Inspiring Women in Fintech: Interview with Radhika Rajpal

Radhika Rajpal, Co-Founder, Co-CEO and COO of Beyond Equity, discusses the need for personal cheerleaders, the struggle to find mentors, and more.

This week we talk to a woman who is a seasoned banker and entrepreneur, and who holds an MBA from the business school INSEAD.

Radhika Rajpal is Co-Founder, Co-CEO and COO of Beyond Equity.

Radhika Rajpal, Co-Founder of Beyond Equity
Radhika Rajpal, Co-Founder of Beyond Equity

The firm is a London-based fintech startup that provides a revenue exchange (think stock exchange for revenue) to let companies IPO their revenues to raise funds. eWeek UK covered Beyond Equity’s pre-launch in February.

She was inspired by the need for alternative means of financing for SMEs, and made a career switch to start Beyond Equity.

What advice would you give to women looking to get into fintech?

I was the only girl who would ride a bicycle to school, while in middle school. My purple cycle with a basket would stand out in a swarm of black/brown cycles. It was tough to be the outlier then, but in a conservative society, I was supported by a family who did not stop me from riding a cycle just because I wear a skirt, or from standing out from the crowd.

This support gave me the courage to not be intimidated in a male-dominated environment, and it continues to be my support c. 15 years later when women still have to operate in such environments.

I realise that not all women have such a strong support system growing up. But, even the best teams need fans and cheerleaders. That’s why my advice to women who want to (and should) rule the now male-dominated fintech space is to surround yourself with your personal cheerleaders who give you the courage to go against the norms.

What brought you to this specific career path in fintech?

Finance is about money, and money requires math, and my love for math got me to finance. When we got a computer, I loved how endless the possibilities were. I would spend hours building calculators and games with C++ (a programming language). I’d built five websites by the age of 20.

When I landed my first job, it was in finance at Barclays. I soon merged my two loves and started leading robotics process automation projects on financial systems within Barclays. Parallelly, I then started an edtech company that reached about 15,000 students in a matter of 18 months.

I have now found my place by mixing the best of both worlds – finance and technology – into Beyond Equity, where I’m disrupting startup financing through a revolutionary tech and AI-powered revenue exchange.

What’s the most pressing issue for women in tech today?

I feel women’s representation in leadership positions in corporate and startup world is still far from ideal in tech, and women struggle to find mentors to look up to and get inspired from. This is why initiatives like eWeek UK’s Inspiring Women in Tech series are important and help young women get inspired by others’ stories.

What challenges did you face when founding Beyond Equity?

Innumerable! Founding a startup is all about the challenges you face and solve daily. If you enjoy that, then entrepreneurship is for you! I’ll pick two to share with you. First, finding your first customer. Second, educating the market.

Most of the clients you meet may love and need your product, however not everyone is an early adopter. Additionally, as a founder of an innovative product, helping my customers break the status quo specially in a conservative market is what keeps me up at night!

Finally, how do you think fintech solutions can help advance women’s financial health?

We, as a society, are still far from giving equal opportunities for financial independence to men and women. For reference, female founders raised just 2% of venture capital money in 2021.

We all have heard this enough, and the problem does not lie in demand shortage from women for funding (although a partial explanation does, as explained above), but in biases that have existed for decades.

There have been some initiatives in the right direction, although nowhere enough. For example, my ex-employer Barclays, operates the Female Innovators Lab, providing funding and mentoring to fintech startups founded by women.

Check out the previous fintech-themed interview with Yasmin Moaven, CMO of Pipe, here.

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