By @SimonCocking great interview with Marieke Flament Citizen of the world passionate about anything   related – advocate of women in all of those #

What is your background briefly?

I originally qualified as a Computer Science Engineer and followed that with a masters degree from France at TelecomParisTech and in Shanghai at Jiaotong university.
I’ve worked in several industries and across several continents. I started my career in Shanghai working for the luxury conglomerate LVMH, then moved to Hong Kong to become a Financial Analyst. Following that I did an MBA at London Business School, then went into strategy consulting and worked for the Boston Consulting Group in Paris. Following that I worked for (Expedia) where I ended up leading the Europe Middle East and Africa Region (32 markets, $2bn P&L) before being headhunted for Circle. I’ve now been at Circle for 18 months, where I am the Managing Director for Europe.

Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?

I’ve spent a lot of my career focusing on consumer products, whether they are physical products (like luxury goods), food or digital products. I am passionate about delivering best in class consumer services and experience and improving people’s life with new technologies. So in that sense, yes, Circle is a very logical next step to my career. We build consumer products.

1 min pitch for what you are doing now?

I am the Managing Director for Europe, where I oversee Circle’s operations across Europe. My mandate is to build our teams, and get our products to market across the region. My role encompasses overseeing a little bit of everything to ensure that the region performs effectively – that goes from regulatory relationships, to risk, compliance, go-to-market activities, PR, product and customer support.

What are your thoughts Fintech and the future of money, (will it be cashless?)

There is no doubt that our societies are very quickly becoming cashless – with different speeds across different markets. The Nordics are a very good example of countries becoming cashless faster than others: in Sweden for example cash transactions only represent a mere 2% of all transactions! And FinTech companies are helping lead that change.
FinTech is a very broad space, as it encompasses a lot of different verticals from insurance to payments to robot advisor. New technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning have radically transformed the way banking should and could work, enabling operating costs to be lower and new entrants to gain ground very quickly offering disruptive solutions to customers.

How are you launching Circle across Europe?

To launch Circle across Europe we’ve done a set of different exercises and activities. We started by looking at each market from a strategic perspective and analysed which market should be launched in what order according to a set of different criteria. We’ve developed a playbook which encompasses all the activities we have to do to get ready to launch in a market, looking at being compliant, having the right product, ensuring that the product is localised correctly.

We test markets with a “pre-access” or “soft launch” then once we know that we have the right product market fit we start our marketing activities.

Today Circle is live in 29 markets across Europe.

What are your thoughts on Crypto currencies and how blockchain is changing the finance industry?

There is no doubt that blockchain is a revolution – and will change forever not only the face of the finance industry, but also many other domains. It might be hard to imagine today, but in a near future any asset could be tokenized and exchanged on a blockchain – that will change the way we register our properties, our identity.
Blockchain tech provides better, cheaper, faster and more secure ways to move funds around and in that way are revolutionising the finance industry.

Is the current spate of ICO launches a gold rush or a great opportunity? Any tips?

The space of ICO is still very brand new and to evolve we will need to see solid regulation put in place. We are still in the very early days, but as mentioned above, we are living very exciting times!

Why is Ireland is a great place to start a company and why it is becoming a fintech hub?

Ireland is a great place to hire multinational tech savvy talent and therefore a great place to start a company. Over the last couple of months the FinTech space has tremendously grown in Ireland, and Brexit provides a great opportunity to grow that space even more.

Who do you follow for insights and inspiration?

Dara khosrowshahi (ex-CEO of Expedia, now CEO of Uber) is a leader who has impacted a lot my career and that I follow on LinkedIn and Twitter. I also follow a lot of blockchain / FinTech experts and generally speaking people I meet and find interesting.

And I get my everyday inspiration from a lot of the women I meet – and the amazing people who work at Circle. We have a very unique culture with a lot of very smart, bright and fun people and working in such an environment is a privilege.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

Favorite motto? “Optimism is a force multiplier”

How can people find out more about what you’re doing?

Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter 

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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