Every now and then, someone in your industry does something exceptional that transcends the boundaries of what you thought was possible. For the FinTech industry, that someone was Soujanya Datta – a senior producer at Finder. During the pandemic, she led Finder’s involvement with ‘Aussie Tech for India’, an initiative with Medical Oxygen for All (MOfA) where she helped to raise over $2 million, serving 9,000 Covid-19 patients and delivering 881 units of oxygen concentrators and ventilators to 79 districts in India.
Mavens corresponded with the Sydney-based B&T 30 Under 30 winner to learn more.
Being born in Calcutta, ‘Aussie Tech for India’ is a project that must be close to your heart. Can you tell us more about your role in this incredible initiative?
India was in a state of medical emergency last year. India needed oxygen to breathe. We were initially a team of Indians across the globe with a belief that each one of us can make a difference and that’s how “Medical Oxygen for All” (MOfA) was born. We sourced medical grade oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other oxygen equipment from across the world, delivered these to the identified districts/cities in India and ensured it was deployed well. But MOfA mostly focused on individual donors and we realised we needed to be backed up by organisations to reach the maximum potential.
I’m a strong believer of #techforgood. I led Finder’s involvement with ‘Aussie Tech for India’, a joint philanthropic program to raise awareness and provide both financial and logistical support.
This initiative was also backed by Canva, SafetyCulture, Airtasker, Prospa, Airtree Ventures and Blackbird Ventures. In under 24 hours of launching “Aussie Tech for India”, we raised more than $400,000 towards crisis relief for districts in need. Extremely thankful to all the Aussie tech companies who joined our mission. It was a great display of technology making the world a better place.
You’re a strong role model for women and a passionate champion for diversity. What are the key areas of change that we need to see for an equitable future?
According to the Women of Colour Australia Workplace Survey Report’21, 59.57% experienced discrimination in the workplace related to their identity as a woman of colour. It is hard for someone like me to find role models in executive roles who had similar battles and experiences as myself. It is less motivating to grow in an industry when you don’t see yourself represented. The FinTech industry is not going to change overnight. But I feel it is my responsibility to honour the extraordinary women who came before me and become an example for the ones coming behind me. For a lot of organisations, women of colour are just a checkbox to tick. I’m more than a poster child of a diverse image.
In order for us to see an equitable future: We need to see more women of colour in the C-suite. We need to stop hearing comments like, “Where are you actually from?”. We need to start respecting different races, gender and heritage. We need to see companies putting an end to systematic racism. We need to see real talent shine without any unconscious biases. We need to see more women of colour in tech and STEM disciplines.
How do you see the FinTech industry changing over the next 5 years?
FinTech will continue to disrupt the existing models of financial services. I think DeFi will become more consistent part of the financial ecosystem in the next 5 years. Blockchain will not be treated as a solution, instead it will be an integral part of the process. NFTs will continue to play a key role. Traditional banks will start to adopt cloud-based microservice architecture rapidly. Financial services won’t be necessarily treated as a stand-alone product, IoT will continue to bring banks closer to its customers. Embedded FinTech is the only way to move forward. Tech companies will increase investments in No-code development platforms (NCPDs). The power has already shifted to customers in FinTech and I don’t think it is going to change anytime soon. CX will drive new innovations in the next 5 years.
What’s your advice for women and minorities wanting to get into the FinTech industry?
Be authentic, versatile, agile and proactive. Sharpen your domain knowledge to the degree that no one can question. Learn how to have those difficult conversations. Know your worth and celebrate your uniqueness. Find yourself a mentor from the industry and start networking from an early stage.
Soujanya Datta is a Senior Producer (Global Financial Niches) at Finder, Australia’s most visited comparison site.