Potfolio company Runa's CEO - Courtney McColgan - featured among the top female leaders disrupting gender inequality in a traditionally male-dominated sector and region.
In Latin America, women are stepping up as fintech leaders, with five times as many female-founded fintechs as the global average. The Latin American fintech industry is booming, and women have been an integral part of the region’s success. In 2019, fintech received 31 percent of the region’s venture capital, and more than 35 percent of Latin American fintech startups have female founders. While Covid-19 is propelling fintech adoption, it also exacerbates the challenges female entrepreneurs face. Unfortunately, the investment gap is only widening in response to Covid-19, with women disproportionately affected. In one study by 500 Startups, 40 percent of female founders say they will not meet their fundraising goals this year. Female founders juggling family care and running a business often face outright sexism. The CEO and co-founder of Runa, Courtney McColgan, has been asked questions such as, “Don’t you feel guilty about not spending more time with your kids or your husband?” Companies with at least one woman founder hire 2.5 times more women, and those with a woman founder and a woman executive hire six times more women. Articles promoting women-led businesses, industry networks, and events bring women leaders together to build a supportive community and create opportunities for other women to follow in their footsteps. However, women can’t do all the work. According to Kushki COO and co-founder, Daniela Espinosa, what is needed is “support from different stakeholders, like government, universities, and corporations, mainly as fund providers.” Although there is still much work to be done, women are gaining ground. In 2019, Latin America was the region with the highest venture funding invested in women-led companies. With Covid-19 propelling the demand for fintech services, 2020 could have even more growth. “There has never been a better time to start a business,” said McColgan. “My hope is that we will see a boom in new businesses started out of Covid-19, and the percent of those that are founded by women will be significant.”