By Valerie Koller and Sander de la Rambelje, Junior Project Managers
During the last week of June, swissnex Boston and its New York Outpost presented the fourth chapter of the Future of Money series, this year titled “The Power of Big Data: Shaping the Future of FinTech,” featuring a Swiss-US cross-border panel discussions to explore innovations in Big Data Analytics.
The series highlights the technological, innovative and entrepreneurial aspects of how we envision the role of money in the future. Topics in past years have included sustainable investing, cryptocurrencies, and artificial intelligence.
This year the event series kicked off at swissnex Boston. In the magnetized atmosphere of a packed room, a very FinTech-savvy crowd learned about the value of data and how it can and will be used in a profitable way in the future.
The first event, held in Boston, was opened by swissnex Boston CEO Dr. Felix Moesner, who gave a few words of welcome. Next, Craig Copland, internet-of-things specialist and senior vice president of the Digital Catalyst Lead at SwissRe, created a basis for the discussion that followed
The panel was kicked-off by moderator Lukas Hohl, associate partner at Synpulse. He and the panelists spellbound the audience with back-and-forth arguments about the big data challenges that await the financial and insurance industry. On the Swiss side of the panel was Patrick Barnert, CEO of the Swiss FinTech company Qumram, one of the ten finalists in KPMG’s and H2 Ventures’ 2016 “FINTECH 100” global ranking, and Alexandre Gaillard, founder and CEO of InvestGlass, also co-founder of the Swiss Finance and Technology Association.
They were joined by Boston counterparts Sarah Biller, COO for Innovation at State Street and Boston-based FinTech expert Mona Vernon, who runs the Thomson Reuters Labs in Boston and is an executive board member of FinTech Sandbox, a non-profit with the goal of accelerating FinTech innovation.
Sarah Biller said the event allowed people to “think about – in plenum – the plenty implications of Big Data analytics, and where we are in its life cycle.” She said that the key outcome of the discussion was the knowledge that there is tremendous opportunity in the near future to use data and analytics to discover new ways to serve clients and make decisions.
Biller and the other panelists agreed that data analytics should always be inspired by customer-based problem-solving. Vernon said that the main takeaways of the event were the importance of really putting the business-driven questions, and the actionable insight at the beginning of the ‘Big Data journey.’
The second event in the series took place the next day in New York City. In the playful setting of the WeWork FiDi space, the two Swiss panelists were now joined by two New York experts: David K. A. Mordecai, President at Risk Economics, Inc., who contributed to the vivid discussion with his academic background knowledge, and Braxton McKee, CEO of Ufora, a New York-based data science engineering company.
The panel was moderated by FinTech expert Peter Rudegeair, staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal. The discussion touched upon a few of the same topics as the previous night in Boston, but the focus was on new issues, including what role regulations play in the FinTech arena, and how for banks, technology management is currently in a period of big change.
Both sessions included thoughtful and in depth Q&A sessions, followed by engaged discussions and networking between speakers and guests.
We would like to thank our speakers for taking the time to share their valuable knowledge and ideas. Thank you also to event sponsors Synpulse, Swiss Re, and Zurich Insurance for making these two Future of Money events possible.