Sophie Flynn, Co-founder and CFO, Transact365
Very few footballers follow in the footsteps of Sophie Flynn by entering the world of fintech. As we look ahead to the Women’s World Cup, we chatted to Sophie about her journey from football to fintech founder.
Tell us a bit about you and your role
I am a co-founder and the CFO of Transact365, a global payment platform established in 2017. My role as CFO involves overseeing the financial aspects of our business, ensuring the delivery of high-quality payment services to our merchants worldwide. Working closely with the senior leadership team, I also identify new growth opportunities for our company. As a relatively new player in the game, we are constantly seeking ways to expand into new markets and staying abreast of decentralised finance (DeFi) trends such as DeFi gaming, which is projected to reach a market value of $104.5 billion by 2028.
How did you go from football to fintech founder?
My journey into fintech took an unconventional path. Initially, my passion was football, and I joined Blackburn Rovers Football Club at the age of 10. I continued playing for the team until I turned 24. However, women’s football had limited funding and popularity during that time. While I had an interest in a finance career, I was aware that the traditional university path was not for me. Therefore, I sought practical experience and hands-on learning.
At 18, I decided to embark on an apprenticeship with an accountancy firm, allowing me to complete my AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) followed by my ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) qualifications, which I was successful in achieving in 2016. After gaining experience in auditing, I explored the rapidly growing and innovative world of fintech. It was during this exploration that my co-founders and I identified a market gap for a global type of payment platform, ultimately leading to the birth of Transact365. Since then, we have experienced significant growth, expanded into emerging markets, and continuously strive to enhance our global services.
Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced in your career
Technological advancement has accelerated, and businesses now demand high-quality, user-friendly financial management solutions. Through our work with various businesses, we observed disjointed payment processes and the absence of a centralised payment system in the market. Seeing this gap, we developed Transact365’s sister company Nucleus365. Nucleus365 is a centralised payment system that provides merchants with complete visibility across the payment process, enabling them to monitor customer behaviour in all their operational markets. By streamlining every aspect of the payment flow, Nucleus365 efficiently processes and settles payments within our platform. Launching a new business to the market can be daunting, but I am pleased to share that Nucleus365 has received an overwhelmingly positive response thus far, with ongoing positive feedback from our merchants.
Where do you find support in the fintech industry?
The payments and fintech industry is predominantly male-dominated, with women representing only 30% of the sector, and a mere 1.5% of global fintech businesses founded solely by women. Despite these statistics, there are several support networks within our industry. Conferences, public events, and platforms like LinkedIn provide excellent avenues to connect with supportive networks regardless of gender. I believe our sector is gradually recognising the immense value of championing female leadership voices and I have also noticed an increase in social media content, news features, and podcast interviews effectively amplifying the female presence in fintech. I hope this positive trend continues to gain momentum in the future.
What advice would you give other women aspiring to work in fintech?
First and foremost, do not limit yourself to the status quo. By challenging and reshaping industry norms, you actively make a difference. Vocalise your support for other women in your field, as they likely share similar thoughts and experiences. Embrace your hard work, success, and expertise, knowing that your gender is irrelevant to your job performance. Whenever you require assistance or guidance, do not hesitate to seek help. Numerous networks are readily available to share knowledge, offer support, and guide you toward new opportunities. The fintech industry thrives on innovation, so take the leap and become part of it.
And finally, will you be cheering on the Lionesses?
Definitely! I have a few former teammates who are part of the England team, so I’ll definitely keep an eye on them and show my support.