Katie Bomi Son – Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019

This article features an interview with Katie Bomi Son, Global CEO at QARA, one of LATTICE80's Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019.

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This interview is part of a series of interviews featuring female Fintech leaders globally. LATTICE80, in partnership with Miss Kaya, recently published our Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019 list.The effort reflects our efforts in women empowerment and support in a field where women continue to be underrepresented. Check out the full list for 2018 here as well. 

Miss Kaya is a lifestyle driven financial platform for the modern woman that aims to empower them to carve their own financial freedom through technologically-empowered financial tools. The mission is to provide the modern women globally with the support, resources, and community they need to live the lifestyle that they want.

Disclaimer: The interviews are published on a rolling basis and the order by which they are published by no means representative of any rankings.

This article features an interview with Katie Bomi Son, Global CEO at QARA.

1. Tell us more about what you do and how did you move into Fintech?

At QARAsoft, I am the Global CEO in charge of marketing, business, and global strategy. QARA is a fintech startup that provides asset management & investment services through the financial AI (artificial intelligence, machine learning & deep learning) technology.

Earlier in my career, I started my job as an enthusiastic marketer at Johnson & Johnson, MSD & Pfizer, providing marketing strategy on health care products for a healthier and better world. Then I found my first marketing company called Project AA Inc., which was acquired by a fintech company in 2015. I worked there as a CEO & Founder for 3.5 years. Then I worked for two different fintech companies in Korea.

Now I am working to create a healthy investing culture at QARA. QARA stands for Quant AI Robo-Advisor. We were founded in 2014 with a mission to simplify, educate, and inspire people to make better investment decisions through the AI deep learning technology. Here at QARA, I believe we can eliminate the fear, the confusion, and the high cost. We hope to democratize the financial system so that anybody can learn to invest in a more efficient and healthier way. Our core AI technology can help investors save time, save money, and gain more confidence.

The fastest track you get to know our business is a new application called KOSHO, which has recently been released to 8 different countries worldwide last month. Some people have mistaken us for a “get-rich-quick” type of service. But we can tell you that that’s not our main purpose. Our goal is to help regular people like you and me, and especially people who don’t have the time, money, or the analytical skills to become a better investor. We would like to save their energy by helping them through their investing journey.

2. What does being a woman in Fintech mean to you?

It’s a great opportunity! Because you are unique. It has been a way larger group of males in this industry for a long time but it is changing as female leadership are becoming more involved in delivering more consumer-centric services over the decade. However, it remains a big challenge. It is difficult to communicate for women and create the results, and the diversity may not be supportive of you. As a woman in fintech, I am still learning and struggling with all the different issues and everyday challenges. I feel this is my fate and I am enjoying it by overcoming tough issues and discovering new solutions. This makes you strong by achieving one by one and step by step.

3. What challenges do you think women face in Fintech?

There are not many female leaders or role models so you have to think and find ways by yourself most of the time. At the same time, women need cooperation with men. We face barriers in terms of communication, and may be treated as an outsider sometimes in this financial sector. We need to know how to survive in this men-dominated environment.

4. What advice would you give to other women starting out and growing their careers in Fintech?

Stay Positive and Be Confident: No one is perfect and you’ve got to believe that you have a strong power to overcome all the difficulties inside. You have to trust yourself even if you feel afraid of something. We can learn by doing anyway. Also, I believe heaven helps those who help themselves.

Have Courage and Stay true to who you are:  High Risk, High Return. No pain and no gain. It may sound cliche but if you do not challenge, nothing happens. I think one female with courage will inspire more women in the near future. Like the saying that ‘The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators’, only the person who has faith in herself is able to be faithful to others. Let women be ambitious!

5. What are 3 keywords to describe Fintech for 2019?

  •     Artificial Intelligencea
  •     Disruptive Technology and Business Model
  •     Collaboration between Old & New