Our team had coffee with Angelica Lips da Cruz, our mentor and jury member. Having spent 15 years in a traditional heavy lifting banking, now Angelica is fully focused on accelerating the world’s transition into social innovation, future technology, blockchain, distributed ledger, circular economy and sustainable solutions for us and our future together.
Could you please do an elevator pitch of yourself and little bit about your background?
I am a very driven person, a change leader and I love to build up business. I have a very multi-cultural background. I am specialized in South America, Nordics and Latin Europe. My background is in economics and finance, always alongside with new systems’ implementations. During the last years I have established a business in Brazil, a bank in the 4 Nordic countries and worked for 2 other large banks in London and in Stockholm, covering the needs of large, mid and small companies within investment banking in different areas and positions: it could be anything from shaping up a new credit and risk model or setting up a new large corp’s complex structured finance. I operated as vice-president at Citibank London, I built up Renault Finance Nordic operations and I was a pioneer within SEB Merchant Banking sponsoring and running the first projects that included UX and new digital solutions.
My passion is cutting edge technology, in a way that helps our lives to become better, achieving more comfort to all.
Why do you think there are so much buzz around fintech?
Because it is needed. Because there are too many old tracks in the banks, built during the 60s-70s, and they became old, expensive to maintain and need to be changed. And I think that new technologies, fintech, are the solution. Simple as that.
Do your kids know that you are working with fintech? How have you explained them that?
I used to say that there is way of getting to what you want and that way is not only by having money, there shouldn’t be any cards, no old SWIFT transactions, if I may say that. I tell my kids that if you want to make your dreams happen, there is way to achieve that and that’s what I am building, a smoother and fair world with a better financial system.
In startup world we talk a lot about mistakes and fuckups. I know that in traditional banking people are not that really eager to share their mistakes, but did you have any tough situation in life that you would like to share?
Oh, that’s a tricky question. I have been around for awhile, I need to pick one 🙂 Once I was starting a business in Brazil together with Swedish investors. I had the project in hands. It was not a bank, the business was about a transport communication. And when it has something to do with transportation, you need to take a lot into consideration, like for example environmental aspects. It was then when we were face to face with corruption. But I said to myself: “No, stop. We are not going that way.” Certainly, it was a shame that we didn’t continue. It was a brilliant proposition. Cutting edge that would set the city of Rio de Janeiro at the high end. But now, years later, I am very happy that we didn’t go forward, taking into account corruption scandals in Brazil. So my advice is that transparency is key.
What part of the fintech is actually a game changer now on your opinion?
I think you can pick and choose. You can do anything in the fintech area right now. The 90% percent of financial services area are shouting for improvements. There are a lot of people going for loans, private banking, where individuals want to have a better, cheaper and quicker service. As for the trickiest ones, that would be service for large corporations. You need a lot of capital to do that and it is very complex.
Do you think that in future banks will survive?
Very good question. Yes. But not all. Everyone is already trying to adapt. Huge changes are already happening. I was part of the globalization at Citibank, so I know how it went. Everyone was expanding globally in the 80s and 90s, banks did it as well, nothing strange about it. Following your customers. And I know that many corporations, not only banks, are not so happy about the current situation. The question is what were the results 20 years after and what is needed now. We need to rethink and reboot. The Macro scenario has changed. We need to dig into the whole system, including politics and regulators, to see what we can do better and change it for the good.
Who is on your opinion Elon Musk of Fintech?
Elon Musk is the one and only! And remember he started in Fintech! Now is the time to help him as politics over the Atlantic are facing ‘offshore’ winds 🙂
Satoshi Nakamoto, the famous inventor of the bitcoin protocol, do you think he exists?
Yes. His solution in theory is perfect, but the cryptocurrency perhaps didn’t go the way he imagined? Money tends to get dirty and that’s a problem. That is why if you are seriously thinking about better standards and sustainability, on your backbone like I am, there isn’t anybody yet. And we need to clean up bitcoin or any cryptocurrency before we can do larger projects.
Do you want to say that bitcoin is already dirty?
There is a fight for it. Like in anything else.
Do you own bitcoins?
Cannot comment on that 😀
What advice would you give to yourself 20 years younger?
“Get out earlier!” Being a good girl, working for large corporates, studying, learning took a long time. Somethings that I have learnt at the university, the theory, wasn’t really matching with what was happening in the real world. So I needed experience. And if you look at the large corporations and how they operate today, I am too busy to wait for changes to happen. And that is one of the reasons why I left: I would simply retire before I can get things done!
If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?
Crisis is in our mind. Let’s get out of it.
Hurry up and register for Stockholm Startup Weekend Fintech on January 27–29!
More information about the event and registration here: http://www.up.co/communities/sweden/stockholm/startup-weekend/10233