Meet Luan Cox: founder and CEO of FinMkt, a best-in-class multi-lender platform and point of sale solutions provider that has processed billions of dollars in loan application volume.
Point-of-sale financing is an old-fashioned form of credit that is finding fans among younger consumers. Millennials appreciate the transparent rates (nearly half of millennials say they do not know what interest rates their credit cards charge) and fixed terms, while merchants appreciate higher sales and greater customer loyalty. Investors have warmed up to the space as well.
A pioneer in fintech before the word “fintech” existed, Luan helped build Quote.com and Stockpoint in Silicon Valley during the 1990s when few companies were leveraging technology in the financial sector. Quote.com (with Stockpoint quickly following) was the first to put stock quotes on the internet, effectively revolutionizing how financial data was accessed. Both platforms grew to include financial research, investment analytics and portfolio applications before being acquired by Interactive Data Corporation (now, part of the Intercontinental Stock Exchange/NYSE).
Luan is intensely passionate about fintech and leading the development of a new generation of innovative financial technologies. As a successful entrepreneur in a male-dominated field, Luan understands the importance of having the support of peers. For the past several years, Luan has shared her expertise through Techstars, a global network of entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, and community leaders to help entrepreneurs succeed. In 2019, Ms. Cox was named to NYC FinTech Women’s Inspiring Fintech Females list in recognition of her outstanding leadership and support of the community of women in financial technology.
Tell us more about what you do and how you moved into your space
Since the beginning of my career, my passion has always been building and growing companies in a fast-paced and exciting environment. Having helped to build several innovative B2B fintech companies that have completely revolutionized the accessibility of financial data, I’ve always known I wanted to be involved in companies that were bringing breakthrough technology to the financial sector. My expertise is deeply embedded in financial services and web-based technology, which has made the evolution of my career and business very natural.
What role do you play in the tech ecosystem and why is that role important?
In the most literal sense, my current role is CEO of a fast growing fintech startup. In the larger sense, I strive to be a mentor to my team to help foster their careers and create new job opportunities as FinMkt continues to grow. It’s important that women, in a male dominated field like fintech, have the support and guidance they need to succeed and pave a path for future generations of women leaders. Building out a diverse and successful market participant within the technology ecosystem is my passion and focus.
How has technology impacted your industry and why is this important?
The financial sector is notoriously slow to integrate new technologies but consumer appetite for fast and secure financial services drives innovation. From deposits to payments, people want to do everything from the comfort of their phone. Technology allows financial institutions to meet consumer demand and quickly adapt to changes in consumer behavior. For example, consumers have embraced point of sale financing for purchases as opposed to putting those purchases on a credit card. To meet consumer expectations and gain their business, financial institutions have to adopt payment technology and real time consumer loan financing to stay competitive.
What do you believe is the most exciting tech trend for 2020?
SaaS derivatives like BaaS and PaaS, and the emergence of API architectures because it just means financial institutions are moving in the direction that we expected years ago when we first started building out our platform. Our clients can use our end-to-end point of sale platform to operate their own marketplace or they can license components of our technology to improve their existing technology. The excitement of the SaaS and API trend in the financial sector is that it’s here to stay.
Who is a person that inspires you in the space and why?
I am always so proud to know Sabrina Basht, Chief Strategy Officer at personal loan provider, BestEgg. Her creativity, professionalism, and tenacity are admirable and most certainly are primary contributors to BestEgg’s success.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into your space?
Entering the fintech industry is especially challenging as it marries two complex worlds and is increasingly becoming very crowded as new entrants can launch quickly and sometimes with poor quality due to lack of experience. I always like to advise new fintech entrepreneurs to make sure they have both finance and technology experience on the founding team. I am also partial to B2B businesses in fintech as I believe selling “picks and axes” to a financial system in need of innovative technology (because building it themselves would take too long) is a great spot to focus on assuming the team understands how to build technology that financial institutions need urgently
Anything else we should know?
I encourage more females to enter the fintech space and am always available to help or mentor in any way possible.