129 episodes

The Wharton FinTech Podcast discusses the trends, topics, and ideas that are reshaping financial services around the world. The podcast features founders, investors, students, and thinkers from the world of FinTech to share their unique perspectives.

This podcast is produced by Wharton FinTech, the first student-led FinTech initiative. Visit whartonfintech.org for more details.

Wharton FinTech Podcast WFT

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The Wharton FinTech Podcast discusses the trends, topics, and ideas that are reshaping financial services around the world. The podcast features founders, investors, students, and thinkers from the world of FinTech to share their unique perspectives.

This podcast is produced by Wharton FinTech, the first student-led FinTech initiative. Visit whartonfintech.org for more details.

    Scaling a Payments Business with Mike Vaughan, former COO of Venmo & Exec-in-residence at Oak HC/FT

    Scaling a Payments Business with Mike Vaughan, former COO of Venmo & Exec-in-residence at Oak HC/FT

    In our latest podcast, Peter Jankovsky (WG'20) is joined by Mike Vaughan. Mike is currently an Executive in Residence at Oak HC/FT, a leading venture capital firm investing in early to growth-stage companies in healthcare and fintech with ~$2 B in AUM. Prior to this role, Mike was the COO of Venmo, scaling the business from the ground floor to 40 M active users, a $300 M revenue run rate, and $100 B in payments in 2019.

    In this episode, Mike shares:

    - His background and why he jumped into entrepreneurship after graduating from Wharton
    - Lessons learned from the early days of Venmo
    - The key decisions that enabled Venmo to scale over time
    - Mike's focus at Oak HC/FT and his view on where the next wave of innovation will be in FinTech
    - Advice for those starting their careers in FinTech

    Over more than two decades, Mike has developed successful businesses across multiple industries, including three exits totaling >$1 B in market value. He currently serves as an independent board member and active advisor to several early and growth-stage enterprise and consumer tech companies. Mike graduated with an economics degree from Wharton.

    • 31 min
    Building a Customer-Centric Culture with David Vélez, Founder and CEO of Nubank

    Building a Customer-Centric Culture with David Vélez, Founder and CEO of Nubank

    Miguel Armaza is joined by David Vélez, Founder and CEO of Nubank, the largest independent digital bank in the world. Nubank has over 25 million clients and has raised $1.2 billion from some of the most prestigious venture capital funds in the globe, including Sequoia, Ribbit Capital, DST, Kaszek Ventures, and QED.

    David grew up in a family of Colombian entrepreneurs. The concept of being your own boss was engrained in him daily and he always thought he would launch a company at an early age. However, after graduating from Stanford University, he found himself lost at the thought of starting a venture. He didn't know where to even begin. So, he took a more traditional route and joined Morgan Stanley, which later led him to General Atlantic, to focus on growth equity.

    Armed with 5 years of investing experience, he went back to Stanford in 2010 to pursue an MBA. His goal was to leverage the MBA experience to find a business idea. However, shortly after starting school, he was approached by non-other than Sequoia Capital to lead their Latin American group. He took the chance, but after almost 3 years with Sequoia, it became evident that the startup ecosystem of the region was not robust enough for them, and the Latin American strategy was scrapped. David saw this as an opportunity and decided it was time to start something.

    Inspiration

    His painful experience of opening a bank account in Brazil, which he describes as “almost going to jail”, convinced him there was a better way of doing banking in the country. Not only was customer service terrible, but banks were charging astronomically high interest rates to creditworthy customers. This is where Nubank was born.

    During his years at GA, David had the chance to work alongside Nigel Morris, Co-Founder of Capital One. David credits Capital One as a big inspiration for Nubank, as a data-driven company with a culture focused on recruiting the best analytical talent. Another source of inspiration was Tinkoff, a Russian neobank with a similar focus and excellent customer experience. Additionally, learning from technology companies like Amazon and Netflix convinced David that Nubank should be a technology company that happens to operate in financial services, and not a bank that uses technology. In his own words, “This makes all the difference”.

    Culture

    If there’s something that stands out when talking to David, it’s his dogged determination on building a customer-centric company culture that also takes care of its employees. In fact, back in 2013 when launching Nubank, he created two company presentations. One for investors and another one about company culture that he used to recruit his co-founders and first employees. He is clearly proud that the latter hasn't changed much in the last seven years and he continues to deliver this presentation to every single new employee at the company.

    Interestingly, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nubank culture has overperformed and employee engagement has never been better. Be it through the creation of a 20 million reais (≈US$3.8 million) fund for customer assistance or by providing over 1,000 remote service stations for their employees to work from home, the pandemic has allowed them to prove to clients and employees that they live and breathe these company values.

    Post-COVID World

    David argues that the current crisis doesn’t necessarily create any new trends, but instead accelerates several tendencies and behaviors that were already taking place. From digitalization to more flexible remote working policies, these trends are only accelerating. However, more importantly, David is convinced the pandemic is forcing companies to rethink their values and embrace a much broader view of capitalism, through a model that requires companies to show integrity and take care of their customers, their people, their communit

    • 30 min
    Modernizing Life Insurance with Melbourne O’Banion, CEO and Co-Founder of Bestow

    Modernizing Life Insurance with Melbourne O’Banion, CEO and Co-Founder of Bestow

    Miguel Armaza is joined by Melbourne O’Banion, CEO and Co-Founder of Bestow, a digital life insurance company leveraging technology to make protection accessible and affordable. Bestow has received over $68 million in equity financing from Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, NEA, Morpheus Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, Abstract Ventures, Sammons Financial, 8VC.

    Melbourne O’Banion is the CEO and Co-Founder of Bestow, a digital life insurance company leveraging technology to make protection accessible and affordable. Through data-driven technology applications and innovative products, Bestow is changing the way life insurance is perceived and purchased. He is an entrepreneur and investor with expertise in fintech and direct-to-consumer businesses. Among his startups, he was a founding member of Presidio Title, a leading title insurance agency in Texas. He is also co-founder of Beauty Bioscience, a skincare line sold via TV shopping channels and luxury retailers. Melbourne is a member of the National Advisory Council for the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University and is on the board of the SMU Tate Lecture Series. He is a graduate of BYU and studied Finance and Ancient Near Eastern Studies.

    Bestow is an insurance technology company that builds products and software that make life insurance accessible to millions of families. In addition to its direct-to-consumer arm, Bestow provides industry-first APIs enabling partners to offer bespoke life insurance coverage to their customers with ease. Bestow is reshaping the life industry as the insurance company of the future. The company is headquartered in Texas with offices in Dallas and Austin. Learn more at www.bestow.com

    In this episode, Melbourne shares:
    - His background as a serial entrepreneur and what drove him to life insurance.
    - Why he and his co-founder decided to avoid third party software solutions and, instead, built an insurance product along with its integrated software from scratch. And why this decision has made a huge positive difference.
    - Reasoning behind Bestow’s entry market strategy.
    - Finding product-market fit and how they decided what customer segment to focus on
    - Bestow’s key partnerships, ranging from traditional life insurance companies to Fintechs like Acorns, Chime, Stash, Moneylion, and more.
    - The importance of hiring a great team, establishing company principles early on, and leading and hiring by those principles.
    - Famous Texas Hospitality. The advantages of launching a startup in Texas and why he thinks there isn’t a better place in the US to start a company.
    - How the COVID-19 crisis has awakened a lot of people to a sense of their own mortality and what this has meant for the life insurance business.
    - The state of InsurTech and why he thinks new entrants in the insurance space will have to do something radically new and different to differentiate themselves.
    - Valuable advice for entrepreneurs and aspiring founders.

    • 32 min
    Increasing Shopping Cart Conversion & Managing Credit - Brad Paterson, CEO of Splitit (ASX: SPT)

    Increasing Shopping Cart Conversion & Managing Credit - Brad Paterson, CEO of Splitit (ASX: SPT)

    Miguel Armaza is joined by Brad Paterson, CEO of SplitIt (ASX: SPT), a global payment platform that enables shoppers to pay installments via their credit cards, by splitting credit card purchases into interest and fee-free monthly payments.

    Splitit is a global payment platform that enables shoppers to pay installments via their credit cards, by splitting credit card purchases into interest and fee-free monthly payments. Splitit’s consumer solutions enable merchants to offer their customers an easy way to pay for purchases in monthly installments with instant approval, decreasing cart abandonment rates and increasing revenue. Splitit Business Payments allows manufacturers and suppliers to provide buyers with an interest-free, installment credit solution for purchasing goods and services utilizing their existing credit cards. Serving many of Internet Retailer’s top 500 merchants, Splitit’s global footprint extends to 27 countries around the world. Headquartered in New York, Splitit has an R&D center in Israel and offices in London and Australia.

    Brad Paterson has accumulated a wealth of knowledge over nearly two decades working with some of the world’s most successful payment companies, including Intuit, PayPal, and Visa. As Intuit’s VP of Marketing, Brad led the go-to-market team responsible for the US QuickBooks Online revenue and customer outcomes. His responsibilities included the strategy, sales, marketing, and general business operations for the QuickBooks Online portfolio. Prior to this role, Brad served as Intuit’s VP of Asia-Pacific and Global Operations, driving business growth in critical international markets. He also served as PayPal’s Head of Merchant Services, Asia-Pacific and Visa’s Director of Consumer and Emerging Products for Australia and New Zealand, among other roles at the two companies.

    In this interview, Brad shares:
    - His background and experiences from his days as an executive at PayPal, Intuit, and Visa.
    - What drove him to Splitit and why he sees a lot of parallels between them and the early days of Paypal.
    - The benefits of Splitit’s, business model and why they are experiencing incredibly fast growth during the COVID-19 crisis.
    - Going public on the Australian Securities Exchange. The benefits and challenges of running a publicly listed company.
    - Insightful advice for fintech professionals.

    • 21 min
    Streamlining Client Experience and Fighting Fraud — Laura Spiekerman, Co-Founder and CRO at Alloy

    Streamlining Client Experience and Fighting Fraud — Laura Spiekerman, Co-Founder and CRO at Alloy

    In our latest episode of the Wharton Fintech podcast, Miguel Armaza is joined by Laura Spiekerman, She’s the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Alloy, an operating system for identity in financial services, including KYC, AML and fraud.

    Laura Spiekerman is a cofounder and CRO at Alloy. Alloy's API enables financial services companies to better manage their digital onboarding and identity requirements, increasing conversion and reducing fraud for banks and fintechs alike. Alloy works with both fintech companies and banks, including Marqeta, Petal, Brex, Radius Bank and others. Alloy was recognized on the recent Forbes' Cloud 100 Rising Stars list and as one to the global Venture Radar Top 10 RegTech Startups. Prior to Alloy, Laura led Business Development & Partnerships at an ACH payments startup and was on the Research & Investment team at Imprint Capital Advisors (acquired by Goldman Sachs). Laura is a proud Barnard College alumna and lives in Oakland, California.

    Alloy is an operating system for identity in financial services, including KYC, AML and fraud. The Alloy API allows its clients to customize which data sources they access and the rules applied, to validate an identity in real time so that 98% of users will be automatically decisioned upon onboarding, increasing conversion, lowering fraud, and reducing manual reviews. Alloy has been working with both fintech companies and banks since it launched in 2016, and has a client base of ~80, including institutions like Radius Bank, KeyBank, Brex, Marqeta and others.

    In this interview, Laura shares:

    - Her background and how she got started in the industry as employee #1 at Kopo Kopo, a Kenyan fintech company.
    - What inspired Laura and her co-founders to build Alloy and how they crafted a successful strategy to secure their first customers.
    - The strategic reasons why Alloy's products are attractive for fintech startups, community banks, and large banks alike.
    - Company Culture. Why it's important to hire people that are different from each other and why Alloy emphasizes celebrating differences and being bold.
    - Her experience as a female fintech leader and why men should take on more responsibility to recruit and cultivate women in the industry.
    - COVID-19's impact on Alloy and its clients- as fraud and cybersecurity attacks have increased in the last few months, Alloy has taken steps to help their customers combat these attacks.
    - Lessons for founders! Why learning how to sell is the most important skill to learn for entrepreneurs.

    • 32 min
    Building a Financial Communications Unicorn - David Gurle, Founder and CEO of Symphony

    Building a Financial Communications Unicorn - David Gurle, Founder and CEO of Symphony

    In today's episode of the Wharton FinTech podcast, Miguel Armaza is joined by David Gurle, Founder and CEO of Symphony, a financial services communications company that's helping individuals, teams and organizations of all sizes improve productivity, while meeting security and compliance needs.

    David Gurle is an author, inventor and visionary. David's ideas have influenced the major trends in consumer and enterprise communications and most recently secure collaboration technologies over the past two decades. He founded and ran Microsoft's unified communications products (Skype for Business) and as Global head of collaboration services at Thomson Reuters, introduced the first consumer-to-business federated communications to the financial services industry. After the sale of Skype to Microsoft where he was the GM of Skype's Enterprise Business, David founded and sold Perzo before founding Symphony. David sits on the Monetary Authority of Singapore's International Technology Advisory Panel, is regularly featured on global broadcast (CNBC, BFM, Fox News) and print media (TechCrunch, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal) and is a sought-after keynote speaker on the future of the digital workplace, collaboration technologies, workplace diversity and all matters related to privacy and information security. In January 2020, he received the Légion d'Honneur, the highest French order of merit for military and civil service.

    Symphony transforms the way users communicate effectively and securely with a single workflow application. Forging a new path in the financial services industry, Symphony is designed to help individuals, teams and organizations of all sizes improve productivity, while meeting complex data security and regulatory compliance needs. Symphony was founded in October 2014 and is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Stockholm, Sophia-Antipolis and London.

    In this episode, David shares:

    -The powerful influence of his international upbringing and how it influenced him to pursue a career in telecom at ETSI, France Telecom, Microsoft, and Skype.

    -How being an intrapreneur earned him the title of "great, but unmanageable" by his first supervisor.

    -The key role he played in Microsoft's surprising acquisition of Skype.

    -The thought process that helped him identify a problem in secure persistent communications and how he devised a winning strategy for Symphony.

    -Challenges and anecdotes of Symphony's early days.

    -The importance of building a no-trust, end-to-end encrypted system, and why that has made a big difference between Symphony and other similar solutions.

    -Why it's critical to give users control of their data and the reason he thinks Apple has taken the wrong approach.

    -Symphony's recent explosive growth of 300%-400% in light of COVID-19 and how they have quickly become one of the top mission critical applications for their customers.

    -His vision of a post-COVID world and the steps Symphony is taking to implement a flexible work policy.

    -Valuable entrepreneurial advice and achieving childhood dreams.

    • 43 min

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