Rank #1: Fintech in Asia with Victor Lang
Fintech is developing at a very rapid pace in Asia. For example, China is moving much quicker towards a cashless society compared to many developed countries in the West. We often hear stories of paying for street food in Beijing with WeChat Pay or Alipay. Both payment giants are tightly integrated with local merchants and are the dominant players in the country. Outside of China, such as in Indonesia, the story is not of dominance but rather of fragmentation. There are many payment companies vying for users in the region and as a result of such competition, these companies are providing financial inclusion for the unbanked and the under-served segments of the society. In today’s episode, Bruno Wu and Lawrence Guo talk to Victor Lang about the overall landscape of Fintech in Asia. Victor is the COO and co-founder of Gini, the first global smart money-tracking app based in Hong Kong. Show Notes Gini
Rank #2: Crypto Custody with Ben Chan CTO of BitGo
A custodian holds customers’ securities for safekeeping in order to minimize the risk of their theft or loss. The main utility of cryptocurrency custody solutions lies in the safeguarding of cryptocurrency assets. Private keys, which are used to conduct transactions or access crypto holdings, are a complex combination of alphanumerics private keys. They are extremely difficult to remember and can be stolen or hacked. Online wallets are a potential solution but recent events have demonstrated their susceptibility to hacks. The same is true of cryptocurrency exchanges. BitGo is the market leader in institutional cryptocurrency financial services, providing clients with security, compliance, and custodial solutions. In 2013, BitGo introduced the industry’s first multi-signature hot wallet. Today, BitGo is the world’s largest processor of on-chain Bitcoin transactions, processing 15% of all global Bitcoin transactions, and $15 billion per month across all cryptocurrencies. BitGo supports over 100 coins and tokens, and has over $2 billion in assets in wallet. BitGo’s customer base includes the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges and spans more than 50 countries. In 2018, the company introduced BitGo Custody and launched BitGo Trust Company, the first qualified custodian purpose-built for storing digital assets. BitGo is backed by Craft Ventures, DRW, Galaxy Digital Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures, and Valor Equity Partners. In this episode, Ben Chan, CTO of BitGo, joins me for a conversation about the company, how to secure crypto assets, and the future of custody.
Rank #3: Risks of AI in FinTech with Kartik Hosanagar
Is Artificial Intelligence for FinTech companies a threat or an opportunity? The short answer is, it is both. The use of AI technology has seamlessly shifted from science fiction to everyday fact. Financial institutions are leading the way, as AI and machine learning technology has come to play an integral role in a range of operations. AI is a part of the FinTech industry today in many forms, think of automated fraud detection, robo advisors, credit risk evaluations, the list is endless. Given the stakes and speed with which AI is changing the industry, it’s critical to be aware of risks on the horizon. Our guest today, Kartik Hosanagar, talks about some of the risks that AI in FinTech poses and what the path ahead looks like. Kartik is the John C. Hower Professor of Technology and Digital Business and a Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Rank #4: Crypto Mining as a Payment Mechanism with Zack Pelka and Connor Swofford
The freemium revenue model is the go-to-market strategy for many web-based software companies. Cryptocurrency mining offers a new way for users to pay for premium products in what could become the standard for freemium 2.0. Mineful is a B2B payment solution that offers application developers an alternative to monetize their free tier users. With its payment framework, a user exchanges their spare computing power called hash power for a product’s premium service such as Spotify Premium. Mineful aggregates hash power, mines cryptocurrency, converts to fiat and then pays its clients a profit share. Mineful was founded in June 2018 and recently went through Acceleprise a SaaS-based New York City accelerator. The company launched coinstash, the first cryptominer-integrated application on the Mac App Store, a direct-to-consumer app targeting Fortnite PC users to earn V bucks and an application for points prizes users to earn online points. Mineful has the chance to drive adoption for cryptocurrencies by distributing its mining software to millions of users via a small number of publishers. In this episode, Zack Pelka, CEO, and Connor Swofford, COO, co-cofounders of Mineful join me for a conversation about the company, cryptocurrency mining and the future of alternative payments.
Rank #5: Advanced Credit Scoring with Shafali Gupta
If you live in a developed country like the US or the UK, and want to get a financial product, chances are that the financial institution that you will be working with will look up your credit score. Traditionally, accessing your credit information is costly, and the credit report that you might get can be opaque. ClearScore, a 3-year-old start up based in London, is here to change that. ClearScore offers consumers free access to their credit reports, gives them advice on how to improve their credit scores, and recommends suitable financial products. Recently, I spoke to Shafali Gupta, ClearScore’s Head of New Business development, to learn more about the company and the industry.
Rank #6: Financial Developer Platform with Kirat Singh
If you have friends that sit on a trading floor, you’ve probably heard them refer to the black box pricing tools they use. They throw in a bunch of numbers to price a transaction, the system then pulls in market data, runs a complex pricing model and throws out a number. One step further, they can give you future projections for your PnL, confidence intervals and value at risk for entire portfolios of trades. Such systems are mostly seen at Big banks, well-funded hedge funds and others who’ve built these heavyweight black box systems in-house. It takes a vast amount of capital, processing power, access to endless market data along months of engineering effort to build these systems. Well, not anymore. Beacon is a FinTech company that offers a cloud-based, end-to-end development and production platform for financial and quantitative developers Beacon Platforms was founded by long-term traders and strategists who created trading and risk management platforms at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Kirat Singh the CEO and co-founder of Beacon, is our guest today. Leveraging the experience and lessons learned during extensive careers at major investment banks, Kirat and his co-founders have created the only third-party solution on the market that integrates end-user applications for the financial services industry within a comprehensive developer platform. Show Notes: Beacon’s Platform Beacon Products
Rank #7: Point of Sale payments with David Talach
Imagine you are standing on the side of a countryside road talking to a man selling t-shirts out of the back of a van. You agree to buy your favorite rock band t-shirt from him but don’t have cash to pay for it. He smiles at you saying don’t worry, pulls out his iPhone and swipes your card through a white block attached to the phone. This is how Square’s Point-of-Sale (POS) system has enabled not just entrepreneurs to kick start their business but also millions of businesses to scale up, save costs, and provide better customer service. Square, which is a FinTech startup based in San Fransisco has recognized a need and built a product that has disrupted the industry. Starting from local coffee shops, they’ve brought their product to large businesses like SAP. The US merchant payments landscape is undergoing a period of rapid, technology-driven change. Square changed the game in the micro-merchant segment through innovative “self-service” distribution and seamless connectivity. Today’s guest David Talach is the Head of Product at Square. He dives into the complexities of the traditional payments system and how point of sale terminals today have simplified the payments process for business. Businesses no longer need to worry about navigating the network of banks and credit card companies. Accepting payments today is easier than the click of a button, is it indeed as easy as the swipe of a card. Show Notes:Square’s point of Sale Overview * Square point of sale products
Rank #8: Real Estate Crowdfunding via CrowdStreet with Tore Steen
Commercial real estate is a $15-trillion market, the third largest asset class behind stocks and bonds, and the largest alternative asset category. Yet traditionally, opportunities for individual retail investors to invest in specific commercial real estate (CRE) projects have been limited. It’s been largely dependent on a retail investor knowing a real estate developer or being invited to invest in a certain project. This limited access began to change in 2012, with the passing of The U.S. Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act or the JOBS Act. The JOBS act allowed real estate owners and operators to expose investment offerings widely to individual investors, thus helping businesses of all sizes raise capital. CrowdStreet was born in the wake of the JOBS Act and the Great Recession to provide a marketplace and crowdfunding platform for real estate investment sponsors to expose offerings directly to individual investors. After completing a short registration process, investors can browse investment opportunities, learn about sponsors (property developers and operators), view the details and sign legal documents online. CrowdStreet went live in 2014 and has had 9 offerings so far that have become realized with an average return of 36.3% and a hold period of 1.9 years. In this episode, Tore Steen, the co-founder of CrowdStreet joins me for a conversation on how his company is democratizing access to investing in commercial real estate. Show Notes: Tore Steen’s Demo Day Presentation CrowdStreet FAQs on CRE crowdfunding
Rank #9: AI-powered Financial Planning Ramya Joseph
A good financial plan can make all the difference between having a life with financial security or financial worry. But most people find financial planning challenging, or boring, or something that’s too much of a mental overload and can be dealt with later. Even when people know that financial planning is important, they often can’t afford it. Private money advisors are typically a luxury enjoyed by high net worth individuals. For the broader population, robo-advisory platforms are certainly providing an affordable way for investing money and meeting financial goals. But even these platforms do not necessarily provide customized financial advice. Pefin is the world’s first AI-driven financial planning and advice platform that is attempting to address this gap. Pefin uses AI technology to understand a consumer’s complete financial situation, including their goals such as buying a home, having kids, sending them to college, as well as their current spending patterns, their debt and investments, the economy, markets, social security rules, federal and state taxes and much more. From there, Pefin generates a complete financial summary including advice on how to improve financial life on an ongoing basis, so that consumers can achieve their goals. Pefin recommends a savings and investment strategy that is completely tailored to the consumer’s unique situation, and offers portfolio management services to ensure that investments are managed in line with the financial plan. Ramya Joseph is the founder of Pefin. She joins Fintech Daily to talk about how Pefin is making fiduciary financial advice accessible to all, what is the AI behind the platform, and how it differs from human and robo-advisors. The interview also touches upon Ramya’s career trajectory and why she transitioned from a successful career on Wall Street to founding Pefin. I really enjoyed talking to Ramya and I am sure you’ll find her perspectives engaging and informative. Show Notes: Catherine Flax’s (The CEO of Pefin’s) blog on Medium Pefin FAQs