This week we talk to a woman who has 20+ years of experience in the payment industry and started her first company in 2006.
Monika Liikamaa is the co-CEO and co-founder of Enfuce. The fintech firm is based in Helsinki and has over 16 million end-users on its platform. As reported last month, it unveiled its cloud-native Card as a Service (CaaS) platform in the UK.
She believes wholeheartedly that a business is nothing without a great team of people, and that is why she has joined forces with industry experts as co-founders and employees.
How and where did you start your career in fintech?
I’ve been building financial technology more or less since 1998.
I started as a consultant/developer at Capgemini back in 1998 and then throughout my career have been building and maintaining critical systems, including a billing system for Telia, one of the biggest telecoms in the Nordics. I then went on to start my first company, Proactum in 2006, where I was part of building S-Bank, which went on to become the major Finnish retail bank.
From there, I joined Crosskey Banking Solutions to launch and scale its card and mobile payments business unit. Soon after leaving here, the idea of creating Enfuce was born!
Are there any women in fintech that have particularly inspired you?
I am inspired by women all the time. My co-founder Denise Johansson is my biggest inspiration in fintech, as well as drawing inspiration from Anne Boden of Starling Bank and Louise Hill of goHenry.
What’s the most pressing issue for women in fintech today?
Women in general should support each other more AND have the courage to speak up and do whatever they are passionate about. Have the courage to try out things and learn fast.
What advice would you give to women looking to get into fintech?
If you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur or there is a certain fintech you would like to work at, contact them and tell them why you believe that you would be a great fit of them.
We talk about people being assets or liabilities, the measurement is not in skills and background but mindset! Do you have a glass half full or half empty mindset – that is the key.
You described the UK as “Europe’s largest and most competitive fintech hotbed” – what are the pros/cons of that for fintech companies?
The UK is a sandbox for fintech startups and entrepreneurs. It’s the perfect blend of talent and demand for innovative services, while being subject to strict regulatory bodies, such as the FCA that remain vigilant without hindering startups’ ambitions, therefore allowing them to perfect themselves before scaling into the US and to EEA.
With this comes the natural, yet fierce, competition that means you truly need to bring your A game. We see this as being a great opportunity for us to become even better, which of course will only benefit our current and prospective customers.
Check out the previous fintech-themed interview with Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO of FinTech Wales, here.