Working in the FinTech industry is like coming and going, requires a high degree of professionalism in a thoroughly relaxed working environment and is above all characterised by innovation as well as good, clever and future-oriented ideas, according to the widespread consensus. But who are actually the brains and movers behind these creative thought processes, at the intersection of finance, digital technologies and entrepreneurship?
In our series: The Faces of FinTech, we regularly ask one person from the payments and banking industry the same ten questions. This time Nadja Hofmann from Exporo & PROPVEST answers our questions.
Who are you, what do you do?
My name is Nadja Hofmann. As Chief Investment Officer, I am responsible for the supply side of the digital real estate investment platforms Exporo and PROPVEST, i.e. both the mezzanine financing offered for project developments and the properties offered on the PROPVEST platform via us and our partners.
What does a classic day in your life look like?
If there is a “classic day”, then I do sport first thing in the morning to wake up, e.g. running or weight training, in the summer I also like to go road cycling, then I go straight to work and in the evening I take time for my partner or friends.
What were your first encounters with the payment and banking industry?
The first touches are already more than 10 years ago. At that time I worked for IntReal, a specialist in the administration of real estate funds. In my experience in larger corporations, Exporo is the first FinTech.
When did you first notice the word FinTech?
Good question, by the time the fintech boom really exploded, there were already the first digital financial services and also the word “FinTech”. I think the first time I heard the word itself was in the context of mobile payment providers like PayPal, and Smava here in Germany was also, I think, very early on.
How do you define FinTech?
FinTechs or financial technologies are mostly start-ups that offer innovative application systems in the financial sector and thus disrupt and, at best, also change the market. Blockchain technology is, for example. such a technology that we use and that revolutionizes the market.
What do you think established companies do better than FinTechs?
Adaptability is elemental for both incumbents and fintechs. For FinTechs, this sometimes means that typical startup structures, which are success factors for them in their early stages, quickly become a pitfall. For example informal management in the course of growth create inefficient chaos. Fintechs should also introduce processes and organizational structures that other companies have already established over the years. It is also advisable to bring in specialists with experience over time. If FinTechs can simultaneously manage the balancing act of retaining their core competencies, such as lateral thinking, this is a real advantage over the old players.
What can you learn from FinTechs?
Be brave to break new ground!
Why do established (large) companies have such a hard time with digitalization?
Often, they are not only aware of their opportunity, but also of the need to drive digital transformation within the company. But here they lack the aforementioned courage. Their concern about the impact and effort of changing implemented processes is great and breaking up the encrusted corporate culture in the course of the change process is indeed difficult. Moving people out of their old patterns and setting a real change process in motion is a mammoth task.
What makes your job interesting on a daily basis?
Real estate investments are made accessible by us for really everyone – with it we democratize decisively the real estate market! Moreover, we are not only digitizing the market, but also making real estate as an asset more liquid. Working for a digital pioneer automatically brings with it a challenging and varied working day. No two days are the same, which may sound stressful to many, but I especially like that about my job. New topics, events and changes in the situation determine the day. Important and exciting for me is the exchange with the team, partners and of course our investors.
What would you do for a living if you weren’t working in the payments and banking industry?
I’d probably be right into real estate.
What are you proud of?
When thousands of private investors take their wealth accumulation into their own hands and use the opportunity to invest their money in real estate properties, it makes them proud to be a part of it.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
Unfortunately, old structures and thought patterns are still widespread, even though it has been proven that diversified companies perform better. These paradigms need to be broken, but from all sides: Women can be more courageous, should dare more as well as become more visible and be made visible at the same time. Role models, for example, play an important role in ensuring that women feel inspired and that their expertise is not only accepted, but also valued and desired by companies and society.
Which company would you like to work for one day?
Currently, my work is so varied that there is no rut. We are continuously developing ourselves and our company because we set standards ourselves at the forefront instead of looking at what others are doing.
Who would you like to have a beer with?
With all those who work every day to make the world (even) better, to ensure that our resources are used well and that our climate does not continue to go down the drain. Well knowing, this is true for many people. With Hans Ola Rosling, for example. I would love to have a beer with Prof. Dr. Maja Göpel and I could also imagine having a beer together.