Tina Zhang started her career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs covering financial institutions. After two years, she transferred from New York to Sydney, Australia, where she covered fintech at a time when Australia’s fintech scene was blossoming. With this experience, Tina moved back to NYC and worked with payments and vertical software companies during the wave of fintech IPOs. Driven to better understand the product, strategy, and investing side of fintech, she took the opportunity to join Stripe's M&A and Investing team, where she is today.
Stripe’s mission is to increase the GDP of the internet, an ambitious undertaking predicated on a thriving ecosystem that enables commerce and financial services to move online. Tina’s team helps to further this mission by making strategic investments and acquisitions to allow Stripe users and the broader fintech ecosystem exposure to new emerging product areas and accelerate their growth.
Tina’s day to day involves a lot of talking to founders – understanding what problems they are solving for, what solutions are currently in the market, and how Stripe can partner with them to jointly achieve their mission. She works closely with Stripe’s product teams to surface interesting companies that the company can invest, partner with or acquire to accelerate their product roadmap and better serve users.
Tina has had a long-standing curiosity about consumer products and experiences, and why we, as consumers, gravitate towards certain brands and products. With Stripe’s recent launch of its one-click checkout product, Link, Tina has been focused on the intersection between commerce infrastructure and new payment methods to enable more frictionless and delightful consumer experiences.
More on Tina
Where you currently live: NYC
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Favorite fintech media (blog, podcast, newsletter etc) that inspires you: Packy McCormick’s Not Boring piece on Stripe was one of the reasons I wanted to join Stripe! He’s unabashedly optimistic – which is part of Stripe’s DNA to be macro-optimistic.
What is one piece of advice someone told you that resonated with you that can give to other women in FinTech?
Someone I really look up to once told me that in investing you can make all the right decisions but still have it not work out – so much of it comes down to luck. This is such a helpful framework for me because we often take failures personally especially when we look at all the people around us that we deem to be successful. There are things that we can control – which is trying to make those right decisions and putting in the work, but at the end of the day, some things will always be out of your control. The hard part is to come to terms with that and be able to let go of the things you can’t control.
What's the best job decision you ever made?
Moving abroad to Australia! I remember visiting Sydney for the first time when I was 12 years old, and thinking to myself that I wanted to move there one day. And almost 12 years later, I got the opportunity to do so with my first job at Goldman. It continues to be one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had – challenging myself to move to a different country where I didn’t know a single person and having to build a network from scratch really pushed my comfort zone. And the people and friends I’ve met there are still some of my closest friends!
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
It’s funny because I’ve been obsessed with learning how to be more productive my whole life, but it wasn’t really until this year where everything started to click for me. I always thought I liked novelty and changing environments, but turns out having a really good routine actually helps a lot with productivity. For me, a lot of being productive is as much as a subconscious thing as it is a willpower thing – having a clean environment, getting a good sweat in and starting the day early make a big difference in setting yourself up for a productive day.
6:30am: wake up, scan notifications for anything urgent and then try to put my phone away – get into workout clothes and make an iced coffee to go before heading out the door.
7:00am: exercise – lately I’ve been going to a lot of Pilates classes but I love to run
8:00am: if I’m working from the office, I'll try to eke out my daily Duolingo while I’m commuting. I'm learning French at the moment with the hopes of one day moving there :)
9:00am: start catching up on emails – luckily most of my team is west coast based so the mornings are usually quiet, and I get time to do deep work. Usually this means research, writing, looking at founders of interesting companies that I want to reach out to, refining my thesis on a space, writing memos
12:30pm: break for lunch! I try not to eat at my desk when I’m in the office so I can take advantage of time with my colleagues
1:00pm: most of my meetings are post lunch, so it’s a lot of cold brew and Zoom for me in the afternoon
6:00pm: I try to get most of the more intensive work done while I’m in the office before heading home
6:30pm: I like to cook so I try to make dinner at home during the week – usually it’s something along the lines of a grain bowl, stir fry or fish
8:00pm: creative time – one of my new year's resolutions was to spend time being creative. My perfect evening is when I get to write on my blog or make a mood board
9:30pm: tidy up any loose ends – emails, slacks, posts
10:30pm: hopefully read a few pages (currently I’m reading tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow), Facetime my family/loved ones, and sleep!