Georgia Fintech Academy

Episode 25: Innovation approaches at FIS Global and Beyond with Ernie Buday, VP of Market Engagement and Ideation, FIS Global and Stephen Montague, Kennesaw State

October 01, 2020 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 1 Episode 25
Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 25: Innovation approaches at FIS Global and Beyond with Ernie Buday, VP of Market Engagement and Ideation, FIS Global and Stephen Montague, Kennesaw State
Chapters
Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 25: Innovation approaches at FIS Global and Beyond with Ernie Buday, VP of Market Engagement and Ideation, FIS Global and Stephen Montague, Kennesaw State
Oct 01, 2020 Season 1 Episode 25
Georgia Fintech Academy

Ernie Buday, VP of Market Engagement and Ideation at FIS Global joins Kennesaw State student Stephen Montague to discuss successful approaches to innovation at FIS Global and throughout the fintech ecosystem. Stephen is working towards a Masters in software engineering at Kennesaw State.

Show Notes Transcript

Ernie Buday, VP of Market Engagement and Ideation at FIS Global joins Kennesaw State student Stephen Montague to discuss successful approaches to innovation at FIS Global and throughout the fintech ecosystem. Stephen is working towards a Masters in software engineering at Kennesaw State.

Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. The Georgia Vintech 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 side .

Speaker 3:

Hello everybody. This is Tommy Marshall Lee executive director of the Georgia FinTech Academy. Welcome to episode 25 of the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. We're really , um, kind of great discussion lined up for you all today. Uh, hope you had a good week today. We have Steven Montagu with us from Kennesaw state university and Ernie [inaudible] from FIS global. Welcome. Thank you, Tommy . Thank you, Tommy . Ernie, let us start with introductions , uh, from you. We're really excited to have you on this show today. Um, tell us about yourself and your career in FinTech.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely happy to, and thanks again for having me today. I'm Ernie boudin and I'm VP of market engagement and ideation for FIS. Uh , I know that's a mouthful, so I'll, I'll put some context around that, but I thought where I'd start for our audience very briefly is, is just , uh, say a little bit about FIS and why we exist , uh, and then, and then tailor that into exactly what I do and , and , and where I come from. Um, as FIS, we lift economies and communities by advancing the way the world pays banks and invests. So for perspective, we move $9 trillion and process more than 75 billion transactions annually making us arguably the largest FinTech in the world. I am a member of the chief growth office at FIS, and that makes me and members of my team responsible for driving organic growth for the company. And this includes responsibility for our global idea lab and FinTech accelerator program in partnership with the venture center. So how I got here, I , um, I actually earned my bachelor's in public relations where I started my career. I actually had early ambitions about being a news guy. Uh, someone once told me I've got a good Newsboys Hey, you ought to be on camera Ernie . And so I said, I'll, I'll, I'll dabble in that. Um , but , uh, but I cut my first financial services teeth in supermarket banking, or as we coined it back then chicken and checking, right? And I was working as a marketing communications consultant for a Memphis based bank subsidiary that established bank branches inside supermarkets. So for us here locally, the SunTrust branches inside public supermarkets, that's, that's what we, that's what we were all about. And what, what really interested me about all of that , uh, was not just the, the, the overall industry and financial services, but emerging then the alternative delivery channels and the alternative means of how we banked, not as a noun, but as a verb. And we were really on the cusp of starting to move to more alternative channels for both delivery and service. I , um , uh, I got the tech bug, so I joined Atlanta's leading tech PR firm at the time. And my first two clients, there were early FinTech disruptors. The first Distribion do you remember them? No , no, no. Online bill pay provider later became, or , or was acquired by metabolic tag . Mm that's. Now FIS and in, in front online banking provider acquired by digital insight now, part of NCR NCR . Sure. Yeah. So, so that experience led to Dai as they still refer to it becoming a client. And ultimately I made the jump to corporate marketing by joining them Dai digital insight as Intuit acquired them.

Speaker 3:

Tripp Rackley was in front trip rack Lee's business, or that's correct. That's correct. Yeah . Legendary Atlanta entrepreneurial .

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. Um, you know, and I was, I was honored , um, um , still remembered that really honored to be a part of the team that brought in front public on the NASDAQ. And I was working with that team at the time that digital insight acquired them. And that's how digital insight became a client of mine. And that really was what paved the path for me to make the jump to corporate marketing by joining them just as into it , uh , acquired them. So after into it , um, I moved to the merchant acquiring side of payments by joining Worldpay, where I led marketing for the U S business before joining FIS in my current role , uh, back in 2017. So that's what leads me here to today.

Speaker 3:

Great. I love it. The , um, I love that story just, it's been a long time since I heard the phrase supermarket banking . Um, and I remember, and early in my career , um, there was a very successful supermarket bank in Canada called president's choice that , um, we used, we were setting up a bank at this time. It was mid nineties for American express and we were studying president's choice intensely , um, because we wanted to replicate a lot of different dynamics of what they were doing successfully in , uh, in Canada. And , um, it was a great education and it's , um, it's , uh , it's a , it's kinda interesting . And I think often overlooked kind of , um, um, part of the banking delivery model that , um, ended up being , uh , you know, in many ways kind of important test bed for some of those early advancements in the mid, late nineties,

Speaker 4:

A real catalyst. In fact, there was even a model that emerged out of Virginia. If you're familiar with the market, there , you crops supermarkets.

Speaker 3:

In fact, Rob you crop wet . And I went to college together. There you go.

Speaker 4:

So do you remember Tommy first market bank that they launched inside Ukrops supermarkets? So headlines, you know, still then, which was interesting about the retailer push into financial services, that business model actually reflected you crops being a 51% owner of that business, which essentially put them into the banking business , uh, way back when, so a real catalyst, right. A real catalyst and , and setting the foundation for a lot of things that we're even seeing evolve today in alternative or alternative delivery models and services experiences.

Speaker 3:

No , I love this story and it just, it emphasis , I guess now the piece I want to emphasize for students that are listening as what, you know, you heard there as somebody that was very interested in public relations and they're kind of coming out of college or in college and got into public relations and marketing in meaningful ways and , uh , you know , become, you know, a significant player in this , uh, in this industry, Steven , um, tell us,

Speaker 5:

Sure. Um, well, first off, thank you so much for having me on the show, the podcast , um, it's really a pleasure to be here. Uh, yeah . My name is Steven Montague . I am a graduate student at Kennesaw state studying software engineering, like Tommy said before. Um, I actually started my undergrad at Kennesaw state as a CS major. Um, but my , um, focuses were not on studying. Um, and so I , uh, decided to change my major to , um , marketing. And then I ended up actually transferring from Kennesaw and finished my undergrad at Asbury university. Um, and my background is actually in leadership and ministry cause , um, I thought I was gonna be a pastor for a little bit. Um, but then I very , yes , kind of , uh , you know, lots of writing papers and things like that. Um, studying words. Um, but then I, I was doing that online and I ended up working full time , um, at Ron side where I'm at now and HR. And while I was doing that, I just really, I realized like, you know, I, I'm passionate about technology and innovation and making things easier for people and for myself and things like that. Um, so I wanted to go back to what I had started out to do as an 18 year olds , um, kid. And wasn't mature enough then, but I definitely feel like a mature mature enough now and have gotten my foundation certificate and computer science. And I'm working towards finishing the master's degree in software engineering.

Speaker 3:

We , I know you, and I've just been getting to know each other over the last couple of months through these different FinTech Academy events. Um, like what's attracted you towards this. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Um, world getting involved. I mean, and FinTech really started with the conversation I was having with some random stranger when I was playing X-Box in 2017. Um, he told me that I was asking him about sports gambling and he was like, that's too risky for me. You should buy Bitcoin. Um, and so which is really ironic. Um, he said he likes to be more strategic with his investments. So he was in investing in crypto. Um, and so like any, I don't know, I was 20 at the time. Um, I decided that I wanted to make a lot of money by buying Bitcoin. Um, but then re a conversation that I had with a mentor of mine really humbled me in that moment. And he was talking about how he doesn't think Bitcoin's going to be the next , uh , you know, major currency or anything like that. But blockchain and everything that blockchain does could change the way we do business and the way we work all over the place. And so I really started looking into the specifics of blockchain and how, how it can change the world. And that's really where I started to fall in love with the ideology and the, the theories and things like that rather than just the making money portion. Um, and so I've been running towards that sense.

Speaker 3:

Well, I love the dimension around the , uh , X-Box and that this orange originated in , uh , in gaming. And I'll tell you why. Um, I think that there's some very , um, interesting opportunities for new financial services delivery models to evolve in that gaming environment, e-sports environment, et cetera. Um, and we we've had some different, I've had some different conversations with , um, some digital leaders at a couple of the very large banks in the country, and they agree and are really looking for ways to explore those mediums more aggressively as they see it as, as those as meaningful places that the financial services needs to be present , uh, for delivery and effective delivery to a financial services and products to gen Z. Interesting. It's really exciting. And , um, with the university system, there's of course our Georgia FinTech Academy that is present across the entire system, but there's an , there's another Academy called the Georgia film Academy. Uh, that's run their executive director is a gentleman named Jeff step kickoff who , um, who , uh, was a Hollywood writer of fame. And , uh, he's helped run that program. There was a show called Malcolm in the middle. He was a writer for that show. It's kind of ownership. But anyway, Jeff and I, Jeff just launched a program , um, to look at , um, how to help a degree kind of an e-sports , uh, design and development. And so he and I have been talking about how could we collaborate on this financial services vision, and kind of bring these deceit, this e-sports game development, I, you know, team and that degree together with some FinTech angles . So , uh, this could all come full circle for you to see that , that sounds really interesting. The other thing I , I guess I want to do is just make a big call out to Kennesaw state and , um, John Preston, the Dean of the college of computer and software engineering. Um, it's a , it's a phenomenal program. Uh, and what , um , Dr. Preston's built there is remarkable. Uh, I've had a chance to meet him a few times, but like all the students like yourself and others that I've engaged with and with him and, you know, the , the professors I've , I've just been blown away. I mean, it's a really tremendous , uh , program there at Kennesaw. And , uh, you know, I think you're lucky to be, to be part of that , um, that, so Ernie Steven , let's talk some more about FinTech, I think , um, I mean maybe Ernie get us started with the line , a little bit of an overview of how FIS thinks about innovation. Um, and even, maybe even before we jump into that, I do want to just step back for a second and let all of, you know, FIS is the founding investor of the Georgia FinTech Academy. And as you know, we're grateful for that. And , uh, you know, thank you FIS. And it's just been a really tremendous park partnership , um, since I came into this executive director role about a year ago. And , uh , so it's , it's already, it's great to have you, and , uh, but we haven't spent any time kind of better understanding that this kind of innovation agenda that FIS has. Tell us more about that.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. Well, I think even the con coming off of the conversation around gaming is, is a good segue in, into the way that we, we view innovation at , at FIS and the way we view it actually is it's a combat sport. And, and what we mean by that is, is to win in this competitive environment, really of constant innovation. You need to be always bumping into companies, bumping into competitors, bumping into partners , um, new experiences launch and learn, fail fast, right? To really uncover or unlock those unmet opportunities or opportunities to disrupt , uh, opportunities to grow. And so from that perspective, again, in terms of a mindset, we , we view it as a combat sport and , and the way that we we compete in that is, is there a places where we will choose to invest like a shareholder? And I know Tommy, you , you wanted us to at least reference , uh , the new hundred and $50 million fund FIS ventures. That's run by our colleague June Cho. Um, there are examples of, of , of how we approach innovation in, in that way. There are other places where we'll white label solutions , uh, right. We'll, we'll go to market with third party solutions, white labeled as FIS, or even vice versa , where there are FIS solutions that , uh, that clients or customers are white labeling to their end audiences and, and still other places where we could incubate ideas within FIS all the way from origination, right? From, from the origination of an idea into a solution, or maybe even an example of a net new business that we would take all the way , uh, to , to, to go to market. And , and, and , and one of those specific examples that I mentioned at the top of our podcast was responsibility that, that our team has for the , the FinTech accelerator program. And what that's all about is identifying and fostering innovative FinTech startups with potential technologies. Each year, 10 companies are selected to participate in our 12 week program, which we're in the midst of right now. And they are awarded with a $75,000 investment from us from FIS upon completion of the program. This year 2020 is our fifth year. And we couldn't be more pleased with the global fleet really of, of emerging technology companies that are participating all, you know , from around the world, from Istanbul in Turkey and Singapore, to India and New York, and, and together with them and with FIS business and product leaders, you know, the key areas of FinTech that, that, that, that we're advancing together , uh, digital platforms , uh, contactless commerce , uh, we're, we're, we're leveraging technologies from biometrics to no code development , uh, to real-time data. Um, you know, for, for example , um, you know, if I will just, just a few of these , uh, Cirrus secure is one of our , uh , cohort companies out of Denver that helps lenders double their production by automating tasks and eliminating waste that really improves that overall experience for the borrower and banker alike. And think right now, in the midst of the pandemic, the improvements that that showing even in the dissemination of the payroll protection program, right, getting, getting those funds out very efficiently , uh, circling , uh, out of the Netherlands , uh , is a company that, that is , is a low code co-browsing and video chat technology. Um, they also do document sharing and privacy features like field masking , um, and right, the applicable use cases that many of us could jump to are , you know, onboarding customer support. But , but just think in terms of the travel restrictions that a lot of us are under now, even when it comes to system implementations. So we're finding actually use cases to be able to launch entire systems, right. Um, uh, do full , um, full scale implementations, leveraging this type of technology that improves that experience. And, you know, I really want to highlight, you know, a third trust stamp , uh , for my very own ATDC in Atlanta that takes , uh , that biometric and identifying data from any source and what it does really cool is it irreversibly transforms it into an anonymized token that enables secure authentication while protecting all the user privacy details. And , and they , uh, recently , uh, we're , we're happy to say are included in our global KYC or know your customer roadmap. Um, so , uh, you know, a lot of these areas in terms of how we approach it. Um, and, and couldn't be more excited about the efforts that we're driving forward , um, with, with, with that accelerator program.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I love that. And , uh , I remember when the program started, I guess, around six years ago. Um, and it's really, it's just been remarkable. I mean, the quality and the types of companies that had been coming through year over year just continued to improve, and then certainly a big shout out to the venture center and Daniel Shudy and his team. I mean , they just, they , they are they're world-class, and that's not just me saying that they just won an award from Finovate as the number one FinTech accelerator program provider in the country. That's right. Um, and they deserve that a hundred percent, you know, no question. So , um, it's really, it's great. It's great to see. And I think, you know, just as an observer of what I've found remarkably , you were hitting on it, like with your comment around trust damp is how FIS really, really comes into this with intentions of really finding ways to engage these companies directly in the , um, in the either roadmap or execution initiatives that FIS has across the various business lines. Um, which is, you know, this isn't just a , uh , tourist , you know, kind of innovation, tourism. I mean, this is not for real, like, there's a true engagement,

Speaker 4:

Right? Innovation with purpose innovation, with purpose, we'd say, right. And , uh, you know, even the pandemic and what threw us at the beginning of the program, because that, that, that, you know , came upon us just at the time that we were launching this year's cohort. And, you know, we, we even look to innovate on top of, you know, our innovation channel in the accelerator and what it opened us up to the opportunity to , to stand up for the first time in the program's history was , um, an incubation phase upfront where we were able to partner these cohort companies with champions from across our business, out of the, you know, the business out of product leadership and work together with these companies to zero in on specific, applicable use cases that the could be in a position to accelerate , uh , opportunities , uh, to, to commercialize. So for commercialization. And, you know, I think with examples like those that I even touched on, you know, across these three and there are others , um, we're , we're , we're way ahead , uh, in, in where we, we , we have typically been historically speaking in the program, just those opportunities that we're working on tangibly with these cohort companies, very, very, very exciting.

Speaker 5:

That's really cool. Are you , what kind of requirements does it take for a company to get into this accelerator program? Cause you said like, I mean, from what I took , it's like from idea to market, so people who just have ideas, are they applying and being accepted into this program?

Speaker 4:

So, so we're looking for, we're looking for early stage companies , um, uh , a little bit beyond those that just have an idea , um, that, that they actually do have a specific offering , uh, in market , um , with clients using it. Um, but, but it really does , um, you know, across the gamut of, you know, really early stage to maybe even those that have been successful in securing , um, you know , securing some funding. Um, but, but the way we look at it and great question, Steven is, you know, where do we have those opportunities to work together, to commercialize where it , it helps , um, you know , uh, deliver against an unmet market need or an, or , or market opportunity. Um, you know, another thing that that can often be, be, be lost sight of is looking internally for those innovation opportunities. And , and what I mean by that is , um, you know, look with, with capital restrictions, right? Just tight on the dollars , um, from an overall corporate perspective , um, we, we might not have as much of the funding , uh , to be able to , uh, iron out or round out some of the existing solutions we have. There could be gaps and solutions that would help take them to the next level. Well, what programs like the accelerator help us do is identify innovative providers out there that might be answering those needs for us already. And we can bring them into the company , uh , that really helps us accelerate , uh , more competitive positioning for these solutions or services that are in the marketplace. So while, while, you know, as I touched on it's , it's all about unlocking those gems that we could work on and go to market together. It could also be scenarios where we find opportunities to leverage the technologies that they bring to round out existing solutions to that help our clients compete at a higher level.

Speaker 3:

Um, and it's been, I mean, in my experience with FIS , I mean, it's been an important , this isn't new. I mean, this has been part of, of , uh , FIS is business model , um, for, for quite some time. And , um, it's just, it's just continues, I guess, get even woven in more deeply to the, to how the business evolves. Um, as FIS has been evolving at FIS , uh, as many of you may know , um, uh, bought Worldpay , uh, in the last, whatever it's been now, 18 months. And , um, it's , uh , you know, added, I think it was the largest acquisition FIS has ever done a multi-billion dollar acquisition. So it's really, you know, as the company continues to grow, I think it's been just exciting. I know for me, or need to see just further investments being steered towards these , uh , innovation initiatives. Absolutely. Yes ,

Speaker 4:

It really is part of our DNA. It really is part of our DNA

Speaker 3:

Talk for a minute about the innovate and 48 program that, that recently , um, uh, transpire. Sure.

Speaker 4:

Uh , so, so innovate in , in 48 , um, that's largely driven out of our , um, uh , technology organization , um, our , our CTO office and it's our annual internal technology innovation competition or hackathon . And , and, and this year marked , uh , the eighth year that we've done innovate in 48 and in hundreds of , uh, of FIS teams from across the globe , uh, they , they collaborate and compete , um, uh, for, for producing very tangible new ideas and solutions that enhance FIS is offering. So the distinction that I would draw here is it's, it's an internal , uh, technology competition that allows, you know, all of our innovators from , uh, from around the world , um , to compete against each other, but all driven towards creating, again, tangible new ideas and solutions , uh, that we can , um, that we can look to bring to market.

Speaker 5:

That's really cool. Um, have you had it recently?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, we, we actually just , uh, just wrap that program up within the last couple of weeks.

Speaker 5:

Okay. Uh, was, I mean, I just, we're going through a global pandemic, you talked about contactless pay and things like that. I know that's something that I've been utilizing more. I was trying to utilize it before all this happened. Cause I just thought that being able to tap my phone to things and pay for stuff was really cool. But for innovation wise, like what do you find, or what do you think is like so important moving forward just in case something else like this happens or just because this is giving us a great opportunity to, to really

Speaker 6:

Be more efficient in all areas of our life, whether or not we're in a pandemic,

Speaker 4:

Another great question, Steven , you know, our , our perspective is that what, what we're seeing evolve is, is largely not expected. Um, it's, it's what we've been driving towards. I think largely as an industry, what , what we found that the pandemic has really done is it has accelerated that it has accelerated that, that digital transformation , um, you know, that , um, uh, the, the, the, the whole , uh, aspect of digital first in terms of customer experiences, and I think, has you even described yourself, right? You've, you've got a preference for , um, you know, contactless commerce, whether that's using a wallet right on, on your mobile device or a contactless card. Um, I don't know if you're like, like me and my family , um, we've almost been exclusively e-commerce before e-commerce was cool. Right. Um, I have one of my best closest relationships is with the ups guy that drops off more packages where, where my kids actually know his first name, and we give him snacks and small bottles of water when, when he brings all of our e-commerce packages , um, to the Buddha household. But , um , you know , it really, it really is this whole aspect of, of digital first and, and at the top, you know, I even talked a bit about that , um, that transition of banking, you know, which, which not that long ago was a noun, right. You'd go to the bank right now. It's, it's very much a verb, right. It's what I do. It's what I do contextually. It's what I do in the moment. It's what I do as part of a very personalized user journey or experience. So what we're in this rapid transformation about is it is highly experiential, right? These, these experiences that we want to create for ourselves and both the opportunity, but all also the obligation of service providers, like financial institutions, payments companies, and others, it's, it's up to them really to meet us at the moment of need on those journeys where we need them. Uh, right. So, so all about, it's all about customer experience of these days. And each of us has a different definition of what that means. So both a challenge, but also an opportunity for these service providers to meet us where we are on those journeys.

Speaker 5:

That makes a lot of sense. Um, well actually one of the things that really I , uh , blockchain and crypto wise that got me interested in FinTech is the fact that now I feel like I, I have my money , uh, rather than the bank has my money. If I want to send someone money, I can send it through Venmo immediately. Um, if I want to invest in a stock, I can go to my fidelity account and do it myself. Um , and it doesn't cost me money to do so. These types of customer first experiences have really, I love, and I think that's what draws me to, to FinTech and more innovation.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think what you're touching on there, and Tommy, you even raised a little bit earlier too, was, was what we're calling in is this concept of open banking, right? Open banking, where it's , it's more about even deploying solutions. Um, I think we've all kind of heard the terms as a service, right? Everything's as a service today, deployments of those solutions in the cloud are very much emerging and most impactful. What we believe is that the days of closed environments are gone and you could be competing at least from our perspective at FIS, you could be competing with someone tomorrow that you're cooperating with today. So the whole aspect of coopertition and constantly iterating on how best to compete and cooperate in the same time in this, in this increasingly open environment is exciting. And, and there was a research report that I read recently that , that had a good perspective on this, at least from the financial services angle, it said, you know, the way that you'll see financial services grow and become even more relevant into the future is not by owning those relationships exclusively with customers like you, Steven , instead, it's about gaining a piece of more relationships across the spectrum of this new open environment. So for example, you know, your, your financial institution , um, could, you know , if , if you're looking to, you know, a buyer, buy your car, buy your next car, and you're looking online, you're researching online. You may even decide to buy that online. Um, heck right, there are already e-commerce offerings to buy and have a car delivered to your place of residence, right? The opportunity is for the financial services company to be integrated into that experience, that at the time of qualifying for a loan and giving you that loan, it meets you in a seamless, frictionless way on that journey. Yeah , that's what we mean. And it's those types of experiences that we as that, that largest FinTech FinTech provider in the world are providing we're, we're, we're creating the ability for that experience to take place in that seamless and frictionless way.

Speaker 3:

Steven , a question I have for you. And then we'll, we're going to pivot to the, to the news , um, like as you're doing your, your master's work and software engineering , um, like, are these concepts we're talking about, come me , is this part of what you're into in your studies? And this is coming from me is very naive on, you know , the very details of like software engineering.

Speaker 5:

Sure. So , um, I mean, right now I'm in my taking my first two classes, it's requirements engineering and then software engineering. A lot of what we're going through at the moment is really just , um, cause the programs like it's very project management based. Um, so we're going through different methods , methodologies, different types of models, diff like UML charts and things like that on how to make sure that we come up with a good plan to implement these things. So we haven't really touched on necessarily the specific ideas that we're talking about, but as I go through class and I'm thinking about the things that I'm interested in, or the projects that I'm building for school or anything that I would think about trying to build outside of school , um, it is a great way to just like, get a foundation of where to start, because that's for me and like trying to teach myself, that's always, my issue is where , how do I start this? You know ? So , um, I'm always thinking about

Speaker 3:

No that's helpful, you know, early , another thing that's just coming to mind me is a FIS has a sandbox Steven called code connect connect, and it is designed to really engage people like you really very specific , like where you are right now. And being able to come in through a , into a sandbox. I mean, it's , it's more than a sandbox, but there's, there's kind of stage one. You can come into a sandbox and be able to access a variety of different , um, uh, application data sources, et cetera, within the FIS ecosystem to then construct , um, construct , construct, MVPs , minimum viable product concepts, and , um, build on those. Uh , and that's something that's an initiative we have as the Georgia FinTech Academy with FIS is how to help get more students engaging with coconut platform to explore different software development angles. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

You think that's a great connection, Tommy and Steven , you know, think about that as our API is marketplace, right. And the ability to come into that environment and develop right innovate on top of our stack and , uh, you know, utilize , um, you know, even our existing solutions, connections into those real-time data sources and tools, you know, increasingly tools , um, that, that you can, that you can leverage , um, and, and even partnering opportunities. Uh, you know, one of the big things, that's part of the value proposition for code connect, which we're excited about is that , um, you know, in this, in this whole approach, all on marketplace, it's not just about , um, uh, using if you will, right. Using and leveraging the tools, the resources, the solutions that are part of the platform, but it's contributing, right. It's contributing to the marketplace as well to foster innovation and , uh, and drive impact. So , uh, so think of it as a very active community of , um, of users , um, that, that are all after the same thing.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Let's move towards , um, just FinTech news of the week. Um, this is where we're just thinking through anything that's caught our eye that we want to mention , uh, in the, in the world of FinTech in the last week, how about you already ? Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Notable from this week was the [inaudible] global payments conference that actually just, just ran the last couple of days. And if you're in FinTech out there or, you know, Steven others , uh , studying and FinTech, and you're not already familiar with , um, you know, with the [inaudible] , uh, you, you should be , um, you know, this group was born out of , um, our very own , um, American transaction processors coalition, you know , here , uh , in Atlanta. And , and what it's really about is it's the top leaders in payments from around the world that are collaborating on creating more accessible, secure, inclusive payments , um, and really shaping what that future payments experience looks like. A lot of what we've touched on , um , today , uh, next week, of course, and I won't steal your thunder Tommy , but we should definitely plug FinTech South, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's coming. Absolutely. But before,

Speaker 4:

If you don't mind the plug , um, you know, but we, we, we talked today about, you know, our , our FinTech accelerator program, our exciting 2020 class. Well, the, our culminating event is , uh, is demo day and demo day for , um, for , for this year's class is on October 14th. So just in a couple of weeks and just like everything else this year , uh , the event will be virtual

Speaker 3:

And I encourage all of you , um, to, to register in and participate in that. Uh, you'll, you'll have the opportunity to hear leaders from each of the firms, showcase their wares and use cases. And it's going to be your very active audiences of, of influencers, investors, successful entrepreneurs. We'll all be on the line, but we have a landing page out there off of FIS global.com. Uh , if you add a slash a E N and then another slash F I S hyphen FinTech, hyphen accelerator, we'll get you directly to our FinTech accelerator program landing page, and we encourage you to visit it and to register for the event. And then infant FinTech South starts on Monday. It will run. So that's October the fifth and we'll run , uh , throughout the week. There's , uh , I mean, we have over 60 hours of content teed up for Findex South. Oh , it's a really tremendous lineup this year. And if you're listening to this , uh, and you're a student, I have an access pass for you. So you can just pop me a note and I'll get you the code , um, for that next week. And , um, FinTech south.com is the, is the site to check out there? Um, Stephen, how about you? New conduct news? Interesting. Okay .

Speaker 5:

Sure. Uh, something that caught my attention that I thought was really interesting , um, was last Friday , um, the grand national release of The Bahamas sand dollar was published. Um, so The Bahamas is planning to roll out a central bank, digital currency on October 20th. Um, there's been some pilot programs in the regions of Exuma and Apocco through authorized financial institutions. Um, and so then they found success in it. Um, what it sounds like. And so there'll be rolling that out , um, in mid-October. Um, and this is just something that me and my friends had been , um, noodling around with about the U S switching to Juan , and if that was ever going to happen. Yeah . And things like that. So this was really interesting that , um, I know China was working on one and then that The Bahamas is actually rolling out a digital currency, like centralized.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. The stable coin , uh, offerings from central banks there , it's a really interesting trend and one it's clearly beginning to get some traction. Um, the last thing I'd mentioned in terms of news is that we have a new FinTech unicorn here in Atlanta as of , um, the past week that's Greenlight financial congratulations to them on closing , uh , a very substantive series C round that brand brings their total valuation up to like $1.2 billion. Uh , this is a smart debit card for kids. They've got a million , um, kids on the now, and it's been increasing exponentially, just really phenomenal product. And I'm also all , they're also graduates of the Georgia tech advanced technology development center incubator that we've referenced in the show today. So I'm congrats to them. Well, we're going to leave it there. Um , Steven Ernie can't thank you enough for your time, for your own ongoing engagement with the FinTech Academy. Uh, you're always welcome. And , um, thanks again for being with us today. Thank you, Tommy . Thank you, Tommy .

Speaker 2:

Thank you, Steve. 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] .