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30 Best CEOs of the Year 2021

An Interview with Michelle Beyo, Finavator INC CEO and Founder: ‘We’re Passionate about Driving Growth through Strategic Partnerships, Enterprise Relationships, and Reaching New Customer Segments’


“Our goal is to help drive more affordable and innovative financial services for North American consumers and business owners.”

Finavator INC is focused on helping companies accelerate growth, devise go-to-market strategies, implement innovative marketing frameworks, and help other women join the Fintech Industry.

The company was incorporated in 2019 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Michelle Beyo, Finavator INC CEO and Founder, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Consultants do not come with guarantees, so there is always a possibility that you might not achieve the results you had planned when you had hired them, irrespective of the cost. How can businesses overcome this uncertainty?

No matter the role, it is vital to over-deliver, but this is especially true for consulting. With both your name and brand on the line every time you work with a client, it’s crucial to exceed their expectations. At Finavator, we aim to connect and build relationships with our clients to clearly understand their vision, challenges, and timeline to ensure we deliver the highest quality results to build long term and meaningful relationships.

Q. How do you help businesses stay ahead of the curve?

Our goal is to help drive more affordable and innovative financial services for North American consumers and business owners. We have a unique perspective and expertise from working with banks while understanding the advantages FinTechs bring to the table. We help to build strong partnerships that benefit everyone involved, including our clients’ consumers. Since launching, Finavator has helped challenger banks offer new payment products, enabled FinTechs to provide microloans, rewards, and loyalty programs, and worked with traditional banks to help launch prepaid products and digital gift cards.

Q. What motivated you to start your own business?

I created Finavator after winning one of thirty spots at Money 2020’s RiseUp program in Las Vegas. Money2020 facilitates the largest network of payment conferences globally, so winning this spot was a dream come true for me. And being one of the two Canadians selected out of over 400 women who applied worldwide is an incredible honour. I felt not only pride but a sense of responsibility to give back and use my knowledge and incredible network to push Fintechs, open banking, and consumer-focused products forward.

Taking the risk to start my own company was not easy for me. At the time, my family lived on only one income, but I knew it was the right decision because life is too short not to take risks. I had always wanted to be a CEO, and when my best friend Shannon passed away in July 2018 after a 4-year battle with colon cancer at the age of 36, the time for a big risk was now.

As the CEO of Finavator, my mission is to bring startups, FinTech, and banks together to help consumers have greater access to better and more affordable digital services. Now with the global pandemic, I feel as though my mission has become even stronger.

Q. Developing consulting services need the support of high-level talent and dedication. How did you manage to form your dream team?

Finavator is an award-winning strategy consultancy focused on bridging the gap between FinTechs and traditional banks. When working with startups, we are passionate about driving growth through strategic partnerships, enterprise relationships, and reaching new customer segments. With traditional banks, we help evaluate FinTechs to find the best innovation partners for our clients to help them expand their service offering to their customers.

Besides, we work with our clients to build innovative payment and digital services that allow them to stay competitive, offer their customers relevant solutions, and find new revenue opportunities. Finavator has expertise in various areas, including payments, prepaid solutions, open banking, challenger banks, e-commerce, affiliate marketing, microloans, rewards, and loyalty.

Q. What other CEOs do you look up to? Why?

Michelle Romanow (CEO of Clearbanc), Arlene Dickinson (CEO of District Ventures), and Lisa Shields (CEO of FISPAN).

Collectively, these three women lead incredible companies working to make a difference not only for their customers but also for their employees, women, and the global community. Their commitment to innovation, passion for helping women, and how they have impacted the Canadian ecosystem is something that I admire.

Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful CEO?

I believe that passion, ambition, and grit are the top three skills needed for a CEO to be successful through my experience. In difficult times, I have found that being passionate about your ‘why’, having the ambition to create change, and displaying grit when facing obstacles are important ingredients in being resilient and building a lasting foundation for success.

Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?

One piece of advice that I would give is to make sure to work hard, have a dream, and spend time building strong, meaningful relationships—they are priceless and can last a lifetime.

Q. What do you think is the most memorable moment in your career?

The most memorable moment in my career is winning the ‘Women in Payments Rising Star’ award in September 2018. I received recognition from multiple sources across the industry, including praise from industry leaders in competitive organizations, which was overwhelming and humbling. I remember standing at the front of the room filled with such incredible female leaders from banks, payment providers, FinTechs, peers, friends, mentors, as well as my husband, and feeling so proud and honored to have been selected. My confidence was forever changed at that moment, and I hope to help other women rise to achieve new highs together.

The Leader at the Helm of Finavator INC

Michelle Beyo is the CEO and Founder of Finavator and a strategic advisor for multiple FinTechs. She is also a Money 20/20 2019 RiseUp alumni, Women in Payments Global Council Committee member, Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization membership chair, and an NFCA payment advisor and board member at Open Banking Initiative of Canada.

Michelle’s background in telecoms, e-commerce, payments prepaid, and loyalty programs nurtures her passion for the world of tech. She has 20 years of extensive industry experience, driving innovation across the retail and payments industries.

Recently, Michelle competed in a triathlon sprint and led her team to become the top fundraiser for the ‘Push For Your Tush Canada’ 10K run.

“With traditional banks, we help evaluate FinTechs to find the best innovation partners for our clients to help them expand their service offering to their customers.”