Mihriban Ersin Tekmen – Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019

This article features an interview with Mihriban Ersin Tekmen, COO and Co-Founder of Colendi, 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: Th 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 Mihriban Ersin Tekmen, COO and Co-Founder of Colendi.

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

I am the COO and co-founder of Colendi, a blockchain fintech startup helping to create better financial inclusion opportunities for the un/underbanked, and empower the developing world. I offer the perspective of a successful woman in technology and business, particularly in a male-dominated field like blockchain. I believe that defining a person according to their financial history is an unfair and antiquated method of creditworthiness and that those of us who go through a hard time deserve a second chance. That is why I co-founded a company that calculates credit scores for people who would otherwise be considered credit “unscorable.” I am an advocate for women, women in tech, underserved populations, and broader social good.

After graduating from Istanbul University, I started my career as a project manager for the European Union and European Commission, catapulting me along the path of entrepreneur in the fintech space. I co-founded Ininal, the first and biggest e-money company in Turkey that has reached 1 million active users in less than half a decade.

I have built my career on developing solutions to some of the most complicated financial problems, both in Turkey and around the world. I understand the challenges of the billions of un/underbanked people around the world through years of experience with the UN Development Program, and as founder and editor of FintechTime, the leading fintech magazine in Turkey, I have created a medium through which to share the stories and issues that impact this population.

Recently, I have also been named one of the 35 “Senior Leaders” in Women in Fintech PowerList of 2018 of Innovate Finance. This was a second honor I received in 2018. Last year, I was also selected Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the most influential women in blockchain, recent profile/Q&A for Authority Magazine, and advice in a recent Buzzfeed article.

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

Women in Fintech remind me of wonder woman. Finance and technology are hard places to be in as a woman, and then to be on the distributive side is a challenge for men also.

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

Fintech has its challenges for women as well as men. New ideas that make a wide impact are always hard to be accepted and women tend to have a lower voice and are usually not as insistent and bold as men. These are character marks you have to have when you are in an innovative and disruptive sector as Fintech.

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

Be determined, know what you want and when you get there help and support other women.

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

İdentity management, seamless transactions and financial inclusion