Fintech Leaders
Fintech Leaders
Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, Managing Partner at Team8 - Building Massive Companies, The Future of Fintech, Transforming a Company Culture
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Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, Managing Partner at Team8 - Building Massive Companies, The Future of Fintech, Transforming a Company Culture

Miguel Armaza interviews Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, Managing Partner at Team8, a global Venture-Creation and VC Fund with over $1 billion in AUM.

This article is part of Fintech Leaders, a newsletter with almost 70,000 builders, entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, and students of financial services. I invite you to share and sign up! Also, if you enjoy this conversation, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify so more people can learn about us.

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Rakefet Russak-Aminoach is a Managing Partner at Team8, a global Venture-Creation and VC Fund with over a 1 billion dollars in AUM, that creates and invests in companies focusing on Fintech, Cybersecurity, Data & AI, and Digital Health. Since launching in 2014, Team8 has built 20 companies and achieved over two billion dollars in exits.

Prior to Team8, Rakefet was the CEO of Bank Leumi, which she drove to become the largest company by market cap in all of Israel.

In this episode, we discuss:

Team8’s process behind incubating and launching massive companies

Since inception in 2014, Team8 has incubated 20 companies in Fintech, Cybersecurity, Data & AI, and Digital Health. They’ve also achieved an impressive two billion dollars in exits. The process behind each incubation varies, but Rakefet shared with us about the importance of thorough domain research before embarking on any new venture. As Team8 starts preparing for every new incubation, they delve deeply into certain sectors to gain a comprehensive understanding and identify unsolved challenges. They also pursue a dual-track process: ideating potential solutions and scouting for the right founders as you can’t have one without the other and both the idea and the leadership have to be aligned from the outset.

Once a company is launched, Team8 offers support infrastructure to each startup, providing everything from finance, engineering, operations, HR, marketing, and business development. The goal is to offer all-encompassing support to allow founders to focus on what matters most - innovation and growth. Team8 also leverages the team’s expertise across domains to explore intersections, like fintech-driven solutions for the U.S. healthcare system, to try to amplify the potential for disruptive innovation.

Transforming and building a company’s culture

“Whenever I had great people, I got great results. Whenever I appointed people who were not a good fit... We paid a high price. It's really all about the people.”

Prior to Team8, Rakefet was the CEO of Bank Leumi, which she drove to become the largest company by market cap in all of Israel. But leading the digital transformation of a 110 year company was far from easy and she had to balance heritage with innovation. Facing the challenge of modernizing a century-old institution while preserving its valuable legacy was Rakefet’s main goal. She first focused on maintaining the bank's core pillars of success to date, but also identified a critical need to shift from its conservative, old-school mindset to one that embraced digital transformation.

Transforming Bank Leumi’s culture hinged on relentless advocacy and a dose of “authentic leadership”. She described her role as a "constant roadshow," continuously pitching her vision to various stakeholders, from board members to employees. She credits her success to having genuine authenticity; Rakefet believed passionately in her vision and demonstrated it through her actions. Walking the talk earned her the trust of the team, making them more receptive to change and proving that effective cultural transformation requires leaders who are both persuasive and genuine.

Why embedded fintech will drive the future of financial services

“It's much easier to bring the FinTech to the customer, wherever he is, than to try to migrate the customer.”

The disruption of traditional banks has been slower than what Rakefet (or many of us) anticipated. Despite the proliferation of successful fintech companies, high CAC (customer acquisition cost) in financial services remains a significant barrier to profitability. This reality has cemented her belief in embedded fintech as a more efficient model, where financial services are seamlessly integrated into customers' existing environments, reducing the need for expensive customer acquisition efforts. Through embedded fintech solutions, companies can meet clients where they already are. Russak-Aminoach champions embedded fintech as a pivotal trend. By embedding fintech services, companies can offer more value-added services without the need for customers to navigate multiple platforms.

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How great talent is the most important ingredient behind achieving great results… and a lot more!

Rakefet’s Podcast recommendations

She particularly enjoys two of Guy Raz's podcasts and finds them amazing:

1. Wisdom from the Top

2. How I Built This

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Miguel Armaza is Co-Founder & General Partner of Gilgamesh Ventures, a seed-stage investment fund focused on fintech in the Americas. He also hosts and writes the Fintech Leaders podcast and newsletter.

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