Introducing the fresh talent shaping finance and investing from London to Budapest.
By Leonard Schoenberger and Hank Tucker
In just the first few months of 2022, Europe has gone from one crisis to the next, facing both a global pandemic and the devastating war in Ukraine. In spite of these challenges, glimpses of hope are emerging from innovative founders and disruptors in the finance industry.
Despite Brexit, London remains the financial heart of Europe and attracts young talent from around the globe. More than half of this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Finance honorees call London their place of work. Berlin has also emerged as one of the fintech epicenters of the continent with three listmakers, while Madrid and Lisbon are home to a few as well .
Almost 50% of the class of 2022 are founders or co-founders like Marco Cancellieri, 27, who started Berlin-based online broker, Trade Republic, with Thomas Pischke and Christian Hecker in 2015. As a 21-year-old university drop-out, the German-Italian set out to build Europe’s version of Robinhood by creating a commission-free trading app, and he now serves as the company’s head of mobile. After securing $900 million in Series C funding in 2021, Trade Republic is valued at more than $5 billion and manages $6.5 billion in assets from over a million customers across the continent.
Another fintech success story belongs to French sisters Margot de Broglie, 24, and Alexia de Broglie, 25, who founded Your Juno in London in 2020 to take on the gender gap in financial literacy. Their app offers easy-to-understand content personal finance advice and investment strategies to encourage women and non-binary people to build their financial confidence. As of today, more than 15,000 people use Your Juno, which secured $2.2 million in seed funding to build the platform in March.
Lister Georgia Stevenson, 28, supports startup founders through her work as a partner at Index Ventures. Since joining the firm three years ago in London, Stevenson has led investments in standouts such as Linktree, an Australian online infrastructure company for content creators, and Motorway, a used car marketplace in the U.K., both valued at more than $1 billion.
George Robson, 27, also succeeded in becoming a partner at one of the industry’s leading venture capital firms, Sequoia, before the age of 30. Joining the company’s London office as its second partner, Robson played a key role in French home-selling startup Zefir’s $21.5 million Series A round led by Sequoia earlier this year. Before entering the world of venture capital, the 27-year-old gained experience as a senior product owner at Revolut, a British banking fintech valued at more than $33 billion, rolling out their retail subscription business.
For better or worse, crypto and blockchain have taken the finance industry by storm and Europe is no exception. Zoe Gadsden, 29, heads operations from Switzerland at Berlin-based Matter Labs, where a team of engineers across the continent work on solutions based on blockchain technology. Their product zkSync aims to make crypto payments cheaper. Bridging the old and new world, Matter Labs has secured traditional funding of more than $50 million from heavyweights such as Union Square Ventures and $200 million through a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), where a group of investors enter into a joint contract to reach a certain goal.
An applied mathematician, lister Philip Ndikum, 28, is developing a stealth fintech startup through an incubator at Oxford University. Its goal is to improve the processing of financial transactions on the African continent. Ndikum also works at behemoth HSBC, where he builds AI-powered risk and liquidity models in his role as a quantitative strategist.
Pablo Medina, a 29-year-old vice president at global investment firm EQT Partners, took on a more classic finance career. As a founding member of the firm’s growth team, Medina played a key role in launching EQT’s recent $2 billion fund that has invested in European unicorns such as Vinted, an online marketplace for vintage clothing, Wolt, a food delivery startup and Mambu, a SaaS cloud banking platform. Before joining EQT, Medina worked as an investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
All candidates on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Finance list for Europe were evaluated by a first-class panel of judges including Stefan Klestil, general partner based in Vienna at Speedinvest; Charlotte Pallua, co-founder of Berlin-based fintech Topi; Ivelina Green, founder and CIO at London-based credit investing firm Pearlstone Alternative; Jean-Marie Mognetti, CEO of Coinshares in the island of Jersey; and Shamillah Bankiya, a 2021 30 Under 30 alumna and principal at Dawn Capital in London.
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