FinTech Entrepreneur James Gutierrez on the Recent Evolution of Socially Responsible Finance

James Gutierrez

James Gutierrez is a successful venture capital investor with a wealth of experience in the financial technology (fintech) industry. After establishing himself as an accomplished venture capitalist by founding and leading the $5-million Insikt Ventures, James Gutierrez expanded into the inclusive banking industry through his companies Oportun and Aura.

Reflecting his deep commitment to the promotion of diversity and equality, James Gutierrez contributes to a range of public-service organizations, social justice initiatives, and progressive industry think tanks. In addition to his involvement with the Centennial Advisory Committee, he has sat on the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board and the Advisory Board of SEO-SF. James Gutierrez currently serves as Vice Chair of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

A firm believer in the power of public policy to drive effective change, James Gutierrez has co-authored and driven the passage of multiple state and federal laws that aim to increase access to safe and affordable small-dollar loans. He sees these loans as an important way to help low-income individuals and families begin the wealth-building process.

In addition to helping a diverse client base secure small-dollar loans through Oportun and Aura, James Gutierrez is exploring new business opportunities that leverage the unique qualities of his professional skill set to further the prospects of socially responsible financial services. “It takes someone who’s actually been there on the front lines to deliver products to the lower-income,” said Mr. Gutierrez in a recent interview with the leading fintech information and news provider Mass News. “Therefore,” he added, “I’m looking to build new companies and invest in new companies that can bring models that can scale.”

In addition to fighting to decrease wealth disparity in America, James Gutierrez supports equal opportunities for minorities through initiatives such as the recently passed California law AB-979. This law orders large California businesses to ensure that their internal boards are populated with a requisite number of minority business leaders.

James Gutierrez’s belief in racial diversity is coupled by a larger dedication to the ESG (Environmental Sustainability Growth) investment and business movements. Although he sees tremendous potential in ESG practices, he bemoans the lack of a clear-cut definition of ESG operations. He sees a future in which distinct ESG parameters and ratings allow government agencies to develop concrete incentives for companies to achieve an official ESG designation through their sustainable and responsible business practices.

James Gutierrez has accomplished a great deal in the fight for socially responsible business practices and will continue to explore new avenues of advancement in the private sector. However, he knows that private business alone cannot solve all of society’s problems. “It’s important to find certain people who are in the positions of power (members of Congress, State Representatives, etc.), who share a passion for helping the community, and who want to propose new ideas,” he said. “The cooperation and consideration of these individuals is paramount to the successful transformation of ideas into reality.