Money20/20, the largest FinTech Event, kicks off the week
Money20/20, the largest FinTech event in the world, is kicking off its largest post-Covid
show in Las Vegas, NV, Oct. 23-26. And here I am, with around 11,500 colleagues from
more than 3,000 banks, FinTechs, technology firms, service providers and policymakers
from around the world, for 3½-days of intensive learning, interactions, and networking.
Here are some highlights from the most impactful discussions conducted early Monday
morning Oct. 24. Stay tuned for more stories in my next column!
Scarlett Sieber, Chief Strategy Officer at Money 20/20 conducted an in-depth conversation
with Serena Williams, 23-time Gram Slam Champion and Entrepreneur at Serena Ventures,
and Takis Georgakopoulos, Global head of payments at JPMorgan.
Takis kicked off the session by sharing the 3 interesting changes:
1. Change in the shopping route of experience, more interaction via Tik Tok and Instagram
influencers and the ways to define the experience
2. Emergence of smart devices interacting with each other, for example, smart cars
communicating with C-stores and gas pumps.
3. Blurring the lines between online and offline world, like Metaverse, as people become
accustomed to interacting on multiple platforms. It’s all about those experiences.
Serena commented on the direct impacts on consumers based on her own stories from her
fashion line in which influencers participated in the shopping journey. Social media has
played a huge role in payments, she noted.
When Sieber also asked what blockchain use cases really work, Georgakopoulos
offered the following observations:
1. Connect with cars, it will require Micro payments, make decisions and make
payments instantly without costs. There is no way to do it in the current state,
blockchain technology has possibilities.
2. Institutional needs, cross-border money movement, is what the fully digital and fully
decentralized clearing network would look like, forward-looking would be like all the
P2P networks could happen 24/7 without cost, which is the real future of use cases,
which will depend more on regulations than any particular technology.
Why Singapore particularly?
Georgakopoulos responded that Singapore has forward-looking regulators. Since banks are
at large scale and need lots of information on regulations on moving money, Singapore
happens to know what they want to do in this space, and we’ve partnered with DBS to set
up the infrastructure which has been fully tested.
In regulated space, how do you figure out risk management?
Georgakopoulos mentioned security is essential when you deal with large scale transactions.
JPMorgan has resilient infrastructure. For Serena, it’s about routinely monitoring and
keeping up to date with compliance.
When being asked about the investment Strategy, Takis mentioned they are looking for
for people, not revenues, the right people with right concepts and the right partners, in
three key areas:
1. Company that has ecosystem with networks
2. Customers, selling ideas with issues
3. Technology capabilities
In terms of investment budget allocation, Takis shared 3 categories JPMorgan is looking for
1. 40% goes to whole infrastructure, IT, cloud services, Metaverse
2. 40% goes to what’s the future, ecommerce, what’s the best payment options by
industries, gaming, how we digitalize casino space, when you come, you shouldn’t be
using your wallet or cash.
3. 20% goes to R&D, like blockchain and CBDC.
When being asked what to look for in the early stage of investments, Serena Williams
responded, they mainly invest in pre-seed and seed stage which valuations are small and
riskier, and hence here are important attributes for her to check.
1. Product needs in the market
2. What is the founder is passionate about, is it because of the giant market space or
do they have personal connections and stories. 80% of companies she invested have
3. She believes those are the founders who are willing to work longer and harder and
they really enjoy and they are able to shape the future.
4. Need to do careful due diligence and check the motivation for the long term. All the
steps matter, like who is the first employee, etc.
Scarlett Sieber wrapped up the session with a fun question to Serena Williams.
“What’s your favorite song of karaoke” Serena responded it was an expected question and
said she favors 90s rock.
MPC Strategist, FinTech Consultant
Partner at LYSTAR GROUP (Insert hyperlink of website: www.lystargroup.com)
Tracy Lai provides strategic and business development solutions to executives, and
entrepreneur. Her professional experience includes work at Fortune 500 companies
including Intel and RBS, and startups. Her expertise covers business development, risk
management, project management and investor relations, in Financial Services, FinTech,
Innovation, Technology and Education. As management consultant and FinTech advisor, she
holds multiple senior roles with focus on cross border and cross industry collaboration,
including projects in US, Asia and Europe.