FinTech Female Fridays: Jillian Williams, Investment Principal, Anthemis Group
Can you speak to us about your career and how you pivoted from banking at Barclays to Investment Principal now at Anthemis Group?
I was part of the Financial Institutions Group at Barclays when we were working on an IPO of a FinTech company. The IPO
ended up failing due to the each bank having a different view on whether the company should be classified as a tech company or a financial services company, which impacted the price. After that experience, there was a larger focus on FinTech, and I became really interested in the sector. It was a perfect opportunity that I was introduced to Anthemis as they were expanding their presence in the US. Their mission and view on the future of financial services really resonated with me and I was fortunate
to join the company.
As an Investment Principal at Anthemis, what have you seen as the latest trends in FinTech companies, and what are some new trends you foresee in the next 6-12 months?
What I’m most excited about is technology that is focused on the needs and habits of different generations. There is a huge opportunity for Baby Boomers in tech broadly, but especially in financial services as the ways that retirees interact with money is very different than millennials. On the other end of the spectrum, the habits of Gen Z-ers are very different from those of Millennials and so the technology solutions and user experiences need to be different. Technologies that cater to the differences in the generations create a lot of opportunity to service a customer’s particular need at the time and grow with them.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far and how have you overcome it?
An early challenge for me has been public speaking associated with being in venture capital. When I joined Anthemis, I was not comfortable with public speaking, no matter the size of the audience. I knew I had to be comfortable with if I wanted to be in venture long term and so I started forcing myself to do it more. First starting with smaller, more “friendly” environments such as internal speeches or to a small class of undergraduates, which involved offering myself to different audiences and panels. The more I challenged myself, the more comfortable I became speaking in front of larger crowds. Slowly pushing myself out of my comfort zone was crucial for me to gain confidence in speaking.
What is one piece of advice you can give someone who is looking to change their career to the FinTech space?
I would recommend that you simply start reaching out to as many people as you can within the FinTech space in order to help develop an opinion on what sector interests you. A key aspect of working in FinTech is to always continue learning and expanding your perspective on what the future may be. The best way you can do this is by getting in the weeds with people who are building new products in the space. As you become more involved with others in FinTech, you can help build a reputation for yourself and become a trusted person for others in the space, which will help your career and knowledge continue to expand as the area evolves to a constantly changing environment.
The word FinTech was added to Miriam Webster dictionary in 2018, what does this word mean to you?
Financial services serves as the nervous system of the global economy, and as technology continues to spread across how we do business, how we transact and how we conduct our lives. At Anthemis, we believe that finance and technology - or ‘FinTech’ will, in the long term, become synonymous with financial services. If the growth of the FinTech sector is successful, financial service companies will all become tech companies.
Reach out to Jillian on LinkedIn.