The Bottom Line: SoFi’s Mike Cagney and the financial trifecta — money, career, and relationship
This blog is the first of our FinTech blog series, The Bottom Line, where you’ll hear from the founders and CEO’s who are helping shape the future of finance. Today, we’re sharing insight from SoFi CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder, Mike Cagney in which he touches on FinTech trends, recent developments at SoFi and what shares advice for entrepreneurs entering the FinTech market.
Q: What’s the biggest growth opportunity for FinTech startups? What’s the problem you’re aiming to solve?
The opportunities for FinTech startups are numerous and varied. We started SoFi because we saw an industry that wasn’t responding to new realities — a new generation coming of age, new technologies maturing, and new financial needs. The incumbent players weren’t rising to the challenge, so we did. We came to market with a vision for a new breed of finance company built around speed, transparency, and alignment with our members’ interests. These three principals — speed, transparency and alignment — have been the guiding force in developing products and services that meet the unique needs of this new generation.
Q: A big part of SoFi’s proposition to members is access to the SoFi community. How has this helped SoFi differentiate from competitors?
While we’re focused on providing the best possible family of services to our members, we also understand that financial success and health isn’t just about what type of investments or loans you have. Personal and professional networks also greatly influence a person’s financial decisions and stability. We built the SoFi community to help our members come together offline, make strides professionally, and be a part of a great and growing community. The SoFi community include events, Career Strategy and our Entrepreneur Program. All of these efforts tie back to money, careers and relationships — three necessary components to achieving success, whatever success means to our members.
Q: How has the Zenbanx acquisition impacted the company and help shape your product strategy?
Our vision has always been to be at the center of our members’ financial lives, but to do that, you need to provide daily utility. With Zenbanx joining SoFi, we’re moving one step closer to becoming the center of our members’ financial lives by adding SoFi deposit, money transfer, and credit card products to our offerings for members.
Q: What advice do you have for working with traditional institutions? How do you balance disruption with collaboration?
Knowledge and expertise in financial markets is essential to being able to solve customer problems and create a sustainable model. Our partnerships with banks on the capital markets side have been crucial to our success. We’ve been able to be successful as a FinTech company because we balance the financial and technological aspects of the business, ensuring that we don’t over-index on one or the other.
Where do you see SoFi in 3–5 years?
In 3 to 5 years, we think you’ll see a SoFi that’s scaled significantly while continuing to develop innovative new products and grow the number of people we’re able to serve. Whenever we enter a space, we always think about how we can do things faster, more transparently, and in better alignment with consumers’ interests. That approach is the basis for why we’ve seen such great growth in the number of members we serve (more than double this year than last, now over 300,000) and in the breadth and depth of the product set. And those are universal values: we plan to be in Australia and Canada in the not-too-distant future, and there are other markets we think present intriguing possibilities.