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Prerna Goel: Fintech Pioneer’s Journey and Insight in Banking Innovation

Prerna Goel: Fintech Pioneer’s Journey and Insight in Banking Innovation


Ms. Prerna Goel graduated from BITS Pilani (Pilani ‘02) with a degree in Computer Science. After working as a software engineer, she moved to banking where she made new strides by being one of the founding members of UK’s first new Clearing Bank. She is the founder of Picadali Consultancy, co-founder of Clinica Fai, which aims to make eye-face corrective treatments more affordable and accessible for Indians, and co-founder of Vriksh Impact Partners, an impact advisory and investment firm. She is also the host of #FLY, a podcast promoting self-love.

Could you share a little about your journey from BITS Pilani to where you are now?

I graduated from BITS Pilani in 2002, having done my undergraduate in Computer Science. After Pilani, I worked as a software engineer for three years before deciding to explore the business side. I did my MBA from Queen’s University, Canada, after which I worked as an Investment Banker in Leverage Finance at the Canadian Imperial Bank of  Commerce. I then joined Capital One where I explored the retail side of the bank. At Capital One, I was part of “Payments”. When I moved to the UK, I found “Payments” becoming a big thing. After a year there, I joined a start-up known as Clear Bank, as one of the founding members. It was energizing to work in a small group of people. I left Clear Bank in 2021, to try my own thing. It was only then that I met a former colleague of mine who asked me to join a new bank he was building in Saudi Arabia. I was hesitant to work full time because I wished to eventually build something of my own. So, I decided to join him as an advisor, which opened my eyes to the world of consulting. I now have my own consulting practice, working in the fintech space.

Are there any specific sectors or types of startups which capture your interest and you would want to invest in?

There are three verticals that we believe in. First, any businesses that are working to improve inclusivity and gender diversity. Second, plant based business because personally as vegans we consider plants based products to be the future of food. Third, businesses working in the climate change and impact sphere.

There are a lot of students that struggle with the transition from academics to the professional world. What advice would you have for such student graduates?

I would suggest that they have patience and take their time. I started my business in my 40s, and everyone should be well aware of their reasons and experience before starting their thing. One should realize that everyone’s path in life is different, some start their business in colleges while others work up to them in their life.

Can you tell us some of the key challenges you faced being part of such a competitive and dynamic industry during your tenure at Clear Bank?

Until Clear Bank, I had been part of established organizations with structured goals and low risk and going from that to building something from scratch was quite daunting. You have to learn the technical aspect of the business like I did for Payments. There is no cheat sheet and the stakes are very high. During my tenure there, I was working the hardest in my life making it just as exhilarating of an experience as it was strenuous.

You got named as ET’s 40 under 40 and Women Leader in Paycheck. What advice do you have for other aspiring women leaders in tech and finance and those at the start of their career?

Have the patience and do your work. Focus on the work, focus on learning, focus on embracing new opportunities and find a good mentor and a good sponsor in an organization, who will vouch for you. Even now I have people who I go to get advice from. And definitely being resilient is what worked for me.