Georgia Fintech Academy

S2 - Episode 21: Banyan Hills Technologies, CEO Steve Latham and Cam Holmes from Georgia Tech discuss iOT and Fintech

July 20, 2021 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 2 Episode 21
Georgia Fintech Academy
S2 - Episode 21: Banyan Hills Technologies, CEO Steve Latham and Cam Holmes from Georgia Tech discuss iOT and Fintech
Show Notes Transcript

Steve Latham, CEO, Banyan Hills Technologies joins Cam Holmes, a student at the Georgia Tech School of Industrial Design. This discussion focuses on the important role of the Internet of Things in the fintech industry. 

Banyan Hills Technologies is a software company focused on remote monitoring and management of critical assets for enterprise IT teams.

 Steve Latham is a veteran technology executive with a history of building successful teams and products. He founded Banyan Hills Technologies in 2013 and the company has appeared on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the United States for three years in a row.

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. Hi

Speaker 2:

Everybody. This is Tommy Marshall , the executive director of the Georgia tech tech academy. And welcome, welcome to season two episode 20, one of the Georgia FinTech academy podcast. This is July 15th, 2021, and I have two guests with me today. Steve Latham, who's the CEO and founder of Banyan Hills technologies and cam Holmes . Who's a master student at Georgia tech. Welcome to both of you.

Speaker 3:

Thanks Tommy . Appreciate you having us here today. Appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Great to have you, Steve. Um, I want to take some time just first to hear from you about , um, your career journey , um, and kind of wherever you'd like to start. I know listeners love to hear these stories of executives like yourself, who , uh, who not only had meaningful careers in FinTech, but I've also created , um, technology , uh, companies founded technology companies. So , um, let me turn over turn to you first. Um, and if you could give us some of that , um, story

Speaker 3:

You bet. Um , again, thanks for having me here telling me and excited to talk about a couple of topics today, but , uh , certainly a little bit about my background. I , um, I would say going way back, I grew up in a family that was heavily centered around technology. My father was , um, had founded a software engineering company and built a software platform and taking it to market primarily in the government space. Um, my mom was a chief information officer for local government for a long time. And so I sort of grew up in this environment that was entrepreneurial and very, very technology centric. Um, I went , uh, as I got into my education, I was heavily encouraged by my parents to , uh, to take advantage of, I guess, a little bit of a personality , um, and they encouraged me to get into business. And so I studied, I studied business in college , um, with a background also in technology technology always to always stayed close , uh , to technology, but really got a formal training in business in school. And as I got into my professional career, I, I joined a management consulting firm and got in , and that experience for me, I always had this entrepreneurial itch that was coupled with this deep love and passion for technology. I mean, it sort of ingrained in me, but management consulting taught me a lot of lessons. It taught me, exposed me to a wide array of industries and business. Um, it also taught me a work ethic that , um, that I know people that are in management consulting can certainly understand I did nothing but work during that time and travel and be onsite with customers. I really got some strong training and , uh, I did get to a certain point in that journey where I knew that what I needed to do was leave the management consulting space, join a private company. And I chose , uh , I chose to go into the financial sector, which , uh, I joined Harlan Clark , um, and spent some time there helping them merge a couple of technology platforms and then had an opportunity to join the NCR corporation, to build a new business for NCR. And it was at that point that I was sort of firing on all cylinders. I was taken advantage of a, some training in business. I was taking advantage of , um, some background in technology. And then I was able to scratch the entrepreneurial itch because NCR was given me the opportunity to help them build an entirely new service line within the company. And , um, and that launched into a journey where , um, uh , the , an incredible experience at NCR , uh , great, great company. Um, eventually I ended up running being the CTO of the line of business , uh, that was bringing a DVD rental kiosk to market as a business that we grew and then sold later sold to Redbox. And , um, and along that journey is where I also came up with an idea to start what ultimately became banding Hills technologies, which completes the full circle. At that point, I was able to jump into the opportunity of creating a business here in Atlanta , uh, that serves multiple industries, but I know Tommy, we wanted to, well , we can pause there and I can get into more detail around that in a moment, but that's a brief history.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, I love it. Thanks so much. And I'm looking forward to talking a bit about being in Hills, but , um, I, I, you know, I love to talk with folks like you have had , um, a lot of things. I love management consulting , uh, financial services, FinTech , uh , meaningful experience. And , um, you know, I think I know those experience ups have had, or really provided some great , uh , foundation as you started banging to continue to grow, which that over the last many years KLM . Um, tell us about you, tell us about , um, yourself and, and, and what has drawn you to Georgia tech.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, of course. So , um, I grew up in north Georgia and I kind of started this passion for design and the career I wanted to pursue in middle school. I went to a technology-based middle school called DaVinci academy up in hall county. And I actually kind of started my graphic design career , um, on seventh grade and kind of carry this passion throughout high school. Um, and this kind of led me to tour Auburn university and , um, I was originally going for graphic design, but graphic design and industrial design were in the same building. Um, so I kind of became fixated on industrial design, which if y'all don't know is , um , more physical product design, it's a lot of heavy sketching and CAD rendering and , um, and stuff like that. But , um, I was very intrigued. So I pursued that degree. And four years later, I kind of grew my knowledge on this design process. Um, but by the end I was kind of getting worn out on CAD modeling and sketching. I was losing kind of interest in it and I lost touch of that digital design , um, that I had laid my foundation on throughout middle school. Um, and COVID hit, I didn't know like what I wanted to do. Um, so I , I, I thought it was a good time , um , to let the world settle and go back to normal and just kind of get the masters out of the way and kind of, I found this UI UX thing, which was a mesh between industrial and graphic design. Um , so I could still use design processes and , um , still work and kind of this digital space. Um, so I applied at Georgia tech and they have a lot of opportunities for UI UX. So I was accepted and I plan to attend in the fall. Um, and then I started a , an opportunity opened up with a company called Payveris, which is a digital money movement company , um , for credit unions. And that is kind of where I'm at right now. Um, but yeah,

Speaker 2:

That's , uh , that's great. And I, it , you know, I can't say enough about how critical design is in these, in these zones. You're talking about to the FinTech industry today and really all the tech industry. I mean, it's, the design is really critical to success on all kind of products and services in this area. Um, I, I like to think , uh , I, I, sometimes I like to think I understand this design area a little bit until I talk to people like you try cam, and then I'm like, well , I don't really know anything. Um, but I like to use the words like UX and UI , uh, frequently. And , um, and , uh, and I've had some, you know, largely just due to, in like our, my consulting history of professional work, we would, in my, in the first iterations, we were big part of what we were doing was essentially building the web presence for the banks. This was in the late nineties. So it was like when the Netscape was the browser and it was like all the visual , like, okay, how , how do we interact with this now? What are we going to do? And , um, we would , um, go find people that typically an ad agencies , uh, initially that would have some understanding of how to think about design or they had , um, models they could bring to the, really the web in terms of how to formulate websites at the time. But I know things have gotten much more involved , uh , over the years as the technology has advanced and all the different channels and modalities of the interface changed. And when you look to the future with artificial reality and virtual reality and all these additional emerging modalities, it's really such a spot signing space . I know you will be wildly successful. There's no doubt in my mind. Um, well, let's come back. So I want to just let , I want to talk about several things. Um, Stephen , want to hear him talk more about banging Hills, his talk about IOT digital transformation. Um, maybe the best place to start is just some more context around your company, Steve, and , um, how that you came to found it, you know, how it's grown, your, your focus. Um, maybe we could start there.

Speaker 3:

Sure. Um, the so Banyan , uh, was built , uh, the, the idea ultimately started in 2013 and the whole premise behind Banyan was I really wanted to go build a software technology that had the capability to connect to anything , uh , regardless of what it is, any, any device , uh, for the benefits of sort of centralized management and control. It's a little bit of a mouthful, but that was the idea. There was this idea to build a software platform that could handle , uh , connecting to and managing large networks of devices. And, and the , the way that Banyan was bill was , um, it's a little bit, a little bit about the history. We started a professional services company first within Banyan to generate revenue , uh, in the form of that came in the form of technology consulting and custom software engineering. And then we use the revenue to fund the build out of this , uh, technology. Uh, the technology is called canopy and we present the technology to the market as an internet of things platform. So a software platform that can connect to these large device networks , uh , for all the ancillary benefits, which I know we'll , we'll probably get into more detail. And so for the last eight years , um, some of the fun parts about what we've done is we've bootstrapped the company on services based revenue. We'd never taken traditional debt, our leveraged the company in any way. And we're able to build on that a , um, a very meaningful platform that then we've taken to market. And now we've turned that into a productive software business for Banyan. And our aspiration is to continue scaling that business and growing it to become one of the dominant leaders in this idea of remote management control of these device networks. And, you know, I think important, you know , for our conversation today, Tommy is that I, you know , you can , that I always think of technology as this sort of stacking set of capabilities and in every, every onset of new innovation introduces opportunity for the future. And , um, and the internet, if we just go back in time a little bit and think about the role that the internet played suddenly, there's this first, it created this marketplace of where you could go create your own billboard for your company. And then we enabled a transaction so that people could purchase goods and services through the internet. Um, obviously , uh , taking digital payments , uh, to the next level. And then from that, we were able to start thinking about, okay, well, how do we further maximize the internet , uh, to take advantage of opportunities for things like having connected cars or connected homes connected real estate connected healthcare . And that's just opened up an entire new , um, revolution technology revolution of opportunity. And I think that is leading to , uh , this idea that businesses and solutions are going from more analog based solutions to digitally transform it into , um , an entire new , um , an entire new solution. And I can't even imagine cam the complexity of, you know , having to think through, you've got this big revolution happening on technology. And then how do you imagine the future from a design perspective to start sketching out the right way to take advantage of all of these innovations?

Speaker 2:

No. Yeah, it's definitely ,

Speaker 4:

Um, been a challenge as I start to kind of figure out and educate myself on, you know, the right approach to certain problems like this. Um, I know a lot of like the kind of legacy, you know , um , companies and programs have been built on this analog kind of idea. And you started to see kind of the Teslas and , uh , the most of the world kind of started to take over because they're built on kind of more of the API , um, foundation where they can continuously update and adapt way quicker , um, than let's say a legacy company that has to kind of add a new room to the company , um, that really wasn't originally built, you know , on kind of this digital world. That makes sense.

Speaker 3:

But yeah, no, I think, I mean, from my perspective, I think you're a hundred percent, right. I think especially the emerging consumer , uh, there's an for them, when they walk into any sort of transactional experience that it's very digital digital first it's, it's a fast and efficient is , is possible. There is no such thing is , you know, 24 hour delay in payment transfer, things of that nature those days are , are certainly gone. And, and so you've got this, this expectation from a consumer walking into , um, you know, probably some traditional legacy types of experiences. And I think that's a real challenge for business operators today. They have to be able to meet that expectation, which is causing them to entirely rethink their experience.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And what's

Speaker 4:

Interesting about that is , um, from a design perspective , um, people are used to these experiences, so kind of meshing , um, you know, these old experience and the new digital experiences , um, is very important from use user usability perspective. Um, so people aren't thrown with too much change at once. Um, cause then that kind of creates more problems. Um, even though it's newer technology, which is , um, kind of some problems I've been dealing with lately, but

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah , that's a really good point. Yeah. I think the there's a, there's a design that has to respond a little bit to , uh, differing expectations. It's not like the entire , uh, market is ready for , uh , the Tesla, you know, to use an example that you talked about earlier, they have to sort of be put on this path towards incremental , uh , incrementally arriving there. Um, I, you know, I think it's, at least my point of view is that it's, there is no doubt that the future will be a more technology led artificial intelligence and these, you know, we'll , we will take advantage of those types of innovations almost exclusively in the future, but you're right. The path is careful. You have to be really careful about how you take someone from today's experience into that new realm.

Speaker 2:

Hey Steve. Um, could you, when you're , when you talk about banging Hills technologies and the remote control of device networks, can you , um, give us , uh , uh, an example of, of that, like an example of maybe a device network, you know, what, what you mean by that control factor? What does that look like in a, in a value proposition?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no problem. The , uh, there's a couple of examples, jump to , uh , jump to mind, you know, one is, you've got, let's say that you have , um, an ATM network or even to use the business that I was in prior to this , uh , DVD rental kiosk, like think about red box where got a very large network of these machines that are responsible for , uh, supporting a transaction, a consumer walks up to the machine and either withdrawals cash, or does a transaction to , to rent a piece of inventory. If you're operating a network of 65,000 of those locations , um, it's your role to, you know, those are locations that don't necessarily have people that stand in front of the machine and make sure that it's operational, you have to have your technology has to be smart enough to centrally observe the health of all of those devices , um, health being the health of the , uh , electronics, the machine itself, the robotics that handle inventory, the payment transactions, the payment terminal , uh, all the software that runs on that solution, all of that has to be monitored , uh, at, at an extreme level to give you a sense of is that store open or closed. And your goal obviously is to keep that store up and running and available and supporting customer transactions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And if anything goes wrong, you need to know the second that that happens. And that's the sort of , um, that's , uh, our, our solution at Banyan is called canopy. Can it be, is that a system that can connect to those types of machines and then give an operator the central visibility to understand real time what's happening and then also to give, put the technology in their hands to restore service if something were to happen.

Speaker 2:

That makes sense. Um, another part of the question I was thinking about too, was this , um, you know, our artificial intelligence gets a lot of attention. Um, and I'll just say as just a general observation from me often, I'll see, you know , I'll see conversations or, you know, research or articles, et cetera about IOT. And then there'll be an intersect with artificial intelligence and I'll be like, okay, what's going on here? What's happening? Um, so I guess at face value, just from what you were just saying, I could see canopies taken a whole bunch of inputs from all these devices it's helping to manage. That's all that's data. Uh, I know in order for artificial intelligence to be meaningful, it requires large data sets , artificial intelligence in its most meaningful state in my mind is when it becomes predictive, it's predicting something. Um, and so are you getting, are you, is, are you, have you have, are you involved in that way where it's like, you're beginning to say, okay, there's a, there's a likelihood X device could misfire in some way, or there could be some issue, you know, operator inner city , you know, take X actions. So let's, de-risk that

Speaker 3:

Yes, a hundred percent. That's a, you know, you hit on a couple of points there that I think are, are , uh , really, really great ones. One of which is artificial intelligence to me is a great example of a new capability. That's only possible with all of the other layers of innovation that have happened , uh , in technology. So, you know, AI, as you said, is only possible when it's fed by large amounts of data over large amounts of time. If you don't have that data , um , the AI models, can't be trained to start to do some of the , the value generation, which is all these , uh , you know, the predictions and the analytic predictive analytics about what , um , what happened . And so I really see the internet of things as it is. The internet of things is opening up this new, an entirely new , uh, uh, scope of data capture and processing and central observation . So now we're getting data from smart thermostats and smart automobiles and smart payment devices, and, you know, everything is coming off of the manufacturing lines today with the internet connecting to the internet in mind. Uh, so the ability for us to start to capture, soak in that data and then train these AI models to take advantage of the benefit of broad visibility is only possible now. And , uh, to answer your question, yes, absolutely. We have some fun use cases around , uh, something as simple as you have many, many machines connected in one platform, and you're capturing images from those machines about what's showing up on the user experience and the AI , uh , recognition engines able to look across those images and look for patterns that could be states of error or states of health. And that simple observation can lead to, Hey, this portion of our network of connected devices might actually be experiencing a problem. Um, and without any kind of human observation or, or intervention, so pretty, pretty fun stuff there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's really amazing. And then Steve , um, one more question, and then I want to talk about digital transfer information kind of broadly , um, when you think, and I'm always struggling with this a little bit, is that, that intersection point between IOT, internet of things, the technologies, the trends , et cetera, around really fully enabling the IOT and financial services. Um, can you give me your kind of top three kind of key use cases you think of? I mean, you, you mentioned ATM's, I kind of get that one, I guess most directly, I know most you look at an organization like JP Morgan bank of America. I mean, they've got, I think over 10,000 ATM's that they're running at this very moment across the country and, and even a broader set of networks that they interact with around the world. Um, I mean, so I guess I'll stop there. Like, what are , how, how best is what's your guidance to us is like financial services, FinTech people are like, where are those kind of most important areas to focus on when we talk about IOT and FinTech? Um ,

Speaker 3:

I, I, I think you're , and I do think at the ATM is a great example of an IOT solution that's been around forever even before the term internet of things existed, but it truly is a great example of IOT. I think branch transformation is a , uh, an important, and I'm sure can , you know, as you think about this , uh , this is from a design perspective, this is also a really good example. Branch transformation is , um, you know, a customer is , uh , traditionally walking into a branch and goes through a process to get financial services. And I think we are seeing , um, that that is a, that branch transforming, how it gets solved for leveraging technologies like IOT is , um, is critical. It's, you know, one is , uh , here's a great example. Tommy is I think about if I log into a financial services website today, like my bank's website, I started my garden experience and I lead the experience and that bank knows every single thing about what I looked at, what I touched, what I considered purchasing, ultimately, what I, what I purchased. And then they have all this rich, deep analytics about my experience when I was trying to do a banking transaction in the physical world today, if I walk into a branch , um, they don't have that visibility. They don't have, they don't know what I was. Uh, certainly they don't have the Steve went to this section of the branch and he started to explore these options. And, and so I think the opportunity is to figure out how to digitize that physical experience in a way to where , uh, the bank, the operator has the same level of analytics about , um, my in-person experience as they do my , my web experience. Um, and then I might just, I might go, I'll go half step further on that. I think also from a , uh, that, that branch, it's not just about the consumer experience. I think it's about operating physical environments now, you know, where we're now living in a world where , um, virtual is, is a reality as opposed to, you know, where we were two years ago. I think everybody understands that there's been this real transformation that's happened. And so I think operators certainly have spaces are trying to understand how do I replicate that in a digital way, but how do I optimize my physical presence and that's facility management cost optimization really, really tuning , um, uh , facility management for, you know, for folks that have physical space. So I'll stop there. I , I feel like I, I probably I'm interested in cam and I know you probably have a couple of points of view on that too. Yeah , yeah, for sure.

Speaker 4:

Um, the way I think about it is , um, when you walk into a branch , um , when you're, especially when you're dealing with like humans and workers, like so many different things can happen, you can have a good experience or a bad experience, but I feel like in this digital world kind of, you can optimize this experience to be the same every time. And , um, as, as you gather more data, like you said, like with analytics and stuff, you can keep optimizing this experience to where it's the same and you can improve it over and over , um, to where there's a good experience every time. And then there's also a convenience level. You don't have to get in your car and drive to a branch, wait in line, wear a mask these days, which is just like frustrating. Um, you can just get on your computer and solve that same problem, you know, like instantly. And that's what people expect these days. It's not, you know, they expect it , the instant gratification. It's not something that they want to wait in line for anymore. Um, which is interesting. Um, but like, like the, or what you're saying about optimizing the end per the branch experience with this technology , um, is also very interesting because , um, they're using technology to , um, kind of minimize how many people really need to be there. Um, I don't know. It's a , it's , uh , I'm not very familiar with the topic , so I'm kind of trying to think on the rough air , but, but yeah, it's ,

Speaker 2:

Uh, it's, it's also, I mean, some of you listening might be like, why aren't these people talking about branches? I mean, I just thought these things were going away. Um, but the re, which is a good question or a good thought. Um, but the reality is ranches. They're, they're not, they're not going away. Um, now, I mean, I guarantee I would bet every single one of you listened to this has seen a new, a new branch come up somewhere as you've been driving around in your communities and recent , um, in the last 12 months, even in the last 2012 months, in fact, in my neighborhood in the last six months, chase opened a brand new ranch . And as they were doing, I'm like, what the heck are they doing? I mean, they took a , uh , a yogurt Mowgli ice cream place, and they converted it into a chase retail banking branch. And I'm like, okay. And even my kids were like, dad, what is going on here? I like, I wanted another ice cream place. I don't, you know , I , I can't do anything with the thing . And , um, but the , the reality is , um, there's this transformation going on where , uh, the, all the banks and every single one of them they're doing what they they're , they're running what they call network optimizations, which are they're , they're looking at, you know, how many customers are within a four to five minute drive of one of their branches. Some banks refer to these as stores. They don't use the word branch. Um, and so they are closing song, but then they're opening new ones or they're taking ones that exist and they're completely transforming them. So I'll guarantee you, like, if you walked into any of these new ones you've seen in your community, it's a totally different feel. It's lighter, there's much more digital interface points. They're trying to, they're bringing forward , uh, aspects of what you see with those institutions on a , in a digital experience, even on your phone, into the imagery, into the process , uh, in the, in the store and the branch itself. So in a reason they're making these investments is because there's research that they've done that shows that we as humans still value interacting with humans. And , um, you know, but how we value that interaction has certainly changed, right? We were seeking advice, help me understand my financial lives helped me , um , make sure I'm succeeding financially, give me direction and guidance versus what's been a historical role of the store, the branch, which is deposit my $10, or I need some new checks or deposit XYZ check. If you have somebody , you don't know what checks are, but the , um, that, that function, but it's, it's a kind of nets order level of human interaction in that brand store environment. So I totally get, like, in that context, I totally get how IOT can really influence the success of all the interaction, this higher level, higher order interaction we want happening in that, in that space and the physical .

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I, I just, if I could just say, I think also cam made at the very start of this made an important point, which is , um, even the most disruptive and successful technologies that have come to market require and demand a journey to that destination. Not like it just happens and people instantly everybody's driving a Tesla, you know, there is a population of folks that the, the thought of that technology actually makes them a little nervous. I, well, do I have enough battery? Do I have, you know, self-driving cars, why that sounds very dangerous. Um, and so I think what cam said was really smart is that designing for a phased , um, a phase transition , uh , for some of these things is that's really the , I , I , I think one of the harder parts of , um, of effective design,

Speaker 4:

Frustrating for sure, because, you know, you want to get to this clean, sexy interface. Um , but you just can't immediately, like, like they won't understand how to use it. You kind of have to phase these elements and , um, like updates and versions and , um, to be able to have the user use it, like how , how you envision. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

And I , it's probably one of the most important consideration in a successful digital transformation efforts. Is that what you're talking about, cam , how do we bring that user , um, appropriately into the transformation in a way that's meaningful for them, where they are, where they are and that's, and there's, you know, every, there's a lot of variation , uh, depending , uh , against the whole class of users. Um, I guess what's cool too, is just the , uh, the technology kind of coming back on the technology is the technology is the sophistication of it allows us in ways that we didn't have, even in recent history to have be able to allow support you camp with your design to meet those various , um, users where they are.

Speaker 4:

Yes. And , um, to kind of extend on that point. It was , um, I think COVID was really a catalyst for this transition as well. Um, people kind of realize that they can actually do everything from their home and, you know , it kind of just jump-started that transition a little bit faster than let's say 2019.

Speaker 2:

Um, I love this conversation. I hear we can talk for quite some time on this. Um, we're, we're starting to run out, run towards near the end of the show. So I want to pivot us towards our typical EnCap , where we were real , uh , FinTech news. That's been exciting to us , uh, in the past week. Um, Steve , uh, I think I'll let you start what's , uh, what's caught your in, in , uh, caught your attention or what , what would you like to share?

Speaker 3:

I think just, I mean, as if the perfect segue, the, you know, the whole discussion around , uh, digital transformation and analog to digital brings up the, this surge in cryptocurrency and, you know, that's, it's a great example of, so , you know , a digital payment or , uh , uh, any form of cryptocurrency not having to carry cash or even, well, it seems more antiquated coins. Um, it, it seems so obvious. It seems so obvious that that's the future. Uh, however, you know , you're , I mean, talk about like a transformation that has to happen over time and , um, but it's clear that that's happening. And , uh, I think, you know, one example to answer your question, Tommy , I think this week looking at the news about income, who I always think of income as being a , um, a gift card enabler , uh, in the, in the responsibility they've had there, and clearly they are reaching out and doing many, many other things than that. Um, but this, this news about their selection of flexa , um, to help expand , um, currency acceptance for , for merchants. I feel like that's, this is a great example of, okay. Cryptocurrency is very clearly a real thing. And where , um , now these strategic moves are happening with some of the largest operators in the world to make this a reality for consumers. Yeah,

Speaker 2:

No, thanks. I , that struck me as well. And thanks for highlighting that , uh , income's actually a sponsor of the Georgia FinTech academy and , um, we're hosting , uh, income tonight for a student event where they're going to do a deep dive on the smart card gift card capability they have, and explain that in detail. So , uh , tomorrow I will be much smarter related to gift cards and smart, smart cards than I am today. Uh, cam, how about you, what's called your opinion . Um,

Speaker 4:

Um, I have been kind of focused on , um, kind of visa cards that are linked to these cryptos. And I think it's kind of interesting , um, how volatility will play a role and how people use these cards, because let's say you have a dollar in Bitcoin or you're a 3m , um, that dollar could not be the same value like tomorrow or yesterday , um, and how people, you know , manage these cards. Um, it's going to be very interesting , um, because I just recently saw an article that , um, more than 1 billion has been spent on these cryptal crypto linked visa cards in the first half of 2021. Um, so it's really interesting kind of the , how the value changes on these cards , um, and how , how, I guess there'll be more need for more like stability. Um , and these cryptos for them to actually, you know, find a use or beat the dollar, let's say,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I know it's a great point. And , uh, and that the 1 billion in the last six months on the visa network related to crypto payments, it sounds like a big number, a billion, but this is like 0.01 maybe of the piece of transactions they've handled in the last six months. So I think it's , um, it's kind of , it's, it's cool that visa is emphasizing this, and I think it just supports this, the fact that these cryptocurrencies are becoming ever more relevant , um, as , uh , as, as potential payment instruments. Uh, pretty cool. And then I guess keeping with the crypto theme , um, my share is that , uh , circle, which is , uh , I think there are seven year old , um, New York based , um, FinTech company that is really supports , um , people that want to bank , um, cryptocurrency. They announced that they are going to do a , um, a specialty purpose , um, offering SPAC offering , um, in the next month that will have them at about a $4.5 billion valuation. Um, Jeremy, a layer who's who founded that company , um, is very highly regarded in this whole area of , um , cryptocurrency payments banking. Um, he's been a real , um , important leader and thought leader in that regard. So it's exciting to see them getting further financial support to grow the company further well. Um, Steve Kay , um , you are always welcome at the Georgia FinTech academy. Thank you for being part of this today. I hope you'll come back , um, and just really appreciate you sharing this perspective , uh , with us on the podcast.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Thanks for all you do, Tommy. It's great to see you again and cam great to meet you and hear a little bit about what you're up to. So

Speaker 1:

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