It’s International Women’s Day, so what better occasion to celebrate some of the awesome wāhine that are part of the New Zealand Startup Ecosystem.
Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator alumnus Invsta provides the tools to diversify investment portfolios, including cryptocurrencies. We caught up with Invsta founder and CEO Rachel Strevens to celebrate the growth of the NZ FinTech ecosystem, talk goal-setting and influencers.
What makes you excited about the future of the NZ FinTech sector? Any companies or technologies you’re keeping an eye on?
I’m excited by how much the FinTech sector in NZ has really taken off in recent years. There seems to have been an explosion of activity, with many great examples of companies coming through and doing amazing things both locally within NZ but also on a global scale. I’m particularly excited to see how NZ will adapt to and adopt digital financial advice (robo-advice), as this has the potential to help more Kiwis access financial advice which will be hugely beneficial. I’m also really excited to see the innovations that are coming from blockchain technology and the impact that these will have on financial services.
You’re providing the tools to diversify investment portfolios, what effects do you think cryptocurrencies are having on the future for New Zealand (or globally)?
In the digital age that we live in today, I think that a “digital currency” just makes sense. However, volatility is obviously a concern and would need to be addressed before you’d see widespread adoption and use as a currency. Many Central banks globally are considering a digital currency, however, a Central Bank issued and controlled digital currency would seem to contradict many of the reasons people are attracted to these, so I’m really interested to see how this evolves over time.
As an investment, I see cryptocurrencies as an emerging asset class, that allows people to invest in and back the exciting innovations taking place with blockchain technology. This investment helps to fund the sector and the ongoing innovation within blockchain, which will hopefully lead to more successful real-world applications.
You’ve been ticking off some pretty big achievements lately, with Invsta’s exploration into new markets and the awesome updates within the web app itself. How do you set goals for yourself and your company?
I’m a pretty ambitious person, with a personal long-term vision of where I want to be. So goal setting for me revolves around keeping that long-term vision in mind and setting goals that are continually moving me towards that vision.
What benefits did you find going through an accelerator programme?
The accelerator was great on a number of fronts, and we got a lot out of it. We were given a framework, guidance, and a disciplined approach which I think was really good for laying the groundwork as we didn’t previously have this in place.
On top of this, and I think the biggest benefit, is that we were given so much more exposure than we could have ever achieved ourselves – in terms of networks, industry contacts, investors, mentors, P.R., and the media.
Who is a/the person who has influenced you in your life (not your family) and why?
There are a couple of really strong NZ female leaders who I’ve always looked up to – Theresa Gattung as the first woman to lead a publicly listed NZ company and Helen Clark for her role as Prime Minister and subsequent positions with the U.N. These are two people who really stand out for me as early influences, having broken through various barriers to achieve the things they have, and in doing so they’ve helped to show that anything is possible if you set yourself to it.
What’s one question you wish you’d be asked in an interview? And what would your answer be?
I’m a bit of an introvert and I find interviews difficult, so I’m never thinking about extra questions – the less questions the better!
Check out our other ‘Women in FinTech’ interviews with Brooke Roberts and Sonya Williams, co-founders of Sharesies, and Kendall Flutey, co-founder of Banqer.