Sharon Zhang at Varo Money #San Francisco

Updated: Jan 1, 2020

San Francisco
Sharon Zhang, Growth Marketing Manager at Varo Money

What's your story? What drew you to FinTech?

I spent most of my career in traditional financial services (i.e. a bank) on the product management side. It was a really great way to start off my career and allowed me to build foundational skills, but over time I felt that the traditional industry was always lagging, with a lot of baggage (legacy systems, bureaucracy, etc.) that prevented it from innovating and staying ahead. I started looking into what other FinTech companies were doing, was really excited at all the amazing things that other people were building, and wanted to be a part of it. I found my current opportunity at Varo, moved to SF, and haven't looked back! We are currently working on building a next-gen bank from scratch, which is awesome but (as you may guess) challenging at times.

What makes FinTech an exciting area to build your career in?

When you think of the average person, most of them are not financially savvy and do not have long-term financial plans that will set them up for future success. For the longest time, most traditional banks "banked" on these people, profiting from their lack of resources and knowledge, and truly only serving those who were already wealthy or financially educated. Technology in recent years has allowed us to democratize financial service knowledge so that it's possible to help all people. There is still a lot of work to be done in educating people around finance and how to better manage it, but I am really looking forward to building towards a future that is more inclusive and equal. It's truly an industry that touches everyone and can leave a big impact - a person's relationship with their money is a big factor in their life and happiness. At Varo, we are really working on building a bank and a brand that you can trust and love.

What do you think are some of the most exciting FinTech trends likely to influence the Financial Services industry?

There is obviously a lot going on in crypto and AI right now, but I think the biggest thing goes back to what I mentioned earlier around democratizing financial services. What I