Georgia Fintech Academy

S2 - Episode 6: Sudheer Chava, Professor of Finance and Executive Director of the Financial Services Innovation Lab

February 26, 2021 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 2 Episode 6
Georgia Fintech Academy
S2 - Episode 6: Sudheer Chava, Professor of Finance and Executive Director of the Financial Services Innovation Lab
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Georgia Fintech Academy
S2 - Episode 6: Sudheer Chava, Professor of Finance and Executive Director of the Financial Services Innovation Lab
Feb 26, 2021 Season 2 Episode 6
Georgia Fintech Academy

Sudheer Chava is the Alton Costley Chair - Professor of Finance and Executive Director of the Financial Services Innovation Lab at Georgia Tech. In this discussion we explore recent research underway by Prof. Chava related to marketplace lending and broadly explore efforts underway at the Financial Services Innovation Lab. 

Show Notes Transcript

Sudheer Chava is the Alton Costley Chair - Professor of Finance and Executive Director of the Financial Services Innovation Lab at Georgia Tech. In this discussion we explore recent research underway by Prof. Chava related to marketplace lending and broadly explore efforts underway at the Financial Services Innovation Lab. 

Speaker 1:

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 sector.

Speaker 2:

Hey , this is Tommy Marshall , the executive director of the Georgia FinTech Academy. And welcome to episode six, season two of our podcast. Today we have Sadir Chava, the Alton costly chair, professor of finance at Georgia tech. He's also director of the financial services innovation lab, and the director of quantitative and computational finance. Um , welcome. Sudhir. It's wonderful to have you with us today.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, Tommy . I look forward to the conversation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, me too. Um, audience, I've been very fortunate to know Sudhir in various interactions here in our ecosystem in Atlanta. Gosh, Sudhir I hadn't really thought I was for at least five years, I think maybe, maybe even a little bit longer. Um, and I've really , um, had felt fortunate for , um, having this relationship and I've certainly appreciated , uh, your advice and guidance to me in my management consulting work in FinTech, but then certainly as I've been in this role with the Georgia FinTech Academy. Um, so it's just great to have you with us today as we start , um, severe, I thought it would be helpful for you to give the audience , um, just a good kind of background on yourself , um, and how you came into this , uh, kind of really strong interest , um, from an academic standpoint , uh, and, and a broader professional standpoint in , in financial services technology.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Thank you, Tommy . Likewise, I think over the last five, six years, I enjoyed , uh , uh, discussing with you learning from you. I think in our discussions, I found them very informative. Um , so as far as my journey into finance , it's concern, like probably many people in finance, it started in engineering, Manda grad was in computer science, computer science engineering, and while doing computer science engineering, I got interested in the stock market. So it's basically like tried to understand the stock market and I think white price are moving. That's where it started. So I wanted to know a bit more about , um, why prices move and the thing could be if I can invest and make money, I haven't been as successful on that, but at least the other goal , um , I wanted to learn a bit and that naturally took me after my engineering degree, took me to an MBA in finance. I went to the Noonan stock management and [inaudible] , and I did my finance MBA deal . But again, I very curious in terms of trying to understand even deeper. That's the next step for that is again, a PhD. I went to Cornell university and where I was both doing a finance PhD, but also had a minus in operation research. And that took a lot of classes in , uh , mathematics and operations research and in other areas, because again, all this , when I look back my career, all this helped me in various ways to understand the market better, but also the financial technology better in a way like , um, what , um , I've been doing some of the things that I've been doing go back to Manoj grad degree. And I think go back to some of the knowledge. I think I feel more comfortable doing partly because of training that I had or time. So that's how I ended up , um, getting the finance PhD and then started doing research in various areas of finance. And , um, so as you know, like finance is the way I think about financial technology, if one thinks about , um, the biggest , uh , investor biggest , uh, infrastructure in terms of the financial industry, it actually buys is technology. So they invest a lot in technology every year . JP Morgan might put in more than $10 billion in technology. So the way I think about is finance always has been about technology, always. I think going back, I think 20 years, 30 years, it might be , uh , innovations in credit scoring. It might be innovation in payments. It might be innovation in other areas of lending how they do it. So right now I think of FinTech as the next evolution next step in the evolution of the financial services industry. And the way I think about is financial technology. So all the work that we have done in financial services research are I think then industry, I think paved the way for the next generation, which are the FinTech. So that's how I came about , uh, into the FinTech industry, by having a deep understanding and a deep , um , uh, interest in the financial markets and the financial institutions and how specifically I came to FinTech is , uh , again, when I came to Atlanta, Georgia tech in 2010. So that's when I realized Georgia tech is , uh , is , uh, one very focused in technology, but in the larger ecosystem of being in Atlanta, Georgia, we're around 70% of payment transactions in the U S go to Atlanta. So that's when I started , uh , talking to a lot of people in the industry and trying to understand, trying to learn, trying to network. And that's where my interest in FinTech even increased further, as I understood , uh , all the exciting things that are happening , uh , in Atlanta and beyond. And also I was amazed at how much giving the communities in terms of , uh, not with academics, but also the industry. I see, again, my interest , uh , in a way like , uh, my career path or in the last 20 years, I think I would say Atlanta, Georgia , uh , industry is very collaborative. So that's when I got involved with tag FinTech as part of the steering committee and also trying to help tack FinTech in terms of coming out with , uh , the FinTech ecosystem reports in 2016, 2018, to understand the ecosystem. So I would say very collaborative, I learned from it. And I hope that I think that through these interactions , uh, some of the students also learn from their experience.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Thanks that as you were talking, I was remembering a few things like , particularly with regards to that intersection of technology and finance. I mean, I've , uh, I'll go back to say like the late 18 hundreds and you think about the, the , uh, the innovation of the ticker tape, right. Where you'd have these pricing , uh , bid , uh, quotes being given over , um, the , uh , uh, I guess the first kind of renditions of a telephone line. I mean, I, I wrote kind of that it's the beginning of FinTech. And then when , you know, when, I guess I think of broadly about all the different sectors of financial services , um, this area of like investment management, asset management in particular, just because there's such an incentive , um, to make investments in ways that will improve , um, information, availability, speed , uh, there's been, and technology of course makes all of that possible in meaningful ways. It's just felt like that investment management asset management area in particular has been one that's really led the way in terms of technological innovations in financial services , uh, and, and continues to in many ways , um, which is , which makes a lot, we're just , just makes good sense to me. When you talk about your , um, combination of computer science interest in finance, you know, seeing those intersection points, it just makes sense to me how that would fuel your , um, evolution of your, of your career.

Speaker 3:

In fact, how I actually teach the class, I've been teaching a FinTech class since around 2013, it started as a exhibit education , uh, for a large bank , uh , which we did in 2013. And that's when I think the FinTech was just emerging. And so I had done many iterations of that for this large bank, a and a FinTech, but also I took it and I wanted our MBA students and undergrad students and masters student to benefit from it. So I started a class in FinTech ventures that I've been started teaching around 2015 or so I think, I believe it's the first class in FinTech in Georgia, probably one of the first 10, 15 classes in the country. But what I do in the class is exactly what you said the very first class. I basically go in and ask the students, what does finance do? What do financial intermediaries do? It's a layer of intermediation where like, let's say a bank you're taking money from the depositors , and then you are giving loan to a company at another renewed year. Then the goal of the bank, the layer in between the technology. And they want to make it as efficient as possible. It might be to cut down the losses that might happen when people don't pay it back and otherwise to how to process it. That's why I think, I think of finance the technology, but also that layer is very important to be very efficient and to cut costs. That's when again, technology helps. So in this world, then you can't have, I think , for example, in trading before it was, I think through calling the Broco audio might have a $29 to do a trade. It might be later when I think the discount brokerage firms came in , it came down to $9. Now trading is free. Right , right. So I think that's all innovations. I think that it's a continuous innovation. So I don't think of it as, I think FinTech just came in one day. I think it's just keep innovating as technology develops , I think add the financial services industry develops, I think finance and technology, our innovate on separate them out. That's how I think about that's how I teach the class. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's , it's , uh , uh , love it. And it's fascinating. And I know there's a whole lot that's been happening , uh , just from a current events basis that I'm sure you're beginning to bring into your class , uh, in various ways, mean I'm just thinking of, there's been so much discussion over the last month about the , uh, uh, wall street, bets , Reddit , uh, that whole communication platform. And how has that influenced retail investors and then retail investors that have to pay $0 to trade getting on Robinhood and E-Trade and all these other platforms. And we're seeing kind of this well, to me, what seems like very strange behavior where a stock like GameStop just yesterday, went up another freaking a hundred, a hundred percent. Um, it's really very , um, you know, it's very , uh , I think it opens up a lot of really interesting questions , um, around , um, you know, where, where technology is being, where it's very beneficial, but then are there, there's some concerning questions that , that have been coming up kind of

Speaker 3:

Important point? I think this is something as well . I'm a strong believer in technology, a strong believer in financial technology. And I think in the long run, I think it's going to benefit that already benefited millions of customers. And I think it's going to benefit, and I don't think there's any coming back on any of the innovations that are coming right. But at the same time as an academic, I always think about trade-offs, it's not just, as you rightly mentioned, it's not just, it always benefits this costs also. And I think again, showing the cost of showcasing the cost , not necessarily negative for the FinTech industry, because that's how one learns it. For example, as I mentioned, I think in the wall street , best case millions of investors in stuff, relying on analysts are relying on other forms of communication, this information generation that's happening with retail investors. Again, I went through all this , um , many of these dooms , there is some research on that. And when I first saw like wall street , uh , beds, these are on 2.3 million , um, uh, subscribers to that users. And last time I checked this more than 9.5 million. And I was actually surprised by the depth of the analysis in some of the threats that are happening. But the question is again, how do you sift and how do you actually start out in terms of information, which is really valuable, but also information that's meant to manipulate the market , uh , information that's meant to in a way which is not that useful because once something starts being useful, this again , uh , incentives for a bad place to come in and post information and our investors, the retail investors, are they always able to distinguish that? Right? I think that's the key question. So technology, in some ways, I think one can say it democratized access to information in the, in the spotlight context is overlaying an analyst report. You might actually like Boyd get the information from Reddit at some other places. But the flip side of it is, again, who's curating the information. Are all investors able to actually understand that some of this information might not necessarily be good on one hand, you might have like this lots of profiles of people who made millions of dollars who posted how much money they made by GameStop . I see I've seen it . There's relatively few, which basically talk about how much people lost, right. And you're talking about,

Speaker 2:

Well hearing about roaring kitty and his $2 million gain. Uh , we're not hearing about those that , um, you know, really took a bath because , uh, they were not thoughtful or they're really, they're speculating. They're not investing

Speaker 3:

Because there's risk and return, right. Finance one Oh one. We always talk about this , no return without risk . And again, it might work out some of the time, but there's again, a side story about a security guard who took a loan personal loan to actually go and invest in this stock. So that's the kind of, I think trade-off we think about in any aspect, the FinTech, I think is great. I think lots of great innovations continue to innovate, but also I think thinking about this all , not only winners, but it also might be losers then how do we actually mitigate those things either might be like companies itself. I think I tried to do that, but also I think through the smart policy, I think, can we do that? That's the kind of questions. Uh, I think another point is, for example, when I think about , um, uh, lending many a time, I think , uh , I think about FinTech as removing frictions . The way technology thinks is how do we remove friction? Try to make it as efficient as possible, but is it always the only good to completely remove friction ? For example, Facebook might say, why do you want to go on type something on phone at the speed of thought you think about posting a message, maybe like I can post a message, but by doing that again, it's not at there . It might be there. I know there are , there's some research going on, but , uh , the same thing, somebody wants to buy something it's impulse purchase . I do go to a store again, the , there might be like a player, a FinTech lender who says right now, I think this piano cost $2,000, but it can just have only $20 you can buy now pay later. Yeah. One hand it's efficient because you are now anytime somebody wants to buy, you are making the entire credit scoring process, very efficient, immediately giving the loan and making the person happy. But have we removed this kind of processing of information? Are people thinking about is the right patient for me, what's the APR can I actually afford this one is the impulse purchase. What are the consequence of that? Sometimes when you make it at the speed of light or in a way the completely remove the frictions. I worry about as humans, we are not, again, machines, can we process that information so quickly, especially when information is complex and that many dimensions to it, and some people might make mistakes to it. So I think that's the kind of thing I think about FinTech. There's lots of great things, but there's also, trade-offs one has to understand from like a , from a consumer's point of view,

Speaker 2:

And what you're describing here is , um, related to some research you're doing currently, right? This marketplace lending research you'd mentioned to me earlier.

Speaker 3:

That's true. So one of the papers that we do is with the joint with my PhD students now who are faculty now at Georgia and Emory university. So we have looked at more than a million borrowers of a major marketplace lender. We have, we're fortunate to have access to the credit Bureau data. So we are able to go in and look at all the balances and all the transactions that they have done later in terms of , um, the monthly balances on the boat , on their account, the FinTech lender, the marketplace lender, but also on the other trade lines. What we find is initially once they get the loan, there's a drop in their utilization, which leads to increase in their credit score. So now they have access to a new line of credit in a way, and then new credit. And that's why I think the war, all balances they have as percentage of the amount they can draw decreases, which is a good thing. So some of the borrowers are smart about it. They're actually going and use that money to pay up their old debt. So in a way that better off, because now they're replacing a higher interest credit card payment with a lower marketplace lending loan, but some of them are not, it might be because they don't have a choice, but it might be because now they think they have access to more credit and they spend more. But the net result, what we find is many of these bottles ended up after year having weaker credit scores and defaulting more. So, which again goes back to the point on one hand, it's a great thing to give access to credit, do it very efficiently, very quickly to an online, purely through internet based, a credit scoring mechanism and the flip side, some investors, some consumers might not be able to completely understand the financial situation and they might be worse off a year down the line. So that's how we think about the trade-offs giving credit is good and giving, but giving credit to people who can't afford it intervene sometimes might actually make them worse off later because this is the defaults are going to have long lasting consequences for them. They might not get future credit, the cost of the create much higher. So this is forthcoming in the journal of financial economics, which is one of our top journals. Yeah. And so we have been working on this project for around three years, so I'm very happy. I think that this paper is finally seeing the light of the day.

Speaker 2:

Uh , that's fantastic. When do you think , um, JFE is gonna publish?

Speaker 3:

So I think probably sometime this year, I think, but uh , this paper is publicly available, so I'll share it with the FinTech Academy. Oh yeah. That'd be great. Thank you . Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. We'll get that. Get that out to , to the, to the group. Um, really fascinating. Love it. Um, talk more about the financial services, innovation lab , um, you know, what, what led you to create that , um, platform, that initiative , um, how that's progressed over , uh, since, since its acception inception , um, how you're looking and then sort of , kind of maybe to what your vision is , um, as you look to the future for that , uh, for that effort .

Speaker 3:

Sure. Um, as you mentioned, initially, I have a month , I wear multiple hats at Georgia tech. So one of , uh, one hat that I wear is I'm the director of a master's in quantum computational finance program. This is a joint program with the school of engineering and school of mathematics and the Scheller college of business. So it's been ranked top 10 in the North America for quite some time. And the students do great. We get the exceptional students and the records placement because later are very good. They have on average 1.6 job offers , uh , per student, when they graduate a hundred percent paid internship rate, a hundred percent a full-time placement, all the top forms , uh , in the us and abroad they're hired from the program, including many FinTech firms . So I see more interest from the students in FinTech, I think going to California, right from lending club to credit karma, to many other players , uh, to square, we have students there. So as part that's one, and the second thing is in terms of my role in terms of the , my collaboration with the FinTech industry in Atlanta, which started when I started teaching and FinTech around 2013, 2015. So when I had all these interactions with the industry and also talking to a number of practitioners, I thought it would be good to bring them, have some kind of umbrella organization at Georgia tech, where we can be an interface between the financial technology industry and Georgia tech. Because again, I'm one person, but it's a large number of faculty at Georgia tech, across many disciplines who are interested in various aspects of , um , uh , FinTech. And they do great work in our ITM area at , uh , in the business school, in our marketing area, in our accounting area. And there's a lot of colleagues in the finance area, but also outside in our engineering school, in our computer science department, in our ISV department, there's a number of players. So I thought it might be nice, both from a student point of view, faculty point of view, to have an interface between the industry and Georgia tech in the financial technology industry and to be a bridge between them. That's how this , um , financial services innovation lab came about. Uh, the website is the fintech.edu . It describes all the things that we do, but broadly what we do is one, the first one is research and insights. Again, it's a two way street by no means, am I saying the research flows in one direction from academics to the industry? So it's just an interface and I to discuss, to collaborate and also learn from the industry at the same time, what we do, not only me, but all the other faculty and PhD students and others do at Georgia tech, there might be learning , which might be useful for the industry , uh , in Georgia and beyond. So the same way by interacting with the industry, we learned some of the problems. And I think might also get us give more ideas about research and what we can do to help. So the first leg is for the lobbyist to facilitate and communicate the research and insights , which all the faculty at Georgia tech do in the financial service industry and in FinTech to the industry and also be interface. The second thing that we do is , uh, in terms of , uh , facilitates some experiential learning projects. So I teach a class, a practice of QCF, it's a capstone class for my master's students. So I bring in a number of industry projects from various companies where this has been going great for more than eight years, I've been doing that it's industry mentored projects on competition, finance and FinTech is part, I think of it. So there's a number of projects. People from Invesco , from Wells Fargo, from Voya asset management company into conflict change truest . There's a number of players , uh , mostly in Atlanta because we want to be judged. I could think of the resource for that planter community at Georgia , uh, but also beyond. So that's industry mentored projects, which would help the students, but also help the companies in terms of recruiting nations at the tell the companies , uh , when you recruit students, it might be like , uh , you might be doing interviews for three interviews or five interviews, but you still are doing in a condensed manner or a short period of time. But here you see students working alongside the team or a period of three and a half months. So it might be useful for the companies to get to see the students excite them about the company. At the same type of students, know the team, it has facilitated many time recruiting. And in some cases, the students had offers much higher paying jobs in New York and other places, but instead to join the company, they work because they could see the culture of the company. They said , it's a team I'm really happy. I want to be part of the team. That's fun . So it facilitates in terms of recruiting. So recruiting not only like the masters important competition finance program, which I bet we're responsible for, but we also facilitate and connect with the undergrad students in computer science, undergrads , nice vie , and the shallow business school undergrads, the MBA students and the QCF students, all of them, we facilitate some of the recruiting. And finally, we also do a large number of events. We bring in a number of speakers from the industry, as I said, it's the interface between the industry , uh , FinTech industry and Georgia tech. So we do a number of events where we bring in speakers, both the financial services industry, the FinTech industry, to come in and talk to the students. And those conversations have been really good. And , uh , last year, because of COVID before we used to draw mostly in-person events, mostly from Atlanta and Georgia, but we use this opportunity to bring in a number of speakers from New York, Chicago, and the West coast FinTech forms that way. I think they could see that it's again , a way of advertising Georgia and Atlanta, the ecosystem when people, I think, many a time come in and they see the , how much talent there is in Georgia and how many great companies are there, the venture capital , they find it, I think a more interesting. And that's the reason why I think Google has been investing more in Atlanta. Microsoft has been investing in more than Atlanta. You just saw the news about Airbnb having a tech hub in Atlanta. So I think we try to organize those kinds of events, both, I think local speakers, but also from New York and Chicago and , uh , vegetables to come in and do that. And finally, we also try to help with the FinTech entrepreneurship in a way like a, be a bridge in terms of FinTech entrepreneurs, by work, by collaborative ATDC , uh , which is as you know, that you work with ATDC, you know, all the great work they do, but also other entities on campus. We have a great initiative at Georgia tech called create text . You might be familiar with our current provost. Steve MacLaughlin was , uh , involved with it along with , uh , Schwab , uh, rugged Putin . Who's the chief commercialization officer , uh , Georgia tech right now, they've done a fantastic job , uh , with the create techs . And whenever I meet with the students and interact with them, I'm blown away by how much they do. And , uh , compared to when I was an undergrad, these guys at least send bones beyond whatever, even thinking about the energy, the passion they have and the great work they do. And so I thought this might be a way a place in financial services industry or FinTech when they have some ideas, a way to help them. So we use the lab, I think , to help them. And also a recent initiative at Georgia tech. Again, a great initiative called creative destruction lab, my colleagues, Peter Thompson, and , um, Alex Sottile and the business school have brought this in, this is out of intercept , Toronto creative destruction lab, but they set up one of the units now at Scheller college of business. This is bringing in entrepreneurs from all across the us and trying to mentor them. And it's been very successful. So in as far as the financial service is concerned, that's where we work. So helping them also, if there's any FinTech entrepreneurs, which the quest , the mentoring to the lab, doing some of that so broadly, like I think, again, this is just, as I say, a way of conversation to interact with industry, with students, with faculty, through a variety of ways, the more we converse, the more this learning, the more I think this means of collaboration. That's how I think about it. And the local community has been great. As I said, into conflict exchange Invesco , we are Wells Fargo, truest , all a partners in this. And again, I have community partners , uh , in working with major players and again, with FinTech , uh , again, you and I have lots of conversations , uh, about the Georgia FinTech Academy and all the great work that you guys are doing. And I was very , really, very happy when you were chosen for the FinTech Academy, because I've known you for a long time. So I thought, again, anything that we can do to collaborate even more, the lab is just an organization to do that.

Speaker 2:

Well, the, the what's been great. I know for me, in developing the Georgia FinTech Academy is that, you know, we we've copied several pages of your playbook from the , uh, from the financial services innovation lab, I think most, most notably when you were talking about engaging students with accompanies and, you know, doing those projects that are long-term , we've been, we've been having a lot of success with that. We're doing it primarily with undergraduate. So the projects are not certainly not going anywhere near the depth that yours are going into, but nevertheless, we like right now in this semester alone, we have 240 students that are in a FinTech project with a FinTech company where they're having direct engagement with FinTech leaders that, and then they're getting the FinTech companies bring in problem statements that , um, are, you know, like one problem statement recently was re related to banking as a service. And like, there are the banking as a service opportunities with regard to community banking, right? So that's kind of the general problem statement. And then the students are given guidance by the FinTech company, along with access to bankers to begin to formulate ideas. So, and then of course, just like you've seen the companies have interactions with the students, the students are impressive. And the next thing, you know, internships are being offered. Full-time jobs are being put on the table , uh, and it's been great. Uh, that's been a great motivator for both on both sides from a recruiting standpoint. Um, and then we also kind of stole your events , playbook. Um, and we've been fortunate now in , in ramping up to , we are now at an event an event a week during the full semester. So we'll have, I think 21 events , um, this semester alone and we're getting square and visa and fleet core and Invesco and income and FIS and Pfizer, they're all coming in and spinning , Oh , you know , they're going pretty deep. Like we had in common the other day. And they were really getting down to the nuts and bolts of like, okay, what is payments? Well, you got to , you got merchants, you got networks in between. You have open loop networks, you have closed loop members. I mean, getting into a lot of very specific detail around what is payments, particularly card-based payments in particular. Um, so it's been very instructive, I think, for the students.

Speaker 3:

Um, it's very impressive. I think what you have done over the last year and a half with the limited resources in terms of doing all this great activity, I think it's really impressive. And I think it's really good for the students, but even for the companies, right ? I think because many, a time when I get these practitioners, they enjoy the draw energy from talking to the students, learn a lot. I think what's happening. I think the industry and this projects are a great way and I'm a big believer in projects. In fact, the class I teach, I don't have any midterms. I don't have any final things. I give up one project a week, very involved projects and competition finance, and we're there to work with the data and machine learning and NLP and other things. But I, in stuff, again, going and taking a quiz for them, I think of real live world projects. Uh, it is great. The students really enjoy it. And the 240 students the same person number, and I encourage you to do more of it because I think this is, would be good for the students. Good for the institutions involved and also the companies. And the more we do, I think , uh, the better it is. And I think it's all, I think all the activities compliments, I think in a way like , uh , what , uh , the FinTech Academy is doing as an umbrella organization across all universities and what , uh , our lab does at Georgia tech, I think is again, being at Georgia tech. Uh, it's uh, my focus is mostly on Georgia tech, but again, I welcome collaboration. There might be waste if some of the students are interested in , um, uh, the broader FinTech Academy students are interested in collaborating, learning from the financial services , innovation lab, working with the lab, I'd be more than happy to talk to them. And likewise, I think , um, uh , I would send students to like the FinTech Academy. So we're not having all this activity. It shows the excitement , uh, for the students. And I think it would benefit them in the long run and the local companies.

Speaker 2:

So they are, we should certainly plug , um, the recent project we've been working on together with Nelson Baker and the Georgia tech professional education , um, division where we've , um, we've now created what we're calling FinTech U , which is going to be a set of , uh , professional education non-credit course offerings , um, that will be sitting within the Georgia tech brand. Um, and so we're, you know, we ha Amy Korn joined us as a director of that program in , in the first quarter here. And we're hoping to , to have our first set of courses in market , um, here before, too long. So thanks for your help with that. And , um, we're , um, I guess I'm looking forward certainly for , um, us getting , um , continued progress on that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, definitely . I think that would be very useful and I think brings it to a larger set of people, both in Atlanta and beyond my hope for that is I don't see like why it should be limited to Georgia in terms of the prog possible students. Um , I think with all the good courses being put together, I think one can actually expand, I think both the courses and also reach out and in a way , like my vision, I think you asked at the beginning, it would be like , uh , again, we already are known for payments. We are known for FinTech, but even increase it by doing all activity that , uh, the FinTech Academy is doing. And the courses now GTP is going to come out with the activity that my lab is doing and other industries are doing. Maybe we want it to be the FinTech hub of the U S and the world. Right. I think a New York displaced Chicago is placed West coast , has it, but I , my phone hope is that , uh , Atlanta would keep climbing and maybe like the preeminent FinTech spot for the entire world.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I'm with you. Why not? It should be. Yeah . Um, well , we should start to wrap up, that's talk about FinTech news from the last week. Um, any interesting story that's , uh , caught your attention.

Speaker 3:

I think there's a few, like, I think as we , like, one of them might be like , um, recently, like if a bit quiet, I think with the price going through the roof , uh , there's a lot of interest in Bitcoin and , uh , how it's going to, how the price I think is increasing and what might be behind it. So there's a TETA , I think, is a stable coin, the USD. And it's one of the ways , uh , the Bitcoin, I think I use the bot. So there's a recent settlement with the New York attorney general announced a couple of days back , uh , without admitting wrongdoing, Tata has paid a fine. So again, this is nascent stages, I think , um , which I think the market is going through still. But what I liked about it is I think it's very important for the market, the crypto market in the long run FinTech in general, to have as much transparency as possible when a particular place says we are a stable coin, we have $30 billion of cash in USD. That's what is backing the stable coin? I think it's very important to have a very transparent auditable record so that the investors are much more comfortable and confident. So that's why I think this regulatory war site and also the settlement and the transparency that would bring in and hopefully it would be good. So I think , uh , the , I think that's the one news which caught my eye because , uh , there's not as much transparency as I would like in that market. So I think this is a great way and hopefully there'll be more in the future.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great call-out . And I, in reading those stories over the last couple of days related to tether and , um , the New York state , um, um, measure, I didn't realize like how much Bitcoin was being bought with tether. I mean, it's a remarkable, I mean, it's a very material amount and I just , I didn't appreciate that with such a major kind of market maker for , um, Bitcoin , um, acquisition. The , um, one other story I think I'd mentioned is just Stripe. I mean, I think more and more people when they hear FinTech, they immediately see the Stripe brand in their heads. Um, there was a strikes , valuation has now shot up to $115 billion. That's almost four fold from one year ago and it's really obviously a remarkable FinTech story. Um, the company continues to expand aggressively worldwide. Um, and I, you know, I think it will be obviously continuing to be an interesting one to look at and we'll continue to be a player that's going to have some remarkable influence on the FinTech space.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. The journey, I think our Stripe has been amazing in a way, by making it simpler for developers with seven lines of code, we can integrate the thing into any payments. I think that was, I think what they are done. I think both for the customers again, the same way of making it easy, like technology, I just say efficiency, reducing the frictions . Stripe has been a great example of that. And I'm not surprised with , um, uh, that , that the valuation has 815 . Again, one can always argue what's the right valuation for this, but , uh, there've been doing from a well ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, great. Well, Sudhir thanks so much for being part of this podcast today. Thanks for all your support for the Georgia FinTech Academy. It's wonderful working with you. And , uh, and I look forward to our next steps.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, Tommy . I enjoyed, I think being part of this conversation and I look forward to collaborating with the FinTech Academy and with you in the future,

Speaker 1:

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