Hayden Simmons - Emerging Market Fintech and Biz Development #82


Hayden has been working in emerging market fintech for most of his career. He graduated from Colorado College in 2007, with an Economic Development major and Spanish minor, having written his thesis on the impact of collectivized remittances in rural Mexico. He spent the early part of his career on the non-profit side, connecting venture-backed remittance startups with immigrant communities for product-market fit testing.

Hayden later spent 4 years at Juvo, managing strategic partnerships across LatAm, Africa and Southeast Asia. He then helped Migo expand from Nigeria into Latin America.

Currently, Hayden is working on a variety of strategy and BD projects supporting Facebook’s global blockchain-powered mobile money project (Libra).

He is actively advising a number of early-stage African fintechs, is a fledgling angel investor, and recently joined Lateral Capital as a Venture Partner. In his spare time, he enjoys rock climbing, guitar and tending to his agave farm.

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A note from Grant

In the tech world, there’s often a narrative that “if you build it right”, users will show up and you won’t need sales and business development.  The reality is, of course, far different for all but a select few consumer facing applications.  And it’s in that reality that our guest today, Hayden Simmons, has stepped in to fill across his career.

After Hayden earned his Bachelor’s in Economic Development from Colorado College, he’s held down a number of roles in business development at both the individual contributor and manager level for companies like TIGRA, Crossboard Mobile, Juvo, Migo and Facebook.

Woven throughout that career is a commitment to emerging markets, mobile and fin tech spaces.  These days, he’s the Strategic Partnerships Manager for Facebook as well as a Venture Partner for Lateral Capital and an advisor for Next Billion Advisors.  So if you’ve ever dreamed of a career that crosses international borders and uses tech to help grow emerging markets, you’re going to want to listen in as we catch up with Hayden Simmons.

-Grant Ingersoll


“The people you are trying to serve might have a smart phone, but maybe it has no balance. And they may be a dozen miles from the nearest ATM. That backdrop gets people that are interested in emerging markets very excited. How do you piece together all of these challenges to bring financial services to the last mile of consumers?

“I started thinking about my future and the best role for me to play. It seemed increasingly like the venture side is a way to zoom it out and have the macro view and also have macro impact that you can do from anywhere.”

“When you’re young and have the time, seek out adventures and take risks and have as many interesting experiences as possible because its all going to be valuable.”

“For emerging markets there’s nothing that can replace on the ground experience and understanding people and the products and the landscape. Just studying in your MBA is a fraction of the value you get from spending a month on the ground.”

—Hayden Simmons

Key Milestones

  1. What inspired Hayden to get into tech, specifically mobile and fintech?
  2. Why was some of Hayden’s work in ad tech soul sucking?
  3. How does Ken approach business development in non profit?
  4. What is emerging market fintech?
  5. What does mobile and fintech look like in emerging markets and how is it changing?
  6. Tips for working internationally and across cultures
  7. Lateral and Next Billion Advisors

Additional Resources

Learn more about Libra, Facebook’s blockchain powered digital currency - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libra_(digital_currency)

Learn more about One Million Advisors - https://nextbillion.net/

Connect with Hayden Simmons

Connect with Grant Ingersoll