A conversation with Kerstin Schneider, fintech founder.

7 December 2023 - 1 min read


Emily Thomas

UK Consumer PR Lead


Klarna’s Women in Analytics Dinners is an initiative aimed at empowering women in the analytics field at Klarna, fostering an intimate and informal space for discussion, learning, and networking. Today, we’re delighted to bring you an exclusive interview with the first of our distinguished guest speakers who joined our recent event in Berlin: Kerstin Schneider, a trailblazer reshaping the terrain of investment in Germany.

Our evening with Kerstin was nothing short of inspirational, starting with a fireside chat designed to unpack the wealth of Kerstin’s experiences gathered throughout her exhilarating career. During an unforgettable evening, Kerstin shed light on her path to success, the role of analytics in investment, the importance of female leadership, the value of empowerment and mentorship, and some of her tried-and-true best practices.

Kerstin shared valuable insights with our guests during the dinner, and we couldn’t resist sitting down for a few more questions so that we could share some of her insights with those not at our dinner. We hope you leave this as inspired as we are!


Hi Kerstin!
For those of our readers who don’t know you, how do you think we could introduce you in a tweet (maximum 280 characters)?

Hey, nice to meet you, sounds like fun, let me give it a go:

Kerstin is co-founder and CFO of UnitPlus, the first FinTech that offers a revolutionary combination of capital market yield on savings accounts with payment flexibility. She spent nearly 7 years as a manager in consulting for Financial Services, giving her a profound understanding of banks and FinTechs.

Who’s your role model?

From my perspective, there’s always an individual path one must navigate because every step is so unique. Unfortunately, female founders or strong managers in FinTech are often underrepresented. In terms of entrepreneurship and spirit, I particularly admire Verena Pausder.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

It varied between completely different roles, such as wanting to become a doctor when I was very young (until I realized I’m afraid of needles 😅), and later, even aspiring to be a singer. Turned out to be the outwardly less glamorous part: financial services.

What has been your biggest “eureka” moment that inspired you in your career?

Launching our app, UnitPlus, that we built from scratch and bringing something to life that we had worked on for months. It was a fantastic moment to see something we had invested so much time and passion in actually working.

What’s your biggest accomplishment to date?

Having the courage to venture into entrepreneurship and taking on the associated risks. As I had self-earned everything until then, I had to calculate precisely how long I could sustain this without significant financial reserves (and continue to do so).

As a leader, what core principles guide you?

I’m a big advocate for autonomy and flexibility. I highly value individual approaches in a relatively autonomous team and generally prefer to provide fewer rather than more constraints. I believe additional guidelines are only necessary when truly essential; I prefer steering through frameworks and methods rather than through strict determinations and directives.


Can you describe a challenging moment you’ve faced and the strategies you employed to navigate through it?

There are constant demanding moments in entrepreneurship, from financing, operational aspects to bureaucratic challenges. Usually it helps me to take a step back, consider the solution options (ideally having Plan B and C), and then choosing the best possible scenario. Some situations demand quick action followed by clear communication. When afforded the opportunity to evaluate solutions, I find it beneficial to discuss them with specific individuals from my network who have been in similar situations or whose perspectives I highly value.

How do we ensure women not only have a seat at the table but also a voice in decision-making?

First and foremost, there must be a commitment from leadership to create an environment that values diverse perspectives (ideally women are already part of this leadership). This involves not only hiring practices that promote gender diversity but also actively seeking and listening to the input of women in decision-making processes.

Mentorship and sponsorship programs especially in larger organizations can play a crucial role in providing women with opportunities for professional growth and to break the glass ceiling. Creating forums where women can share their experiences, challenges, and successes can also contribute to building a supportive community.

Furthermore, as we know there are unconscious biases, organizations should implement policies that address and promote equal opportunities for skill development and leadership training. Empowering women to speak up, providing them with the tools and resources to enhance their skills, and recognizing their contributions are essential components of ensuring that women not only occupy seats at the table but also actively shape decision-making processes.

With fintech rapidly evolving, what emerging trends do you believe will shape the industry’s trajectory, and how can women position themselves to be at the forefront of these changes?

Several emerging trends are likely to shape the trajectory of the industry. One significant trend is undoubtedly the increasing integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning in financial services. Another pivotal development that I find highly interesting as fintech continues to advance is Open Finance (basically the evolution of Open Banking). The increasing interconnectedness of financial services and data openness will redefine industry dynamics. Women can position themselves at the forefront by specializing in Open Finance concepts, staying informed on regulatory developments, and actively participating in initiatives that promote transparent and accessible financial ecosystems.

Lastly, if you could go back to the beginning of your career, knowing what you know now, what single piece of advice would you give yourself?

I would advise myself to be resilient in the face of challenges and to view failures as valuable experiences even more. Additionally, I would emphasize the importance of building a strong support network way earlier, and not hesitating to ask for help when needed.
In the aftermath, I think it is super important to understand that the path to success is rarely linear and that setbacks are integral to the learning process. Resilience is key.



That’s it for this time around! Interested in learning more? You can find out more about the initiatives to promote Klarna’s Women in Analytics in an interview we recently did with Laurence Denisenko, who organizes the Klarna’s Women in Analytics Dinners.


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