Chairman, FinTech Masala
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Video is available for members-only one week after the event date
Partner, Wachtell,Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Betsy Z. Cohen is the Chairman of FinTech Masala, a sponsor of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) focused on technology innovation in the financial services industry.
Cohen is widely recognized as a business visionary and a creative entrepreneur with more than 50 years in law, banking, and real estate.
She has been described as a serial dealmaker whose trailblazing career began when she was one of only six women in her law school graduating class of 200 at the University of Pennsylvania. After earning a J.D. degree in 1966, her first job was at the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1968 she began teaching insurance, banking, and anti-trust law at Rutgers University Law School (when the only other female law professor teaching on the east coast was Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Before age 30 she had founded a shipping business in Hong Kong, a leasing company in Brazil, and a joint venture with a bank in Spain, and co-founded a Philadelphia law firm that specialized in representing financial institutions and industry clients in complex real estate and financial matters. At age 32 she founded Jefferson Bank, becoming the first female bank CEO in Pennsylvania, and one of the first in the nation. By the time she took the bank public and sold it in 1999, it had become the largest locally based bank in the greater Philadelphia region. Perhaps her greatest innovation was founding The Bancorp in 1999, a commercial internet bank that was revolutionary in providing financial services to non-bank fintech companies. She served as The Bancorp's CEO until retiring in late December 2014. Eight days later, in January 2015 she filed her first SPAC, launching a series of nine SPACs to date that has collectively raised more than $3 billion.
Betsy has been called "The Lone Wolf" by Bloomberg–noting that she is one of the few women leading the SPAC industry–and the "SPAC Queen" by Liz Claman on Fox Business News. More recently, in his podcast, The Breakdown, Nathaniel Whittlemore introduced Betsy as "a 79-year old badass who proves that age is no excuse for not understanding how the world is changing."