Fintech today is undergoing prominent changes, as the developing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology brings myriads of innovations to this industry. Valentina Drofa, the Founder and CEO of Drofa Comms, recently sat down for a conversation with Finance Magnates, discussing the fintech market’s growth over the past several years, as well as her own path in this field.

Ms. Drofa is an international entrepreneur and a member of theTop-64 women in startups and tech 2022. With over 14 years of professional experience, she made her way into fintech from traditional finance, where she created and headed an EdTech platform for investors.

Today she leads an international PR consultancy focusing on financial and fintech companies across the world. Working directly with public opinion, Valentina is well-familiar with the beating heart of fintech and the trends that shape this market.

Can you describe yourself and your career path as a veteran within the fintech industry?

I originally began working in the financial market in 2007 – this field has been the single focus of my whole professional life. I started out as a regular account manager at a trading company providing services to FX clients, but my deeper involvement into the industry began when I decided to create a lecture course in finances.

At that time many investors who had just joined the company approached me with quite general questions about the financial markets which eventually led me to the idea of creating an educational web portal that would provide lectures on the subject. In 2010 I had succeeded in setting it up – the chosen format for the lectures were webinars, which at the time were still a novelty.

This led to the platform becoming one of the first projects in the EdTech field. Heading the educational portal helped me build up an image as an expert in the industry and accumulate a lot of experience in terms of team management, which serves me well to this day.

In addition to that, I had a PR consultancy set up in 2011, that was developing in parallel with the EdTech platform. By the end of 2014, I decided to sell the platform and focus my full effort on the consultancy. For a while, it was just me, my partner, and a couple of managers that helped conduct day-to-day work – things were still at a very early stage for us back then.

We spent many years working mainly with the FX industry, but as Drofa Comms continued to develop, we eventually began to shift our primary focus towards the fintech industry.

So what caused your interest to shift towards fintech?

Fintech is an industry that is developing at a very fast pace, and we observed that many traditional financial companies over the past years have been seeking to integrate themselves into this market, adapting to the global changes in order to stay relevant.

In 2017, when the hype around cryptocurrencies and ICOs started, a great number of PR agencies appeared, eager to ride the wave of the emerging market and new companies in it.

At Drofa Comms we have also noted the high potential of the sector and chose to actively involve ourselves with its development. That said, due to the fast pace of the crypto industry many of those agencies were unable to adapt and keep up, and few remain operational to this day.

Our consultancy, on the other hand, guided by our previous experience, made use of the opportunity and strengthened its positions. As a great number of our crypto clients wanted to conduct their PR campaigns across multiple regions, we actively adapted to the new needs and worked on building connections with new media worldwide in order to provide high-quality services to our clients and help build up their brands globally.

After engaging in this field for some time, we had built up considerable resources and the experience of working with newly emerged crypto media and agencies across different countries. Today we stand as a truly global company with offices across the world, providing our services to clients on the international stage.

How has the fintech space evolved over the previous decade and can you elaborate on your role within it?

An important factor that influenced the face of fintech over the past decade is the widespread usage ofsmartphones as a tool for managing personal finances. The introduction of electronic payment applications like UMoney, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and others has fundamentally changed the way that billions of people worldwide accessed their finances and conducted transactions.

Big Tech companies like PayPal, Revolut, Apple, Google, etc. have become the dominant force in the financial space, with many customers now tending to trust in such services as much, if not more, than they trust traditional banks.

The development of blockchain technology, the introduction of Bitcoin, followed by a wave of other cryptocurrencies, became another major event that greatly impacted the transformation of the global fintech market. This created a shift in mindset, leading to digital assets becoming a topic of interest on a scale that hadn’t been seen before.

For years now Drofa Comms has been working with crypto and blockchain companies that seek to apply this technology to innovate various industries, from straightforward payments to cybersecurity, AI education, healthcare, and others.

In what ways has Drofa fit into this growth model and how has the company adapted to an evolving space?

Cryptocurrencies are an asset that is still trying to find its place. We, as a company working with this market, are trying to find our place with it. Fintech is a global industry, our clients come from all over the world, and, as such we at Drofa Comms feel the need to develop accordingly.

Few customers that come to us ever want promotion across just one market. We are located where our clients are concentrated – initially, we opened an office in Cyprus, because that’s where our clients positioned themselves at the time. Until 2020 we also had a representative office in Shanghai.

Following that, London looked like the most attractive region for further development. In the past couple of years, we have seen how the UK became an active hub for fintech and crypto development, a true financial centre where a great number of projects are concentrated. Many of our existing clients add the UK to their media presence portfolio while many new clients, head-quartered in England, approach us to extend their media involvement on a global scale.

We've been working with the UK media for 2 years before making the decision to set up a local office in London. The decision was guided by the desire to streamline our business processes and make them clearer and more efficient. With our office now open, and working in direct contact with the UK market, we can provide higher quality services to our clients.

Do you have plans to expand your presence in other markets? Are there any in particular that interest you?

We are also interested in expanding to the US and UAE – New York and Dubai are both prominent financial hubs in their own right, and opening offices there may turn out to be beneficial in the future.

Dubai, in particular, is a jurisdiction of choice for many fintechs, both newly established startups and companies looking to scale their business. The UAE government is interested in providing its citizens easier access to financial services, which leads it to develop supportive infrastructure and forward-thinking regulation.

These factors contribute greatly to developing this region as a world-class business environment. The country is already favoured by many in the crypto and blockchain community, with the number of projects setting up shop there rivalling London. As such, opening an office in Dubai could stand to be beneficial for our consultancy in the long run.

But for the time being this is only an idea – it will probably be a few more years before we take action in this direction.

Markets consistently change – in what ways moving forward is Drofa equipped to handle ongoing challenges and shifts in the industry?

The fintech market is indeed constantly changing – it is a reality that we observe every day. And not only can our agency see these changes, but we can also influence them.

Many of the clients that we work with are innovators, constantly working to push forward the existing boundaries of the fintech market. And the content that we write and publish on their behalf contributes to shaping market trends.

Every day our managers regularly monitor top international media to stay ahead of the news agenda. Often we employ the services of experts, hiring them as consultants to deepen our knowledge on the market tendencies.

In order to keep up with the tides, we regularly take part in major fintech and crypto events to stay on top of all the recent developments and prominent players in these markets. I myself will be attending two upcoming events just in March alone: CryptoFunds22 summit in London and Binance Blockchain Week in Dubai.

All these measures help us better understand the market, communicate with our clients on the same level, and bolster our PR services by ensuring that we can pinpoint exactly what our clients need and the ways to cherry-pick tools for their communications strategy.

Fintech today is undergoing prominent changes, as the developing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology brings myriads of innovations to this industry. Valentina Drofa, the Founder and CEO of Drofa Comms, recently sat down for a conversation with Finance Magnates, discussing the fintech market’s growth over the past several years, as well as her own path in this field.

Ms. Drofa is an international entrepreneur and a member of theTop-64 women in startups and tech 2022. With over 14 years of professional experience, she made her way into fintech from traditional finance, where she created and headed an EdTech platform for investors.

Today she leads an international PR consultancy focusing on financial and fintech companies across the world. Working directly with public opinion, Valentina is well-familiar with the beating heart of fintech and the trends that shape this market.

Can you describe yourself and your career path as a veteran within the fintech industry?

I originally began working in the financial market in 2007 – this field has been the single focus of my whole professional life. I started out as a regular account manager at a trading company providing services to FX clients, but my deeper involvement into the industry began when I decided to create a lecture course in finances.

At that time many investors who had just joined the company approached me with quite general questions about the financial markets which eventually led me to the idea of creating an educational web portal that would provide lectures on the subject. In 2010 I had succeeded in setting it up – the chosen format for the lectures were webinars, which at the time were still a novelty.

This led to the platform becoming one of the first projects in the EdTech field. Heading the educational portal helped me build up an image as an expert in the industry and accumulate a lot of experience in terms of team management, which serves me well to this day.

In addition to that, I had a PR consultancy set up in 2011, that was developing in parallel with the EdTech platform. By the end of 2014, I decided to sell the platform and focus my full effort on the consultancy. For a while, it was just me, my partner, and a couple of managers that helped conduct day-to-day work – things were still at a very early stage for us back then.

We spent many years working mainly with the FX industry, but as Drofa Comms continued to develop, we eventually began to shift our primary focus towards the fintech industry.

So what caused your interest to shift towards fintech?

Fintech is an industry that is developing at a very fast pace, and we observed that many traditional financial companies over the past years have been seeking to integrate themselves into this market, adapting to the global changes in order to stay relevant.

In 2017, when the hype around cryptocurrencies and ICOs started, a great number of PR agencies appeared, eager to ride the wave of the emerging market and new companies in it.

At Drofa Comms we have also noted the high potential of the sector and chose to actively involve ourselves with its development. That said, due to the fast pace of the crypto industry many of those agencies were unable to adapt and keep up, and few remain operational to this day.

Our consultancy, on the other hand, guided by our previous experience, made use of the opportunity and strengthened its positions. As a great number of our crypto clients wanted to conduct their PR campaigns across multiple regions, we actively adapted to the new needs and worked on building connections with new media worldwide in order to provide high-quality services to our clients and help build up their brands globally.

After engaging in this field for some time, we had built up considerable resources and the experience of working with newly emerged crypto media and agencies across different countries. Today we stand as a truly global company with offices across the world, providing our services to clients on the international stage.

How has the fintech space evolved over the previous decade and can you elaborate on your role within it?

An important factor that influenced the face of fintech over the past decade is the widespread usage ofsmartphones as a tool for managing personal finances. The introduction of electronic payment applications like UMoney, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and others has fundamentally changed the way that billions of people worldwide accessed their finances and conducted transactions.

Big Tech companies like PayPal, Revolut, Apple, Google, etc. have become the dominant force in the financial space, with many customers now tending to trust in such services as much, if not more, than they trust traditional banks.

The development of blockchain technology, the introduction of Bitcoin, followed by a wave of other cryptocurrencies, became another major event that greatly impacted the transformation of the global fintech market. This created a shift in mindset, leading to digital assets becoming a topic of interest on a scale that hadn’t been seen before.

For years now Drofa Comms has been working with crypto and blockchain companies that seek to apply this technology to innovate various industries, from straightforward payments to cybersecurity, AI education, healthcare, and others.

In what ways has Drofa fit into this growth model and how has the company adapted to an evolving space?

Cryptocurrencies are an asset that is still trying to find its place. We, as a company working with this market, are trying to find our place with it. Fintech is a global industry, our clients come from all over the world, and, as such we at Drofa Comms feel the need to develop accordingly.

Few customers that come to us ever want promotion across just one market. We are located where our clients are concentrated – initially, we opened an office in Cyprus, because that’s where our clients positioned themselves at the time. Until 2020 we also had a representative office in Shanghai.

Following that, London looked like the most attractive region for further development. In the past couple of years, we have seen how the UK became an active hub for fintech and crypto development, a true financial centre where a great number of projects are concentrated. Many of our existing clients add the UK to their media presence portfolio while many new clients, head-quartered in England, approach us to extend their media involvement on a global scale.

We've been working with the UK media for 2 years before making the decision to set up a local office in London. The decision was guided by the desire to streamline our business processes and make them clearer and more efficient. With our office now open, and working in direct contact with the UK market, we can provide higher quality services to our clients.

Do you have plans to expand your presence in other markets? Are there any in particular that interest you?

We are also interested in expanding to the US and UAE – New York and Dubai are both prominent financial hubs in their own right, and opening offices there may turn out to be beneficial in the future.

Dubai, in particular, is a jurisdiction of choice for many fintechs, both newly established startups and companies looking to scale their business. The UAE government is interested in providing its citizens easier access to financial services, which leads it to develop supportive infrastructure and forward-thinking regulation.

These factors contribute greatly to developing this region as a world-class business environment. The country is already favoured by many in the crypto and blockchain community, with the number of projects setting up shop there rivalling London. As such, opening an office in Dubai could stand to be beneficial for our consultancy in the long run.

But for the time being this is only an idea – it will probably be a few more years before we take action in this direction.

Markets consistently change – in what ways moving forward is Drofa equipped to handle ongoing challenges and shifts in the industry?

The fintech market is indeed constantly changing – it is a reality that we observe every day. And not only can our agency see these changes, but we can also influence them.

Many of the clients that we work with are innovators, constantly working to push forward the existing boundaries of the fintech market. And the content that we write and publish on their behalf contributes to shaping market trends.

Every day our managers regularly monitor top international media to stay ahead of the news agenda. Often we employ the services of experts, hiring them as consultants to deepen our knowledge on the market tendencies.

In order to keep up with the tides, we regularly take part in major fintech and crypto events to stay on top of all the recent developments and prominent players in these markets. I myself will be attending two upcoming events just in March alone: CryptoFunds22 summit in London and Binance Blockchain Week in Dubai.

All these measures help us better understand the market, communicate with our clients on the same level, and bolster our PR services by ensuring that we can pinpoint exactly what our clients need and the ways to cherry-pick tools for their communications strategy.