07/04/2020 | Adriana Baca

Andrés Fontao: “To keep investing in technology development and innovation it is essential to mitigate the effects of any crisis”

This is the second part of a series of collaborative interviews conducted by Finnovista team that are addressing current issues of interest for the Fintech and Insurtech ecosystem in Mexico and Latin America, and how corporate innovation, financial inclusion and events such as FINNOSUMMIT are key in times of crisis. 

In the first part, Andrés Fontao, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Finnovista, he answered some of the main questions under discussion in the new scenario generated by the pandemic that is affecting the world. In this final part of his interview he talks about the imminent need for companies to adapt to remote working and the important role of innovators at this time.  

How can innovators help to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus on society and the economy? 

First of all, corporate innovators should not lose sight of the new solutions that are being created by Fintech and Insurtech entrepreneurs, and should not stop investing in startups that had value before and are likely to continue to have value once this crisis is over.  

Secondly, for all the actors of the ecosystem, following closely the technological trends can provide, in this changing environment, the proposal of solutions that give an answer to the new challenges. 

Artificial intelligence, for example, is a technology that has been around for a long time, but now it is possible that it takes a step forward to promote new algorithms applied to the financial aspects of healthcare. 

To keep investing in technology development and innovation it is essential to mitigate the effects of any crisis. We recommend not to stop doing so and to continue, as much as possible, to encourage the development of these projects. This is not the time for large corporations to stop their activities and reduce their innovation portfolios, but to think in the medium term and invest in those technologies and solutions that can provide solutions to the challenges of the moment. 

In this respect, it makes more sense than ever for an executive in the innovation areas of large corporations to promote activities such as co-creation, the development of pilots in collaboration with startups, to encourage or contribute to acceleration programs, to mentor entrepreneurs and, in short, to continue working on everything that will provide a competitive advantage to his organization in times of uncertainty.   

How has Finnovista changed since the arrival of the Coronavirus?  

There are 2 countries where Finnovista team is located; Spain and Mexico. The situation in Spain worsened before that in Mexico, and long before the state of alarm was declared there, our team was already working from home to avoid risks. In Mexico, a few days later we took the same decision, anticipating Phase 2 declared by the Government. 

In this respect, we work daily with technology that allows remote teams to work together, in different time zones and with a system that is very open to virtual collaboration.  

We have quickly adapted to the new situation and are providing our customers and partners with digital solutions that enable us to continue to deliver high quality, while continuing to make a tangible impact on innovation ecosystems.   

However, all this is possible thanks to the great adaptability of the team and the flexibility of our corporate partners, mentors, startups, etc., whom are also doing their best to achieve it. 

From your experience, which practices can help others to improve their working environment in this situation?

There is no doubt that the use of technology is essential to be able to develop the work activity, so all companies that are used to working remotely now have a point in their favour. Digitalization is also very important to speed up processes and methodologies.

As for practices that also help in this situation of home-working and social distance, at Finnovista we always make it clear to the team that it is very important to keep working the same hours even when you are at home, but not to extend them, because you have to have a personal life and invest time in your family, in socializing by video call or phone, in doing sports at home, and resting. Balancing personal and professional life is essential at this time for the company to continue to move forward but without the team becoming overloaded. 

Will this situation impact on venture capital investments in Fintech startups?

As I said before, it is important that large corporations do not stop investing in startups and innovation. It is possible that in the short term the current situation will slow down venture capital investments, postpone those that were on the table, but we believe that this is a temporary situation.

Venture capital in Fintech is in good health and already represents the form of financing for a third of Mexico’s startups, according to the latest data from Fintech Radar that we have just published at Finnovista. We remain positive and believe that venture capital investments will continue to grow after this crisis. 

How is Finnovista adapting to the new situation in order to have a better FINNOSUMMIT than in previous years?

This will be the sixth edition in Mexico City, and every year we work on making the current edition the best ever. This year, if possible, with the situation the world is going through, much more. 

Four decades of innovation have passed, marked by experimentation, the emergence of startups, and the appetite of the big players to collaborate with entrepreneurs. In this new decade, we are witnessing the emergence of a culture of innovation where all players will face the new frontiers of the sector collectively and by merging the best of 2 worlds: the dynamism of the technological world with the transformative potential of banking and insurance.  

All this will be reflected in the 3 days of FINNOSUMMIT in Mexico and we will also see the impact of Fintech in other industries, its interest and potential for the near future.

This will not change: there will be networking activities, but in this edition they will be in the center of FINNOSUMMIT, and attendees will have the opportunity to talk face to face with more entrepreneurs, innovation executives and investors of the Fintech and Insurtech ecosystem, as well as other innovation facilitators.  

In addition, in this year’s edition we will have very much in mind all the social, economic and financial unknowns that the new situation puts in evidence. Many of the topics discussed at the event will gravitate around the new order that is being generated in these last weeks.


With five previous editions, FINNOUSMMIT has become a must-go event where you can deepen your knowledge about the most advanced technological areas that are moving the Fintech and Insurtech sectors. Be part of the sixth edition of FINNOSUMMIT in Mexico 2020 with the special active offer.


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