Theodora (Theo) Lau is the founder of Unconventional Ventures, a public speaker, and an advisor who seeks to spark innovation in the public and private sectors for the benefit of the forgotten demographics. She strives to create a more inclusive society.
Unconventional Ventures focuses on developing and growing an ecosystem of financial institutions, corporations, startups, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and accelerators to better address the unmet needs of consumers (with keen interests in women and underrepresented founders).
She is also the host of “One Vision,” a podcast on fintech and innovation. She also publishes a weekly LinkedIn newsletter, “Fintech Pros,” on emerging technology, inclusion, longevity, fintech innovation, and using technology for good.
Listen in for some great takeaways about the intersection of technology and human kindness and the impact she’s making in this fast-growing space.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- Learn more about Theo Lau and Unconventional Ventures [3:17]
- Why financial well-being is key to sparking innovation [8:21]
- Why Theo wrote “Beyond Good” and “Metaverse Economy” [10:52]
- Where to start with teaching your kids financial literacy [13:07]
- Why FinTech is an accelerator to making the world a better place [18:51]
- How Theo thinks AI will impact the financial services industry [21:15]
- How social networks can impact people’s careers [25:08]
- How Theo sees the future of financial technology evolving [28:09]
- Theo’s advice for professionals looking to make an impact in fintech [29:57]
- Theo shares more about the goal of her podcast, “One Vision” [31:24]
- What Theo did today that put her in the right mindset for success [33:57]
Learn more about Theo Lau and Unconventional Ventures
When Theo had two children, she took a break from the corporate world. But when she tried to come back, people constantly questioned whether or not she had the capacity to do her job. By the time she landed a full-time job, she had to take a huge pay cut. That’s when she realized a side of the world existed that she wasn’t aware of.
She started working with a team that gave her a whole new appreciation for what needed to be done in the world, especially for the forgotten demographics. These are the people who have given much to the world and have been pushed aside as we move toward digital economies.
Theo seeks to bring people together to create something different. Unconventional Ventures started looking at the needs of older adults. Older adults will comprise a larger percentage of our world. They consult with different companies to understand how they adapt to the longevity economy.
It changes how we look at education, work, and relationships with money. How do people start saving for a longer retirement? The nest needs to last longer. A lot of her work has to do with using technology to create better solutions.
Theo advises startups, writes, and recently published two books to help people understand how the world is changing and how we can use technology to do something different.
Why financial well-being is key to sparking innovation
Living longer and healthier is hard to accomplish when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. As much as we want to preach healthy living, fundamentally, it’s hard to do if you’re someone who isn’t financially secure. That’s why Theo believes financial well-being is where she can have the most impact.
¼ of new caregivers are Millenial and GenZ. They have to help their parents and grandparents pay the bills, figure out mobility needs, etc. These needs pop up and cause financial strain across generations if you’re not prepared for it. That’s where Theo believes tech can play a huge role to help families live better lives.
She also points out that there’s an assumption that if someone is poor, they must not have received a financial education. Instead, Theo believes that when you have to live within your means, you know how to make better decisions than those who have unlimited resources.
If someone is poor, you can’t start by judging them. You can’t assume they’re horrible decision-makers. Instead, you must ask how you can better support them so they don’t end up in that position again.
Theo’s advice for professionals looking to make an impact in fintech
What is your purpose? Why are you doing what you’re doing? What keeps you up at night? What excites you when you wake up in the morning? Asking and answering these questions will guide you in the right direction.
Secondly, Theo advises you to listen more and talk less. It’s amazing what you can learn from everyday people just by listening. You can learn how people from different corners of the world live. How can you put yourself in their position? What would you do?
Theo shares how FinTech is an accelerant toward making the world a better place in this episode of Mitlin Money Mindset®. Don’t miss it!
Resources & People Mentioned
- Beyond Good: How Technology is Leading a Purpose-driven Business Revolution
- The Metaverse Economy: How Finance Professionals Can Make Sense of Web3
- The “One Vision” podcast
Connect with Theo Lau
Theodora (Theo) Lau is the founder of Unconventional Ventures, a public speaker, and an advisor. She is the co-author of Beyond Good: How Technology is Leading a Purpose-driven Business Revolution, and host of One Vision, a podcast on fintech and innovation. Her monthly column on FinTech Futures explores the intersection of financial services, tech, and humanity. She is named one of American Banker’s Most Influential Women in FinTech in 2023. She is also a regular contributor and commentator for top industry events and publications, including BBC News, Finovate, American Banker, and Journal of Digital Banking. Her latest book, the Metaverse Economy, co-authored with Arun Krishnakumar, offers a balanced insight into the complex world of the Metaverse, and demystifies the technology and economic paradigms that have triggered the rise of the metaverse.
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