Brandeis International Business School

FinTech Day 2017

Students, staff and faculty explored the emerging FinTech industry

A panelist speaks at the event.

Students, staff and faculty gathered at the Lemberg Academic Center to explore the emerging FinTech industry. The day began with the very first “FinTech Around the World” video conference, starting in China where Zhing Sishi shared his experience founding Beijing-based RenRendai, a peer-to-peer financial services company with more than four million registered users. Moderator and International Business School Professor Ben Gomes-Casseres then led the way to India, where Omkar Shiratti explained how he transitioned from accounting to co-founding Karza, an analytics company that helps financial institutions decide whom to select to receive loans.

Moderator Ben Gomes-Casseres speaks to the crowd.Further west, Gomes-Casseres connected to Israel. Liat Aaronson is a partner at the venture capital firm Innovation Endeavors, and she described how “Startup Nation” is evolving: In the past, startups were sold to global R&D at early stages, but there are now more meaningful “company exits” once companies are sustainable and employ many people.

Thomas Wolff joined the discussion from Germany. He is director of client relations at Scalable Capital, Germany’s leading online asset manager. He aims to create a culture of investment in Germany and educates consumers through webinars. Finally, the morning’s journey concluded in Latin America, where Diede van Lamoen, formerly of Stripe, one of the largest payment companies in the world, described the four difficult years it took to expand Stripe to 26 countries.

After a break, FinTech Day attendees reconvened for a panel on FinTech disruption. Moderated by Erich Schumann of the International Business School, the panel included Jean Donnelly, executive director at FinTech Sandbox; Ralph Danglemaier, CEO and board member at Bluesnap; Justin Whitehead, head of engineering for Kensho Analytics Software at Kensho Technologies; and Rob Bradley, product manager at State Street Global Exchange.

The panelists told students that the technology of their future careers may not even been invented yet but that their International Business School education provides the opportunity to “learn how to learn.” Whitehead also advised students not to get carried away with “The Social Network” vision of a startup, at least not in FinTech. When working with regulators and global financial institutions, careful planning is required.

Overall, students, staff and faculty who attended FinTech Day came away with a better understanding of a groundbreaking industry that’s especially influential in the Boston area. Stay tuned this spring for another cutting-edge event, this one focused on the Israeli-Massachusetts cybersecurity cluster.

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