Georgia Fintech Academy

Episode 21: The upcoming virtual conference - Fintech South is discussed with Glen Sarvady, Reese Porter, and Jamila Maria Velez-Khader

August 27, 2020 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 1 Episode 21
Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 21: The upcoming virtual conference - Fintech South is discussed with Glen Sarvady, Reese Porter, and Jamila Maria Velez-Khader
Chapters
Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 21: The upcoming virtual conference - Fintech South is discussed with Glen Sarvady, Reese Porter, and Jamila Maria Velez-Khader
Aug 27, 2020 Season 1 Episode 21
Georgia Fintech Academy

Fintech South is approaching on October 5-9, 2020 in a new virtual format. Glen Sarvady and Reese Porter are deeply involved in the event and join Georgia State student Jamila Maria Velez-Khader to discuss the agenda. The group also explores history of the fintech ecosystem in Georgia. 

Show Notes Transcript

Fintech South is approaching on October 5-9, 2020 in a new virtual format. Glen Sarvady and Reese Porter are deeply involved in the event and join Georgia State student Jamila Maria Velez-Khader to discuss the agenda. The group also explores history of the fintech ecosystem in Georgia. 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. The Georgia FinTech Academy is a collaboration between Georgia's FinTech industry and the university system of Georgia. This talent development initiative addresses a massive demand for FinTech professionals and give learners the specialized education experiences needed to enter the FinTech sector,

Speaker 2:

Everybody. This is Tommy Marshall. Welcome back to the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. This is episode 21 and today is August 27th, 2020. And I have three guests with me today. Um, Glenn Scarlatti and Reese Porter are on to , uh, join the conversation to talk about FinTech South, and then we have Jamilla Vallas clutter from , uh, Georgia state and , uh , student involved with the FinTech Academy. Welcome to you all.

Speaker 3:

Hey, thanks for having me .

Speaker 2:

Great, great. Um, let's start with you Glenn , in terms of introductions. Um, tell us about you and I guess I should mention too, some of you have heard glimpse boys book before on episode one of the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. Um, but as many of you know, we love to hear the introductions from our, the folks that are joining the show, because it really provides a great perspective on your career in , uh , in FinTech. So Glenn , tell us about you. How did that get into tech ? Take us back.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I remember those wonderful old days when we've recorded that first podcast in person before we had to do it all by zoom, but hopefully one day we'll be doing that again. I think like a lot of other people I'd, hopefully this won't be the case forever because of the things like what the Georgia FinTech Academy is doing. You know , I kind of fell into this. I don't think a lot of people when they think about payments and FinTech, particularly if you go back to the, you know, the mid to late nineties, this wasn't something that people necessarily sought out. Per se. I joined a company that had recently gone and it's kind of a similar story to a lot of the companies in the Atlanta marketplace, a company that had recently gone public saw the reasons why it made sense to be a FinTech company in the state of Georgia and relocated their headquarters to Georgia. Uh , that's a company called CheckFree , uh, has since been acquired , uh, quite , uh, quite some time ago by if I surf , which is what's a big player in the ecosystem here in the Atlanta space. Uh, so that's really where I kind of picked up my payment shops . I , um , I followed another , uh , former mentor. I would say somebody who was the CFO of, and every other company that I'd worked for, who I became president of CheckFree and through him wound up joining in the business development space. And my background had been in the financial side, the fin of FinTech. I've never been a tech guy , uh, and got to do a whole bunch of different things between kind of being a divisional CFO, there being a division, a business development person, cetera, et cetera , uh , took that knowledge on with me to become more of a specific payments expert with McKinsey and company for about six years , uh , supporting their broader payments practice from a research and , uh , and consultant type basis. Uh, and then for the last , uh, about five years now, I've been working independently. One of the things I discovered from working with both of those prior lives at McKenzie and CheckFree was that there's an awful lot of need for this type of knowledge and expertise, particularly with smaller companies, smaller startups, smaller community banks and credit unions. I've been involved with credit unions for a long time in my life as well. And these are the size organizations that typically can't afford a major name brand consultant firm, but could really use this type of , uh , input into some of their strategies. So doing that in a very kind of , uh , you know , low overhead, very kind of quick strike expert on call kind of basis has been my approach to things. And then again, you know, the , uh, the technology association of Georgia and the FinTech society, which is, I know Tommy and Reese quite well , uh , has been a great clearing house for those types of exchanges of information. And I'll let Reese take it from there because obviously he can say a lot about what we've got going on in that space.

Speaker 3:

Sure. I'll get into , um , what we're doing on with tag the FinTech society in a minute, but I can suck the back of my background and I don't get it back quite as far as 10 , but I do go for that about 15 years now, where I actually am a lawyer by training and I have an MBA and a law degree. And so my first job at the law firm going to Glenn's point about randomness is I was a corporate attorney assigned to their banking. And so therefore that started my whole career in FinTech. I guess how I've been put into the aviation group. We might not be here talking them . So I spent seven years in the law firms , um , here in Atlanta , uh , representing community banks, which are the smaller financial institutions and not your bank of Americas, but ones that are, you know, in a magnitude of a smaller size. And so I helped form these banks to help them raise capital, help them go through the regulatory challenges they might have. But this is really all before FinTech really, I guess, creeped down at, to the smaller bank level. We're talking 2005, 2010 or 12. And then of course we had the first financial crises. And so a lot of the banks and I helped form , um, actually all the banks I helped form , um, survive , but many did not. And so as you know, there were a lot of failures here. Yeah . So it was, you know , a rough time, definitely from the financial industry and any economist hole . So after arrived at that for about seven years, I decided that, you know, really, I like to be with the businesses. I didn't , I was tired of being a lawyer. I wanted to be on the other side of things and I also want it to be, and maybe some companies at that time that were more innovative. And so I went for a short ADP, which is a big payroll companies. Sure. We all heard of, but after about six months there, I was given the opportunity to become general counsel of a healthcare payments company called pay span . And so that's what started me really into payments and FinTech. And it was at that time that I joined on tax FinTech society where I got to know Glenn and Tommy. And so pace fan was an interesting company. What they did was they were digitizing reimbursement payments from the insurance companies to the healthcare providers, which were typically checks, paper checks, Hayes van had a way to make this electronic, which was, you know , just basically direct deposit, which I'm sure everybody's familiar with. And so I did that for a few years and then that company was sold. It was, it was a smaller company. And then I joined what's called merchant ease solutions, which is a merchant acquire and payment processor. And so as you drive around Atlanta, you've probably heard this hundreds of times, Atlanta is considered, you know, sort of the payments capital , um, or likes to call it transaction alley, you know, in the States. And so most of the large that the statistic is about 80% of all credit and debit card payments are processed by companies based here in Metro Atlanta or Georgia , um, like FIS, which was , um, um , like that should always get confused now with which was , um, global . I mean, what's one timing ,

Speaker 2:

Well, I guess FIS was fidelity

Speaker 3:

And

Speaker 2:

Okay . The three, the three recent combination. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

And first data, which is now Feiser . Um, so they're not, some of those are technically Atlanta companies and even board , but they still have sizable employment presence is here. So that , to that. So the company I was with , it was a much smaller version of those, of those large giant . So maybe the community bank size of , um , of merchant payment acquiring. And so still is , um, you know, exciting. I was general counsel there. And so it still is a great company to work for , um, helping them navigate all their challenges, et cetera. And so they had some changes in management and some things like that. So after awhile , I decided that I wanted to break out on my own and I basically had been helping small startups this year, similar to what Glen does, you know, advising them on FinTech , um, their challenges, et cetera. So here I am.

Speaker 2:

Awesome . Yeah. Thanks for you and Jamila . Our , our student guest, who, you know, has had a pretty remarkable kind of FinTech career as in , as it's getting started.

Speaker 5:

Thanks Tommy . Um , so I'm Jameela bells cater . I'm a rising senior attending Georgia state university. I'm majoring in computer information systems with minors in finance and entrepreneurship currently in the FinTech space with INCOM, which is a global payment technology technology solutions firm. I'm doing work on their it infrastructure team and project management, and also have the opportunity to work with their go studio on a innovation project as well. So super exciting.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's great. Um, well, it's wonderful to have you here, Jamila and I'm , so I've just been so excited to see your engagement with income, I guess, to plug them for a minute. They have , um, income has a rarely remarkable internship program that they call Epic and , um, they, it's very structured. It's like can be, you know, can extend some quite for quite some duration even while you're in class. Right. I mean it's , while you're supposed to and Dean Matthews at InComm runs that effort. And , um, I think just really does a remarkable job and , um, it's been , uh, it's been a great way to , to be engaged with the FinTech Academy , um, as well. And then , uh, this goes studio, I'm glad you brought that up. Uh, cause that just launched , um, back in early fab, maybe middle fab. Uh , there was a thing of students from , um, from actually Georgia state went over to the kickoff , uh, event with me, which was a lot of fun. Um, so we've been able to visit the space and see what possible there. And , um, it's , uh, it's been kind of made , uh , made available to us at the FinTech Academy as a resource. Um, if we're, if we're able to, once we kind of get through it again , um, into this, into onsite work , uh, I think we're asking opportunities to work with that group as well.

Speaker 4:

Can I ask a quick question, Chanel , I'm curious , uh , the , uh , the internship program at income. I wish more companies did that. I think it's such a great opportunity. Did you start as part of a summer program and then continue into the school year? Or were you involved with incoming prior to the summer? The summer months.

Speaker 5:

All right . So I guess this is my plug for Tommy. So he actually introduced me to Dean Matthews. He was, I was telling Tommy, I was like, Hey, like I need relevant experience. I want to learn more about FinTech. And Tommy was like, I have the program just for you. Um, made the introductions. And then Dean like right away was super receptive. Um, met him prior to COVID , um, was there hanging out for like three hours and got hired the same week? So , um, no, not part of summer, but it is an ongoing year long , um, part-time internship.

Speaker 4:

Yeah , I swear. That was not a setup that was purely a sincere question,

Speaker 2:

But , um, you know, we're constantly looking as the vendor Academy to engage with more of these types of programs and , uh, I mean, NCR runs a really remarkable internship program . Theirs is more focused just in the summer months. Um, Steph FIS does Pfizer have definitely they've been interacting with us more. Um, and so that, those have been really good. Um, what, what's a little bit different about the Dean's program is that it runs year round. Um, and so it's almost kind of closer in my mind to a bit more apprenticeship and the way they set it up, there's flexibility. So it can, so Jamila , for instance, can still be involved with the , with the program while she's doing her studies , um, and finance and entrepreneurship. And , um ,

Speaker 4:

And I give them a lot of credit too, because I think part of the challenge, I know we tried to do that back in my days. And again, I don't think I really explained CheckFree was one of the pioneers in the online bill payments space in terms of providing the service that you usually get through your banks. Uh , it's actually, you know , I'm a white, white label basis. It's companies like FIS, Fiserv, et cetera, who are actually providing that service at the time. We were a smaller company and it takes a lot of work to put these kinds of internship programs together. So, you know, I think scale becomes a question that companies like income and NCR are big enough to really do that. And I , I really appreciate that. Then make that up .

Speaker 2:

Um, I'm glad you brought up CheckFree again, Glenn , because this Jamila is where we ask you, how do you pay your bills?

Speaker 6:

My intention .

Speaker 2:

Do you write , do you okay, so multi-part question. Yes. Do you write a check? No. Do you have ,

Speaker 4:

Do you have my question too?

Speaker 6:

I've never owned a check , but I didn't know what the check is. That's amazing to me. That's so cool.

Speaker 2:

But wait, so like say your , uh, like your mobile phone bill that you get every month. Like, how do you, how do you pay that bill every month?

Speaker 6:

So I'm on this thing called auto-pay yeah . You know , it's in the system and in and out just like that. Yeah . When you have a standard bank account that you linked that they debit from.

Speaker 2:

So, so Glen , so, so back when I was, you know , making CheckFree huge , um, there was none of that. I mean, it's essentially , um, the Jeffrey really invented that whole kind of electronic way to pay , um, in the, in the marketplace and offered it to, to the, to the banks, I think were their kind of their biggest costs .

Speaker 4:

Well, yeah. And again, just going back to the history, I think a lot of this, it speaks again to the way the FinTech field works quite a bit. When CheckFree started as a standalone company, even before they went public. Here's another thing that doesn't exist anymore. It to be a box piece of software that you would buy on the shelf and eight head software, or a place like that, where you went and bought your software packages and you would install it and you would dial up and you did it directly. One of the things they discovered over time, that's a great model as far as it goes with really like tech savvy type people. But if you wanted to get to the broad marketplace, there's that level of trust with financial institutions and CheckFree decided the way they could actually reach a broader market was to stand behind the curtain, let the banks be the one, providing the service. And I think a lot of that, you know, you hear that a lot these days with FinTech companies, are they out to steal the bank's business? Are they there to collaborate with the business? And I think there's a lot of a natural evolution where over the time a lot of these companies realize that they're far working in concert with flex and money .

Speaker 2:

I think it's a good point. And I guess I personally believe like CheckFree Pete kite , who was the founder, had a really remarkable influence that persists , um, on our FinTech ecosystem. And , and what, and the thing, what I mean by that is particularly this B to B or B to B to C model. And it's , um, that's kind of the default, the , the models that get, I know the strongest reception from our investment community here. I think where we're generally as Atlanta, as Georgia best geared to support for earlier stage companies that are B to B to C in the FinTech space. And I guess I personally believe a big, big reason for that is just , uh , the history of CheckFree and the fact that we've had so many great executives and entrepreneurs kind of come out of that , um , business development experience , um, yeah,

Speaker 4:

Kind of building off what Jamila had to say too, is, you know, check Free's original model was to really solve the problem for the consumer. And again, B2B meaning business to business, as opposed to CTB consumer to business. So, you know, as general it says at this point a lot , if you want to pay your bills electronically as a consumer, you can do it from a B2B business to business standpoint, there's still a lot more noise and complexity in the systems. So a lot of those same entrepreneurs who have now kind of, I don't want to say check the box. It's not entirely done, but they've kind of figured that one problem pretty well on the, on the road to resolution are now saying here's another issue we have to deal with. And I think that's where they're turning their talents. Now, as far as solving a lot of that business to business payment, health care payments, like Reese mentioned,

Speaker 2:

That reminds me that I just saw that our friends out in San Fran , um, at round-table , um, did a series a

Speaker 4:

Really happy to see that I've been, I've been working with AAMRI and Tom, it kind of this free set , you know, kind of happy to , you know, it's really gratifying to see, you know, very, very early stage startups. I mean, literally a couple of guys who were doing this, you know, in their, in their bedrooms, you know, working on the project to really come up with a small business, very kind of, you know, mini, they originally called the product Warren, which I never really fully understood in theory. He said, Warren felt to him like the guy in accounting who was down the hall, taking care of this stuff for you, they would be the Warren that would take care of her assets. Okay. But I like round-table better, which they're routing the transactions and taking care of it . And it's, it's great to see something like that. They've got there . I don't know if it was technically a seed round or an a round, but they've raised a decent chunk of money to take it to the next level. I heard a salesperson , so they they're on the road.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And that one round-table has been interesting to me because that is a bit more of a B2B play

Speaker 4:

Sculpin

Speaker 2:

And it's , again, that's typically like where we originate more of those types of business models here in our ecosystem and you see less of those and that California San Fran ecosystem. So it's just been curious because I think, you know , more of the California FinTech scene is much more B to C uh , in nature,

Speaker 4:

You make a good point. It's kind of , yeah. That's one of the reasons I think we tend to, which is one of the purposes of fintechs out there we're going to get to why we kind of fly below the radar sometime because the stuff that we do is not necessarily the stuff that the consumer is interacting with. So it doesn't get that kind of headline appeal.

Speaker 3:

And, you know, a lot of that is structural in terms of the Atlanta or at Georgia has always been the, the infrastructure payments because of the federal reserve here was historically a check processing, you know, the , um , center for check processing for the federal reserve system. And a lot of these merchant processing and acquiring companies that I mentioned a few minutes ago, we're all headquartered and around Atlanta. And so that again is the, is the underlying infrastructure without that, then you can't have these nifty consumer , um, you know, type of, of , of services or plays. And so I think that's one reason Atlanta has always had more of that B to B versus say like, Tommy , you just said the West coast more consumer focused innovation.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. That's a good point.

Speaker 2:

Uh, well , let's turn the FinTech South. Um, the, the main topic for our show today. Um, and then what is, yeah ,

Speaker 4:

Yeah, let me, I'll just kind of give you some history and , uh , you and Tommy are the ones who are really leading the charge this year. So I'll turn it over fairly quickly, but FinTech South has been going on. I lost count it's 11 years, 12 years. I think that it's our chance on an annual basis to bring the, you know, the community together, the FinTech community, you know, within the state of Georgia and beyond to kind of show up other people, remind them what we've got down here and have a open exchange of ideas and a chance to really, you know , showcase what we've, what we're doing, you know, in the early days. And I, I really love this about it. It's truly grown organically, really, you know, hopefully he has had a role in the fact that FinTech has become much more prominent, but as part of it, I just, you know, it naturally kind of rides that wave as well. I remember the first couple of years, we were doing 75 to 150 people in kind of a banquet hall getting together. And it just kept growing and growing every year to the point that three years ago, we moved into Mercedes-Benz stadium and did it on the field and moved over a thousand attendees and made it a much bigger thing that was going to be the plan again this year. Uh, but obviously with COVID, that's changed and now it's virtual, but if anything, it's actually given us a chance to make it even bigger because, you know, travel and the logistics are no longer as much of a challenge if you don't have the in-person piece, but it brings up some other opportunities. But , uh, one of the things that I want to just kind of highlight that kind of underpins that overall as we call it the ecosystem, and we've got a report out there where we're pushing it right now, when you look at all the companies that are involved in this FinTech space, in the state of Georgia, we've documented, I think it's at 175. Now, if not, it's within one or two companies. Uh, and the amazing thing is we keep finding more. It's not even that it was new one starting up, which there are, but there's companies that have existed for a long time to finally tell me, send me emails all the time. Hey, have you heard about this one? You know, they're still kind of writing just below the radar that we don't necessarily even know about them. A lot of these are very well-maintained Invesco NCR. We've talked about those already in Jamilla income, obviously a leader in the space as well , uh , companies that aren't necessarily headquartered here, but have very significant presence in presence here, like Fiserv and FIS, a company that's moved a lot of their operations here now , uh , deluxe, which again was a place that I spent a couple of years. It's kind of ironic that I worked at CheckFree where we were basically trying to put the check out of business. And then I worked for a company called the Hawks and tried to help them along the life of the check. So you can play both sides of the curve there too. Uh, and then you got smaller companies. I know you talked on the podcast just last week about cabbage being acquired by American express. One of the really great success stories here, as far as our company that grew up absolutely from the ground up here in Atlanta , uh, Cardlytics a lot like that one as well. And then even places like truest, which, you know, may not, you don't think about them as FinTech, but they've got a big FinTech operation within their shop as well. So that's the whole ecosystem, as well as, you know, countless startups that, you know, we can talk about the innovation challenge and the way we try to make sure that they have an opportunity as well, but Reese , why don't you take it from there? Cause I mean, that's, that's, that's the , the foundation we're trying to use to, to really get all those players together in one room and, you know , share their expertise.

Speaker 3:

No, that's right. Glenn and I , you know, just to take one step back from that, you know, this is the technolog tag FinTech South of them , which tag is the technological technology Alliance of Georgia, which has, I think that today over 30,000 members across Georgia, people like myself and Glen and Tommy , um , who all, you know, across the whole range of technology . So it's not just FinTech back. There's 25 or 26, what are called professional societies within tag? Um , one of which is the Fentech society, which is probably the largest I believe.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And the best, definitely one of the top three. I know that.

Speaker 3:

And so there's, there's now there's a blockchain society society, which Tommy you're heavily involved in and, you know, there's logistics. So there's a , you know, it's , it's not just payments or FinTech in any event. So this is our largest event that we do every year as , as pretty, I think it might even be it's tag's largest event as well. So of course it's spent at the FinTech society's largest event. And so Tommy and I had the honor this year being co-chairs and that's, there's always, you know, myself, I'm not , excuse me, people in our society, you know, step up and become co-chairs on an annual basis. And this plan set , I think this is number 11. Um , we're also assisted by Andrew Morris, who is a , um, who helped , who used to be with money 2020, and for the last two or three years, he's he's , um , serving an executive executive director role to help get , um , growth fintechs out to be even bigger. And so we are, as I think, as Glenn mentioned, used to be in Mercedes-Benz stadium and we are disappointed that we can't do it there this year. Like we know we would have done back in April, but you know, the world events got ahead of us on that one, but we are, we are surprised and pleasantly surprised about level of engagement we are getting from this virtual event. And some of that is, you know, this excitement because we can now eat global. Uh, we, in fact, we have a whole day that we're, you know, that's going to be devoted to , um , it's called a world stage day and it's going to have , um, you know, a European middle East section and America section, which will be Canada and Latin America that'll have APAC , which is Asian Pacific and diesel follow the time zones. Um , and start in the morning with Europe and basically our Eastern time evening with APAC and have companies and participants from all those various countries. And so obviously that's something that we really couldn't do in a physical environment, but we can do here in the virtual environment. And it's also allowed us to expand the speaker pool. Um, you know, there's no more traveling or, you know , hotel rooms or logistics. And so now we can, you know, potentially, and we are getting, you know, some pretty exciting speakers who might not otherwise have been able to have at the physical event. And so we are , um , you know, we are excited about this and encourage everyone to , to , um , go on to our website, which I think Tommy , I don't know if you're going to post that on your, on your , um , when you post this podcast, but ,

Speaker 2:

Uh , FinTech, south.com it's as easy as that, but , uh, we will be , we're certainly posted. Uh, and then I was thinking just from a speaker standpoint, we've got over a hundred speakers lined up as of this morning. Um, some notable ones to mention will be , uh, Michael Lowe , who is , uh , the chairman of Loeb NYC , um, meaningful investor, a big in a company locally here called steady . Uh, the CEO of the Adam Roseman is gonna speak. Um, we'll have Kate Rooney who is from CNBC. Many of you may watch her daily coverage on the FinTech space. I know I do. Uh, we'll be recognizing Troy for lifetime achievement , uh, impairment of global payments. Um, uh, you , you heard about the different world stage speakers. Uh, one of my favorites, Chris Skinner , uh , from the financial services club is going to speak many of you may have heard him before. Uh, but he is really fantastic with regards to , uh, to this space. Um, folks from Aflac Binance, us , uh, Johnson cook the world, famous founder of Greenlight financial , uh, the FinTech that's just going off the charts. Um, rod fro from cabbage is I'm going to be speaking. So we're going to look forward to hearing from him.

Speaker 4:

That's one that I'm particularly looking forward to. I was a little bit concerned. It sounds like both rod and Katherine petroleum , the two co-founders. And that was a little bit nervous that, you know , we had them lined up before the acquisition was announced and I thought that might cause some problems, but they are very committed. So hopefully that'll be a great opportunity to get a feel for. Yeah , I don't think the deal will be officially yet, but obviously they're going to be able to say quite a bit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And Steve parallelly back, Steven pear , the CEO founder of bit pay , uh, Glenn , you mentioned the Lux earlier that your CEO , uh , Barry McCarthy will be speaking , um,

Speaker 4:

Dimension on them. I mean, they historically were a company that was known for printing checks. Uh, they've done a really impressive pivot into small business services. And I think that's where their focus is going to be on how they help small businesses from a financial standpoint. And then overall marketing standpoint, there's probably not a more important topic these days, given that small businesses have taken and the way they've had to really pivot during, during COVID.

Speaker 2:

Uh, and then one of my favorite parts of the conference is the FinTech South innovation challenge. And this year we're going to have 10 early stage companies , uh , from this generally from this era that come in that will actually kick off the innovation challenge next week on September 3rd. And these entrepreneurs come together and we pair them up with mentors. Uh , two of the mentors are right here on the call with us racing Glenn and , um, they get a lot of coaching and guidance. And then the founders also get coming to some special sessions where they learn about raising capital from Sean Banks of TTV capital. They learn about regulatory and compliance. Uh , it's used from , uh , a lawyer here in town. Um, they learn about PR and marketing from traveling Keller are a PR partner , uh, it's a rich program, and then they compete , um, and the , uh, to, to get to showcase their companies on the main stage. And then the winner of the challenge receives $25,000, which is a remarkable prize , um, in , uh, it , it really at any time, but even especially now , um ,

Speaker 4:

Yeah , I agree with you telling me that's one of my favorite things to reef this point as well. This is something that I don't know that we would have been able to give quite as much visibility in the past. We'd have those pre meetings and we'd actually narrow the field a bit and there'd be fewer of these presenters at FinTech South itself. I think this is always something that people are really excited to see, and because of the fact that we're doing it in a different fashion, we've got the ability to bring more of them to more people. Exactly .

Speaker 2:

So Jameela , what are we missing in this conference?

Speaker 5:

Yeah . So I was curious, you know, you guys mentioned springing the FinTech community together. How exactly is FinTech South setting up the conference to make people feel a part of the community, despite it being virtual? Yeah. Good question.

Speaker 2:

The where we're investing a lot in the digital format, we're investing a lot. Um, this will not be a big zoom meeting. We've got a production company, a video producing professional video production company. That's working with us. There will be pre-taped elements. There'll be a lot of live elements, but the live elements will be , uh , handled in a , in a very calm , you know , kind of almost like if you watch CNBC and you've got the pro fade ins and outs and the right kind of setups , um, it'll all be handled in that manner and we'll have ways for audience interaction. But I think the, the most , uh, pointed , uh, item we're adding to address what you're, what you're asking is, is , uh , a solution called Brella, which has an AI driven component that helps to match conference participants , uh, appropriately with each other. And then Brella also provides a , um, uh, an area that the participants can go into virtually and have a one-on-one conversation , um, that is very high quality and video and video interactive. So I think those , um , aspects are gonna help a lot with tying things in. And then additionally, Jamila , there is a very important space in the conference for students. Um, I will have, I have a hundred , um, student passes to give out Jamila , you will get one, you don't even need massive. And then we're going to have a, the career fair on Friday of the conference. The fintechs have career fair, which is targeted towards , um, undergraduate , uh, and graduate hiring opportunities. Um, we're hoping to have 10 to 20 , uh, FinTech companies participate in that career fair. Uh, and I think that will also be a way to really engender more engagement with the , with the local FinTech community.

Speaker 4:

If this doesn't directly answer your question Chanel , but in terms of past experience, and I'm hopeful that Brella will manage to kind of replicate this in an online setting, but I can tell you that, you know, I I've always enjoyed the networking aspect at , at FinTech South, you know, the lunch tables, you know, 10 people, they were not assigned seats. You wind up sitting next to people that you didn't know before. And I can tell you that there's , I can think absolutely off the top of my head of three people, including two young kinds of entrepreneurs start are people who I met at the event and had had ongoing conversations and dialogues and relationships with since then, as well as a couple of people who I worked with years earlier, who I reconnected with because it was there. So it's definitely an opportunity. And there's always that challenge when you're talking about the virtual world, but I know Brella is a good tool and hopefully we can replicate that.

Speaker 2:

So I hope all of you will come to FinTech South. There's really no reason to miss it. Uh, and,

Speaker 4:

And we're getting mysterious. I don't think we've ever given the dates. Yeah ,

Speaker 2:

There's a knife . Yeah. Good. Thanks. Good catch, good catch October 5th through the ninth ,

Speaker 4:

Right

Speaker 2:

Then crack south.com. Um, before we wrap up, I want to do just hit on interesting FinTech news. That's caught our attention in the last week. Um, Glenn , I know you keep your ear very close to the ground. What do you, what do you got for us

Speaker 4:

To me? The one that just jumps off the page is the, the IPO that was announced by ant group and financial , uh, you know, kind of a spinoff from Alibaba's some time ago, big, big payments company in China. Um, one thing that's interesting is, you know, the kind of not neither here nor there for our purposes, it's actually going to be going public on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges , as opposed to the U S which is a separate conversation in itself, but it's expected to be the biggest FinTech market cap valuation of any IPO, I think ever $200 billion crazy. Here's the part that I think that I think is crazy when I first heard that number, it sounded really, really big. The more I look at it like, wow, why is it even bigger than that? It strikes me that it should be an even larger number than , than that. Because if you look, PayPal is 240 billion of market capitalization right now. Wow. And if I think about the opportunity that ant financial has not only in China, but in other markets, I don't see a whole lot of reason, but they shouldn't be at least as big as that.

Speaker 2:

And then Glen , I'm just pulling up some valuations, the market capitalization of truth now

Speaker 3:

$52 billion. Yep .

Speaker 4:

Yeah . And that's one of those things. I mean, talk about Ford motor company versus Tesla and stuff like that, the way the future and other, other comparison points, you know, it's not the same size, but it's a little bit, the app will be less than half a visa, 440 billion. MasterCard's about three 50. I mean, but that just gives me a sense of

Speaker 3:

10% of Apple's valuation of 2 trillion. There we go . City market market cap of a hundred billion. So it's two X city group. That's crazy.

Speaker 4:

So it depends on which one you want to measure it against. If it's, if you want to measure against the traditional banks. I think it's kind of crazy. It's your word? If you might measure it against some of the other payment networks, I think they actually have some,

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's true. That's true. Um, how about you? Well , I think that this morning there was, it's not necessarily directly related to payments, but it , but the fact that the fed has announced that they're going to keep focus , keep on unemployment low , um , and therefore allowing inflation to run higher. In other words , keep interest rates lower now or than for a longer period of time than they normally would. And so what this will do is the lower interest rates are one reason why you might see some of these depressed valuations at the large financial institutions, because the sizeable portion of their income is on the spread, you know, loaning money out. And when the rates are lower, there's less money to be made in that part. So that's , um, that's from the business perspective, I guess Glen or Tommy could also talk about how this is, you know, obviously this is the whole purpose of this is to help generate, you know, you know, increase the job , um, employment , keep unemployment, you know, lower than it normally is and sort of create more jobs. Yeah . And this was , uh, this was from , um, drum pals comments this morning. Yes . And , uh , that normally would be part of the big Tetons , uh, annual event that the fed does every year, that big, huge meeting , um, that of course had to occur virtually this year. And I know that the world was many in the world were listening this morning to hear what the fed plan was.

Speaker 4:

And then they Telegraph this a little bit beforehand. Uh , I'm still, it's going to be interesting. I think again, to the point about how these FinTech startup companies need to partner and ought to be partnering, looking to partner with financial institutions, it does change. It just, it's something for them to understand as they go to the table, because it does change the landscape just enough to think about exactly how that should play out.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. Um, and then Jamila , anything caught your eye.

Speaker 7:

Um, it was just a recent articles that I've been reading and , uh , actually like a memo , um , from Glenn about contact , um, innovation

Speaker 5:

That kind of struck out. Um, and I guess going through a student , um, having all those pain points , um, everything is, you know, you just have to be careful , um, and finding ways where companies can still make the consumer feel safe , um, has drawn my attention. Um, and even kind of what income is doing on that end as well. Um, resonates with me working there , um, which was of what , everything that they're doing.

Speaker 4:

Have you been a big user of the contactless methods, Apple pay, Android, pay PayPal, et cetera, or is this newer for you? I'm just kinda curious as it what's changed in terms of your payment behavior.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. It's definitely newer. I feel because of , um , COVID, I've had to definitely adapt, you know, I had to get a new bank card recently and that was painful because I had to wait , um, many weeks to get that. So I had to find different avenues to continue to pay for things that I needed, which was reverting to , um, Apple pay for example. Yeah . That's cool. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

I found it very interesting. I mean, my own personal experience, particularly with very small merchants where even if they do accept cards, historically, they'd be perfectly happy to take clash from the standpoint that it costs them less. So during the pandemic, I'm thinking particularly when I go to the farmer's market around freedom Parkway on Saturday morning, several of those merchants, some of them preferred cash, some are preferred credit card. All of a sudden in some outright did not take cash anymore. I think that starting to revert back a little bit and the federal reserve put out some interesting information, I can send you the link. If you want to share with the listeners where they've done, they've gone out to a panel, very recent information about how people's behavior did change in the March through may timeframe. Uh , I think it's some interesting insights there that say that yes, there, there were some real changes. Uh, the jury's out time will tell to see if those are finding and changes, or if that's something that may kind of revert back to past patterns as we go back to something resembling a new normal is like, all right, well, Reese , Glen Jameela, thank you so much for being part of the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast , uh, FinTech South, October 5th through the ninth. I hope everybody will join us for that event. We're all very excited. It'll , it'll be world-class. And , um , look forward to having you back on the podcast. Again, soon,

Speaker 1:

The Georgia FinTech Academy podcasts are available on iTunes and Spotify to obtain additional information about the Georgia FinTech Academy. Please visit our [email protected]