This week’s interview is with a woman who set up a socially motivated fintech company that cares about society and the environment.
Shardai Cosgrove is the CEO and co-founder of Fintellity. The London-based tech startup offers eco-friendly payments designed to help reduce plastic waste pollution.
Fintellity explains that its unique affordability algorithm is used within products for businesses and consumers to prevent financial harm and tackle unaffordable debt.
How and where did you start your career in tech/fintech?
I’ve always been a creative person and loved art and design, but I’ve also been very curious about human nature, so I studied Sociology at university. While at university, I could see the role technology was taking in society and started to explore my career options.
My first professional role was a Junior Business Analyst at an insurance brokerage, which is where I learnt how to elicit requirements, design and govern the delivery of technical products through the software lifecycle.
My experience evolved in other roles as I learnt Project and Product Management before eventually working for a fintech company. As they say: “money makes the world go round”, so it was inevitable that I’d end up in this industry, problem-solving and creating innovative financial products that help people.
Are there any women in tech/fintech that have particularly inspired you?
I have spent the majority of my career surrounded by male peers and superiors, so there isn’t a female role model that I looked up to when I started out.
I’ve led some great teams over the years which included some powerhouse women that were passionate, loyal and extremely hard-working, whose spirit and work ethic were admirable. We weren’t just a team; we were like family, supporting each other through the highs and lows of life whilst balancing a highly demanding job.
I’ve also had the pleasure of working with a great female peer over the last decade, who has become a good friend, so it only seemed right that we would use what we’ve learnt to start our own business.
What’s the most pressing issue for women in fintech today?
Too many women are gaslit when they raise issues in the workplace and this deters others from speaking up. I truly believe there is strength in numbers, so women need to build alliances with other like-minded people within their organisation so that they can tackle issues like the glass ceiling and pay gap together.
What challenges do you face in your role at Fintellity?
There is so much we want to do to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, so our biggest challenge will be scaling quick enough to satisfy the needs of our merchants and end consumers.
What advice would you give to women looking to get into fintech?
Don’t hold back or overthink things… just go for it! Everyone uses money, so the fintech industry has to become more diverse in order to create products that are relevant and accessible for all walks of life.
Check out the previous fintech-themed interview with Nicola Ebmeyer, Co-Founder of B2B SaaS platform Gain.pro, here.