Saturday, June 15, 2024

Exclusive: ‘Rockstar Rebel’ – Liz Lumley, VC Innovations in “Swashbucklers 2020”

Ever done something just for the sheer hell of it? Liz Lumley has. From breaching milk-carton protocol to fighting fiercely for fintech over the past 25 years … Lumley kicks conventional thinking right in the balls. Onstage at the very first Innovate Finance Global Summit she coined the phrase, “This industry loves disruption. Well, there is nothing more disruptive than a female voice in FinTech”. And we’ve been loving her ever since.   Liz Lumley, VC

FinTech’s answer to Joan Jett, we’re proud to award Liz Lumley as our next 2020 Swashbuckler.

Warrior for women

People like Lumley shine a spotlight on the unseen potential of women. We need more like her. Because let’s be honest, finance is a man’s world and these baby steps towards gender balance are not cutting it. Lumley talked to us about one of the most meaningful moments of her career. “I was the only female judge at a start-up competition in Abu Dhabi”, she explains. “We picked two winners. On stage, one of the co-founders ran up to me and said: ‘When I saw you on stage, I knew we had a chance!” You can guess, this co-founder was a woman… I had no idea I had voted (and I had fought in the judging room for this team) that this start-up had a female co-founder. But the point is She. Saw. Me. That’s when it really hit home that representation matters. It really does”.

If women have any chance of leading the future of finance (which is obvs fintech), there need to be more faces on stages. “I often get queues of female founders lining up to meet me, to ask for help, to hand me their business cards when I speak at events”, Lumley elaborates. “All the while hearing from male VCs and ‘start-up bros’ that female founders do not exist. And even being told by one that women ‘shouldn’t be trusted to found companies’. Representations matters”. Can we get an amen in here?

Substance and Sparkle

Lumley adds just as much sparkle to events as she does substance. Twalking like a true New Ywalker, she explains, “I’m just an old broad who’s managed to eke out a living in this industry we now call FinTech for over 25 years. But if my fat ass on a stage (or on a virtual event screen) gives someone out there just a little bit of hope … then it’s worth it”.

This Rockstar Rebel encourages new arrivals to, “Be the person in the room who gives a s*** – who thinks ‘What more can I do?’ and ‘How can I make this better next time”. And to, “Have the audacity to blow your own trumpet (and ignore the boos – they always come from the cheap seats)”. Yes Lumley!

Continuing to fight for fintech  

So, what can we look forward to for the future? As well as being an all-round legde, Lumley is the Director of Product Strategy at the well-loved VC Innovations. And ongoing judge and mentor for the Saïd Business School at Oxford University. Bam! We’ve got just two words for this serious swashbuckler – You Rock!

This article was published in Swashbucklers 2020, Page 7

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