Georgia Fintech Academy

S2 - Episode 9: Medxoom COO, Shankha Basu and Nikhil Malani, Georgia Tech

April 15, 2021 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 2 Episode 9
Georgia Fintech Academy
S2 - Episode 9: Medxoom COO, Shankha Basu and Nikhil Malani, Georgia Tech
Show Notes Transcript

The Chief Operating Officer of white hot fintech/healthtech company Medxoom joins Nikhil Malani of Georgia Tech to explore the ins-and-outs of starting a fintech company and the Medxoom value proposition that helps company employees better manage their healthcare expenditure.

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:

Hi everybody. This is Tommy Marshall , the executive director of the Georgia FinTech Academy. Welcome to season two episode nine of the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. Today we have Shaka Bosu with us from med zoom and Nikila , Malani a student from Georgia tech. Welcome to both of you.

Speaker 3:

Thanks Tommy. Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be here. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Uh , great. Um, let's jump right into introductions. Um, shank , uh , let me start with you, if you don't mind , um, telling us about your , uh, well, I guess go back and tell us about your career. Um, you're in a awesome , um, kind of earlier stage , um , health tech, FinTech related company now, but , uh, tell us how you've , uh, you've come to this place , um, in your career.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, so interestingly, I have spent almost my entire career in FinTech and, you know , I say that with a tinge of pride days , but when I started out it wasn't so sexy. Uh, and you know, there , there is a little bit of background there. So my , my father was a retail banker in India, and I grew up in India. I worked in Europe for awhile and then came to the U S and I was very close to him and would see him kind of go through the machinists and stuff . Like at the time India was getting transformed, right. And I saw him kind of going through that process where he would deal with manual ledgers and bookkeeping and all that. And then he was one of the people who actually got a settlement system computerized in the late eighties in India . And I, like, I had a firsthand view of how much impact that had, you know, FinTech in general, higher on society and how it is so transformational. And, you know, given that background, I wasn't too keen to get into banking or anything like that. And I had an interest in technology. I wanted to be an engineer. So we went to tech schools , uh , wanted to get into telecom and all of that. So came out of tech school with a degree in electrical engineering, from the Delhi college of engineering. And one of my first jobs was with this Indian multinational Tata consultancy services. And the first project that I had , uh, was , uh , financial product. And, you know, initially I was very disappointed. Like, you know, I wanted to get into something really high tech and telecom was something that was really appealing to me, but , uh, people coached me to, you know, to go ahead with the project. And I went to Europe to implement that. And that was the first , uh, real FinTech project that I went into. And it was, it was a product and I was one of the early developers of that. And it's a hugely successful product to the exquisite TCS banks, every continent, you know, every big bank which runs the back office system almost has it. And I dealt with the capital market side of it. So enabling securities clearing and settlement, corporate actions, things of that nature. Uh , the other thing that was happening in Europe at that time was , uh, the , you , uh , the countries in the European union, they were adopting the Euro, like letting go of their currencies. And it was a huge thing, right? I mean, if you can think of as a society, you know, they were kind of latching onto this pan continental idea of a common economy zone and the transformations that it was having, the effect that it had and the systems that we were sort of building at the time , uh, getting a firsthand view of that, that was, that was really impactful. And I did that for three years and then moved on to do , uh, onto , uh , like to do my graduate school at UVA, which was again, focused on, you know , data science and AI. And my research was sponsored by the USDA DOD and office of Naval research, basically, you know, the nascent stages of AI, as we know it and IOT like AI on devices. And, and that's the other threat that I caught on . So my interest in terms of, you know , FinTech and data driven decision making in FinTech from there and progressing on to , uh , after UV , I went to work at Swift and Swift is basically another organization of great significance. They're on this worldwide network for financial institutions or messaging , uh , present in almost every country in the world. Every major bank has a Swift dominant twin . So , uh , after that stint, I got an opportunity to do a corporate funded startup in , in the market services space. Uh, and that is where essentially I got to combine my skills in data science and AI with the system building. Uh , we were trying to kind of help borrowers in distress, and this was right after the market crash. So we had a lot of distressed assets and we were trying to get to a system where we would be able to underwrite and resolve distressed loans and keep borrowers in their homes and help them with their decision-making because it's , it's a complex space for a consumer to go in and make a decision. Do I take a loan modification? Do I foreclose? Do I get into a short sale? And all of that, how do you deal with in a very systemic manner? And, you know, we had a vision for an API driven solution for that. And , uh , we ran several programs there in terms of, you know, alternative loan modification programs, things like , uh, okay, you know, we'll lower, your payments, we'll keep your home, but we take a part of your appreciation. So it was all algorithm driven, right.

Speaker 2:

Um, banquet would a more, it would an underwriter , um , buy the platform from you and then offer, then it would be offered to, I guess, bankers and consumers with making those decisions.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. The servicer would actually do service or Borden as part of the, you know, the workout process. They would use our platform. And , uh, we got bought out by our largest customer because they wanted to kind of like take over the IP that we've been in writing . It was a good outcome. And this was in Winston-Salem North Carolina. That's where I met Jeff. And Jeff was also coming out of an exit. Uh, it's sort of a coop FinTech space. Uh, he had built this platform, which, you know , settles coupons, digital coupons, and it's in 40,000 stores today. So both of us were there. Our kids used to go to the same school and

Speaker 2:

This is , uh, Jeff toe , your , yeah ,

Speaker 3:

My co-founder. And then Mecham happened as you know, and after Mitchum happened, I moved to Atlanta because we got invited to participate in ATDC. And, you know , I , I've been very surprised with the ecosystem in Atlanta overall. Like I've lived in many places, but , uh, Atlanta, I mean the thriving ecosystem that we here have here in terms of enabling FinTech companies and the openness of the community and everything, and that's sort of left me spell bound a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I think that was , um, near the time when we first met was , uh, met Zim was just getting formulated and we were fortunate to have you and Jeff , um, kind of come into that FinTech South innovation challenge, quick burst accelerator. We do , um, the month before the conference. And , um, that I remember that well and how, and I still am . I still , uh , recall, I remember like all my chips were on med zoom to win that year and I'm still in , like, why did Manson win that? Um, but let's come back med zoom in a minute. Um, Nickeel tell us about you.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So I'm a current fourth year at Georgia tech and to graduate , uh, this may in about a month and I've been working in the healthcare industry for the past one and a half years , um, primarily as an intern, but I've basically focused a lot in that field. I've seen a lot of financial issues that have came up with, you know, billing and all the tedious tasks that you might have to pay for hospital bills, insurance bills and all these , um, very nuanced things that not many people want to do. So I've seen the whole healthcare field in general and how it's very not, it hasn't pivoted to that point yet, but we'll see it in a couple of features about that. But the other thing is in, I think June I'll be also working at FIS, so I'll be able to see the whole aspect of global payments systems and the real FinTech area, if I would say, yeah,

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm excited, you've got this great opportunity at FIS and are going to be starting there soon. Um, and , uh , that's kind of , it's cool. It's not , you know , I think it will be all this experience you've had with healthcare will be real , uh, provide a lot of insights that as you get into the work you're doing, you're going to get do with , uh, with FIS, the , and then I guess, Nikki we'll wind it . Like how did you get into these , um , healthcare related opportunities?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so I, so a friend of mine that I go to my temple with, he was looking for an intern at the time and I just happened to ask him for an internship. And then I started my field with him at medical search technologies. And from there, I kind of learned a lot about, you know, the coding aspect of billing, aspect of it, of how they use to automate a lot of their , um, Phi data so that it can be processed, processed through the billing to the insurance providers and make that a streamlined process versus having to do it manually, like how it's been right now. So I've learned a lot about that field aspect of it. And then I started working at Omni health, which was another company, but it has a , more of a supply chain aspect of it, of supplying data from hospitals to , um , life science companies to re uh, bring revenue stream to hospitals since a lot of them are in debt because of, you know, COVID a lot of these impacts that they have with the Medicaid and many other financial issues that might come down the line that term. And yeah, and then I met , uh , Shaka on that part and we've kind of clicked because of the healthcare aspect and financial aspect of that. Right .

Speaker 2:

That's cool. Um, so shotgun , um, I guess pivoting off of that comments, Nikila just making , tell us about, just tell us about, [inaudible] tell us how this , um, you know, the, the companies that kind of core value proposition in the offering and med zoom , um, how you, you and Jeff to , to see the opportunity that med Zoom's addressing , um, you know, help us understand , um, the , uh, the company.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, as, as we call it today as a healthcare marketplace platform, and obviously we didn't start out like that , uh, our , our, you know, the first versions of zero one med zoom was about bill pay and, you know, the way healthcare is today, you walk into , uh , you know, a provider apartment and you don't have any idea about what , uh , you will be charged, or you will end up paying and you get a bill in the mail one month, two months down the line. And if you're a family of four, you're managing these papers streams with four different providers. So we, we kind of started very simplistically. None of us had a background in healthcare operations or anything like that. And we said this, you know, the , the paper has to go away. Eventually, obviously it has kind of gone over in every industry that we are looking at and we need to, we can streamline it with, you know , a payments app and make payments and get rid of the paper there . So very simplistic playwright . Uh, so once we launched, then once we started looking at the data that we were privy to in terms of the claims data that we were getting from TPS , and all of that one thing became very obvious that , uh, healthcare pricing in general is very suboptimal . And then if you think about what marketplaces do today, so obviously they make very easy for the consumer to transact, right? They trickle up inventory. The other thing that they do is also trickle up pricing transparency. So, you know, if you're, if you're in a ditch , I mean, I can take the Amazon example where you kind of have an inventory that is an order of like many orders of magnitude than what you need, perhaps. But the other aspect is you can certain price and it's immensely transparent in terms of what pricing is. So the walls in terms of , uh, you know, the demand and supply side have kind of whittled down. And even if there is pricing, pricing, variance, it's visible to you and you can act on it, but healthcare is not like that at all. I mean, healthcare is so progressive . It's almost 30 years behind. Uh, and we wanted to do something about it. And what happens in general, when you are not privy to information on one side of the equation, is your decisions. Even if you want to do your best are suboptimal . And are we focused on the employer funded self-insured side of things, because healthcare is paid by employers in this country a lot, like it's , it's a $4 trillion market overall. And $1 trillion of that spend is coming from the self-insured market. Every, every big corporation, if you're an employer , you get a benefits package of at shelter. Insurance is a part of, so our focus is on financial optimization of that piece. We don't get into the clinical optimization side as of today, but , uh , we want to optimize the spend for our customers who are health plans and employers and PPS , and also optimize the engagement piece with our users. So it's a B to B, to B, to B, to C platform. Our customers are usually corporate entities and administrators while our users are , you know , their employees or their members, the health plan members.

Speaker 2:

Oh , got it. So your meds rooms , you're, you're kind of a, B to B to C play them. Am I saying that right now , you're going to the employer who has a relationship with a plan blue cross Aetna, you know, et cetera. Um, and then you're saying an employer engage meds and make meds let's may have Ned's zoom available to your employees , um, to help them, we have better information and make better decisions , uh, cost efficient decisions , uh, for them in the care they are , uh , choosing to receive that. Am I saying it right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that is correct. But what has happened , uh , over the last couple of years is that we don't sell to employers directly a lot anymore, and we might go back to them. And so it's, we sell to the administrators and the health plans who are in turn selling to the employer . So I see it, the effect is still the same. You know, the employer in general gets to do better in terms of their bottom line, because we tend to manage or optimize their , spend a lot better, not really wasted dollars on healthcare expenses than they need to, and, you know, also give a better experience to their employees in general.

Speaker 2:

I got it. And then that , and then the health plan, administrators want to bring meds into the table because it differentiates their health plan versus competitive health plans that the employer's trying to choose from , uh, because , um, meds zooms in the mix , um, which is this very employer friendly employee friendly , um, tool , uh , to use in managing healthcare spend on behalf of the employee.

Speaker 3:

Yes, yes. And , uh , we are white liberal, so you don't see the med zoom brand back there , right? Yeah . Yeah. That's important because there are other players in the market who are pushing their brand. And, you know, if you think about other progressive health plans that are out there, who are competing on the basis of technology, and we talk to TPS and health plans who have a solid business model, right. So their strength might not be in technology, but they really have their strengths in terms of the business. And we provide them the SAS platform to kind of get on board and help them get to the next level. Yeah, that's cool. Um, Nickeel um , as you've gotten to understand meds in a little bit, what what's been , um, what are questions that have come up for you or what have you, what has struck you as being compelling about this solution?

Speaker 4:

Um, I kind of found it interesting, like hearing a lot of the aspects of how companies could fail in terms of, because of healthcare , because I've heard somewhere that I think 70% of startups fail because sometimes they don't have a great financial , um, like backing for their employees and therefore their costs and efficiency of giving them healthcare and their , uh, you know , pay stubs and everything. That's, it causes them to eat, you know, go bankrupt because of not finding an efficient solution for their employees, for their own healthcare plans . And I think medicine is doing a great job on that aspect of giving every employers inefficient way to provide all these things for them. And I guess one thing I've always wanted to know is like, what's , um, how is the compliancy for it work? How does that work essentially, to ensure that, you know, if I talked to a certain hospital that I'm not going to see that data come out to another hospital or something like that, is there something you guys have in place?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And we do when we kind of attack it from the financial angle. Right? So as part of the only, what we discovered is that if you, if you're , uh, if you have a view into the team stream, as we call it like healthcare claims coming in and getting settled, right . You're sitting at the, at the bottom of this data funnel, right? So a claim getting resolved in getting are adjudicated, and you're getting information on a lot of aspects in terms of the clinical outcomes as well, and who the provider is, what they're charging and constructing basically a variance map. And then, you know, creating advanced models out of that so that we can intervene and optimize these journeys at least to optimize the financial outcome. So, I mean, at , at, at school , what is optimization, let's understand that. So anytime you engage with , uh, a product or you have a choice, right, you have multiple choices in terms getting into a transaction. If you, if you, if you take a mortgage, so you have choices in terms of rate and Tom and the length of the balance, right ? And you could, I mean, there's a 30 year mortgage product at 20 or 15 years , and it is constrained by a system. It will be that way. It's sort of a very numerical process in which you can determine that this is optimal to me. And there are systems that standardize that process to referee , and they are able to tell you that this is the best option for you. Well , what , what happens in healthcare today is nowhere near close to that, right? Because the systems are archaic and mostly it's human decision-making that has been captured into the models because prices are being set at various hospitals and they are in network and out of network rates. And all of that, I mean , we look very closely at that data. There is a lot of noise. What it tells us is that, you know, somebody somewhere said these prices without giving a lot of thought into it, maybe. And then, you know, I, I say that with some amount of evidence that we have seen, because Medicare actually does vary , you know, they have a very scientific basis for setting prices. They look at how much work goes into a medical service or a procedure. They are just for geographic factors. And then they have a malpractice cost associated, like the insurance costs associated with it, and then they will price the procedure. And when we try to correlate the pricing that we see here, what happens is that we see this divergence, but there are correlations always to Medicare pricing. So I, we went one to kind of get to a point where we are able to, what is an ideal price point for this, right ? And then start steering people towards, or at least trickling that information up so that people can decide on that, that I should be able to go here and get a better price. And there are, you run into capacity constraints and all of that, but at least it starts moving the needle. And at some point we evolve into this engine, which can start to dictate pricing and also enable a transaction because we are at our core, we are a FinTech platform. We enable payments. We are not able to receive payments. So we also get rid of the inefficient processes there , why you should like no other industry tolerate the fact that , uh, you walk in having an encounter or a transaction, and you don't know the price, right? You don't know it for a couple of months, maybe three months and no other industry, no other merchant in any industry tolerates getting paid three months later. And then having a default rate of 40% because, you know, healthcare bills still remain a very big percentage of bankruptcy in this country. And why are we paying, you know , at least double than the next developed country in the world for, you know, almost similar outcomes. So it's about basically, you know , looking at the choices that you have and presenting an optimal outcome to our customers and users and helping them choose that because there is a plethora of information out there. Healthcare is very rich in data. It just very hard for somebody to kind of decide on what is optimal. So if you start for a provider you want to take up the right provider for you and help you get there. If you're in a healthcare journey and we've seen that journey of all , uh, there is a way to kind of the system to kind of generate a signal and help , uh , our customers intervene in the member's journey and get them to a better point. Right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And that's shocking . I'm glad to hear you said , I mean, like when I think about where, like I, as an individual get value as a patient, I should say, get value from med zoom. It's at that point where I know I, I need , uh, I have a sense, I need a particular type of care. So , um, you know, maybe I've talked to my , uh, I'm in a high deductible plan. I've talked to my primary care and I'm like, I have, you know , uh, my , my hamstrings tight and he's like, Oh, you need to go see , uh , an orthopedist. And it's at that point where it's like, okay, Tommy , you need to go see an orthopedist that I'm really beginning to unlock some really great value out of the meds, zoom experience. And I'm going into med soon . I'm like, okay, doc tells me, I need to see an orthopedist. What is my range of options now of orthopedists that I could go see? And then it's, and it's giving me, and then it's playing back to me that the app then does work for me around, okay. Here's, what's, here's, what's near you in your geographic location. Here's what the kind of average price points are. Um, based on a certain, you know, history of claims with this orthopedist and like, am I talking about this? Right. Cause that's where at times when I've been engaging with your company, it took me a few times before it started to click in, because I know you look at all this claim data to build that whole baseline of a data set that you're then leveraging to then be able to recommend and provide optionality to the patient. Um, but it's really at that kind of, I'm a patient needing to make a decision that you're really starting to, as the end user , patient's starting to really get great value and optimization of your medical costs without giving up any quality.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yeah. And that's a great point too . So when you talk about quality , uh , we don't think that quality is a choice, right? So people really don't want to choose and quality. Nobody chooses to go to a quality provider. So quality is more of a constraint. And once you set up that constraint, that I am going to only going to trickle up providers who meet a certain bar in terms of quality, we are able to route you there. And it's a complicated problem. That whole optimization piece, it's not only the single incident, right? Like you're going to see an orthopedist and outcome might be , uh , optimal in terms of the single procedure that you're going to have or what , what is, what does the journey look like? What does the long run costs of somebody going there look like? And what does quality look like in terms of, you know , the evolution of your journey there? Yeah , it's a multi-dimensional problem. And, you know, you have several constraints, you know, geography becomes a constraint, your, your health plan becomes a constraint. The network becomes a constraint and we are bringing in other tools like , uh , we have this major payment card. Yeah . A facility now that basically our networks, the whole network concept. So sometimes we are able to, and a lot of the times now where providers are willing to get paid upfront more than willing, when you tell them that I'll pay you a friend and you got a huge discount and you're suddenly able to go see any provider and actually save money and think of the process they're like, they got rid of the billing, the claims process is shortened. And it ideally should be that way. You know , there's no reason for all this administrative access that happens in healthcare. It almost seems to be by design. Yeah . Yeah.

Speaker 2:

The payment part is very interesting to me is like FinTech guy, the , um, cause I think of medicine , there's so many different levels of how med zoom supports that payment , um, decision let's call it. And , and then transaction. I mean, there's the example you just expressed of the , um, almost some kind of negotiation before care that where the price gets driven lower by essentially pre-payment or upfront payment . Um, that's one place where there place, where you unlock a lot of value for the patient, but then there's also just this complexity around, I've got a health savings account, I've got a personal credit card. I got a personal debit card. I've got, you know, these different payment instruments. What, what, how should I pay and what order with what is allowed? I mean, it's, it's complicated from, from individual and individual certainly plan to plan. And , um, I know there's important work that the , uh, the , your capability does to help make that more seamless and easy and help the patients make the right decisions around , um, how to pay or how much to pay with a certain instrument versus how much to pay with another instrument , um, and, and help , um, simplify that complexity. Yeah, absolutely. And

Speaker 3:

We have been sort of, I mean, it's part of the roadmap now and you know, this is part of the optimization problem and the consumers end notes , right. So you haven't just a plan versus somebody not having any , it just depends . How, how does that influence , uh , that outcome, the decision outcome in terms of where to go and consume services from not truly alter your journey so that, that, yeah, obviously, you know, that, that plays into it.

Speaker 2:

Um, Nickeel I know you and I were talking a little bit about just this digital digitization of healthcare , um, talk, you know , Maciel say a little bit more about that. And , um, and then you know, about, you know, how you see med Zune in this landscape as , um, as the , uh, as, as it is , as the digital trends continue to evolve in , in healthcare .

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So I mean, from my perspective of seeing healthcare , it's been, it's a very archaic and very old system, but right now we've been progressing at a very rapid rate for a lot of these companies on helping, you know , life science teams , uh , like the billing teams and everyone to make their process much more smoother. And the way, you know , I see med sume , it's much more, much more advanced than a lot of these other companies that have been trying to just automate an entire system for billing processing and all that from hospital to like , uh , like a billing system in their department or something. Um, but what medicine has done and has used with all their complaints, data is, you know, find a very optimal and efficient solution that I've seen. And I think that's like very complex, very cool to see that how far we've come from, you know, just allowing us to have just an insurance provider to pay for some of our medical costs versus now finding efficient routes to getting efficient healthcare and quality plants out there for , uh , employees and making sure that this is also beneficial for the employer . Um , so that both parties can have a win-win situation, these cases.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Is that that's a good point. And then, you know, Shaka, I'm just, I've heard you say too , just as we're seeing this kind of huge , uh, evolution and tele-health , um, in the midst of this last, the pandemic we've been in , in the last 12 months , um, you know, greater engagement , um, in , uh, doctors being able to serve patients , um, a loosening of regulation , um, that's allowing that happen. Uh, how is how's that , um, impacting , um, Neptune ?

Speaker 3:

Yes. And it is impacting us. It has impacted us in a good way, because what COVID has done in general is sort of break down the barrier in terms of adoption of telehealth. So it's, if you look at the numbers over the last year , uh, the hesitancy in terms of, you know, doing a telehealth visit has kind of gone away. And as an engagement platform, we always have had telehealth providers on our shelf. And what that does is as people start using telehealth more and more, they are coming back to the platform and getting engaging more. So it becomes a very big driver. So somehow digital has become the de facto first interface in terms of health engagement, right. And that opens up a lot of opportunities in terms of optimizing the experience then on. So once you have a telehealth visit, you know, you , you might go to a specialist or you need a prescription, or sometimes you need some, you're doing a refill or following up on a durable medical equipment order. And to be able to be a part of all of that, it opens up a lot of opportunities for us in general. And that's where the market place idea starts driving. Because once you get the consumer into the door and you have this optimization engine, you're able to drive a lot of those transactions to, you know , beneficial outcomes in general,

Speaker 2:

Right? Yeah. It's really, it's an exciting time. It really is. I know you all are feeling it. And , uh, Aetna zoom , um, re good growth, you just reached finished , uh , another round of financing , um, just in the , um, what a month ago or so, was it even that long ago? Uh, congratulations on that. It's great to see , um , you know, further investment in the growth of your company.

Speaker 3:

Uh , yes. Uh , thank you. Yes. Um , yeah. Have you been able to raise $8 million for a series? Um , now focusing on growth, existing investors participating, we got a new lead from , uh , Castro loan group. Uh, you know, it's a family office with the key people. They're the founders of zealous payments and healthcare . Yeah. So it's not only the money, but also the , you know , strategy , insights and help that we get from them. And Sean Smith will be joining our board and he was the founder of zealous. So it's exciting. It's also , uh, you know , healthcare in general is very complex and it's always challenging. So things don't really get easy, you know, but that's what , uh , we are here for.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Well, let's pivot bit to , um, things that news in the , um, what's caught our eye in the last a week in terms of FinTech news. Nickeel, I'll let you start what's what's hit your radar. Hmm .

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So I guess one thing that kinda caught my eye was Coinbase it's they got a, I think a hundred billion evaluation. I think, I believe from what I saw

Speaker 2:

It's at market close last yesterday. I

Speaker 4:

Oh, yeah. Okay. That's over a hundred today. Who knows? I don't know, but from what I've seen , uh , like I think it was last night, I saw that it was a hundred billion evaluation, which is crazy seeing how far , uh, you know, cryptocurrencies evolve from like, I think the past, I think, five, six years from now, it's crazy to see how big the market has become and to see a company growing this fast. That's crazy to me

Speaker 2:

And Coinbase for you that don't, aren't familiar with. The company is a, is an exchange. Um, it's one of the largest exchanges , uh , in the world that facilitates buying and selling of the , the kind of predominant cryptocurrencies. I think , um, they may, I've lost track how many they list, but it's around , um, it's at least 15, maybe 20, but, you know, Bitcoin, Ethereum of course , um, light coin , um, all heavily traded on that exchange. I think I was reading the economist this morning and they said there's around 250 billion of , um, crypto changing hands on Coinbase. Um , which is roughly , um, I think I'll probably misquote this, but it was in the, you know , high single digits percentages of all cryptocurrency , um, being bought and sold. So, you know , big deal , um, shock . How about you news that's caught your attention.

Speaker 3:

I think the visa and bad deal getting called off caught my eye. And I'm , I'm still thinking about the implications there obviously, but , uh, innovate , I think the government and the regulators are conquering with this idea that the democratization, in terms of access to financial services that, you know, an infrastructure like [inaudible] and all of that, that, that needs to stay, you know , alone for awhile. Absolutely. Yeah. You know, it's exciting time for FinTech.

Speaker 2:

And I noticed that plaid had announced a , um, you know, post that deal falling apart with these , uh, um, a new major round of financing that is private equity funded , uh, and that brought their valuation up to around 13 billion. Um, so they've , um, yeah , I think, you know , uh , plaid has been very successful obviously, and they've pivoted , um, you know, pretty quickly I think that visa deal kind of got pulled. Um, I want to say four or six weeks ago. So they were quickly able to find , uh, around, get around to financing in place to, to kind of keep them on a growth, give them the resources they need to keep growing. Um, the, the news that I caught my eye this week was , um, Walmart , um, has trademarked a name for their new FinTech super app , uh, that they're, they're working on. Uh, it's going to be called Hazel. Um, uh, so that's news. The , um , I continue to be very interested in Walmart's intentions here, what they're building. Um, there's still quite a bit to be determined or revealed in terms of their plans, but they've got , uh, some sensational leaders that they've , uh , poached from global Goldman Sachs Marcus. Uh, they've got a meaningful strategic , um, investor and player and advisor in ribbit capital. Um, with them ribbit by the way, was also heavily invested in Coinbase. So just had a major liquidity event. Um, so really , um, I continue to just be fascinated at , um, Walmart's plans or learning more about their plans . Well , uh , keel Shoghi that brings us to the end of our time. I've I want to thank you for, for being with us today. Uh, it's great. Having you engaged with the Georgia FinTech Academy to kale . I can't wait to hear about , uh , how things go as you get started with FIS. Of course, they're a major. Um, they were one of our founding investing partners and heavily engaged with the FinTech Academy. We're very grateful for them. Uh, and then Shanka , um, please know, you're always welcome at the FinTech Academy. I'll also look forward to continuing to see around the ATDC as we get back on site, hopefully here, before we know it, I can't wait. Uh, and , um, let us know how we can , uh , help you as you continue to grow.

Speaker 1:

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