Binna Kim is the Co-founder & President at Vested, a NYC-based communications agency that leads campaigns for companies at the intersection of finance, technology & innovation. With a background in marketing and communications for financial services, Binna and her co-founder set out to start Vested about 5 years ago. They wanted to lead something of their own that they were truly proud of, all while setting a good example as female entrepreneurs in the FinTech space, which hasn't always been known for diversity and inclusion.
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Here's a break down of our conversation with Binna:
What happening right now in the world of FinTech
Binna's been working with financial services companies before the average consumer recognized the word 'FinTech'. Since then, she's seen a bunch of new, smaller players disrupting the segment with an 'anti-bank' strategy and culture. As these small brands gain users and revenue, they need to mature in order to continue growing. Big brands are the opposite - they need to disrupt and innovate more in order to capture new customers looking to save and invest their money.
Struggles of being a female entrepreneur
Binna believes that being a female entrepreneur gives her a different perspective, which allows her and her colleagues to help brands shape their message to be more diverse and inclusive. She also shares some of key struggles she faces at work, along with many other women. There is an unconscious bias that exists in many scenarios when she's speaking with other founders or venture capitalists. She also opens up about the challenge of being a mother and an entrepreneur, as well as the internal struggle that comes along with it.
One big challenge for Fintech companies
Binna explains that once small FinTech companies begin to grow users, they need to make sure they have 'share of wallet', and not just share of the users. Most people use free accounts, which means you're relying on a small percentage of people to provide most of the revenue via premium services. These people are more affluent, and value security and trust when doing their banking. Going forward, smaller FinTech brands will have to make an effort to build trust and appear more safe.
What she's learned as a founder
One of the most important things Binna has learned on her journey as a founder is that trust is built off true authenticity - it's not just what you say, but what you live everyday. She also talks about the feeling of dilution being very real as you grow. Not just dilution of ownership and control, but dilution of culture. Last, she mentions the importance of having people around you that will tell you 'no'. "If you find yourself surrounded by 'yes-men', you've already gone wrong".
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