LinkedIn: Ariana Gómez Flores
What do you do currently?
I am Chief Innovation Officer of Fiinlab, Gentera‘s Innovation Lab. Together with my fantastic team, I’m in charge of designing the future bank by disrupting our current business model and achieve our mission: reaching full financial inclusion in Mexico and LatAm. We do so by collaborating with the main entrepreneurial ecosystems both in Mexico and abroad, investing in financial inclusion/BoP focused startups, promoting a culture of innovation within our organization and creating new digital financial services through our intrapreneurship program.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
I’ve been involved with it for about 10 years now, ever since I came back to Mexico and realized that if I wanted to solve social, environmental and economic problems I needed to harness the collective power of the entrepreneurial community. I have been able to solve real problems for real people in dire need thanks to this approach. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Today I also get to interact with entrepreneurs from a corporate position, looking for those who are passionate about financial inclusion and solving the problems of people at the base of the pyramid. It’s sort of: if you are solving a problem for them in a faster, better and more convenient way, we can be your financial enabler. And if your startup can help us be a better financial enabler, let’s talk. It’s a match made in heaven. Good for our business, good for the startup but most of all, good for our clients and financial inclusion.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
Our ecosystem is pretty close to being the right one at the right place in the right moment.
It’s fertile territory for entrepreneurs who have the talent and the passion to tackle the many problems yet to be solved in new and innovative ways. It is also fertile territory for investors, government and the corporate world, who need to bet on them, trust more and let the money flow. I don’t think the ecosystem will experience a boom through events and meet ups, it needs big investments. A couple of institutions understand this, including Fiinlab, and it’s getting better, but I wish more players would move faster and boost the ecosystem through smart investments.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
Well, all crises have historically been accompanied by great opportunities and a surge of innovation. I believe blockchain related startups and initiatives will bring positive surprises sooner than expected given the actual geopolitical state of affairs.
I expect to see a surge in technology based startups solving important problems from cleaning the oceans to enabling poor people to access all kinds of services and products with personalized financial services bringing us closer than ever to achieving 100% financial inclusion.
I expect to see more female entrepreneurs and a pending philosophical discussion about how the internet, AI and all these new advancements can truly serve those in need and how to make sure that the world ecosystems remain broad platforms where people make inclusive, sustainable and smart decisions focused on the wellbeing of the majority.
What are the main challenges?
Policy: it needs to be a bridge and not an obstacle for fintech to be able to make a difference, especially when it comes to blockchain and digital transactions.
Investments: fear is not a good advisor and a healthy and thriving ecosystem depends on people shaking off their fear and uncertainty to keep the money flowing.
Education: we must include technology and entrepreneurship in the education agenda, and we must come up with a much more inclusive call to action for future female entrepreneurs to strengthen the ecosystem.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
Sound policy. A startup friendly Fintech reform could be a game changer. Again, more investments and education.
Describe your typical day
It entails three parts: thinking, working and enjoying. I practice gratitude every morning and check the news. Then I meditate first thing when I get to my office and connect with my team.
I then tackle the big and complex problems head on, check my lists off, lunch, afternoon meetings and planning ahead for the next day.
After work, I try and do something good for me, such as a SoulCycle class or swimming.
I then spend time with my loved ones, and if we’re lucky I get to finish the day cooking and sipping a glass of wine with my boyfriend.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
Richard Branson, obviously. But he’s not an entrepreneur anymore, not really. I wish I could have seen the bank officer’s faces when he stepped in barefoot to ask for a loan to buy a record company. Or his record company partners’ faces when he said “We are definitely buying a in airline now”. Damn! Nobody takes risks like he does.
In Mexico, Martin Garcia Wilhelm. He’s one of those silent, low key entrepreneurs working passionately to make the world a better place, and he will. He’s brilliant and his big moment is approaching.
A recent book you recommend?
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. Hilarious yet deeply disturbing account of the state of love and romance in a digital era with endless possibilities. Prepare yourself.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
Smartphone and iPad pro.
iOS or Android?
Blinkist. I love reading and this app has enabled me to read or listen to curated summaries of dozens of books while stuck in the traffic or at the airport. It’s a bookworm’s fantasy come true!
Favorite social network?
My kitchen full of my dearest friends. When it’s not possible, Twitter.
Discovering somewhere new with interesting culture and art, great food, lovely landscapes ideally with some water, a relaxing place to stay, and great company.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
At Fiinlab, graduating at least three internal startups, growing our investment portfolio and acquiring a deep understanding of how to solve big BoP’s problems through AI.
Personally, I want to become a certified yoga instructor, publish a long overdue book and enjoy the hell out of 2017 with my loved ones.
One word that describes you?
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