Redefining embedded finance and why innovation is critical
Lexi Fox is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Maast, an embedded finance provider.
Could you share some key milestones and challenges from your journey to co-founding Maast?
I’m one of the lucky ones. Seeing firsthand the way fintech can revolutionise the way the world works is fascinating. Fintech was not my first career choice; I was going to be a criminal prosecutor. Fortunately, when plans changed, I found myself at a company making some big moves—Apple Pay launch and POS with a personalised app marketplace, as examples.
Over the course of my career, I have held global leadership positions across talent development, operations and product. My diverse background helps me speak to different areas of the business in their language, architecture flows, agile timelines and more.
Arming yourself with data and analytics combined with strong emotional intelligence is powerful. It’s important to demonstrate how you’re driving the business forward in a meaningful and impactful way.
When we founded Maast, the goal was to reimagine the customer experience to combine payments and banking into a single flow. This meant quickly understanding how banking regulations impact go-to-market efforts. Working with compliance officers to understand the impact and importance of each regulation highlighted the need to build relationships with colleagues and trusted industry allies.
As a successful woman leader in fintech, what advice do you have for women who aspire to make significant contributions to the industry and climb the leadership ladder?
Fintech women are the best! I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with fabulous, bold women who blazed a path for me and so many others.
Three lessons come to mind.
First, surround yourself with mentors, sponsors and a trusted network. Mentors share knowledge and provide guidance. Sponsors actively promote your growth. And your trusted network helps you work through challenges on a tactical level. Nurture these relationships, bring people on the journey with you, and lean on them to help you deliver next-level results.
Second, take calculated risks, put in the work, and push past your comfort zone. Constantly ask questions. How can we elevate this? What’s the real problem we are solving? Does this activity align with our core values?
Third, have a growth mindset and prove your theory with data. Once you’ve established your value, prove it with hard numbers. Show what you’re doing contributes to revenue growth, efficiencies, or cost savings. And get comfortable critically analyzing data to help you make decisions based on facts and proven trends.
In your view, why is innovation critical in the fintech sector, and how do you think the contributions of women leaders, such as yourself, bring fresh perspectives and drive positive change in the industry?
You’ve got to move fast and fix things. Innovation in fintech is about anticipating and adapting to market demand.
Continuous cycles of innovation are table stakes to keep pace. To outpace, you must be daring enough to push past what is readily achievable and solve real customer problems in better and faster ways.
This may feel daunting from time to time. The good news is there is a consistent theme: commerce.
It’s estimated female spending power is $18trn globally and that women will control two-thirds of consumer wealth over the next decade. In the U.S. there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses generating about $1.8trn a year, and those numbers continue to increase as more and more women are opening businesses.
There’s an opportunity to connect with these audiences on a deeper level by solving problems unique to female business owners and promoting more women into leadership and board positions.
Our different backgrounds make us stronger and more equipped to tackle even the most complex challenges.
Could you elaborate on your role at Maast and how the company is contributing to the evolution of embedded finance? What unique aspects or innovations is Maast bringing to the table in this space?
Embedded finance is hard, and it’s so much more than only payments or banking. It’s about integrating money movement capabilities across a business owner’s entire financial lifecycle seamlessly; within software they know and trust.
At Maast, our goal is to remove technical and operational barriers so software providers can focus on what they do best—perfecting hyper-verticalized, end-to-end business software.
In a recent study by Boston Consultant Group, almost half of business owners discover a payments or banking provider through the software they use to run their business. They trust their software provider to vet and align with others who understand their business and have similar values.
Maast is the first to combine onboarding and underwriting for payments and banking into a single customer experience.
We also offer servicing, underwriting, security and support. For our partners that qualify, our team will build and execute campaigns to drive the adoption and usage of the embedded finance offering.
We do this because we are embedded finance experts and shouldn’t expect our partners to understand the nuances and requirements as we do.
Having shared your experiences at the TAG panel celebrating women in fintech, how do you hope your journey and insights will inspire other women to pursue careers in the industry, and what impact do you envision for future generations of women leaders in fintech?
Commerce makes the world work, fintech is what makes it happen. Interestingly, all the speakers on the TAG panel just happened to fall into fintech and got hooked.
It’s exciting to see more and more organisations like the Georgia Fintech Academy inspire and prepare students for careers in emerging payments, processing, security and commercial banking.
Women are powerful, and I’ve been fortunate to witness firsthand the brilliance of women leaders. But there is something special about fintech women. In my experience, fintech women take the time to help you navigate and understand the intricate nuances across our industry.
Anything else you would like to add?
When you’re feeling stuck, just get started. No one has it all figured out at first. If you want to be part of something bigger than yourself that will keep you growing every day, fintech is the place for you.