Top Takeaways from FinTech South


If you’re one of the 1,500 professionals who attended FinTech South at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta last week, like me you’re probably still absorbing the wealth of insights delivered across an action-packed 24 hours.

 

Leafing through my notebook, here are some of my favorite nuggets captured on Tuesday. Bear in mind this list reflects only items I heard personally- with four content tracks I was able to attend only a sliver of the breakout sessions. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments field below.

 

(By the way, you can also hear my coverage of FinTechSouth, including interviews with Innovation Challenge finalist CapWay, University System of Georgia Chief Innovation Officer Art Recesso, and companies Featurespace and MaxRewards, here: https://www.big-fintech.com/Media/BIGcast/ArticleID/355/The-Next-Generation)

 

  • According to Devin McGranahan, Fiserv’s Senior Group President, compliance with GDPR- the European Union’s consumer data protection regulation – “is becoming a foregone conclusion” for US financial service providers. This is probably due in part to the pending CCPA, California’s own data privacy act that mimics many of GDPR’s features.
  • Mary Catherine Lader of BlackRock, which set up its new Innovation Center in Atlanta including the home base for its Aladdin wealth tech offering (for which Lader is COO), opines that “there will not be a winner-take all market for the consumer’s financial life.”
  • Jeff Hoffman, the serial entrepreneur who built much of Priceline in Atlanta to leverage its deep tech talent pool, offered several great nuggets including.
    • “You need to harvest ideas; plant a crop, knowing that only some of them will grow.”
    • “Innovation happens when people look outside their own industries to see what will happen next. You want to be the first in your sector to connect the dots.”
  • Despite the high-profile launch of its new Silver One small business point of sale system, NCR acknowledges that cash remains king, given its use in 32% of transactions. However, “the cost of cash is only going up- it’s a matter of scale,” says Chris Poelma of NCR.
  • Sean Banks of TTV Capital, on how the regulatory complexity of the FinTech sector affects startup dynamics, in his view: “Most successful people in FinTech weren’t in dorm rooms six months ago.”
  • The notion of “boomerang talent” came up more than once. Canadian VC firm Relay Ventures’ Alex Baker remarked that Atlanta reminds him of Toronto, with “lots of early-stage startups with good product people. There aren’t many high-growth CPG (consumer packaged goods) firms to return to” once natives decide to return home to start a family, supporting his theory for why the FinTech community enjoys strong product as well as tech talent.
  • Finally, per the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Claire Greene, the Fed’s Consumer Payment Survey shows that the US is good at introducing new payment methods but not so good at retiring old ones- which means we should expect plenty of growth and activity for years to come.

 

Now it’s your chance to add to the dialogue.

 

Glen Sarvady is Managing Principal of 154 Advisors, a founding director of TAG’s FinTech Society, and co-author of the bi-annual State of Georgia’s FinTech Ecosystem report. Follow him on Twitter @154Advisors or email him at glen.sarvady@154advisors.com

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