In conversation with Ruth Polachek, CEO & Co-Founder, Fincheck
This time around we are in conversation with Ruth Polachek, CEO & Co-Founder at Fincheck and Chairwoman & Founder at she codes;. Fincheck replaces repetitive tasks done by assistants, bookkeepers, accountants and employees. Their AI alleviates the pain in tedious number crunching, enabling users to concentrate in financial decision making.
Ruth you are an extremely influential person in the realm of technology, be it FinTech, AI, and the likes. How did you get there?
By working hard, and not taking the obvious way.
I have started my career in finance and very quickly understood that finance was about supporting the actual innovators. Which led me to join them early in my career. I quickly realized in this era innovation is in tech, which is what led me to work on tech ventures and innovation.
When I was Entrepreneur In Residence in SW Ventures I focused on using mathematical models as well as various AI algorithms to make use of data in order to solve real world problems. These excited me to further explore these innovations, and while I was Head of External Innovation and the Citibank Accelerator I focused on identifying FinTech companies which were heavily reliant on data and on advanced machine learning. My role at Citi was invigorating – seeing hundreds of FinTech companies, talking with hundreds and more senior executives at the bank worldwide, understanding their problems and needs, and matchmaking them with the cutting technologies being developed by the various startups was eye opening. When I decided to leave Citi and start my own company it was very clear to me that I was going to combine AI with FinTech and use what I believe the future of FinTech holds, through problem solving using AI and machine learning.
Why is Finchek so revolutionary?
We are interested in increasing financial health, happiness, and entrepreneurship.
We believe the hurdles for these are often underestimated but easily achievable, especially given the advancements in machine learning and the possible applications available today.
We focus on solving these underlying problems. We look at problems that up until today people just see as a “force of nature”, and in a way many gave up on. These include mundane repetitive tasks that are a huge pain, which often prevent individuals and companies from dealing with their finances in the best way for them, since they are extremely annoyed by the process. Fincheck’s goal is to eliminate this pain, and save humanity billions of hours. Imagine if you had a financial assistant that could truly take care of your finances. We are focused on one aspect of your finances, related to your work. We use AI to do this.
How easy is for employees to manage their finance with RapidCFO?
We are enabling individuals to use our product RapidCFO in addition or instead of their current expense reporting. Instead of spending hours of aggravation, we alleviate this pain by doing it for them. Instead of proactively having to go through the entire process, we access their digital footprint, extract the data, and submit it for them. So that it is completely hands-free for them.
I understand you’re also the Chairwoman and Founder of she codes; an organization which aims to have 50% female software developers in the tech industry within a decade. Do you think this is truly achievable? Have you noticed progress since its inception? What are some hurdles you think she codes; might face?
Yes it is. I must confess I did not believe it myself when I have set that goal. It was wishful thinking. However, since we started, over 3 years ago, we are currently active only in Israel, and already have every week a number of women which is equal to 20% of the number of software developers in Israel, who come regularly to our activities. And therefore it is clear to me that if we continue in this pace we will be able to achieve this 50% goal, in Israel, and later all over the world. The main hurdles we face are society and community. Which is the exact solution we are applying to this problem. We provide the community and society for women who are software developers or who aspire to become ones. The main thing in making anything happen is perseverance, and if you have a supportive environment, it is not as difficult to work hard, and any goal is achievable. It is part of why I am building Fincheck, to provide individuals, entrepreneurs and companies the ability to focus on what matters and remove out of the way the necessary evils – having to deal with expenses, finances and enable everyone to focus on what matters. On what they are building, and on what is important to them and what they care about.
Polachek is currently CEO and Co-Founder of a new FinTech-AI venture. (Fincheck)
Earlier in her career, Ms. Polachek was Head of the Citibank Startup Accelerator, a proprietary equities trader on Wall Street and an investment banker working on M&As and IPOs of technology companies at Lehman Brothers.
Ms. Polachek is the Chairwoman and Founder of she codes; (she-codes.org), the community of Israeli female software developers, with multiple daily activities across Israel in tech companies and Universities, and thousands of participants. Polachek set the goal for she codes; to have 50% female software developers in the tech industry within a decade. Polachek won the prestigious Rappaport award for groundbreaking early stage female pioneering social change entrepreneurship.
Ruth Polachek will be a panelist in the sessions Leveraging A.I. for Efficiencies in Payments and Personalizing Products and Marketing: A.I. and Chatbots Anyone? at BAI Beacon Atlanta 2017 on October 4th at the Georgia World Congress Center. Take a look at the Agenda and find which other panels and keynotes are of your interest!