Now a banker

Now a banker

Fintech zeitgeist! Every Monday, we might look back at last week; look ahead to this week; share a few thoughts (our own or others); or discuss anything that catches our eye.

This week, Banking Technology‘s editor Tanya Andreasyan muses about the growing trend of celebrity endorsement in the fintech world.

At the recent recording of the 11:FS Fintech Insider news podcast we talked about the celebrities jumping on the fintech bandwagon (or fintechs jumping on the celebrity bandwagon).

Tennis star Andy Murray has recently become one of 40,000 customers who committed to invest over £17 million ($22.3 million) in UK-based fintech/paytech company Revolut.

Murray is already a Seedrs stalwart investor – and the story made a splash in the press and on social media, undoubtedly giving a boost to Revolut’s profile. It is understood that Murray’s involvement in the company is limited to his participation in the crowdfunding campaign.

Hollywood movie star Gwyneth Paltrow has joined Abra, a Bitcoin-based digital wallet app, as an advisor. In an episode of American reality show “Planet of the Apps”, Abra CEO Bill Barhydt found himself in a happy place as all four entrepreneur advisors wanted to help his app. (The other three were Gary Vaynerchuk, Jessica Alba and willi.i.am.)

“She has been a huge value add,” Barhydt says about Paltrow. “She’s opened up her network to us, given us valuable business advice, her insights on running a consumer business with hundreds of thousands of paying customers.”

Perhaps she’d like to write an article about blockchain for Banking Technology? We’ll ask her agent.

And then there is, of course, musician and producer will.i.am, who is an investor in a UK-based challenger bank, Atom. Will.i.am is now its “strategic advisor” and board member. Atom says he will provide it “with an external perspective on culture, philanthropy and technology”. Oh, and a £4 million investment.

The list goes on – Jay Z, Ashton Kutcher, Kobe Bryant, Lupe Fiasco, Robert Downey Jr. and Justin Bieber are among the celebs investing in the technology world.

Is it a fad? The latest must-have for celebs, like a designer handbag, an exotic pet, a crazy diet or a child with an off-the-wall name? Something to brag about at a cocktail party? Either way, the recipients don’t seem to be complaining – money and a famous name/face always help!

Click here to listen to the podcast, featuring the knowledge and wit 11:FS co-founders David Brear and Meaghan Johnson; Andra Sonea, head of strategy and architecture at 11:FS; and yours truly.


Last week’s Monday mindset discussed the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI).

If you’re interested in contributing to our Monday mindset, contact our editorial team.


Banking Technology Awards 2017 are now open for entry!

Know any innovative products, inspirational projects, skilled teams or visionary leaders that deserve a special recognition this year? Nominate them for a Banking Technology Award!

Deadline for submitting the nominations is 25 August 2017.

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