In this Q and A, we speak with Andrei Cherny, CEO and Co-Founder of Aspiration, an investment firm created for the middle class, committed to giving, and built on trust. Andrei Cherny and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.
Is all the excitement in fin tech just an investment trend? Or is it driven by fundamental changes in the industry?
Finance represents a third of all business profits in America. It is at once the largest industry, most "undisrupted" industry, and the industry with the least customer satisfaction. Large scale change and modernization is inevitable.
Regulation is a significant hurdle for fin tech companies to overcome, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs to navigate it?
There's an old joke about a man walking along the riverbank and yelling down to a fish, "How's the water?" The fish replies, "What is water?" In finance, regulation is a fact of life and all around us. You don't navigate, you live in it. So that means embrace regulation, but also know that bureaucracies--for reasons both good and bad--do not move at the speed of, or think in the same terms as, the world of technology.
What area of financial innovation are you the most excited about? What are you least excited about?
The biggest single challenge confronting consumers in the financial world is not cost (where most innovation has happened), but trust. There is deep mistrust and distrust built into how people think about financial companies--for some very good reasons. Innovations that restore trust are more vital in financial services than in perhaps any other industry because it is is an industry ultimately built on trust. I am also excited about anything that can open up the doors of investing to Americans who have been previously on the sidelines of asset building and give them access to products and strategies that were once exclusive to the super rich (private equity, hedge strategies, VC, sustainable strategies, real estate, etc). Breaking down those walls is what technology has done at its best across other industries.
What will the financial industry look like in five years time? How about ten?
My hope is that new players will have used the distributed power of technology to empower millions around America and billions around the world to join a world of wealth creation that is no longer all-but private to the so-called "1%." And, by doing so, those new players will have become the new major financial institutions of the 21st century.
What advice do you have for prospective employees who might want to join your company or team? What are three key things that you're looking for from them?
First and foremost, reach out. We are looking for super-stars in all areas from engineering to growth to operations to investing to design. They need to be willing to junk the conventional wisdom, work hard and creatively, and be incredibly mission driven around the challenge of expanding opportunity to all.
Andrei Cherny and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event