Today we want to celebrate one of our amazing female founders. So let us introduce you to Cindy van Niekerk, CEO and founder at Umazi, who is a true ambassador and champion of women in the FinTech sector.
Cindy, CEO and Co-Founder at Umazi, has over 15 years of banking implementation experience on the front lines of large-scale IT implementation in both London and Singapore.
Umazi solves a long-existing problem of inefficient due diligence processes by sharing pre-validated and verified due diligence credentials between participants and thus reducing their overall risk.
Umazi provides an advanced technology-based solution facilitating the creation of corporate digital identities, that represents a number of corporate credentials that are verified and risk assessed by financially regulated institutions.
These corporate digital identities can be shared with institutions and organisations to perform their relevant due diligence.
What made you start your company?
The idea of Umazi was born while I was working as a regulatory consultant at a tier 1 bank.
The bank, like all the others I previously contracted at, distributed communications to their clients to help them become compliant with the latest regulation. One client sent us a photo of his desk with the comms strewn across his desk. I was taken aback by the lack of client consideration.
Knowing that something needed to change, I started thinking about ways to solve the problem. I took a blockchain course and left my cushy contractor-paid job and threw myself at start-up land. It was there that I met my co-founder Matt who also shared my passion for streamlining business processes.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship runs in my family. From a young age, I helped my parents to revamp houses to eventually sell them off for a small profit. That money was used a few years later, to buy a children’s nursery. The nursery took care of over 200 kids and my mum ran it for almost 10 years. Both I and my sister got involved in the running of the nursery.
What does a successful career look like to you?
I have had great successes in my career already, during my time as a contractor. Umazi will be my next success when people talk about due diligence and say: “Just Umazi it”.
What is your favourite Lockdown hobby?
It depends on which stage of lockdown. There was a time where small social gatherings were allowed and we’d have one or two friends over on a Saturday for themed sundowners on our balcony. Along with that is horse riding. But now it’s walks with friends and our dogs in Hyde Park.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when Lockdown ends?
I will go horse riding and hug a friend.
Who in your life is your rock during challenging times?
My partner, my family and my partner’s mum are my rocks during challenging times.
What’s the most important life lesson COVID has taught you?
It taught me that anything is possible.