FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Investor at Anthemis, Bukie Adebo Umeano
Bukie started her consulting career at Deloitte in strategy and operations, and transitioned into brand strategy at Ogilvy. Both roles strengthened her quantitative and qualitative analytical skills, and further she got an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2019. Bukie entered the FinTech early-stage ecosystem by co-founding Liza to help people build credit by formalizing loans between friends and family. She pivoted her journey into venture capital at WomensVCFund, and in May 2022, became an investor at Anthemis.
Currently, Bukie sources, evaluates, and executes deals in Pre-Seed, Seed, and Series-A businesses, with an emphasis on leading and co-leading Seed deals; and covering all things FinTech and embedded finance. She is also reviewing eCommerce, infrastructure and orchestration, and vertical-specific embedded finance businesses. Bukie is passionate about FinTech and believes that it has the potential to generate positive change for individuals and businesses.
"Culturally, I think Anthemis is a really unique firm. The team is just fun and eclectic and people have a wide range of interests. I appreciate that I can share my thoughts and ideas pretty freely and push back on things without feeling uncomfortable." Bukie was particular about finding a firm like Anthemis that already had women and people of color on the team, and she is a firm believer that diverse teams are the starting point for more inclusive cultures.
The best job decision she ever made was starting a business during her MBA program, and it was life changing (even though Bukie had to pivot later) and really forced FinTech as her industry of choice to solve problems for the greater good. The worst decision, Bukie recalls was staying in jobs too long. "I have a bad habit of thinking I can solve things through brute force and will power, but some spaces are just not meant for me. In the past, I wasn’t able to accept that without seeing it as a failure," says Bukie.
More on Bukie
Where you currently live: Brooklyn, New York
Favorite hobby: I enjoy anything that involves creating or consuming art
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Happy place: @thegirlslikeme Instagram's funny videos feel like hanging out with my sisters
Can you tell us about a time someone encouraged you to try a task or take on a project you didn’t think that you would know how to do/or be good at?
Honestly, I am in this situation too often! My transition to investing was a great example. I had this image of a cut-throat, unemotional person that could make split-second decisions, and that didn’t feel like the environment for me. I had a classmate in business school that talked to me about their experience and the nuances of the role. Through those conversations and a lot of encouragement, I learned that creativity, passion, and empathy could really set me apart as an investor.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
My biggest career lesson, and it’s one that I am still learning, is that I need to have the courage to communicate. It’s funny because I am a very talkative, extroverted person, but like many people, I talked myself out of having difficult conversations and I typically regret it. I’ve learned that I can avoid a lot of angst by clearly and simply stating my views, requests and/or limitations.
Do you have any productivity hacks?
I am a big believer in rituals and routines. Even if it’s small, I think it gives me a little rhythm that structures the day / week and makes me more productive. For example, in the mornings, I drink lemon water and write in my journal as soon as I wake up. I keep both things next to my bed as I sleep so my first decision in the morning is really easy, and I am ready to start to being productive.
6:30 am: Woke up, stayed in bed for about 30 minutes, drank lemon water, journaled for 10 minutes, did guided meditation for 10 minutes. In the living room, chatted goodbye to my husband who was heading to work. Then, I made time for a workout challenge with my friends for 30 - 45 minutes.
9:00 am: Reached Tribeca office, got some breakfast and checked emails. Then, I reviewed a list of startups and reached out to few promising startups.
10:30 am: I met with my immediate team to discuss deals. Everyone usually goes around and talks about new companies, shares their initial thoughts, and gets feedback from the team. Then we determine next steps for each company in the pipeline, and the support required.
12:00 pm: We had an in-person with one of the LPs in our current fund, and discussed a recent exit in our portfolio and along with a few other updates, and plans for upcoming fund.
1:30 pm: I met with two founders over Zoom, listened to them pitch, then Q&A digging into additional details for my documentation.
2:30 pm: I met with an investor at another fund. We have a recurring cadence to check-in on our respective roles, what we’re seeing in the market, and how our focus areas are evolving. We’ve become friends lately, so these meetings are pretty relaxed, and I also ate my lunch.
3:00 pm: I had a monthly check-in with one of our portfolio companies. They are growing rapidly and just closed another funding round, so discussed new hires and product launch.
3:30 pm: I met with another investor for coffee. This was our first time meeting so we did general introductions, shared our thesis areas and "nerded out" to find our areas of overlap.
4:15 pm: I had almost a two-hour break with no meetings. I spent this time working on an investment committee paper to officially assess and vote on a potential investment. Usually, I like to block out large chunks of time to work on things like this (I have a hard time concentrating in 20- or 30-minute bursts.)
6:00 pm: I usually block time on my calendar around 6:00 pm to handle various follow-ups. I sent a few pass emails to founders, made a couple introductions for portfolio companies, and updated a few slides in our fundraising deck. Finally, I cleaned up my inbox!
7:15 pm: I went to a networking happy hour, but I wasn’t there for very long. I said hi to a couple friends and met a few new founders and investors.
8:30 pm: I went home and had dinner with my husband. After dinner, I usually do a little bit of work, but there was nothing urgent on my plate, so I caught up on articles and newsletters that I had saved throughout the day.
10:30 pm: I did my bedtime routine and went to sleep around 11:30 pm.