Women in WealthTech | Changing the Narrative

The Founders Arena: A Unique Perspective to Accelerating Fintech


In a recent interview with Pamela Cytron, President of The Founders Arena, we discussed women in wealthtech, unconscious bias, female founder mentorship opportunities, and securing funding.

The wealthtech industry has made significant progress in fostering diversity and inclusion, creating a supportive ecosystem for female entrepreneurs, and expanding mentorship initiatives. With “WealthTech 3.0” underway, the need for more entrepreneurs and wealth managers catering to women’s unique needs is a growing opportunity. There’s no one better to build solutions that meet the unique needs of women than a woman herself.

When considering the intersection of privacy and cybersecurity, resilience is crucial. This concept, akin to the role of a family protector, is one of the eight key female traits. Resilience holds significant value for women in the tech industry, shaping their approach to challenges and opportunities and inspiring us all.

Celebrate diversity, celebrate success

“The first voice we ever heard in voice technology was electronic, a woman’s voice. Back then, there were a lot of discussions about the ‘voice’ being sexist and why a woman’s voice versus a man’s voice. I didn’t think it was sexist; I saw it as being warm or friendly, even helpful when using the technology,” says Pamela Cytron, President of The Founders Arena.

She rightly points out that when discussing women in tech, we often focus on barriers rather than on the successes of women entrepreneurs. According to numerous studies, approximately one-third of businesses worldwide are founded by women- a significant achievement we should all be proud of.

Change the narrative

“Out of the 90 applications for the first cohort of The Founders Arena, only one was from a woman-founded business. Now, I know there are more women in tech, so one woman applying doesn’t mean there’s not a need among women to participate in a program like ours.

This tells me we’ve not done an excellent job as a society in preparing women to pursue what they want—such as raising capital to start their businesses—like we prepare men. And, unfortunately, women may be part of the problem because often we don’t lift each other up or provide mentorship and skills to differentiate female founders and their solutions to win deals,” adds Cytron.

Cytron says the problem may lie in biases. Still, we need to change the narrative by encouraging more women to pursue entrepreneurship and celebrating positive developments like pay transparency, gender equality, and so on. VCs and the wealthtech industry must acknowledge and correct biases within their organizations. Women must also recognize and correct their biases toward other women in the industry.

“When you don’t like something, that’s the time to use your voice, not days or years later.”—Pamela Cytron.

Cytron says a question she often asks business leaders is, how many women they have in their organization, how many they’ve hired, mentored, and helped succeed?

“Whether we like it or not, there will never be as many women creating startups as men in any field, let alone tech and financial services. Highly regulated industries typically have more male entrepreneurs. But if you look at e-commerce, it’s a different story, and women play a significant role. There are more women-owned startups in retail and e-commerce,” comments Cytron.

She adds that mentoring women in wealthtech is vital, whether it is a man mentoring a woman, a woman mentoring another woman, etc. The important thing is that someone is stepping up to mentor and help that woman step into her potential.

Women and wealth

One of the things The Founders Arena talks to entrepreneurs about is how much the wealth industry needs to change because of the intergenerational transfer of wealth to the next generation- many of whom are women. The role women play in inheriting, independently acquiring wealth, and making the ‘money decisions’ for their families translates into why we need more women in WealthTech.

Cytron adds that the solutions needed to market to women are more essential now than in the past. From the wealth advisor- who understands a woman’s unique situation and uses technology to support her, to the woman who owns a business, manages her family’s money, and wants to build and acquire wealth- startups have a huge opportunity here. It’s vital to create technology that solves women’s unique needs, going beyond voice enablement that sounds warm, friendly, and helpful.

In closing, Cytron adds, “I think women in WealthTech are going to flourish as co-workers of the bot, AI developers, and trainers. It’s to be an orchard of people and bots, with women much more prevalent because, by nature, they’re more empathetic and resilient.”

Applications Open for Second Cohort of The Founders Arena Wealthtech Accelerator Thru Friday, 3/7/24