Sanaa is a chemistry major and a Blockchain enthusiast. As a science student, her research skills enable her to understand the intricacies of Financial Markets. She believes that Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize every industry in the world.
As a female-led fintech startup that received its unicorn status in September, Xendit has come a long way.
Tessa Wijaya, who is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Xendit, is a fierce Indonesian woman in the massively male-dominated fintech industry.
Calling herself “a unicorn among unicorns among unicorns”, the unconventional tycoon hails from a small village in Indonesia. She runs a $1 billion fintech start-up that allows and executes digital payments for businesses in Southeast Asia.
While only seven percent of executive positions are held by women in the Financial Technology Industry, Wijaya aims to propel a paradigm shift and inspire more women and girls to tread on less-traveled roads.
Xendit was established in 2015, and ever since has seen a massive rise in its numbers. The company provides payment infrastructure across Indonesia and the Philippines. It is instrumental in processing payments, operating marketplaces, disbursing payroll and loans, identifying fraud, and helping other businesses grow quickly. At present, Xendit carries out over 65 million transactions worth $6.5 billion every year.
As a female-led fintech startup that received its unicorn status in September, Xendit has come a long way. In an interview, Wijaya mentioned how unreal success still feels to her. Being a tomboy as a child, she looked up to her grandmother, who brought her and her cousins up by running a small food business. Wijaya believes that her grandmother inspired her to pursue her ambitions.
As a beginner in the Fintech industry, Wijaya gave an interview for an analyst job at a novel private equity fund in Jakarta. While she did not have any experience in conventional financial firms, her passion and intelligence helped her crack the interview. Ever since she has been learning about the intricacies of the industry in and beyond her working hours.
However, Wijaya admits that life has not always been a bed of roses for her. Usually, as a minority in the company teams, she would always struggle to make her point heard. Without a degree from Harvard, MIT, or the Ivy League Universities, her ideas would be easily overlooked in a team. The lack of a reputable degree made it difficult for a young woman from the suburbs of Indonesia to create a difference in the industry she was passionate about.
Wijaya soon identified a loophole in the Financial systems in and around the country of her birth. While she saw an exponential rise in technology all around, there wasn’t a concrete payment infrastructure available to the crowd. Without payments, everything else simply fell short. Luckily for her, Wijaya came across a bunch of students from the University of California Berkeley, who were creating a similar project through the start-up accelerator Y Combinator. Six years from then, we have a thriving Indonesian company with its team of six hundred, processing online payments and running marketplaces in Malaysia and beyond.