This female entrepreneur is building one of Australia’s first Neobanks
Van Le arrived in Australia as an 11-month-old refugee from Vietnam. She travelled by boat. Based in Perth, her family struggled in her early years. “I grew up hearing my parents fighting about money,” she recalls.
In the face of adversity, Van Le would go on to complete degrees in economics and law, and work in consulting and analysis roles for “the Australian banking regulator and companies like Optus, Serco, and UNSW.
When she entered the MBA (Executive) program at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, she was ready to pursue her defining career goal.
Van Le co-founded the Australian neobank Xinja after completing her EMBA in 2013. A neobank is a completely digital bank built from the ground up, specifically designed to work on mobile platforms and typically with their own banking licence. Xinja is one of the first neobanks in Australia and part of a growing family of disruptive digital banks including Atom Bank, Monzo, and Starling.
The relationship between a traditional bank and a customer is “at best transactional, and at worst adversarial,” Van Le explains. With Xinja, she wants to help widen access to banking and give people easy, enjoyable, ethical and educational ways make the most out of their money.
A personal mission
For Van Le, the key to being a successful entrepreneur is to have a purpose bigger than yourself.
“Always be learning and putting learnings into action,” she says. “Keep iterating; the job is to get to the next step, and then the next, then the next. “Focus on making progress and being prolific over perfection. Being curious is more important than being correct.”
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