FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Chief Executive Officer at Cohen Circle, Amanda Abrams
Updated: Mar 16
Amanda spent a large part of her career as a corporate attorney but she was always more interested in the business side of the transactions than the legal side. In 2018, she joined Betsy and Daniel Cohen to help them build out their investment company, Cohen Circle. "I had worked with them as an attorney for several years and they were receptive when I asked to join in a dual business/legal role", Amanda says: "After three years as COO and GC, I transitioned fully to a business role as CEO."
Amanda Abrams is the CEO of Cohen Circle, an investment firm founded by financial services pioneers, Betsy Cohen and Daniel Cohen, her son. Since 2015, the firm has provided transformative capital to late-stage fintech growth companies. "Today, we make investments across the capital structure in the fintech, technology, and impact spaces, with $5bn+ in capital raised. As CEO, I work collaboratively with our founders and senior team to iterate and improve on what we currently do and identify where to go next. Much of my time is spent engaging with various constituencies of our business – current and prospective investors, co-investors, investment bankers, board members, and potential and existing portfolio companies and their founders. The projects and goals that are highest on my radar right now are leveraging our CRM and related data across all areas of our business, expanding our investor relationships and engagement, and continuing to grow a brand and identity that distinguishes us from others in our space. "
When asked about the culture at Cohen Circle, Amanda says: "I like to think that our culture is a fast-paced environment that highly prioritizes hard (but smart) work, collaboration, and intellectual curiosity. We also work hard at fostering a culture of respect where everyone feels comfortable asking questions and sharing new ideas regardless of seniority level. "
Amanda is proud that they are impacting fintech by deploying capital into fintech and fintech founders, from growth to late stage, and using their network and technical expertise to support their growth. "I’m also very excited for Cohen Circle’s most recent women-led initiative investing in financial services and health companies that are improving access to, and quality of, these services to underserved persons or geographies. By supporting innovative companies addressing these critical global issues, we hope to accelerate the development growth of fintech companies and the populations they serve globally. "
More on Amanda
Where you currently live: Philadelphia, PA
Living arrangement: Me, my husband
Family at home: Our two brussels griffons (dogs) Buster and Pepe
Hometown: West Chester, PA
Favorite hobby: Traveling to off the beaten path locations, adventure sports and reading
Favorite part of your day: Early morning before emails start piling up
Can you tell us about a time someone encouraged you to take on a project you didn’t think that you would know how to do?
We are continuously expanding our investment platform under a team of very entrepreneurial founders so exploring new ideas and projects is common. My go-to process in this situation is to learn as much as I can about the topic before developing a plan to tackle anything. I read books, articles, blog posts, whatever relevant information I can find, and then use my network to connect with persons that are experts in the area – making sure to ask both specific questions and open-ended questions. And I always ask what I am missing or should have asked but didn’t. Reading is necessary and helpful to form a base understanding of a new topic, but there is no substitute for first-hand knowledge from an expert in their field.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
Learning when to say “no” and having a framework to analyze go/no-go decisions is a critical skill. For me, this has applied primarily in assessing our investment pipeline and expanding into new areas of our business. Avoiding or delaying a decision to terminate or reject an idea or opportunity can be a slippery slope, stemming from a multitude of things, including fear of missing an opportunity (regardless of the likelihood of success), wanting to keep options open and emotional triggers. Having a framework that ensures go/no-go decisions are made on an appropriate basis and timeline avoids our team to end up overwhelmed and allows us to allocate resources where they will be most impactful.
6:30 am – Wake up, immediately make coffee and drink it in bed while reading and responding to emails
6:45 am – Walk the dogs, or my husband walks the dogs and I get an extra 15 minutes to work through my email
7:00 am – Time to go for a run….
7:01 am – Procrastinate running by responding to more emails
7:10 am – Remember that if I don’t run in the morning, there is little to no chance I do it later. Actually start running
8:00 am – Get ready for the day and have a quick breakfast. I’ve been on a big oatmeal kick recently
8:30 am – Look over my to do list, reorganize and prioritize tasks for the day
8:45 am – Work on our strategy plan for investor outreach and respond to emails
9:30 am – 12:00 pm – Zooms - Internal team call to discuss CRM alternatives, weekly senior team update call and networking call with investment bankers
12:00 pm – A networking Zoom cancels last minute. I look through Pitchbook to vet some potential investment opportunities
12:15 pm – Review our company budget while eating a yogurt. Make list of questions to discuss with our CFO
12:45 pm – Still hungry after the yogurt. Eat a piece of pizza while walking the dogs (our dog walker is away this week)
1:00 pm – Review and respond to emails
1:15 pm – Zoom with potential investors
2:00 pm – Review some marketing materials and prep for my next call
2:30 – 4:00 pm – Zooms with a potential investment opportunity, existing investors (markets are tough, these calls are tough) and a potential investor.
4:00 pm – Miraculously an entire hour without Zooms/calls scheduled. I review our marketing content plan for the next year and call our CMO to discuss
5:00 pm – Zoom - Internal catch up with the senior team on status of investor calls. I am Zoom’ed out by this point so camera is off
6:00 – 7:30 pm - Calls with junior team members and my COO to catch up on several items
7:30 pm – Feed the dogs dinner
7:45 pm - Eat dinner responding to all the emails and texts I missed while I was on Zoom
8:15 pm – Review our investment pipeline, prep for investor calls tomorrow, update my to do list
8:45 pm - Watch an episode of The White Lotus with my husband and the dogs on the couch
9:45 pm – Serious debate with my husband over who is going to end up dead on The White Lotus. By the time we are finished, we have named everyone in the show
10:00 pm - I’m tired and should go to sleep but I browse social media instead. Then go to sleep