Digital Finance Roundtable was awesome, now here are 10 ways to keep the conversation going.

I think we all can agree, Monday we were all a part of something exciting, and many of us felt that we were in on the ground floor of a dialogue that is just in its nascence.  When Seth conceived of this idea, his vision was to get “Startup CEOs, policymakers and industry leaders” all together in one room to “define the future of financial services”.   We may not have all have the same exact vision of the future, but I got the feeling we left the day with most of us agreeing on a many things as well.  For instance: If we want to have successful innovative financial technology companies- delighting the customer (while staying fair & compliant) is the key to success. Financial inclusion for the underbanked and underserved is not just good for our society, it’s very good business, too. We also agreed that the conversation needs to keep happening and we all have a great appetite to learn from one another.   Continue reading

Opportunity Knocks

There’s a guy I know.  I’ve known him since the beginning of all this.  We met at the WeWork.  WeWork Labs to be precise.  I was working on my thing, he was always working on something.  He is a developer.  I know he sold a company once to a high profile NYC startup but not the kind of deal where you read about it in TechCrunch.

He’s a funny dude who is clearly talented, good natured, but sometimes others found him abrasive.  I was a clueless former Wall Street guy thinking he was about to change the world by bootstrapping an outsourced app.  I and him and a handful of guys and gals were always on that floor together day and night, at the second WeWork location, original WeWork Labs members.  When it was a community that outsiders sometimes misunderstood to be a collective where its members had to contribute a mandatory number of hours doing tech for other’s projects.  When Trista knew everyone and held it together.  That seems like a very long time ago.

One day, after one of the very largest tech acquisitions of all time hit the news, he put something up in the Labs facebook group’s wall. Continue reading

It Seems Like Every Conversation Starts With….

[We’re looking to raise our seed/A round]

Two blogs have recently been written on the topic that really shouldn’t be ignored and will say it WAY better than me.  Here’s the first one- blessed by the @pmarca himself:

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Amy Etiquette

About six months ago, I got an email from a person named Pear about an “early christmas present”.  A friend who was affiliated with from the VC side had been kind enough to spend the keystrokes and relationship capital to enable me to be an early beta user of Amy.  Amy, or, which is the name of the company, is a gmail based personal assistant that magically schedules meetings with the power of artificial intelligence (and I assume a good bit of human “training” as well).

In my 15+ year professional life, I’ve never been in a situation where someone’s job was to be my personal assistant.  I can say unequivocally that Amy has made my life easier and I’d be pretty bummed out if she left me.  I’d like to share a few pointers that might be interesting for non-users, but perhaps more importantly, share some etiquette for users of Amy. Continue reading

Enough with the fintech lists.

It’s last Tuesday night and I’m at the Nasdaq Marketsite in Times Square for a special TechDay reception. The microphone is now in my hand. The room is room packed with several dozen startup founders from a a number of different industries. I’m about to begin introducing myself and our “TechDay Techie” awards which will be presented to five startups. The Techies are a nice way to honor some of the over 450 startups that were about to spend a long, crazy and fun day on their feet two days later at NY TechDay. This year, we had five awards. The award finalists are pared down and then ultimately they select a winner all by a group of NYC ecosystem startup friends & mentors. I’m about to hand out the first award, the fintech award. I know already this award is not going to a household name startup. It’s not even an NYC based company. It’s actually a pre-launch Vancouver VC backed startup (they’re actually seriously cool). Earlier in the evening I’d even met the founder and liked him a lot. But something happened when I looked into the crowd. Seeing lots of my friends with startups many from marquee local startups, something unexpected came out out of my mouth. The first thing I said was “We all know awards are bullshit…” Continue reading

The State Of Fintech Acceleration In The USA

You’re an early stage fintech startup, looking for a network, funding, and a shot at exiting down the road. What do you do?  It’s noisy and it’s going to get noisier. Expect to see even more one and done corporate “accelerators” and “labs”, more large global banks entering the fray with competitions and the landscape is going to get even more confusing.

My hope is that this blog identifies the key players and look at who appears to be adding value.  My goal is that we somehow move toward a more cohesive, more open and successful startup ecosystem here in the states. Continue reading

April 2015, Fintech Startups Month

If you are a fintech startup, an investor in fintech, or just someone curious about fintech, April of this year will most certainly be the biggest month ever for fintech startup events.  These events are not the kind that cost $2,100 and a flight & hotels for vegas (Money2020), or $3,000 and an application for the honor of being around “financial service leaders” (Exponential Finance).  Instead, the month features events in NYC (and one in Chicago) that rally all the awesome elements that get me excited about fintech in the first place.  Every part of the ecosystem will be represented, and I, for one, am pumped that organizers are putting their time and effort into them. Continue reading

A Year In Clicks, FinTech 2014

Looking back on the last year, it’s pretty clear that we’re still in early innings for FinTech Startups.  The content below will do a good job of chronicling that.  2014 was a record year for FinTech funding, and 2015 should be an incrementally better year as well- with exits, monster rounds and maybe even some mergers certainly in the works.  Between Twitter and LinkedIn, there was an endless flow of clickable material that made me more informed and smarter about the space.  I’m sharing nine links below you should read/listen to if you haven’t already if you’re interested in following the story of the future of financial services. Continue reading