GlobalFintechSeries Interview with Craig Cecilio, CEO and Founder at DiversyFund, Inc.
Fintech has not only transformed the way businesses and individuals manage and access their finances, it has changed the face of investments. To share a few thoughts, we had Craig Cecilio, CEO and Founder at DiversyFund, Inc. join us for a quick chat:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Craig and the story behind DiversyFund? How has the platform evolved over the years and can you share a little about some of your upcoming plans for the platform?
I grew up in a working-class family in Fairfield, Connecticut. My mother was a school teacher and my father was in retail. My parents were both hard workers, which is where I gained my strong work ethic.
I spent many years working with high-net-worth (HNW) individuals within the real estate sector and saw the wealth gap grow larger and larger and how the rich kept getting richer.
I knew that the only way for the majority of Americans to build generational wealth and reach financial freedom was to use technology to democratize the access to wealth-building tools that were only available to 1% of the US population, which is how we came up with DiversyFund.
There is a huge opportunity to serve the everyday investor with the tools and technology the fintech community has to offer and I wanted to fill that void.
Since DiversyFund was founded in 2016, we have experienced rapid growth, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to expand our team, services and offerings in the future with the goal of becoming the one-stop-shop resource for the everyday investor to diversify their portfolio and provide them with the resources to promote financial literacy and ultimately, close the wealth gap in America.
How have you seen fintech innovations transform the investment management space, can you share your thoughts on the future of this niche.
We are truly living in an incredible time in terms of technology and the rate at which it’s evolving. The fintech industry has transformed the way we manage our finances, educate ourselves and invest by expanding access to the everyday investor.
The technologies that have emerged from the fintech community have made it possible for everyone and anyone to invest, no matter what their status in life is. We’re taking traditional ways of doing things and creating systems around them through technology, which makes them accessible, cost effective and scalable.
I believe that these technologies will only continue to improve and I’m excited for my company to be a part of that journey so we can continue to close the wealth gap.
When it comes to WealthTech and related technologies today, there have been innovations that do more than just streamline every part of the investment process; can you talk about some of the top game-changing innovators you’ve come across?
The amount of innovation seen in the WealthTech industry is really incredible. My peers are doing some truly remarkable things, so it’s hard to narrow it down. As an industry, I admire the tenacity and determination that is seen in the WealthTech space. My colleagues share this mentality to challenge ourselves to think outside the box in order to create something that has never been done before. I believe this mindset drives all of us to continue to be innovative and inventive.
What will drive the need for alternate investment / investment management platforms according to you? As digital banking systems become more advanced and integrated, don’t you feel individual and business consumers would prefer a one stop shop?
Education is key to help empower the everyday investor to invest like the 1%. We live in a time where we have access to reputable, free resources right at your fingertips.
For example, DiversyFund offers several resources, ranging from blog posts to financial courses and more. We are just one example of what rich, thoughtful content is available to everyone.
Education will help drive both investors’ understanding of alternative investments, which will subsequently drive the need for more alternative investment platforms.
I wholeheartedly agree that investors are looking for a single, integrated platform that can provide them with the tools, resources and knowledge needed so they can feel empowered to make sound, educated investment decisions, and that’s exactly what DiversyFund is aiming to do.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the fintech startup marketplace, can you talk about some of the most exciting fintech startups you’ve seen in the recent years?
As a San Diego-based startup, we’ve seen several groundbreaking fintech startups emerge. San Diego is a city that fosters creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation and has become a hub for numerous fintech startups, like DiversyFund. We are lucky to have several like-minded, inspiring and creative companies, such as WYLog and Gain Credit, right here in our own backyard.
As global fintech trends change and the market shifts due to business environments (and also Covid-19), what are your comments on the state of fintech in 2021 and beyond?
While no one could have predicted the events of 2020, there are several lessons from this year that we can take away and apply into 2021 and beyond. I believe that this year has shown the importance and need of the fintech industry. While this year brought us market volatility and economic uncertainty, it opened up the opportunity to show how fintech companies can provide stable, sound investment options for all, even amid all the chaos. I predict that the fintech industry will continue to flourish and evolve and provide alternative solutions to traditional investment strategies.
Before we wrap up, what are the biggest learnings / tips you’d share with fintech innovators and founders?
Go big or go home. You only have one shot at life, so you might as well go for it, or you’ll regret it. One of my favorite quotes is from Micahel Jordan, “Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” I try to keep that in mind with everything I do.
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