Wharton FinTech
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Wharton FinTech

First Boulevard’s Asya Bradley and Anthemis’ Amy Nauiokas — Community-Based Neobanking and Mission-Aligned Entrepreneurship

Today’s one-of-a-kind episode brings you inside the recent Wharton FinTech Conference for evergreen access to a raw and informative conversation between Asya Bradley, Co-Founder & COO at First Boulevard, and Amy Nauiokas, Founder and CEO of Anthemis Group and Archer Gray. Of the Conference’s 30 panels and 6 fireside chats featuring 150+ speakers, this conversation was one of the standouts.

Full Episode → Spotify | Soundcloud | Apple

Asya Bradley is the Co-Founder & COO of First Boulevard: The Unapologetically Black, Digitally Native, NeoBank Building Generational Wealth for Black America. Asya is also the Founder of #HowSheWorks, an inclusive grassroots community of underrepresented founders and our allies that highlights the diverse paths to professional and personal success. Prior to this Asya served as SVP of Revenue at SilaMoney, a Banking as a Service provider. Asya also served as VP of Partnerships at Socure, which uses AI and machine learning to provide a frictionless solution to ID verification in financial services. Previous to Socure she was on the Founding Team at Synapse as the Chief Revenue Officer. Asya is a champion of diversity and gender balance in the workplace and works tirelessly to promote women, minorities, LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented communities. Asya is also an angel investor, advisor and board member of numerous startups.

Amy Nauiokas is Founder & CEO of Anthemis Group, the leading digital financial services investment firm. Amy is also the Founder & CEO of Archer Gray, a media production, investment and content company. She is a visionary executive, producer, and investor with a track record for building and scaling companies and leading diverse teams globally. Current investments include Betterment, Trov, Happy Money and Currencycloud. Her exits include Flo Technologies, Zoopla, the UK’s leading property research website; Fidor Bank, acquired by BPCE in 2016; Simple, acquired by BBVA in 2014; and The Climate Corporation, acquired by Monsanto in 2013. Her reputation for transformational business success, a robust network and ecosystem and extraordinary leadership have made her a recognized leader in innovation, strategy and management across a variety of markets and industries.

In this episode, Asya and Amy discuss:

  • How being an immigrant from South Asia and, more specifically, what the UN calls a “girl-child” ignited Asya’s ambition and entrepreneurial spirit
  • Why, even now, Asya fails KYC in the US
  • The explosion of niche and community-based neobanks, and black-owned banks in particular

“13% of the American population is black, so we could easily have hundreds of banks and still not have enough to support the true need of the community”

  • Why the term “underserved” is NOT synonymous with impoverished
  • How George Floyd’s murder inspired Asya and her co-founder Donald Hawkins’ to quit their jobs to build a legacy that will break the cycle
  • Bank deserts and zip code discrimination

“Currently, if you walk into a bank within a predominantly black or brown neighborhood, your minimum balance requirement is going to be higher than if you were to do the very same thing in a predominantly white neighborhood. And it’s going to be about $240 higher. And this is important because that’s the threshold at which you start getting fined those overdraft fees. Last year, consumers paid over $30B in overdraft fees alone. So where is the incentive when that is the big revenue line item for a bank, to actually try to help the community that’s paying those? Guess which communities are paying those fees”

  • The ethics of AI and how diverse representation in one’s employee base can make all the difference
  • How much it helps to build for a specific customer persona in mind and have employees who view this as building for themselves

“Right now, if you look at the amount of people who are underbanked and unbanked, these are folks that really want to be banked. They just don’t have someone that’s looking to serve them in the way that they deserve to be served. And so you have these folks who come in and underutilize the system because it wasn’t designed for them, they didn’t build it, they weren’t asked what should’ve been built”

  • Virtue signaling vs. authentic change

“It’s so important in our industry, more than any other industry, because if we get the financial system right, we can lift up and get it right for the entire economy. Particularly at a moment when this pandemic has left countries and communities around the world desperate for reinvention of the economic system that has been destroyed, it has to happen by entrepreneurial know-how, it’s going to happen by new and different people getting access to capital and starting new companies”

  • Anthemis’ strong moral compass of doing more good than evil in the system and building more resiliency in the financial system along the way

“We set people up for failure when we present an industry picture that doesn’t match our core value system, and so we need more people to come into the industry and push against the kind of bad decisions that can be made”

  • Pressure on entrepreneurs to move quickly and aggressively vs. long-term company success

“There is no acceleration for a company beyond the check if the investors can’t connect you to standouts who will support the growth of your business, strategic partners, potential consumers, platform enhancers, and an ecosystem of other founders”

  • Being a revenue junkie and the tough path to neobank profitability

“The lifetime value of a customer is greater when they feel that their needs are being met”

  • Asya and Amy’s views on paths of evolution for consumer FinTech

“I think it’s hysterical that all of the sudden, people needed an entire pandemic to shut down to be able to understand that our financial system might need some innovation, but here we are”

Hear the Full Episode → Spotify | Soundcloud | Apple

Learn more about these incredible change agents by following: First Boulevard and Asya, Anthemis and Amy.


For more insights from our passionate FinTech community, check us out here:
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Ally McCloskey
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About the Author
Ally McCloskey is a first-year MBA Candidate at The Wharton School and Co-President of Wharton FinTech. She fell in love with the rapidly evolving FinTech ecosystem during her years in both wholesale and retail strategy, incubation, and partnerships roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Nowadays, Ally is focused on becoming a best-in-class advisor, partner, and occasional angel investor to early- and growth-stage FinTechs. On ‘campus,’ you can find her sourcing/dilligencing pre-seed - Series A startups as a Venture Fellow for both Pear VC and Republic, hosting episodes of the Wharton FinTech Podcast, and promoting financial inclusion as a Wharton Impact Investing Partners Associate. Originally from Connecticut and a Vanderbilt alum, Ally enjoys staying active (yoga, snowboarding, Peloton’ing, ice hockey), experiencing new cultures, and crafting. To get in touch, you can reach Ally on Twitter, LinkedIn, or at allymcc@wharton.upenn.edu.



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Ally Rae McCloskey

FinTech / Venture sponge | MBA @Wharton | chirping on Twitter @fintechery203 | previously: FinTech Strategy & Partnerships + Equity Derivatives @JPMorganChase