FinTech Female Fridays: Katie Prentke English, Co-Founder, CMO, Harness Wealth
What is your professional background and what led you to co-found Harness Wealth?
I have spent my entire career in Financial Services. I started at JPMorgan, where I spent four years - first in Equity Sales in the Investment Bank and then as a Global Investment Adviser in the Private Bank. Then I went back to school and received my MBA from Harvard Business School. Afterwards, I spent over seven years at American Express in a variety of marketing/product/partnership roles and in different locations. I was in the New York office for four years as a product manager for the Business Gold Card and then the Centurion Card. I then moved to the London office where I ran the Membership Rewards Program for the UK Consumer business, and then was head of Digital Acquisition for the UK Consumer Business. At that point, I was interested in going into a smaller business, and decided to join a FinTech business called Nutmeg, which is the largest robo- adviser in Europe. I started there as Commercial Director and then became Chief Marketing Officer.
I ended up being connected with David Snider and ultimately co-Founding Harness Wealth with him, when we were connected by a mutual friend. At the time I was still in London, but I was interested in starting a business and was thinking about moving back to the US. I found David very impressive, I believed that he was building the right solution at the right time, and felt I could add some value to what he was doing. The move back to New York ended up working for my family, so we decided to do it!
What drew you to FinTech and what about this industry is motivating you to stay?
FinTech is an incredibly excited space. There is so much opportunity to innovate and bring smart technology and a consumer focus in a transformational way. I believe in building great products that help consumers and ensuring that consumers are educated about and managing their finances in the right way is incredibly important. That's what motivates me to stay.
You have been in the FinTech space close to a decade; what are new trends that you are seeing in the space and trends do you forecast in the next 6-12 months?
There is a lot happening in the FinTech space whether on the B2C or B2B side, which is very exciting. Digital banking is an interesting space, where some European players have really innovated. Some of those are planning to enter the US marketing in the next year, which could have a bit of an impact. We are also seeing more incumbents trying to create offerings to compete with the FinTechs. Hopefully all of this is ultimately beneficial for consumers where they have better products and more choices.
As a co-founder of Harness Wealth, what advice could you give to FinTech Female founders starting their businesses?
Founding a business is incredibly rewarding but a lot of work. The most important thing is finding a great partner and hiring a great team to build it with you. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who will challenge you to ultimately land on the right decisions and direction for your business.
How have you built your network and maintained these relationships?
Moving back to New York from London meant I had to re-engage my network in the U.S. It also gave me a great excuse to reach out to people and learn about what they are doing. I think it's important to continue to maintain your network and do it in an authentic way. It's important to ensure you are taking the time to help others and make connections for them where you can.
Reach out to Katie on LinkedIn.