Stalking the Smart Money: Meet the Investor All Stars of FinovateEurope 2022

Stalking the Smart Money: Meet the Investor All Stars of FinovateEurope 2022

At a time of almost unprecedented financial liquidity, being able to separate the investment-worthy wheat from the chaff may be more important than ever. Additionally, knowledge of where the so-called “smart money” is investing within the growing field of fintech is an invaluable aid for those attempting to better understand where fintech is right now and where it is going. And for those within financial services, or in industries adjacent to it, who are looking to do business with innovative fintech companies, knowing where the most informed investors are putting their capital can be a great guide to identifying where some of the best opportunities to partner and form collaborations may be found.

This is what makes Finovate’s All-Star Investment Panel: Where the Smart Money is Investing in Fintech one of the biggest and most popular attractions at our events. At our upcoming conference in March, FinovateEurope, we’ve put together a star-studded panel of some of fintech’s most informed and accomplished investors to help you gain unique insights into which fintechs the “smart money” is betting on and why. Check out a sneak peek of our All-Star Investment Panel below.

  • Rana Yared, General Partner, Balderton Capital: Yared joined Balderton Capital in 2020. She previously worked as a Partner at Goldman Sachs in their Principal Strategic Investments Group. Later, as part of GS Growth, Yared oversaw investments in financial technology and enterprise technology. Yared also oversaw the commercialization of Goldman Sachs’ technology assets in New York and London. LinkedIn
  • Aman Ghei, Partner, Finch Capital: Ghei led Finch’s investment into Twisto (sold to Zip) and sits on the board of AccountsIQ, Symmetrical, Lantum as well as being involved in the firm’s investments in Goodlord, TaxScouts and Squirro. Ghei’s experience ranges from Credit Suisse’s Technology team to Accel Partners in London to Facebook’s content distribution business in Europe. LinkedIn
  • Luis Valdich, Managing Director, Fintech Investing, Citi Ventures: Joining Citi Ventures in 2015, Valdich is responsible for fintech investing in both the U.S. and Europe, as well as in Latin America and Southeast Asia/India. Before Citi, Valdich founded and ran JPMorgan Chase’s Strategic Investments group for nearly eight years and invested in more than 30 companies. LinkedIn
  • Jay Wilson, Investment Director, AlbionVC: At AlbionVC, Wilson focuses on all aspects of technology, with a particular focus on how technology is redefining financial services from retail to institutional finance, and at every level of the IT stack including blockchain, AI and machine learning, predictive analytics, robotics, and the cloud. LinkedIn

The FinovateEurope 2022 Investor All-Star panel will be moderated by Sunaina Sinha Haldea, Global Head of Private Capital Advisory with Raymond James. Haldea founded placement agent and secondaries advisor Cebile Capital, which was acquired by Raymond James Financial in 2021. Also a prolific angel investor and non-executive director, Haldea’s leadership of Raymond James / Cebile Capital has enabled the firm to become one of the leading advisors in private equity and real assets.

FinovateEurope 2022 will be held in London, England from March 22 through March 23. Both in-person and digital all-access passes are available with big savings available to those attendees who register by November 19th. For more information, visit our FinovateEurope 2022 hub today.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Conversations from FinovateFall: The Road to Collaborative Banking with ASA Head of Fintech Relationships Ryan Ruff

Conversations from FinovateFall: The Road to Collaborative Banking with ASA Head of Fintech Relationships Ryan Ruff

At FinovateFall we had a number of conversations with fintech professionals on the challenges of forging successful fintech partnerships. One of the more illuminating discussions we had was with Ryan Ruff, Head of Fintech Relationships with ASA Technologies, who discussed his company’s unique approach to helping fintechs and financial institutions build more constructive collaborations.

As both a fintech executive and a fintech founder, Ruff has a unique understanding of the challenges that fintechs and financial institutions often face when trying to work together. In our discussion at FinovateFall, he explained what some of those pain points are and how ASA Technologies’ platform enables both parties – fintechs and financial institutions – to maximize their interaction with each other, minimize inevitable risks, and focus on core competencies.

On the challenges financial institutions and fintechs face when trying to forge meaningful partnerships.

One of the things we’ve noticed is that everyone understands banking-as-a-service. What that really (represents) is a relationship between one fintech and one financial institution. And there’s a lot of risk there. On the financial institution side, they are asking the question: is this fintech really going to succeed? Do they have the capital? Are they PCI compliant? SOC-2 compliant? There’s a lot of risk in that relationship.

What we do is (offer) a contractual agreement where one financial institution enters into a partnership with all of the fintechs (on our platform), so that if one of them fails, it’s not that big of a deal because there are more coming and there are others on the platform, so it takes away that risk of partnering.

On the other side, the fintechs, when they get on to our platform, they are now partnering with all of the financial institutions, so they can go and find the ones that are most conducive to their clients and can send all their clients to that institution.

On the importance of building understanding and trust among all parties

It’s important that the technology piece is secure, that it’s being done in a compliant way … that’s very important and we work on that. But it’s also important that the revenue models work for both parties as well. (For example) if a fintech has a lead for a banking service like a home loan or a car loan or a student loan, they can send that back to the ASA platform, where the customer is actually a client for the institution. That institution gets to do that loan and then the referral fee goes back to the fintech that provided the referral. So both sides are making money, and they are able to stay in their core competencies and really work at scaling their core value propositions.

What makes a fintech special is that it’s a niche application. It’s something that’s going to help a specific user. Ironically, when you try to go partner with a financial institution, they are looking at it and saying I don’t know if this is going to affect a big enough segment of our user base, so I don’t know if it’s worth doing the partnership. The very thing that makes your fintech special, is what makes it hard to partner.

Now in (our) model, the financial institution is not just getting this one fintech that gets one sliver, they’re getting all the fintechs (which will) hit a much wider base collectively. So it makes more sense for both parties when you’re doing it “multiple (fintechs) to multiple (financial institutions).”

On the way that the current social and economic climate has impacted the work ASA does

It’s made the need for what we do even greater. People are changing what they need out of a bank, and they’re changing what they need out of a fintech because our world is changing. We’re trying to come into a new normal right now that a lot of people don’t understand, and wonder what the future is going to look like. We’ve got a platform where people can build those user experiences really quickly, get them to scale, and get them to market quicker than ever before. So really this moment brings an opportunity for our institutions and our fintechs to be able to collaborate together quickly to build those experiences that people are going to want in this new environment that we’ve all been thrown into.

Check out the rest of our conversation with Ryan Ruff from FinovateFall 2021 on creating successful fintech partnerships – and the importance of moving beyond open banking to what he calls “collaborative banking.”

Photo by James Lee from Pexels

How One Fintech Firm is Responding to Promote Financial Health and Inclusion

How One Fintech Firm is Responding to Promote Financial Health and Inclusion

When it comes to financial inclusion, it’s easy for some people to turn a blind eye. However, when banks and fintechs help to solve gaps in the current environment, there’s more potential to boost everyone’s financial health.

Lloyd Pitchford, CFO at Experian, is working on promoting financial inclusion via Experian’s Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) program, which helps Experian improve its performance across ESG matters, including supporting financial inclusion and financial health.

We spoke to Pitchford about the program and his view of the current financial inclusion environment and how the industry should respond.

How have you seen financial inclusion awareness evolve into what it is today? What has prompted the increased awareness?

Lloyd Pitchford: The United Nations includes access to financial services, such as credit and microfinance, among its Sustainable Development Goals. Access to affordable credit opens the door to opportunities for people to transform their lives – from homes and healthcare to education and entrepreneurship. This has never been more important than it is today, following the global pandemic.

There are times in most of our lives where we can’t get access to the financial system in a way that we want, be it for a mortgage, a car, or a business loan. We’ve all experienced the frustration when you feel you’re on the outside of the system and you can’t do the things you want for yourself or your family. At Experian, it’s our job to change that. We want to make sure everybody is included and has access to fair and affordable financial products. Financial inclusion is fundamental to our business.

When it comes to financial inclusion, what are some of Experian’s offerings you are most proud of?

Pitchford: As the pandemic took hold in 2020, we stepped in with data and analytics to support governments, health services and national emergency response efforts. Our data and analytics helped them plan ahead and direct health care and financial support to the most vulnerable people through major initiatives such as COVID Radar in Brazil and Experian CORE (COVID Outlook & Response Evaluator) in the USA.

It soon became clear that the impact, not just on physical health, but on financial health, would be far-reaching for people around the world. We looked at how we could mobilize our expertise and resources to help communities through the crisis and focused on financial education as the best way to strengthen their resilience and support their road to recovery.

Through the launch of our United for Financial Health programm we rapidly established 11 NGO partnerships across our biggest consumer markets to deliver targeted financial education for some of the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. By the end of the year, we had reached nearly 35 million people, more than double our original goal of 15 million, and we’re not stopping there. We aim to reach 100 million people by 2024.

Part of our efforts include our member relationships around the world. This year, we surpassed the milestone of 100 million direct relationships with consumers globally and delivered further innovations to support people through our business, such as the launch of products like Experian Boost in the UK and Serasa Score Turbo in Brazil. This, of course, is on top of our ground-breaking Experian Boost launch in the United States a few years ago. Our goal is to have a direct relationship with as many people as possible; to truly become the Consumers’ Credit Bureau and power financial opportunities for all.

What advice would you give other incumbents who are trying to drive financial inclusion within their organizations?

Pitchford: I would point to our culture of innovation. It helps us harness opportunities to drive business growth. We are continually investing in product innovation and new sources of data to address emerging market opportunities that can make a real difference to global communities. In 2020, around 1,000 innovators from across Experian joined our annual Future of Information Conference – which was held virtually because of the pandemic – to encourage them to think differently in their work. Topics included fairness in artificial intelligence, transforming agribusiness, and enhancing the consumer healthcare experience. Teams at our DataLabs in Brazil, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S.A. tap into our culture of innovation to continually create new solutions to global challenges. The result of all this is that our Social Innovation products have now reached 61 million people since 2013. We aim to reach 100 million by 2025.

What challenges exist in serving underbanked communities as an incumbent? Would it be easier as a startup?

Pitchford: Our annual Sustainable Business Report notes that more than a billion people in Asia Pacific lack access to formal financial services, 45 million in the U.S.A. have no credit profile or are unscoreable, 45 million in Brazil are unbanked, and over five million in the U.K. have no credit history. So we know we’ve got more work to do and we remain focused on using our business to make real and sustainable change. With social innovation running so deeply through the core of our culture, and our commitment to improving global financial health front and center of our thinking, we will continue to push to find new solutions to help people, serve communities and protect the environment, helping to create a better future for all.

MoneyLion and the Journey to SPAC

MoneyLion and the Journey to SPAC

After finalizing the deal with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Fusion Acquisition Corp. this week, MoneyLion is now publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ML.

For additional insight into this milestone, we spoke with MoneyLion CEO and Co-Founder Dee Choubey. Prior to co-founding MoneyLion in 2013, Choubey spent over a decade on Wall Street inside the largest banks learning about the inefficiencies that exist within banking. He built MoneyLion to create a private banking experience for everyday Americans by offering credit, banking, and investing in a single app.

Talk to us about MoneyLion’s journey so far. What has growth been like since the company was founded in 2013?

Dee Choubey: We founded MoneyLion with the goal of rewiring the consumer finance system, giving hardworking Americans access to previously exclusive private banking services. At MoneyLion, we bring consumer finance into the future by combining AI, machine-learning technology, and behavioral science to create a full-service, digital financial platform for our users. Since 2013, we have engaged with over 8.5 million Americans, empowering them with a digital banking platform that helps them better manage their finances today and build wealth for tomorrow.

This has been a historic year for the company. Since announcing we were going public via a SPAC in February, to listing on the NYSE on September 23rd, we’ve continued to see consistent growth and a validation of our business plan. Entering the public markets will enable us to scale our capabilities and reach even more hardworking Americans. Since the start of 2021, we’re up across all key financial and operating metrics, including 100%+ year over year growth in net revenue. Our user growth has also accelerated this year, with total customers increasing almost 60% in the first half of 2021 to 2.3 million.

Earlier this month, we raised our annual revenue guidance for fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023 to reflect higher projected user growth, along with expected revenue contribution of planned product launches including our new crypto and Buy Now Pay Later offerings. As a public company, we will remain laser focused on positioning ourselves for optimal execution on our well-defined growth objectives.

How did you know that a SPAC was right for MoneyLion?

Choubey: For us, we’d spent the last eight years focusing on building proprietary technology. As we saw the product market fit of MoneyLion accelerating, we knew it was time to take MoneyLion’s innovative products to more Americans, and a SPAC provided us with an entry point to enhance our public presence as well as capitalize the business. As with everything we do at MoneyLion, it ties back to our mission: to provide top-notch financial access and bespoke advice to every hardworking American.

Listing via a SPAC was the best option for us due to its efficiency in allowing us to strengthen our balance sheet. With the capital we raised through this transaction, we are now able to accelerate the execution of our growth strategy, deliver against our mission, and provide incredible value to our customers and members.

What has been the hardest part of the SPAC process?

Choubey: If anything, our biggest challenge was timing. We announced the merger with Fusion Acquisition Corp in late February, expecting to be public somewhere in June or July. It took longer than anticipated to get through the whole process, in part due to the number of deals coming to the market.

With the merger behind us and our balance sheet fortified, we’re all very excited about this next chapter in the MoneyLion journey. For the past eight years we have been focused on building our proprietary tech stack, and we think we have one of the best platforms, not only here in the United States, but globally. We’re poised to build on that strong foundation and make MoneyLion a daily destination for all hard working Americans, combining our robust financial products and services with highly personalized content and advice to help our customers take control of their finances and achieve their life goals.

What advice would you offer other fintechs considering the SPAC route?

Choubey: Find the right partner with whom to go public. And that usually entails the sponsor’s knowledge of its investor base, their willingness to do whatever it takes to accurately position the company, as well as a specific understanding of the capital markets including the pipe market. At the end of the day, the fintech needs to have public market fit and a good sponsor can help create an efficient framework.

Will anything about MoneyLion change now that the acquisition is finalized?

Choubey: We’re no longer trading under FUSE; we’ve officially taken over the ML ticker on the New York Stock Exchange. For those that remember, ML was Merrill Lynch’s ticker, an iconic American financial institution. Today, we are immensely proud to have that ticker as we grow into our own iconic American brand. As we like to say, the ‘bull has become the lion’.

In terms of what’s happening within MoneyLion, we are going to continue to work hard and deliver against our mission: harnessing the power of technology to empower millions of hardworking Americans to take control of their finances so that they can achieve their life goals.

Photo by Corentin Marzin on Unsplash

A Passionate Mindset and Superior Execution: A Conversation with BM Technologies’ Luvleen Sidhu

A Passionate Mindset and Superior Execution: A Conversation with BM Technologies’ Luvleen Sidhu

Is there a better person to lead a conversation about bold leadership in fintech than Luvleen Sidhu? Chair, founder, and CEO of BM Technologies, Sidhu was the youngest female founder and CEO to take a company public when her firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange at the beginning of the year.

“I am proud to see BM Technologies take this historic step and enter the public markets,” Sidhu said in January. “We are delighted to be one of the first neo banking fintechs to go public. We are also EBITDA positive today, which serves to set us apart from other neo banking fintechs in the market.”

Formerly known as BankMobile, BM Technologies currently has more than two million account holders, and provides disbursement services at 700+ college campuses in the U.S., reaching one out of every three students in the country. The BaaS innovator was among the fintechs to earn recognition at the recently announced Finovate Awards, taking home top honors in the Best Fintech Partnership category for its collaboration with T-Mobile.

Beyond the Arc’s Steven Ramirez hosted a fireside chat with Luvleen Sidhu as part of the FinovateFall conference in New York last week. Below are a few excerpts from their conversation.

On what it takes to be a bold leader today

For me, being a bold leader really comes down to a few key things that, in my opinion, a bold leader would demonstrate. So that is being able to have a compelling and unique and unifying vision and purpose. (It is) being able to get people to buy into that, to be energized by that, committed to that. (It is also) being able to have superior execution, because you can have a great idea and be in the clouds, but unless you are working on improving, iterating, and being agile and adaptive to the times, you’re not going to succeed.

On the inspiration behind her company’s “bold bet” in 2016

We launched in 2015 as a direct-to-consumer strategy – like the Chimes, the Varos, the N26s of the world are doing now. We found out pretty early on that our pillar of being able to have a profitable, sustainable model as fast as possible wasn’t happening. The CAC was really high. We weren’t getting the sort of engagement and direct deposit customers which are critical in banking to actually get. So we took a bold bet in 2016 where we took a B2B2C approach and started implementing banking as a service, which is our strategy today.

On practicing bold leadership on an individual level

I think it’s contagious. When you’re bringing that innovative sort of passionate mindset and energy to work, then you engender that with everyone that you work with. It creates this ripple effect and you get others to buy in and work with you and you create a lot of tremendous momentum from that. I think it’s (important to) remain keen to continuous learning. This space is moving so fast. We can’t rest on our laurels for more than six months (before) you’ve got to innovate again. And so it’s people that make sure that they’re looking at what their customers are saying – and responding to that – but also looking at the competitive environment, how is it changing, how is it evolving … (That’s) how you remain competitive in the space.

Check out the rest of Luvleen Sidhu’s Fireside Chat: Why We Need Bold Leadership More Than Ever Before from FinovateFall 2021.

Women in Fintech: Finding Community and Investing in Social Capital

Women in Fintech: Finding Community and Investing in Social Capital

Our Women in Fintech Series continues with an interview featuring Pauline Roteta, Co-Founder and CEO of Pasito.

We spoke with Pauline to discuss the importance of DEI in current fintech trends, the benefits of finding one’s community, and her journey to founding Pasito, the fintech that delivers financial wellness through inclusive employee benefits.

Pauline will be joining our Women In Fintech Power Panel: Paving The Way For The Next Generation Of Female Founders & Executives – How Can We Reach A Gender-Neutral Future In Financial Services? at FinovateFall next month.

Tell us about yourself.

Pauline Roteta: I went to college to be a Civil Engineer. Growing up in a small town in Argentina, I was awestruck by the sheer size of development in New York and wanted to be part of that continuous cycle of growth. While I cherish the process thinking engineering gave me, after a couple of civil and construction internships, I was hired by Goldman Sachs for the summer and have never looked back.

In finance, I found a community of the sharpest minds tackling global challenges and saw the opportunity to effect impact at scale.

Now a decade later, I can safely say that finance has given me the development and growth I was after. I’ve been part of teams that grew multi-billion dollar businesses from scratch, led acquisitions, raised private equity funds, and I have been the most senior female investor of a private markets investment fund. In 2021, with this experience under my belt, I co-founded Pasito, a female-led fintech delivering inclusive benefits for working parents. As a founder and business leader, I am now even more excited than at the start of my career for the tremendous growth opportunity ahead for fintech companies like Pasito.

How have you seen the industry change across your career?

Roteta: So much has changed in 10 years. When I first joined BlackRock, we were focused on the European Debt Crisis and unraveling legacy portfolios from the 2008 Financial Crisis. While technology was important to the business model, most of our analysis and delivery was in person. The active-passive debate was just starting. Fintech wasn’t mainstream and wasn’t seen as a threat by incumbents.

Fast-forward to today: we’ve seen a proliferation of fintech companies that are effectively competing with long-time incumbents in wealth, banking, and payments. In the space where we are building, there has been less disruption. Plan administrators continue their manual processes. Technology looks like it’s from the first days of the internet. Customers haven’t yet been delighted. Pasito is working on changing that.

Where do you see fintech heading in the next 12 months?

Roteta: After the events of 2020, financial health and diversity, equity, and inclusion will remain top of mind for businesses and the government. We’re seeing employers treat financial and mental wellness with the same care that they treat physical health. That’s a huge win for the retail consumer and creates an opening for new business models in fintech to fill in the gap left behind by wealth management.

When it comes to DEI, we see fintech pushing the boundaries of financial product and service personalization.

While we’ve seen an explosion in fintech, it’s important to remember most of the big problems remain without a solution. The U.S. has never been more unequal. The wealthiest families, who are primarily white, own most of the stock market. Black and Latinx families have limited access to financial advice, and their assets amount to a fraction of the average American household wealth. At Pasito, we are working on closing this gap, one product at a time. Our hope is that more fintechs will build with this mission in mind, rather than continuing to develop products that solidify the status quo.

What more do you think can be done to support women in fintech?

Roteta: We have a long way to go in fintech to reap the benefits of a diverse workforce. The easiest way to begin this work is for leaders in the space – both men and women – to first look inward and ask:

  • What am I doing to actively advance women in fintech?
  • How am I contributing to female-founded and women-led companies and initiatives?
  • How many women are working for my company? (if the answer is not many, then ask WHY?)
  • How is my culture inclusive and inviting to women?

The second easiest way to support women in fintech is to simply listen. What do women need to join the industry? If you ask, they will tell you. (Hint: it usually boils down to equal pay, family-friendly benefits, and flexibility.)

Lastly, invest social and financial capital in women. Women with powerful ideas will not only increase the return on your investment, but also the overall positive impact you can have on the world.

Where did you find support in the fintech world?

Roteta: We’ve seen tremendous support from Startup BostonParenthood VenturesThe Capital Network, other fintech founders, and personal mentors. The insight and community from these networks have been invaluable for Pasito’s early growth stage. Our leadership team is now paying it forward to other founders, so we can collectively level the playing field in hiring, building, and fundraising.

What advice would you give to women starting their careers in the industry now?

Roteta: Be confident. Find your community. Listen to founders who have been there before. Conduct market validation before spending your money. Be selective of your investors. Above all else, stay true to your mission and values.

Photo by from Pexels

FinovateFocus: Leverage New Tools and Technologies to Make Data Work for You

FinovateFocus: Leverage New Tools and Technologies to Make Data Work for You

Data Tools and Technologies is the theme of this month’s FinovateFocus event, which takes place less than a week from today on June 30. This two-hour, targeted networking and collaboration experience leverages smart algorithms to help attendees find like minds and make the best matches. In between networking sessions, FinovateFocus will feature short presentations on harnessing the power of data from fintech analysts, business leaders, and industry experts.

Book your ticket at our FinovateFocus hub today. Free registration for eligible director/head/SVP/C-level professionals from financial institutions is available. Visit our FinovateFocus hub for more information.

Here’s a look at what FinovateFocus has in store for next week’s presentations:

  • Transforming Relationship Managers into Trusted Advisors with Yamini Bhat, CEO and Co-Founder of Vymo.
  • Six Steps to Accelerate Your Progress on the Road to AI with Steven Ramirez, CEO, Beyond the Arc
  • Balancing Humans and Machines to Unlock Real-Time Finance Insights with Snehal Shinde, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Zeni Inc.

After the networking sessions and presentations, FinovateFocus will feature a set of fintech roundtables led by our experts. Themes and hosts for the June FinovateFocus roundtables next week are:

  • Maximizing sales effectiveness: The art of working with “small data” with Yamini Bhat, CEO and Co-Founder of Vymo
  • The power of data to enhance your services – from Open Banking through Open Finance to Open Data with Dr. Louise Beaumont, Chair of the Open Finance & Payments Working Group of TechUK
  • Strategies for developing and deploying AI more quickly with Steven Ramirez, CEO of Beyond the Arc
  • Leveraging data to provide a better borrowing experience for businesses with Sean Hunter, CIO of OakNorth

FinovateAsia: Digital Disruption, Embedded Finance, and the Customer Experience

FinovateAsia: Digital Disruption, Embedded Finance, and the Customer Experience

If you are looking to get up to speed on the innovations in fintech taking place in the Asia-Pacific region, then our all-digital fintech conference, FinovateAsia, is your ticket. For two days next week, June 22 and June 23, our guest speakers and distinguished panelists will share their insights and experiences as innovators, entrepreneurs, and analysts in one of the fastest-growing, technologically-creative areas of the world.

We’ve already introduced you to our keynote speakers. Here’s a look at the roundtables and panel discussions that will be available to attendees over the course of the conference. Learn more about FinovateAsia Digital at our FinovateAsia hub and pick up your ticket today!

Digital disruption and customer experience

Examine how customer demands have changed in the current environment. Discover how to build successful partnerships and distribution channels with customers in mind. Read more.

  • Sheila Paul, Chief Marketing Officer, Home Credit Philippines
  • Mikko Hietanen, COO, CreamQuark
  • Shawn Lau, VP, Partnerships Solutions, SwissRe
  • Justin Yiu, Head of Innovation, Solaria Labs East (Asia), Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Gerald Marion, Chief Customer & Strategy Officer, BUPA ANZ
  • Moderated by Marc-Antoine Hager, Sales Director, APAC, CleverTap

Embedded finance and the future of finance

Learn how to harness the power of data and digitization to build new models of finance across verticals. See how to empower customers through better offerings, and how to integrate services into customers’ every day lives. Read more.

  • Victor Alexiev, Director, APAC Head for Citi Ventures, Programs & Strategic Partnerships, ICG, Citi
  • Sonal Kapoor, Director, Flipkart
  • Moderated by Yannick Even, Head of Digital & Smart Analytics APAC, SwissRe

The evolving payment landscape in Asia: Blurring of lines between payment systems

Examine the emerging challenges and opportunities in the payments space. Discuss how the payments industry can foster collaboration to serve consumers and businesses better. Read more.

  • Daniel Webber, Founder / CEO, FXC Intelligence
  • Laetitia Moncarz, Head of Corporates & FI and Business Innovation, SWIFT Asia Pacific
  • Kevin Popermhem, Cross Border Product Manager, ITMX
  • Moderated by Nicholas Soo, Regional Head of Payments, Global Liquidity & Cash Management, HSBC

Change management: Bringing your people on your digitization journey

Learn how implementing cultural change can future-proof your business and attract and retain the right, forward-looking, tech-talented people. Read more.

  • Faraaz Ali, Group Head, Digital Ecosystems, API and Open Banking, DBS
  • Susan Ong, Chief Information Officer, Home Credit Philippines
  • Oscar Ramos, Partner & Managing Director, Chinaccelerator
  • Deepak Oram, Head of Marketing Technology & Automation, HDFC Bank
  • Moderated by John Gist, Head of Fidelity Labs, Fidelity

Overcoming challenges and fostering successful partnerships across new ecosystems

Explore the convergence between financial services, insurance, wealth, and health, and the disruptors working across ecosystems. Learn how you can fit into this emerging ecosystem model and expand into new markets. Read more.

  • Deepak Sharma, Chief Digital Officer, Kotah Mahindra Bank
  • Manish Gurbuxani, Regional Head of Business Development and New Markets, Prudential
  • Alpesh Doshi, Managing Partner, Redcliffe Capital
  • Moderated by Yi Mien Koh, Chief Partnership Officer, Asian Markets, AXA Asia

SME lending in a post-COVID-19 world

Learn how credit and financing options favored by consumers have changed in response to the pandemic. Examine ways to determine the unique credit needs of different customer types and how to build new products to accommodate them. Read more.

  • Nikhilesh Goel, Co-founder and COO, Validus Capital
  • Brian Yeoh, Head of Data Governance and Strategy, Financial Services Regulatory Authority
  • Moderated by Zhi-Ying Barry, Senior Analyst, Forrester

Acceleration of digital banking: Innovating in response to COVID-19

Investigate how banks and other financial institutions embraced digital transformation trends that preceded the pandemic. Discuss what challenges and opportunities are likely to arise in a post-COVID environment. Read more.

  • Sam Tanskul, Managing Director Krungsri Finnovate & Head of Innovation, Krungsri Bank
  • Xue Kai Pang, CEO, Tokocrypto
  • Medhy Soudhi, Head of FinTech & StartupXcharge, DBS
  • Moderated by Lapman Lee, Professor of Practice (FinTech & Innovation), HK Polytechnic University

Leveraging emerging technologies and digitization to reimagine a hybrid customer experience

Discover how to identify customer pain points more efficiently and find the right balance between digital self-service and the human touch. Learn how to harness AI and machine learning to exceed customer expectations. Read more.

  • Andy Chun, Regional Director, Technology Innovation, Prudential
  • Shawn Low, Co-founder and Head of Operations,
  • Tomasz Kurczyk, Chief Digital and Transformation Officer, AXA
  • Moderated by Frank Yazdi, Head of Priority Client Services, Asia Pacific, HSBC

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Quantum Metric on Agile Operations and Fintech Innovation

Quantum Metric on Agile Operations and Fintech Innovation

The partnership between Quantum Metric and U.S. Bank was major part of the conversation on digital transformation in financial services at FinovateSpring in May. Quantum Metric, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and founded in 2015, leverages its Continuous Product Design (CPD) platform to enable business, product, and technical teams to build better digital products faster. With partners ranging from Alaska Airlines to Western Union, Quantum Metric helps businesses access the customer insights that guide and inform development process.

We caught up with Michael Hanson, Regional Vice President of Banking and Financial Services at Quantum Metric, to find out what banks and fintechs can learn from Quantum Metric’s experience in collaborating with U.S. Bank. A textbook case of “two great tastes that taste great together,” Quantum Metric and U.S. Bank showed attendees what’s possible when companies with track records of innovation and a shared commitment to collaboration come together.

On the breadth of digital experience in financial services

When you think about digital experiences, it’s more than just a website. It can be a native application. It could be your tablet experience – depending on the demographic. It could be ATMs – ATMs are essentially a branch within a digital device – as well as kiosks in the traditional storefronts and branches that tend to be the bridge between the traditional banking relationship and a digital self-service relationship.

On the value of a company-wide embrace of agile operations

That means that marketing is now going to be agile. So instead of trying to craft some type of new product or new pitch and then releasing it out in the wild and seeing maybe in six months if it worked and delivered … No! We want to launch something, but we want to know immediately, in real-time, (and) understand if it’s working or not working, if there’s an opportunity to drive some type of improvement. It’s literally agile operations, which has been around for decades, but is now being deployed across the organization.

On the challenge of overcoming “technical debt”

There are long-term contracts and on-premises solutions that are baked into current workflows and current processes. And so as you’re learning new tricks, so to speak, (the question is): how do we quickly retool and empower our employees with the technologies that are going to support those new processes and support some of those new tricks that we’re teaching folks?

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The Emergence of Childhood Investing Apps

The Emergence of Childhood Investing Apps

Providing services for Generation Z is increasingly on the minds of both banks and fintechs alike.

One such fintech, EarlyBird, is making it easy for a child’s community to invest in their future. We spoke with the company’s CEO Jordan Wexler on the current childhood investing environment and what it takes to compete.

Talk to us about the current state of financial literacy in the U.S.

Jordan Wexler: The numbers tell us that most American families aren’t doing a great job at teaching financial literacy. According to a recent survey, 19% of Americans reported that their household spent more than their income over the past year. Add in the fact that 43% of adults say they haven’t got a rainy day fund, and that means huge chunks of our society simply aren’t prepared to face financial hurdles. This shows that good financial habits and knowledge aren’t being effectively passed down either.

Research suggests there isn’t much time to sow the seeds of financial literacy into a kid’s headspace. Children generally have their financial habits set by the age of seven. That means to set kids up for financial independence, they have to be taught the basics of financial literacy sooner rather than later. Not only will you instill good habits early, but you’ll also be setting them up to make smart investment and financial choices throughout their lives.

Most wealthtech tools target high net worth individuals. What benefits are there to having a young client base that typically has no income?

Wexler: The benefit of helping the youth is that we’re trying to set them up for financial success in the future. We aren’t encouraging spending – we’re instilling good financial habits early on that will help kids flourish in their adult lives.

With EarlyBird, our vision is to have parents start investing in their children from day one. That way, in 18 years, they will have a solid financial foundation for their child to give them the freedom to pursue their aspirations – traveling the world, going to college, starting a business, whatever it may be.

EarlyBird was built for more than the children with their name on the custodial account. It’s for parents, family, and friends that want to give meaningful and purposeful gifts to the children in their lives to help support them financially. We’re making it accessible to all because it doesn’t matter which household income bracket a family falls under, investing just a little bit each month for your child can go a long way.

What elements do you use to cater EarlyBird to such a young audience?

Wexler: We’re catering EarlyBird to parents, their children, and also the community around them that wants to see them succeed. For parents, we’ve simplified the process to kickstart their child’s future by opening a custodial investment account. It doesn’t matter if the parent is a beginner, novice, or expert in investing in the stock market, we’re allowing families to gift meaningful and sustainable financial contributions for all life’s milestones.

For children, we’re creating a platform that allows them to learn about finances. They can better understand investing/saving, watch their money grow, and then one day have a bank account with accumulated funds to use as they please. Our hope is that from being a lifelong EarlyBird user, they’ll know how to manage those assets responsibly.

We’ve also created a great user experience for the ‘givers.’ They are able to record a video memory with their contribution and can use it as an opportunity to pass down stories and knowledge from the world of money. Video memories are placed into an archive on the EarlyBird app for the children to look back on and learn from forever.

EarlyBird was founded in 2019. How have you seen the childhood financial services space grow since then?

Wexler: Being in the weeds in the childhood financial services space, it’s apparent that there’s been massive growth and that it’s on an upward trajectory, especially with latest funding news from services like Greenlight, Current, Step, and Till Financial.

One thing we are noticing right now is that “kids” and “children” are being somewhat generalized into one category of fintech. The reality is – there are different offerings in the space that make sense for different ages and parental comfort levels. I feel that we’re at the point where parents need to start to consider their “ideal mix” when it comes to the fintech tools and apps they use to save for their children, teach them financial literacy, and also get them started with spending when it’s time.

For example, parents can get started with EarlyBird when their child is born and then later on incorporate an app with teen-focused debit card to begin digital banking. This is similar to the “old school” trajectory of starting off with a 529 account then adding a standard savings account and later a checking account.

It’s great to see so much growth, innovation, and potential happening in childhood financial services. We’re beyond excited to be a part of this movement and to set the next generation up for financial freedom!

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FinovateSpring: The Power of Data and the Role of the Customer in the Post-COVID Era

FinovateSpring: The Power of Data and the Role of the Customer in the Post-COVID Era

Our all-digital spring fintech conference is right around the corner. Here’s a look at some of the luminaries who will be sharing their insights at this year’s FinovateSpring, May 10 through May 13.

Seven in Seven

For years, we’ve put our demoing companies to the seven-minute test. Now its our experts’ turn on the clock. Our Seven in Seven main stage session on Tuesday, May 11, gives seven analysts, innovators, and executives seven minutes each to share their insights into the most critical issues facing banks and fintechs in 2021 and beyond.

  • Ronit Ghose, CitiBio
  • Hugh Shannon, OakNorthBio
  • Siri Borsum, HuaweiBio
  • Alex Weber, N26Bio
  • Charles Potts, Independent Community Bankers of AmericaBio
  • Nadia Edwards-Dashti, Harrington Star GroupBio
  • Alex Johnson, Cornerstone AdvisersBio

Main Stage Keynotes

Looking for a 30,000 foot view of the fintech landscape? Our mainstage, keynote addresses examine the terrain.

The Pandemic’s Lasting Impact on Financial Services and What Comes Next

The pandemic pushed financial services companies to innovate and accelerate their digital transformations overnight. Hitting the industry’s reset button has created growing pains and increased competition for some and opportunities for others, including new customers and partnerships– but what does this mean for the future of banking?

Melissa Manne, Marcus by Goldman SachsSessionBio

Enabling a Data-Driven Enterprise

To streamline and automate compliance activities, leading firms are now implementing an enterprise data fabric to bring together data from across the enterprise, reducing manual effort, increasing accuracy, lowering latencies, and simplifying operations.

In this session we will present a subset of the research findings, describe what top analysts are calling “the future of data management,” and how it is being used to streamline both compliance initiatives and accelerate strategic business initiatives at top financial services firms.

Joe Lichtenberg, IntersystemsSessionBio

How Covid Has Transformed Global eCommerce & Omnichannel Payments

How Will True Mobile Wallets Evolve & Will They Be Able To Connect Internationally?

Will Graylin, OV LoopSessionBio

A Digital Banking Roadmap For Community Banks & Credit Unions: Start With The Customer & Work Back

Rilla Delorier, Coastal Community BankSessionBio

Power to the Panels!

From insights into customer engagement to expanding the role of women in fintech, our mainstage Power Panel discussions offer deep dives and diverse opinions on key issues in our industry.

Customer Insights – Sharing Real Life Examples Of Best Practice In CX And How To Blend Human & Digital CX

  • Dominic Venturo, U.S. BancorpBio
  • Camilla Morais, BrexBio
  • Stephen Goldstein, RGAXBio
  • Lamont Young, Citizens BankBio
  • Alyson Clarke, ForresterBio
  • Read more

How Will New Technologies, New Competitors And New Business Models Shape The Future Of Payments? Is Payments Orchestration About To Have Its Moment?

  • Andrew Steele, Activant CapitalBio
  • Carolyn Criscitiello, Santander BankBio
  • Eric Van Miltenburg, RippleBio
  • Gilles Ubaghs, Aite GroupBio
  • Read more

Lending 2.0 – What Are The Problems That Need To Be Solved For Consumers & SMEs In The New COVID 19 World?

  • Mark Ruddock, BFS CapitalBio
  • Mercedes Bent, Lightspeed Venture PartnersBio
  • Tom Burnside, LendingPointBio
  • Louise Beaumont, TechUKBio
  • Read more

Paving The Way For The Next Generation Of Female Founders & Executives – How Can We Reach A Gender-Neutral Future In Financial Services?

  • Nisa Amoils, A100xBio
  • Sarah Wolter, FinTech CollectiveBio
  • Cat Hernandez, Venture CollectiveBio
  • Michelle Tran, NYC Fintech WomenBio
  • Read more

Tickets for FinovateSpring are available now. Book your reservation by April 30 (this Friday!) and save $100 on the price of your four-day, all-access pass!

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Beyond Good and the Power of Purpose-Driven Fintech

Beyond Good and the Power of Purpose-Driven Fintech

When we think of global corporations and business in general, do we feel pride in how we do things? Beyond Good, a new book by Unconventional Ventures co-founders Theodora Lau and Bradley Leimer, is a call to arms for business leaders to recognize how they can do well by doing good.

Beyond Good showcases how fintech is changing business models and what every industry can learn from it. The leaders in financial services are fostering a thriving ecosystem of incumbents and startups, unlocking new possibilities to make broader financial inclusion a reality.

With a foreword from the Aspen Institute, exclusive interviews with leading B-Corps, policy makers, executives, and case studies from companies like Sunrise Banks, Ant Group, Village Capital, Microsoft, and PayPal, Beyond Good shows how everyone can contribute to a more common good. Finovate readers can also get 20% off their copy of the book, using code Inspire20.

Below are a few excerpts from our conversation with Theo and Brad on the new book and their upcoming appearance at FinovateSpring next month. For the full interview, check out the video above.

On the importance of financial inclusion

Theo Lau: “If we talk about the onset of the so-called fintech revolution, if you will, a lot of the new startups seemed to regurgitate old ideas that have already been around. They make it prettier, they create this bamboo credit card … But it that really changing our behavior, is it really changing how we work? In the West, are we really including more demographics and doing things better for them? I would argue a lot of the time we are not.”

Bradley Leimer: “Inclusivity goes much broader than just a credit card or just lending or just credit. And that’s a lot of what we discuss. There’s more to a financial relationship than one side of the balance sheet. There’s more to the financial services model than just profitability. There are longer term implications in everything we do every single day and every decision that we make.”

Why fintechs and financial services need to move “beyond good.”

Leimer: “We’ve seen a lot of stakeholder capitalism lately and examples of companies that have tried to mean more for their business model and their communities. That’s what we celebrate in the book, the shift that we can include more people in our communities in society. Especially in financial services and technology, companies we really need to focus how we can serve these larger groups. Everybody in society should be able to be a part of our business models. And that’s why we go “beyond good.”

Lau: “We want to reinforce that this is not a zero-sum game. Just because we are including more demographics and more considerations on how we conduct business doesn’t mean you’re losing. Case in point, one of the things lately we’ve been talking about is student loan debt, $1.7 trillion dollars of debt. Obviously the burden is shared across all demographics, but particularly in communities of color, among first generation college students, and among those in other less advantaged groups.

So our question is: how do we go about solving it? There are a lot of different moving parts. But for financial services, the role isn’t just to offer another loan on top of the pile of deb because that’s not solving the problem. We need to go back further to ask how we create a more equal society, more equal products, and create services to help people rethink their finances and get to a healthier financial situation.”

Join Theo Lau and Bradley Leimer at FinovateSpring May 10 through 13. For more information about our upcoming, all digital, spring fintech conference, visit our FinovateSpring hub today.

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