Georgia Fintech Academy

Episode 29: Early Stage Fintech Enablement - The Venture Center - Daniel Schutte, Managing Director Accelerator Programs and Jake Bulim of Kennesaw State

November 19, 2020 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 1 Episode 29
Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 29: Early Stage Fintech Enablement - The Venture Center - Daniel Schutte, Managing Director Accelerator Programs and Jake Bulim of Kennesaw State
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Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 29: Early Stage Fintech Enablement - The Venture Center - Daniel Schutte, Managing Director Accelerator Programs and Jake Bulim of Kennesaw State
Nov 19, 2020 Season 1 Episode 29
Georgia Fintech Academy

Daniel Schutte, Managing Director Accelerator Programs joins Jake Bulim of Kennesaw State to discuss support for early stage fintech development through the Venture Center fintech accelerators. The ICBA ThinkTech and the FIS Fintech Accelerator program are both run by the Venture Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Show Notes Transcript

Daniel Schutte, Managing Director Accelerator Programs joins Jake Bulim of Kennesaw State to discuss support for early stage fintech development through the Venture Center fintech accelerators. The ICBA ThinkTech and the FIS Fintech Accelerator program are both run by the Venture Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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.

Speaker 2:

This is Tommy Marshall executive director of the Georgia FinTech Academy. Welcome to episode 29 of the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. Today is November the 19th, and we are all looking forward to Thanksgiving break. Uh, and we wanted to give all of you as listeners, some key topics to bring to the Thanksgiving conversation related to FinTech. So to help with that objective , uh, I am very excited to have Daniel Shudi from the venture center and Jake Boule . I'm from Kennesaw state joining us here today. Welcome to you both. Thank you for having us, Tommy Daniel. I want to start with you in terms of introductions. Tell us about you, tell us about your career and tell us how you're engaged with FinTech. Absolutely. And so I guess, you know, to start, you know, you graduated from college, right? I'm one of these serial entrepreneur guys who was always doing something and I'm kind of the stereotypical how to do college three times around to get it right. And so finally I did Ryan graduated , um , ultimately pretty well. What I did immediately after then at this time, of course I was 24, 25, 22, 23. Like most college graduates are, cause I take the circuitous route was that written to entrepreneurship, kind of runs in my family and my father had a commercial printing company. So those in fact in Evansville, Indiana, which is my wife's were Evansville, I legitimately can't believe I didn't talk about this. Well, I'll talk about that later. Yeah, no, that's what you do. Yeah. That's what you do when you're from having someone , you find other people and connections to Evansville and bring it up and talk about them . Right. So did that work for , for my father, you know, in this commercial printing operation, which is kind of key when it comes back to the accelerators that we'll get into later, I kind of grew up with an operational focus and that's what you get from manufacturing at the end of the day, right? You're a ones and zeros. These are the numbers. This is how you get things done on the assembly line kind of type of way. As I was doing that, I did that for about, I guess, all in, you know , there was around a decade, there moved into the COO of that organization. It was a good family business where you're doing a couple million until 2008, which totally eviscerated the manufacturing sector at that time. I'd already kind of on the side, was doing a couple of startups , um , started with my first foray into FinTech , which was a cryptocurrency mining pool. And this was, you know, now that doesn't sound like much, right? But you gotta understand this was like the 20 cent

Speaker 3:

Days or Bitcoin. So this was way back in it. And it was full of promise. And you know, I've got a little bit of a libertarian streak at the end of the day and all those kinds of things. And so what we did was built the software that the miners would run their kind of algorithms through. And so everybody who finds a block right with the miners do is guest strings of random number. If they guessed the number, right. And they , they found that block, right. And they get paid out in those Bitcoin and just 50 Bitcoin, tremendous amount of money today, back then much less money, right? So we took 10% of anybody near the miners who found a block through our network. And we were one of the larger kind of pools doing that. Our timing was really good on that. We got out of it because we kind of stopped believing in the industry. And there were a lot of bad actors and unregulated spaces can be pretty scary when you're operating in them. And then it starts to be worth, you know, tremendous amounts of money. My co-founder in that was also had another company that was an audio streaming platform affiliated with Reddit. If you mix Spotify with Reddit, you're pretty close to what we were doing. It was called radio Reddit. So we, you know, co-branded with Reddit, large social media platform that many of you probably use on a daily basis. Still we were in the footer, we had agreements, I'm abuse with them. And what we built was a kind of platform where anyone can upload their music and then using like branded algorithms, you'd build radio stations and people can leave comments and discover, et cetera, et cetera. The idea being that music is outstanding and should be free to everyone. And I've always kind of been a supporter of the, you'll see this, as you might think, like supporting the underdog specifically as it relates to kind of arts and culture. So did that got out of that as well? You know, went back to working, moved to Cleveland for awhile , um, was dating a girl up there. That's really a lot of the reasons why I moved around so much in my life. Tell me that may be true of many of us . I don't know, but I spent some time there spent some time North of Chicago spent some time in Nashville, which leads into the, how I got to little rock story. So we get out of the radio Reddit business and what I'd realized that it was musicians didn't have a bunch of ways of making money, right. Nothing to do with fence that I know other than they didn't have MOAs making money. And so we were alive with teak kind of boutique live music booking agency. My partner in that was living in Nashville at the time. And I was, you know, back and forth between there and Evansville. Cause it's only a couple hours was from little rock. And so a lot of the kinds of venues we worked with were in the little rock area and we'd take musicians and all this, you know, musical talent bands and through algorithms and voting and stuff determined who was the best person to go somewhere, et cetera, et cetera. So we had business down here. I came down here to run that met a girl girls. Now my wife, this is how the stories go. Right? So totally random that I ended up in little rock Arkansas where the venture center is located also totally random. I ended up in the venture center itself and the story there is I sold that booking agency, that company, you know, in the beginning of must have been 2017. And so I'm a startup guy in little rock, Arkansas, you know , has been doing this awhile. And so what I did was send a letter, an email to the CEO of the chamber of commerce, Stan, your guy named Jay Cheshire. And I was like, Hey, look, this is my background. This is the kind of stuff that I've done. Is there anything for me down here like, or do I just need to go work? You know, kind of corporate America kind of stuff. And that'd be okay because the entrepreneurship stuff, I'm sure a lot of people listening to this, like you could use a break every now and then right at the end of the day, because it is, it is a lot, it is roller coaster, but he responded to me, which was strange because you know the CEO of the chamber and I'm just some random guy, but that's what you get in the South. Like people care about each other and they'll go out of their way to kind of work with you on opportunities. Can you introduce me to the CEO of the venture center, a guy then by the name of Lee Watson. And I started talking to him, he's also kind of a startup guy, which I, whatever that means anymore. And he was like, we run these accelerator for FIS , you know, the time that's what we added was the FIS program . And he was like, we need a program manager and the accelerator starts in six weeks. So I was like, okay, then I'm interested in doing this. We were able to work it out, came to conclusions. And then, so I started right before this program. No real idea what FIS was at the time, to be honest, I was not familiar with the company. It's the biggest company you've never heard of, right? Yeah , yeah. Investor of the Georgia FinTech Academy. Yeah . Now I know them super well, but it is a , so I started right before then, and then kind of , you know , the fast forward I started as program manager, the next that bias program or two , after that, I was the managing director of the program. We added a program for the ICBA, which I talk about what that is. It's the independent bankers association of America. Right. Representing the interest of some 4,700 community banks. Yeah , yeah. Erica , um, that's that, I love this story. Uh, you know, there, there w there were moments of , of FinTech even early on, I mean, crypto mining, man. I , I, I, I can count the number of crypto miners on one hand that I've ever met. Um, and then the payments angle, I love it. It's like this thread of FinTech. Um, but listen , and then let's come back in a minute to, to venture center. Cause I've , I've got a few questions about that and want to unpack some of these programs, but , uh, Jake, tell us about you.

Speaker 4:

Hey, so , um , I'm Jake and I am in the masters of science information systems program at Kennesaw, as well as the masters of science and cyber. I also graduated from there originally with a BBA in information security of which I went on to work for EOI and , um, cyber triaged , uh, in forensics. Um, and so I basically helped the firm , um, protect their mothership, as you would say , um, from cyber attacks and threat actors , um , across the globe. So , uh , it's always been an exciting experience. It's always something new. Um, every day is a different challenge. Uh, I originally , um, started the w originally came , uh , doing accounting before I moved to information security. Uh , my dad was a big ISTH guy , um , working for CDC and the government and stuff when I was a kid and I always want to do kind of that stuff, but , uh, I didn't really like calculus, like all the engineering, math to go get a computer science degree , uh , which is I ended up still doing that .

Speaker 2:

Am I missing here? I thought InfoSec was heavily math intensive.

Speaker 4:

It's heavily bad . I don't know what it was. I just didn't , I guess I didn't enjoy it. I guess it's a different math. Um, it's more business math, I guess I'm a little more on the business side of it , um , of cyber. So , um, uh , yeah, I didn't , I was , I stayed away from the cyber scary and then I came across the program was emerging and Kennesaw and , uh, it's, you know, I've got accreditations from NSA and Homeland. I was like, Oh, that sounds, this sounds pretty cool. And kind of figured I had the wrong interpretation of bias . I thought it was all just sitting around programming software all day, not the case. Um, security becomes more well-rounded it's like forensics, it's , uh , criminal, criminal justice, it's business, it's technology, it's all kinds of stuff, all Bumble together. So I got that and I was like, okay. Yeah, I actually kind of like this and accounting, I just got, I feel like second class. I was like, ah , this is not for me. So , um , moving to InfoSec , uh, I've loved it ever since. Uh, I want it , that's what got me to pursue , uh , the masters of science and rich systems in the InfoSec concentration and the masters of cyber , um, which , um , uh , two-thirds done with all this good stuff. So , um , that's been , uh , a very growing experience for me, as well as working in the industry , um, with the Y um , it's, it's extremely challenging. Um, like I said, every day is a new adventure, so , uh , you never know what you're getting , you never know what you're going to find or what new , uh, whatever you need is going to bring. So

Speaker 2:

It's great to have you , um, we w you're the first person student that that's been part of our podcast series , um, with a deep engagement with the , um , Kennesaw's cybersecurity efforts , uh, and Kennesaw in many ways has, has been a key leader in the university system in building out , um, educational offerings with a strong focus on , um, information security and permission of serous cyber-defense . Um, and my understanding is that began in around 2003, 2004, as KSU was recognized by the national security agency NSA and the national center of academic excellence in information security , um, for the initial programs have been created. And then things that just continued to grow , uh, in terms of the extent of the offerings with this important master's program, that you're now part of , um, the , uh, information security master, which , um, you know, really provides, I know certainly yourself and many others , uh, as now just skilled , uh, information security professionals to , um, certainly the financial services industry that we're talking a bit about today. And of course, InfoSec has been a critical part of , uh, the evolution of the financial services, technology , um, industry, but , uh, information security clearly it's important to every, every single industry and government entity as well , um, in the world now. So , um, it just such a rich program that's been developed, and one I've been excited to learn a little bit more about , um, as we, as the Georgia FinTech Academy have been engaging more deeply with , um, Kennesaw, it also gives me a chance to mention that one of your professors , um, Dr. [inaudible] afar is really our FinTech liaison for, for Kennesaw and doctors . Afar has , um, helped to craft three , um, digital payments related courses that , uh, that are in flight right now on the Kennesaw campus, but we'll be extending those courses out broadly throughout the university system and fall of 2021. And , um, and one of those courses of the three is focused on payments and information security. So we're like, you know, even getting deeper into the specific , um, information security , uh , implications in the payments part of the financial services spectrum. So , um, it's just going to be a great course and , or is a great Garrison one that we're going to extend further throughout the system, because it is so great. So , uh , I'm super excited that, and I've enjoyed working with , um, professors so far. He's , um , very accomplished,

Speaker 4:

Is he? Yeah , I've had him as undergrad and had him for graduate school. So I've had him for a few years. Um , so he's pretty good professor, very big on emphasis and very big on FinTech. So watching her go , the two is a pretty remarkable because as we merge to newer new technology, and as you know, COVID has completely changed the dynamic of how things are operating now , um, especially, you know, with this touch payment plan system and everything else, and no cash, no coins kind of thing that people are going around it the whole, the whole world and the whole dynamic is changing with all this. So , um, you know , this one corporation is really important to ,

Speaker 2:

Uh, well, let's talk a bit about how to encourage new business development, FinTech, startups. This that's hard, hard work, and we're the , the FinTech ecosystem is fortunate to have a asset , um, at , to , to lean on here in the Southeast , uh, in the venture center. Um, Daniel talk more, give us a little bit of that history of how the venture center came to be. Um, I can say for myself personally, I first became aware of venture center five years ago when FIS decided to , um, create a FinTech accelerator in and really lean on the venture center to deliver it, administer that program for them. Um, and that was my first point of awareness of, of the program. And I've been fortunate to have a few touchpoints over the years, but just the, the, the program at the vendor center, just the depth and the expertise and the , uh , what is offered is tremendous. And I know that just didn't happen overnight. Um, talk about, you know, the inception of the venture center, and then just how , uh , it's become an important part of FinTech ecosystem evolution in , uh, in the Southeast .

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no big topic. Um, I'll just get with the Genesis maybe, or the venture center looks it up . It was an offshoot of the little rock regional chamber of commerce initially. And so the CEO of the chamber of commerce, I guess, could be considered one of the co-founders of the venture center, just again, the same guy, Jay Cheshire, who I sent that email to. So there's kind of a thread there. What it was was, you know, the job of chambers is to develop business and any other commercial area, regional area, a metropolitan area, and all that. And they had gotten good at that as it relates to kind of old school entrepreneurship, brick and mortar, things like that, what the interest center was started as they perceived a gap, as it relates to startups and helping startups kind of thrive and give them the tools that they need, because they're not necessarily the same things as those that, you know, if you're a roofing business or something like that, and not to say more or less valuable, but it's a different set of skills and different set of mentors, et cetera, that you'd need. And so that was the Genesis of the venture center was just a conversation between people. I think, Jay, who is you got the chamber wrote the first check for like $10,000, the venture center with a nonprofit in little rock Arkansas that helps entrepreneurs, startups, all sorts of people grow their businesses as it relates to me and my job, as you wanted to tell me, I run the financial technology accelerators, and the way we got into doing that was, as you might imagine, right, you started working with a lot of startups and you see this well, there's no, there's no path from a to Z. And I've seen in every industry I've been in, like, there is no real path to follow from where you go, here's an idea or an MVP and here's success at the end of the road. And what we, what we realized is we've been, you know , Clovelly , cause I wasn't even in little rock at the time, was that what they really needed , some kind of corporate sponsorship and corporate guidance and things. Those things are true . And so F I S the processor company, Jeff I asked was a company called systematic systematics, and systematics was founded in little rock Arkansas. And that's where the current CEO of Atlantis , again, I'm Gary Norcross.

Speaker 2:

He was like, programmer number one at systematics. Uh , if I, if I've heard him tell his story, I think I've ever heard himself. Sorry, if you've done . I know he wasn't actually programming was , but he was definitely a programmer. Yeah, no,

Speaker 3:

You had them into the program or trainee training program. And that's what he did and does . I mean, so he , uh, you know , came up and was hired out of Arkansas and , uh, you know, actually by one of the people on the, on the board of the Winchester now guy named Collins, Andrews , but I worked really closely with, on these , all these FIS programs, he's the FIS executive in residence at the venture center. And to hear him tell that anyway, he was the guy who hired Gary Norcross. Yeah . It's not a , Gary is like local boy made good from Arkansas. Right. And he's done a great job with that company for sure. But they contacted him. They realized we had this missing piece that like the corporate sponsorship, right. And understanding that we wanted to do a program. And Gary was super interested in doing the program and helping early stage fintechs kind of develop and, you know, all those kinds of things. We threw that program together pretty quickly. I think we license out a curriculum from someone else in that first year. And it was more of a kind of MBA banking. This is how you do banking kind of thing in that first year, at a sense of off to something very different from that. And it's now, you know, I guess I'll just kind of fast forward to five years later in this program. And what a lot of my efforts have been here is turning it into a , having been a guy who's run startups a lot and had those, you know, sleepless nights and crying herself to sleep and everything multiple times, what you need is revenue through the door. That's what you need to keep things going. That's, you know, business cures, all our sales cures all , as they say, right? So we can turn these programs into multiple things, right. It's evolved into, it started as a 16 week program. On-site and little rock Arkansas. It's down to a 12 week acceleration program right now, which is, you know, in a post pre COVID on site . But prior to that, well , we did this year. Tommy was attacked on an incubator so that these companies can get in and start developing use cases with FIS, right? And so by the time we started introducing him in the accelerator phase to all these bank CEOs, they've already been working with that us for six weeks and trying to get through that diligence process and developing use cases and this with real P and L owners at FIS. And so they're making a tremendous dedication to these companies and the success of these companies. And I, and I really mean that there are so many unseen costs with the amount of personnel they're dedicated to this stuff . Then during the program final piece, I'm gonna try and fast cause I could talk forever on this thing and feel free to interrupt me. Our program has become like we don't often put these companies in a room and lecture to them about how to build a startup because the presupposition is that most of them are kind of already there at this point. There's the regulatory hurdles in this industry are so high. Then we now work with companies through this program that have probably made a sale or two for two financial institutions. They've gotten over that. And they've probably raised some money so that they could take advantage of the pipeline would put them, talk to him in front of them. They can handle everything we're throwing at them. Cause it's a lot over the 12 weeks to the tune of this last step of the program, which just commenced a couple, three weeks ago, we had a hundred different financial institutions participate. They met with about 40 of those one-on-one for half an hours. And then, you know, another 60 came to demo day, throw that on top of regulatory agencies, I think a dozen venture capital firms, et cetera, et cetera. And so what it turned into the COVID world, a lot of Sumerians, but are hoping to build upon design thinking, right? Co-creation so we're helping them work with that by us on the front end. And then on the other end , we're introducing it to a bunch of potential buyers of products. And more than that, if the bank CEOs or, you know , kind of digital or whatever, maybe from the institution it's onsite , there's feedback that shapes from the people who are going to buy it at the right time. I think the real secret sauce is not, you know, there's this a group of four guys in little rock. We were real good with FinTech. It's , it's quite the opposite. We're bringing people from everywhere across generally North America, but really the world together to talk about how can we do the best thing for our industry? And , and we all work together on this in a way that will, you know, I tell all the founders I talked to before the participant in the program, 90% of what we do has the potential to move your business forward in a real way. It's not to say we'll right, because you never really know you make the introductions and you guide the conversations and stuff and help along that process. But that's what we do is all things that can move it all forward. There's the other 10%, right? Which is the marketing and the dog and pony kind of stuff. But we really built a program. This systematically moves companies ahead. And that's what we do. We think the best way to move in companies ahead is to introduce them to a bunch of people. Who've done it before now, mentality. We are those people also, but we're not the only ones by , or we had over 500 people because we had seven people from one specific institution. That's seriously, people take it and they've viewed it to come, Hey, we're going to come learn about what's going on in the leading edge of things right now, because we as a bank and we only take companies that are selling software banks in this program, right. We, as a bank needs to know this, or we're not going to be around 10, 15, 20 years from now. And so we're bringing all these forces together in this mutually beneficial way, and everybody works together. That's if there's a secret sauce, that's it, right. I mean, it's not, it's not rocket science, but it's a lot of work and it's a whole lot of logistics support, something like that . Yeah. It's

Speaker 2:

Remarkable in the , and I guess my sense too, is that the industry demand for platforms like the one you administer has only been increasing exponentially. Uh, and, and I think, I mean, I've personally, I think part of that due to really remarkable advancements we've been seeing in , uh , kind of broader technologies like the cloud , um, like artificial intelligence , um, as, as examples and the , um, the , you know, the cost to access key building blocks for creating these companies has been going down. Um, and as a result, there's greater opportunities for innovation and for advancement of , um, concepts more rapidly than we've ever seen in certainly the pain payments, part of the industry banking lending on deposit taking part of the industry insurance cattle market is something really every, every corner of financial services. And there's a need on behalf of entrepreneurs , um, to be able to get connected in efficient ways, which , uh, which of course you all bring in spades. Uh, and I know that , uh, in knowing a fair number of these bankers, they really appreciate that if a company's doing work with the venture center, there, there's a kind of stamp of approval in ways that comes with that, or there's comfort, knowing that there's a lot of expertise that's being surrounded surrounding these entrepreneurs, these founders, so that , um, these there's greater alignment with the regulatory obligations that in a bank , um, is, needs to make sure they're, they're , uh, being attended to

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Uh , the , if nothing else, the signal to noise ratio, right? Like we, we sort through, we go out and look to the , I , I personally, I talked to 1,010 tech companies. Right , right. That's a lot, but you know, it's three a day at the end of it. I don't even know where they all come from, but they keep coming up. And so we find the ones that are the best fits for are not the best companies necessarily, you know, that's, that's, that's up to someone else to debate, because as you said, this, you spoke about like this thread of FinTech earlier in my career, I wouldn't even put that together, but you're right. And I think that's because there's the spread of insight in everything , because businesses, you have to process translate . Like you have to make money. You know what I mean? There are things that are going to be inherent in everything, but it is. Yeah. It's , uh , I think we , uh, I think it does mean something that a company has in these programs and the, you know , FIS or the ICBA is paying attention to them . Ryan , that also is , is a pretty strong signal to the market. The , um, there have been

Speaker 2:

Cyber security , InfoSec focus, startups that have come through these programs. Um, I guess, I mean, before, maybe we jump in on those like Jake and yours and your studies and your work. Um, can you, are there any kind of key kind of concepts you would draw forward for our audience? Uh, that would be the important ones to try to understand if you're just now discovering this big topic of information security.

Speaker 4:

Um, I guess a really big thing to , to understand is its role within a FinTech and how they correlate. Um, you know, do you have different types of things going on with the pay new payment systems? Um, new ways we're conducting banking , um, you know, new ways and laws and policies away or accounting , or has done and finance has done , um, all these things, you know, have some type of InfoSec applicability to it. And so a really good way to leverage yourself inside a corporation or firm is to , um, understand the, even if you're not cyber emphasize , understanding that InfoSec , um, implications that, you know, your actions have either if you're a consultant or count , whatever you are understanding your , uh , the InfoSec application to your , your work, especially now that we're so ingrained in this , uh , emerging technology type platform that we're conducting business. And , um, that makes you as an employee more valuable having that , uh , security awareness and understand these laws and these policies, I would go into it to , um , better conduct a business. And so , uh , the more you can kind of leverage that inside your organization , um, I believe the more value you're going to have to that organization, they're going to see you being able to do, because it shows that you're kind of aware of how this, how this is operating and how we're moving into these new ways of conducting businesses, as well as keeping in mind the security of your client, as well as your organization. I would say for students moving into that , um, kind of finding, you know, even if you're not in , so understanding how that can be applied to your role , um, is a , is a big, is a big, important,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Daniel hours remembering , um, our Kanombe technology , uh, which was came out of the , uh, FIS accelerator program two years ago. And Athens bait , Athens, Georgia based , uh , team has a patented , um, really innovative approach to , um, how to maintain the kind of, or four to five , the password system on the phone. Um, talk, can you talk a little bit about our Kanombe and you know, what, what you thought was remarkable about them continues to be remarkable about them. And , uh, if you recall, like what a few of their experiences were like in the FIS accelerator.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no arcane him from , uh , Athens Georgia, right? They , uh, what was intriguing was that , uh , just the , the market size of what they're going after and the industry keeps getting worse and honestly, it's passwords, like at least on the front end, there's kind of two pieces to our Canon , right. One does that user-facing Incode that front end is a numeric pad where, you know, you , you have a four character string and where it's not one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, zero in that order. Right? So on your phone or whatever the device may be, if a shift around your , your four digits will be the same, but there's no , it's , it's very difficult to hack, even if someone was watching over your shoulder, because it just is different every time you do it, you'll be hitting different places on the screen, all that kind of stuff. They also had a system on the backend called dark, which protects data at rest in transit, et cetera, which is, which is, which is very intriguing. But when you see passwords, like they suck, right. You know, everybody talk like that on this call. It's , uh , it's a , it's a problem. Everybody has, you have to change them. You know, these enterprise regulations, you know, sometimes now you need 26 characters and you got three months and no one can remember what the hell it is. And so what they do is they take post-it notes and they stick them on their computer screens so they can remember their password. And of course that's a much larger threat than to have a 10 character password at the beginning. Right. And so what our Kanombe offered was the ability to have all that convenience of like the, you know, four character password with all the security of like a 46 or whatever, maybe a character password on the backend and what their real competition I guess, would be as biometric. And, you know, there's just a preference there between which direction like to move into. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I was going to go there next on the biometric. But Jake, I wanted to ask you, like, in the, in your, in your studies , um, can you tell, like, tell us how this comes up like this, you know, there's this clear kind of password driven issue that's , um, kind of just, I guess what we'd been dealing with now since the first PC became a thing, I guess even before then. Um, and so it certainly the oldest authentication technique , um , but like w how how's that discussed or, you know, studied in , you know, ha give us a little bit of that. Like, what , what's your perspective there?

Speaker 3:

A lot of passwords, like ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Like, and I guess too , where I'm coming from is like, you know, how, what's the kind of that degree of a focus on password versus like biometric versus biometric plus XYZ . You know, I know there's stuff there's even com completely , uh, you know, patent password lists , uh, solutions that are now coming into the market.

Speaker 4:

So , um, wow. So to start that you have, you know , people think , um, Oh, the crazy, you know, the craziest my password can be the hardest to hack if I have much attaches symbols, whatever that is not necessarily accurate. It's about, also about length because of the way is conducted is , uh , yeah , we'll kind of the longer, the character length, the harder is going to be to, to break through. That's what they say, make your passwords like phrase of some sort, and not just, you know, a bunch of random symbols that you're not going to remember. Um , but even then it gets a little bit difficult. Um, so that's why more seem more and more two factor authentication come out and , uh, to , to assist in that. Cause it gives us section , but also , um, you can re you can reduce the complexity of the passwords, but it still increases security because you have multiple Springs of patients on lead systems that you can use three factor authentication as we started merging. Um, and it originally started, you know, we , we were using thumb pads and stuff, and now we have like RSA tokens, which is basically a code that randomly generates a new number that you enter with your pin , um, in conjunction with your password . So overall , um, corporations really need to start if they haven't already linking it to some method of two factor authentication, whether it's our safe keys or , um, you know, biometrics , um, or some type of pin and passphrase that goes along with your password or an email or phone call, some type of authentication needs to happen. The , um , balls of at least two , two systems. Um, otherwise , uh, you, you, you put yourself at risk for compromise because of the new types of malware that come out and the way people are, you know, like writing passwords on sticky notes to putting a letter how much that stresses me out when people are going to buy

Speaker 2:

Volumetrics. I mean, when biomagnetic started clung to seed and I felt like they really, and so for you, they're listening to the audience, like, what do we mean by biometrics? We're talking about your thumbprint via an eye retinal scan.

Speaker 4:

Hi , retinal scans. Um, I guess I never really seen it, but I guess some have audio , um, in some sense , I've never really seen that implemented, but a lot of it is facial facial scan, original iPhone, one iPhone was doing , um, you know , for a while, and now they're doing the facial and apparently they're, you know , kind of top and the facial

Speaker 3:

Recognition for their phone for phones, right?

Speaker 2:

Say like it was in my view and others may argue with me, like the iPhone really popularized the biometric credential , um, with that touch button thing. And now of course they had the facial open for, out for awhile . Um, but, and I'm coming to trust stamp , there's there's. And I hadn't really thought about it because when biometrics came up, I was just like, Oh, this is the answer. I mean, this is great. You just gotta , I just need my thumb and no one else has my thumb. And , um , so, you know, I just put my thumb on the thing and this is massively secure. And then the more I've begun to understand, no, it's not that simple. Yes. It's more secure, but there's some real challenges there too. And one of those challenges is your biometric could be stolen and I'm not talking about, they chop your thumb off and go carry it around. Although, I mean, I guess I could have too , but the , um, but there, there is the, the, the risk that the biometric credential could be stolen. So enters this other startup that , that we've worked with Georgia tech, they were in our incubator, the advanced technology development center, and just graduated recently, but came into your program, Daniel and the recent FIS accelerator trust stamp one, the what do we call it? The popular vote. Am I saying this right?

Speaker 3:

Boys are best in show the bankers on the most relevant solution and pick a ,

Speaker 2:

A little bit about the , the trust staff experience with

Speaker 3:

The venture center this, this year. Yeah. Oh, trust him . This is a great company right there . They're kind of a , kind of a hit with everybody that came through everybody. Got it. It made sense to everybody at any level of any institution. Um, just, yeah. So what trust team does is they take that biometric data and they irrevocably kind of hashed it on the backend so that if you were able to hack into that system set of stealing the string of numbers that represents your fingerprint, they've used, you know, it's, it's a , it's a pseudo random string that correlates to that. But if you don't have their pieces on their backend to kind of be gripped it , then there's no way that you could ever reverse engineer that back into a fingerprint or an eye scan or a selfie or whatever alive is , check , whatever it may be to store. However, what's really interesting about trust is that they can take that same data and compare it themselves to know that this is indeed the same person who's who's coming through with this. So biometric data in and of itself is incredibly valuable. There's, there's broad use cases around it because for the same reasons, right? You can't change your fingerprint, you can't change your iPad and you can't change how the veins are in your hand, which is another authentication mechanism as well. It doesn't seem like it have a lot of use cases, but it was very interesting. You put it I'll scan it, right. And so trusting is , is it kind of later stage company, they raised, you know , several million dollars by the time they come through near to 40 50 employees, which we see often, but

Speaker 2:

The way we go about picking the company is , I didn't even say this before Tommy, but it isn't that again, there's the three or four of us at the venture center sitting in a room, finding it all . This is great. Everybody's going to love this. We're working hand in hand with FIS along the way. And we're looking for things that we can find that will be beneficial to their client base in some sense. And the response to the trust sample was pretty tremendous when, when everybody comes through, because as you might imagine top of mind right now for everyone, especially in a kind of COVID world where everything is remote is fraud and security, like to the point to where it goes on seven, I think in many cases. And so anything that can meaningfully move the needle and protect systems as it relates to authentication or step up authentication or whatever it may be even fraud checks at the end of the day is incredibly valuable. And it's going to continue to be that way, especially when you look at what happens to PPP and the fraud numbers around that and everything else.

Speaker 4:

Yes. That's where automation comes in. Helpful too , that a lot of people are starting to do. It's the audit automate, find ways to automate that those checks and balances for fraud within these , uh , corporations , um , for these two factors. So automation is going to be key, especially doing what you said during those audits.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Um, I want to get to FinTech news in one second, but before I go there, we, we haven't talked too much about the ICBA and I do want to mention them for a minute because , um, the independent community bankers of America is a really remarkable organization that supports , uh , community bankers, the thousands of community bankers we have across the country. And I love the community bank space. Um, and one reason I love it is because they , um, are innovative and ready to they're ready to embrace these FinTech solutions that matter that have some support behind them, like what the venture center provides. And what what's I also love about the community bankers is that it's, it's relatively easier to get your FinTech capability adopted by a community banker , uh, by a community bank, have them as your first customer, your second customer, third customer, your fourth customer. Um, if you're selling a FinTech B2B solution , um, than it is to get that JP Morgan chase us bank, you know, those really big players for a variety of different kind of complicated reasons, but as a result of that and an as a result of the openness of community bankers, and part of that, openness has been really supported by the ICBA , um, the community bank , uh, the Canadian banks in America, really, I view as an, a very important, innovative , um, reservoir for Syntech . And you've latched into that with the venture center, through your relationship with ICBA . And I just want to let you talk about that for a second before we get to know ,

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah. It's know me too. I didn't, I don't know that when we took on that program, I understood the difference between a community banker and like a regional and tier one banker. You know what I mean? But I really do now, and they really do care about the communities. They really are tied to their communities. What they really are, Tommy it's small business versus enterprise business better or worse, but it's the people you deal with along the way and mean it's the same you're you're right. And the purpose of the program, the purpose of all our programs are to generate deals, tend to get banks, to adopt the technology. That's what success is like for us in the ICBA because when banks are ultimately buying technology from these, from these FinTech vendors that are coming through there. And so they select the companies there , then the, you know, the brief 32nd , 30,000 foot view, tell me we have a selection committee of 20 banks a years , right. That are helping us pick these companies. Of course, I'm interviewing around 70 of them. We're breaking that down to about 30. Then we're taking those 30, putting them in front of the selection committee. We're rating them based upon need and fit with community banks, not their banks, but community banks broadly. Then ultimately from there, we're selecting sin and we're going to run them through the same thing in 12 week acceleration program. We just opened for registrations yesterday. We have 22 community banks already in the process of registering what attitude . And

Speaker 2:

I'll mention our friend Charles Potts, who is one of my neighbors here in Atlanta , uh, helps drive the innovation for ICBA. Uh, and he's a great community member member of our FinTech ecosystem. And , uh, and , uh, in fact , uh, he and I were just together yesterday, meaning with a Brazilian company that's thinking about coming into the market, but , um, great ICBA is , you know , got a great resource in Charleston. He really makes a lot of good things happen. Um, well, let's talk about news and the wrap up , um, in terms of fake news in the past week, I'll start , um, one item that caught my eye that I wanted to highlight was our , um , Alpharetta based FinTech company, BitPay , um, the first FinTech to help support merchant acquiring of bit coin currency and broader digital assets. Um, they launched a new , uh , offering last week called BitPay sinned . That's a new mass payout service that enables organizations to pay employees, customers, contractors , uh , and others with cryptocurrency , uh, the companies, they fund these payments using their own Fiat currency. Uh, and then they're able to leverage the blockchain capability that that pay brings to market. So , um, great new offering from BitPay . They continue to grow in meaningful ways. They keep , um, us really focused on the digital asset , um, industry as it continues to grow. So I was excited to see that , um, Daniel, how about you? What , if anything caught your eye?

Speaker 3:

Well, I've got one, a cute enough, more money flying in Nigerian transact seem to be slowing down, Kuta , just raise $10 million in seed money. She launched last year has 300,000 accounts already. They're really trying to be the digital bank for , for all of Africa. And I think, you know, Tommy , we discussed briefly that, you know , our first cohort, that first one flutter wave was dissipated in that those guys were at the time, had the crazy notion of building digital infrastructure in Africa. And they were going to do that with FIS. Right. And this, now it probably doesn't sound like much again, but five, you know, five, six years ago. You're like, well, yeah, of course it's necessary, but how are you going to solve all those problems that they have there turns out? Yeah, it turns out they're now, you know, on their way to being a unicorn and are in fact building that African are major, major player in Legos and San Francisco where our us offices are, but that Nigerian scene is exploded.

Speaker 2:

It really is. And , um, if I asked , I know, just invested some further funds in flutter wave. I've been, you know, the attention, there's a lot of FinTech attention on Nigeria. Um, and part of that got amplified by Jack Dorsey , uh, back in Q1 of this year. Cause he did, he went to Africa, primarily lag at us , but he was, you know, around that whole region , um, and really kind of promoting that. He sees meaningful opportunities there for square. Uh, and then as pandemic kit, the, the board of square was like, you need to get home. And so some of that got back-burnered burnered a bit. Um, but we've , we also have a real asset right here in our Atlanta Metro region with , uh , Charles FET, who is , um, a Nigerian who really real , he funded, he founded , he created the inner switch , uh, EFT network in Nigeria. And it's, if you look at that, that EFT network in many regards, particularly with regards to , um , direct bank transfers, it's more mature than our ACA system in the U S and I'm not exaggerating. So , um, there's some real key infrastructural components that exist in Nigeria that I think are going to , and Nigeria is the most E it's got the greatest, highest GDP in , uh, Africa. So, you know, a real kind of economic development hotbed. So lots of I'm very excited about that region and its opportunities for FinTech . Um, Jake, well , we'll end up with you. How about any key InfoSec news that , uh, you want to bring to us?

Speaker 4:

Uh , there's was always something , um, some that made the highlights last week. It was going on with Microsoft. So Microsoft, what threat actors actors are doing is their posts . They're either hijacking domains or hosting domains, and they're having fake or Microsoft teams updates. Right? And , um, the reason why this is congregated is look how things have been going for the past 10, you know , all became, became remote. We're all using some type of platform, whether it's zoom teams , um, you know, to, to conduct our business. So threat actors are really trying to leverage , uh, reaching less people by using teams. So these updates, you know, they live where people, people click on them. It installs fake update, which is a malware update. And the types of Maori that are being executed are, you know , stuff that stills , credentials , um, stuff that there's ransomware. Um, if a stealer stomp stuff relate to that and what's happening is, you know, this PR this presents a really big problem for , um, you know, these FinTech organizations, if you think about it , um, because if your whole organization is running, you know, teams, and you're pretty much, you pretty much brought your target to pretty much the whole organization. So when people , uh, you know, they have a separate compromise, it's maybe very catastrophic, especially when you have people who are hosting, you know, all their accounting information, all their data , um , client information, files, ledgers, all this stuff on their machines to conduct this virtual remote business. And that's why leading back to the earlier conversation, while two factors is extremely important , uh, make things more secure while , um, you know, verifying, you know, getting the updates from the right places and all these little things are so, so important because we're posting data on our machines and everything is virtualized, and we're conducting business all over the country, all over the world online. And now we're moving even more remote where we're not even going to the office to do it anymore. We're on our own networks and our own homes , um , doing all this stuff. And so when you have your whole, or in addition, running on teams or zoom or whatever, and you have threat actors caught trying to compromise or a spoof, you know , uh , those, those platforms you put your put in large quantities of individuals at risk. So your risk assessment. So it's , uh, it's, it's interesting . It's interesting. It's uh , we'll see.

Speaker 2:

I , um, I learned something new yesterday about fishing . Um, there was an email that went around. It was, it , it was clear, it was a phishing email, but it read bank of American 100 North Tryon street, Charlotte, North Carolina, from the desk of Mr. Brian , Thomas Moynihan , president and CEO of bank of American. And the email went on saying, you know, you should call us, you know , some money, whatever. And then one of the Chris Skinner, who's a real famous guy in the FinTech circles. He does a lot of writing. He tweeted this around and he was like, look at these idiots. You know, they, they misspelled bank of America and the phishing email, and then the, what was in which I had noticed too. But then some experts came in and they were like, actually, that was intentional that some of the small , um , um , the spellings are there as a way to qualify , um, respondents, because a very sophisticated well-trained person has now been trained. You know , if you see a typo in the subject line, or if you see something weird in the email, you know, you do not click on it, do not respond. This is totally a scam. But if people are seeing that and still responding, then the fishing , uh, perpetrator has pre-qualified that, okay, this could be worth some greater time spent the CFI could pull through on the scam. If I haven't , that was kind of totally news to me. Ali thought the Fisher, you just recognize the phishing email. Cause it had the misspelling and they just did it cause they didn't know better. I was clearly thinking about that wrong. Um, well, listen, Daniel J cannot. Thank you enough. Thanks for being part of the show. You're welcome back any time . Um, Daniel, thanks for being a great partner to the Georgia FinTech Academy. Uh, anything we can do to support your efforts, your accelerators, we are ready to do. Um, and thank you very much. You'll have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Speaker 1:

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