Hey Fintech Friends #9 ft Kirill Gertman

Helen Femi Williams looks at the latest fintech news, discusses serious and non-serious fintech matters, and shares some of our most recent "Signals" article. This week's friend is Kirill Gertman!

Hey Fintech Friends #9 ft Kirill Gertman

Available on Spotify, Apple, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts!

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Hey Fintech Friends #9 ft Kirill Gertman
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Timestamps:

  • Intro
  • ‘Fin-techionary’ of the Week: Eth Merge(0.55)
  • News (2.05)
  • Interview with Kirill about their experience and current work at Conduit (5.41)
  • Quick Fire Questions with Kirill (31.00)
  • Signals Q3'22: A macroeconomic vibe check (41.22)
  • Upcoming Events (43:15)

Transcript:

Hey FinTech friends!

My name is Helen Femi Williams, and I'm your host of the Hey Fintech friends podcast, brought to you by This Week In Fintech.

So let's talk about the structure of this podcast.

First, we're gonna go through the news. And if you subscribe to The This Week in Fintech newsletter, you're in luck because this is the audio version.

Secondly, we'll go through the fintechtionary, then we're going to have a chat with this week's friend Kirill.

And lastly, I'll tell you a bit about the latest Signals article.

Oh, and before we move on, how can I not mention events!

I'm going to go through some of the global fintech events, conferences, and places that you need to know about that are happening in the next two weeks. So listen up for that, too.

Fin-techionary

According to Investopedia, the Ethereum Merge is the joining of Ethereum’s proof-of-stake (PoS) Beacon Chain with the Ethereum Main-net to transition the Ethereum blockchain off the legacy proof-of-work (PoW) system. As of mid-September 2022, Ethereum has officially switched over to a PoS model. It has given birth to Ethereum 2.0, a new version of Ethereum. This will result in a 99.95% reduction in Ethereum’s energy consumption and the ability to further scale the Ethereum ecosystem.1

Ether tokens will remain exactly the same for investors, and there should be no change to the operations of Ethereum-based applications.1

There are driving factors behind the move to a PoS consensus mechanism, including:

  • More decentralization by lowering the hardware requirements for node operators
  • Faster transaction confirmations (though overall speed will be about the same)
  • 99%+ reduction in energy consumption by node validators
  • Ability to add more scaling solutions (such as sharding)
  • Increased security through client diversity

But first this week in Fintech

🚀 Product Launches

Banks are on a roll this week!

Lloyds Bank in the UK launched Smart Start, a spending and saving account for 11 to 15 year olds.

Deutsche Bank and Fiserv launched vert, a payment acceptance and banking services provider to small businesses.

Santander UK launched a consumer mortgage app.

HSBC launched a new API-based trade finance platform in the UK and Hong Kong.

Bank ABC launched its own neobank, ila, to major MENA markets starting with Jordan.

Visa partnered with crypto exchange FTX to launch debit cards in 40 new countries. BNY Mellon launched their crypto custody platform.

Barclays launched purchase-less cashback.

📰 Other News

Is Goldman Sachs killing their Marcus neobank?

So far this year in the UK, banks have closed 248 branches, with 288 more expected to close by year-end. The Financial Conduct Authority is responding by requiring banks to perform an impact assessment of what happens when they leave communities behind.

JP Morgan and Visa are creating interoperability between their two closed blockchain networks. Liink and B2B Connect.

Following up on Nord/LB, global bank HSBC partnered with Trade Ledger to lower receivables financing timelines.

Partnerships! EBA Clearing, Swift and TCH are joining forces to pilot faster cross-border currency payments between the US and EU. Axiom Bank is working with Bankifi on a small business banking product.Santander is partnering with Google to build usable cloud systems for financial institutions.

Futures exchange CME is considering a crypto brokerage.

The Federal Reserve updated a debit card rule that requires debit transactions to be routed to multiple card networks, which should bring down interchange costs. The Reserve Bank of India is launching its own stablecoin pilot. The Egyptian central bank is building a new market for currency hedging.

The US presidential administration is urging Congress to implement new crypto rules, while the OCC released its 2023 bank supervision operating plan.


💻 Fintech
🚀 Product Launches

Jiko launched a treasury management solution for corporates to store money in t-bills.

Uber launched its new Uber Pro Card for drivers, in partnership with Marqeta, Mastercard, and Branch.

Venmo launched charity profiles so that nonprofits can raise directly in the app.

Doshi launched an ‘educational’ crypto wallet for teens. Betterment launched managed crypto investing. Investing app Stash also added crypto investing and passed $125 million in annual revenue.

Student loan app Chipper (not the African Chipper) launched an easy apply app for students to apply for loan forgiveness.

Swiss mass affluent neobank Alpian launched out of stealth.

📰 Other News

The Good

Anti-woke bank Glorifi, which promised to “build credit cards out of the same material as shell casing” even though “the material turned out to interfere with chips and be too thick for point-of-sale systems” immediately (and unsurprisingly) collapsed. Among other episodes at the firm, of which there are many, “an unnamed GloriFi manager was seen on camera "in a state of undress, on a bed with a companion who was similarly in a state of undress.” (Editor’s note: The firm’s PR team reached out to dispute this story and we are working to verify details.)

Google and Coinbase partnered to accept cloud payments via cryptocurrency using Coinbase’s crypto payments tool.

Affirm is testing rewards points on buy-now-pay-later to combat credit cards.

Tink partnered with Adyen to enable open banking payments. TreasuryPrime integrated with Jack Henry.

Volpi and RBR Asset partnered on Brazilian mortgage servicing. Argentine neobank Uala is investing $150 million to expand to Mexico and Colombia.

Worldline will offer European payments for Indian tourists.

Galileo received Visa Ready certification for its issuer-processor platform.

WeFunder opened up investment in 20 Y Combinator companies to retail investors.

Defi lending platform Ribbon saw $10 million in demand from institutional borrowers. MakerDAO is pivoting into US treasuries and corporate bonds to secure its stablecoin - as USDC redemptions have topped $9 billion since July, as fiat yield offerings rival stablecoins.

The UK’s Innovate Finance will run its own fintech startup academy.

The Bad

The State Bank of Pakistan is revoking fintech Tag’s license to operate as an e-money transmitter.

German neobank N26’s losses increased 14% in 2021 to €172.4 million.

Crypto exchange Binance was hacked for $100 million in its native token, BNB. The execs of yield platform Celsius cashed out $21 million in their own holdings before the platform went into insolvency.

Corporate card giant Brex laid off 11% of its workforce. Asian payments firm Xendit also laid off 5% of its workforce.

Canadian firms Wealthsimple and Shakepay were hit with a multimillion dollar lawsuit over hidden fees.

And now for our friendly chat with this week’s friend Kirill

Kirill Gertman has built and scaled products and teams for over a decade in startup and corporate environments. As an executive with experience building financial services and crypto platforms, Kirill brings a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of FinTech and DeFi.


So hi, thank you for joining me today. Kirill? Did I say your name correctly

The actual original way to say this is Kirill. I don't torture people with that. So I'm pretty flexible, however, that works for you. I'm fine with it. Honestly, I'm not. It's fine.

And where's that? Where's your name from?

So originally, I was actually born in Ukraine originally. But I left quite a long time ago and moved around quite a bit these days. I'm actually in the United States in Boston.

Okay, awesome. And how long have you lived in the United States for a while?

Yeah, I think so. I think it's been almost eight years now. I think this time, I've moved around a bit. So I actually lived here before for a little bit. And then I left to come back. Come back. It's a whole story that probably gonna take too long. Like this time around? Yeah, I think I've been here. Eight years. Yeah.

Cool. And so if we go into Conduit and who you are in, like, what do you do?  what is your experience? Like? What do you do? And how do you kind of explain it?

Sure. So I'm a co-founder and CEO of a little startup called Conduit. And what we do is we basically have a platform that allows developers fintechs neobanks, to build seamlessly on top of crypto and on top of defi so going from fiat currencies into crypto into stablecoin. And we help them with custody, we also help them deploy this into def, so they can get yield and can get other defi based products. I hope I've made any sense at all, cuz I'm, as I'm talking as I, as I explain this, I'm always kind of really self-conscious about to people get any of this. I don't know, honestly.

I mean, you know, that's a really good question. Because I was gonna say, your product, is it from my understanding, it's like, for people who are already kind of in that space, but if you were trying to explain it to someone who has like to your non FinTech friends, and like, I don't know, if you are talking to your mom, how do you explain what you do?

I think the best way to do that is probably actually to look at it from our perspective, not of our customers because our customers are basically fintechs. And the banks there were the in this space already together. But from the end user, right? So usually, our customers have their own customers, right? So their end users. And from their point of view, I think it sounds a lot simpler, hopefully, a lot simpler. And makes more sense where, you know, imagine if you're somebody that's living, let's say, in Colombia, for example, right? And you obviously have a Colombian peso as your kind of daily currency, right? This is what you get your paycheck. And this is what you pay your expenses with. And you're probably experiencing something like  40% inflation, right? So it's pretty brutal, actually. And it's not just the fact that you have really high inflation, it's also the fact that it drops dramatically, sometimes very quickly. Right. So like, literally, I think there was an election in Colombia maybe three months ago now. And from Saturday to Sunday. So overnight, the Colombian peso dropped 20% against the dollar. And so if you're saving you're not having a good time this happens, right? And so what we allow you to do, through our partners or through our customers, is to be able to go together into something that's more stable, right?  And so you can kind of escape inflation in that way. So maybe borrow at a better rate and so forth, right? So from like the end users’ point of view, what you're getting is essentially a better financial product. It's a way to get out of inflation and get access to something you wouldn't normally have and maybe preservable to have more money than you normally would be able to do.

That's interesting. So then I guess the question I would have is, is your customer or your user base? Are they in? Do you get more in that specific locations? Or is it like, is there a space that you kind of focus on?

Definitely. Yeah, I think right now, we're focusing on Latin America. This is why I mentioned Colombia, it's not a completely random example. So focusing on now Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia right now, and going to be adding Argentina and Chile soon. And we're focusing specifically on that region for a couple of reasons. One is the one I cannot explain, which is the Zod the man because there's a lot of need, right? It's a really painful experience that many people are having there because of high inflation and kind of unreliable currencies, and whatnot. And the second reason is, because most of these jurisdictions can have regulatory wise, compliance wise, they're a little bit more friendly to crypto. And that allows us to operate without getting a tonne of overhead and a tonne of, you know, legal licenses with that.

When you were talking, I was thinking about, \ the political angle. And I guess like you as a FinTech, you're solving a problem that maybe like governments haven't been, it would, is that kind of where you position yourself?

Yeah, I wouldn't say, you know, for obvious reasons, I wouldn't position myself kind of being anti-government or anything like that. And in any way, that's not really what we're doing. I think what I think the way that I think about this is, you know, what's the best sort of product? What's the best thing that we can, again, offer to that end user right to the, to the young consumer of this? And what's the best way for them to be able to save a little bit more money to do it a little bit more safely? And how can we do that? Right, and I'm not kind of usually trying to dig into as much into whose fault was it in the first place. Because I can't usually solve that. I mean, what I can solve, or at least we're working on solving is like, okay, how can we make a bet on that? Right? How can we make it easier for a lot of people like that, to just, you know, to just get safe, get better access to better products, essentially, right? And I remember I'll tell you an anecdote about a cab driver in Bogota, Colombia. And we were driving there, and he basically said, you know, he showed the $200 bills. And he was like, This is my saving account. Like that's in my wallet, I have to $100 Bill, so $200, right. And he's like, this is how I survived COVID. Because we were locked down whatever, I had, like, just cash, right, just a few $100 that I saved. And that's like, Okay, that's great that that worked for him. Right. And he survived. But, you know, you kind of think about it, that's not the best way to say yeah, that's not the best, not the safest way to save money. So now we're thinking, how can we make it better, right, and that's, that's what we're trying to solve.

It's really interesting, what you're saying about the guy kind of holding cash, because I think with a lot of people, and I don't even think it's necessarily just only in Latin America, but there is this kind of, like mistrust of like, traditional institutions. But then when it comes to FinTech, what, like, why is it that people have more of trust? Or I don't know, like, why is, why is it that there is this idea that people would put their money here or like, trust it  more than, like traditional banks? Or have you seen the evolution of that?

Well, I think we have a little bit right, already. We were starting to, and I think the, you know, I kind of don't presume for us, conduit, for example, to be sort of big enough and well known enough and reputable enough to say you should trust us, right? We're not saying that at all. What I'm saying is we give you better, faster, easier access to something that you should trust, which is the blockchain is not ours, right? We're not we don't own it. It is public, but look, it runs pretty well. And it's pretty safe, and it's pretty secure. And we just kind of facilitate your way to get into that. I mean, like, and we can even have more, not just blockchain is like the big blob. But more specific examples of, let's say, there's a specific stablecoin that we can give you. And we believe it's the safest one. Because we can look at like the reserves that are backing this off, right because it's audited, and because we can say okay, here's where the kind of dollars that are backing this, you know, where they are circled, publishes audits and whatnot. So we kind of do almost curation in that sense, you know, I mean, like, we're not saying I'm not saying like, trust me, or trust conduit. What I'm saying is we kind of verify these things. We believe that they're safe and they're secure. And you should trust them and see if they're working for you. And if there are great, you know, we're gonna give We all like better access to these things.

Yeah, it makes sense. You're kind of like the middle ground between like the user and and the blockchain. So you're kind of like bringing everyone together.

Yeah. And I mean, you know, I think one of one of the biggest problems with like blockchain in general crypto in general, it's like it's hard to get into. And it's hard to understand. And you have to jump through so many weird hoops. And you're like, how does it work? And again, especially, and it's weird, because especially for people who need it the most, right? Again, if you're the taxi driver and Columbia, I'm really, really gonna go and, like, learn about blockchain. Like, you don't have time for this stuff, right? Do you need to provide for a family? So what we're saying is like, don't worry about that. I mean, like, well, there is a technology out there that works well. And again, yeah, we're just basically this middle layer, we're just going to give you better, faster, easier access to it. And you don't have to worry about like learning how does this thing work? And, like, a whole new way of dealing with money and like, again, you don't have time for this stuff, right? Your private taxi, you need to provide for the kids. So that's, that's what we're trying to do. Is there

any like what fact and or stat that you've sort of learned recently that you think is quite interesting?

Yeah, for sure. You know, the thing that actually comes to mind is the eth merge, right that happened recently, I can actually give you a couple of stats on that you can pick which one you're trying to like, give me all the stats, yeah, all the stats. Alright.

Eth right, is a chain less than 10 years old, right? And it has already achieved. So if you look at all the apps, protocols, and everything that's been built on top of it, right, getting to an ecosystem it is really impressive. It's amazing, right? No company, like Apple or Google or anything like that was able to achieve it so quickly. And, you know, before the merge, it used something like point 2% of the world's electricity. So basically, like a small country, and then kind of went to basically almost zero after the merge. So that was,  impressive , because, you know, you kind of move this entire huge ecosystem of billions of dollars and like billions of transactions and whatnot, and you do it in a completely decentralised way. You know, there's no, there was no like, oversight, you know, there's no like, eth CEO or like President or Prime Minister of eth, or anything like that, that kind of made them do it. And so that's, that's, that's maybe even more impressive. And then they'd be the last one is the fact that so now, when it's proof of stake, as opposed to proof of work, you ended up in a situation where I think there's five kinds of entities that control about 60% of the stakewhich is interesting, because, you know, is it really decentralised if you have basically five companies that control 60% of it? So maybe not so much? Y

I think I think something that I find interesting that you said is like they way a lot of these, like bankless movements are able to kind of like, run, like quite democratic way where like, everyone kind of can get involved and can do that bit. But then like, at the same time, like you said, you've got these, like five companies that are while kind of are controlling things in proof of stake. So it's kind of it's kind of interesting to see how you have like, hierarchies and, very flat structures, all in kind of one. Like thing. Yeah, and how that kind of like, what that looks like, long term.

Yeah, that's gonna be interesting to see where it evolves. Because, yeah, I think, like, what they achieved being decentralised is impressive. And, I mean, a lot of people will say that, like open source and things like eth, can't really work again, because maybe they're disorganised, and there's no not really a hierarchy there. There's just a lot of people around the world collaborating, but like, look, here's proof, right, that they were able to achieve something that, you know, will take a government probably decades to do honestly, if at all right? At the same scale, and they could do it, you know, pretty well and then relatively quickly, too, but actually, almost, weirdly counterintuitively. In doing so they actually became less decentralised  because you ended up with, like, a few of these companies that grabbed the biggest parts of staking for now at least. And so that's going to be interesting how it evolves in is it actually going to go kind of back, you know, in terms of evolution that kind of become more and more centralised over time? Or is it actually going to go back and and become more decentralised over time? And I'm obviously hoping for the second, but we'll see.

Yeah, it's really hard to know. But I think that's kind of what's quite interesting. But  I'm kind of in the same space as you. And I like to kind of believe that there's like this new way that like, I think, what's been shown with a theory and that potentially, there is a new way that people can govern and govern themselves. And I think that's, personally, I think that's like, the most fascinating thing about it, because, like you said, like, no one asked them to do it. These were people all across the world.

I don't Yeah, I don't know if we'll but like or ingenuity, or just like, it's amazing that  people, when kind of left to their own devices, you know, I mean, being just being themselves and that they can still do really great and actually positive things, right. And I think we often think about, you know, just like people in general humans as something that needs to be like, controlled, right, or governed or whatever. But actually, maybe that's not the case. Maybe we're okay. Without it.

Yeah, maybe I think I think web3and just like, a lot of the stuff that's happening, kind of like the decentralised space is just showing that potentially, there could be another way for people to govern. Maybe we're not there yet. But maybe, but then equally, like I say that, and then I'm like, Well, it's a group within a group. Because, like, like we've already said, it's kind of global, but equally, it's not necessarily like people who live in the same societies. It's like groups, within groups, and so on, like, a practical sense. Is I don't know if what, it's more of a question then than an opinion. But, like, I don't know if it makes sense for  other areas of life, if we can kind of adopt the same, like theory?

Yeah. Like, would you really want your water supply to run in  eth?  I don't know. Actually. I don't know. Yeah, I'm not. I'm not 100% sure to be like, if what I want my water to run into, theory. I'd be really careful about that. Right. But potentially, maybe it's possible. Yeah, I would try to start with , maybe 10%. Yeah, it sounds really small, right? Like one of the tap in my house. Now. All of them are something that's not possible.

So a lot of faith. Yeah. One tap

Yeah, I know. But I gotta have faith, right? I'm in this space, I have to believe that this is actually going to work eventually. Otherwise, you know, what are we doing here?

If I was to circle back to you a question that I've kind of asked, like all the guests, and it was actually a guest question that our first guest asked was, What was your kind of like, your oh, shit moment in your career. So basically a time in which I think I was getting right. And then something happened and it went wrong. And then you had to like, correct it.

I think I've had a few I'll be honest, I had a few of these probably. I'm actually on my like, third career in the sense because I was a designer first and was the product manager. And now I'm an operator, right? I'm a founder. So I'll give one that that I think is relevant to this conversation into the space I'm in, and that's actually probably what led me to start conduit eventually. This was maybe, I want to say, 10 years ago now, but actually less than that, I think it was maybe six, seven years ago now. And I was actually working at the bank. And I was trying to basically innovate within the bank. And we were actually having quite a bit of success in there internally. We rolled out new products to our customer base.And I guess there were two things that I kind of realised there that there were like, oh, shit moment, or shifts moments, I guess. One is maybe more technical, which is I realised that this entire kind of banking infrastructure is basically runs  like a mainframe. So like an IBM as 400 mainframe, which is like a computer the size of like, you know, my bedroom, sits in the basement of a tank somewhere. Like you think about the bank and you think, you know, they have a huge safe somewhere. There's like a computer that's like, twice, you're sitting there. And that's how they collect your money. And it runs on COBOL, which is like a language that nobody uses anymore. it's so you know, it's so not, like, it's not what you think it is, right? You think about like some sort of, like really robust, really secure structure, right? And then you realise, no, there's like one rusted old stick that's popping up the whole thing, right? And they kind of go, wow, that's, that doesn't feel great. And also, you can't do anything with it, you can't change it, you can't like, you can't really, you know, you can't really do anything, because not just regulatory but also literally the people who built these things retired already. And so that creates a tonne of challenges. And so that was one kind of one Oh shit moment.

And then I guess the second one, which probably had more impact on me, personally, was the fact that they also realise that, like, within banks, you don't actually have a tonne of internal incentives to innovate, to do things to do new things, right, that actually seem perfectly happy where they are. And most of the energy that's spent is actually spent on internal politics, right to see how like infighting whatnot, and you have to focus on that much more than focusing on the customer. I did not like that. Right, I thought this was like, This is not what I want to be doing with myself. And so that'll led me to leave. And that led me to crypto, which is kind of in a bit of a roundabout way. But that eventually led me to start this company.

That's so funny. And I feel like many people have that kind of story, maybe not as unique as yours, but where they're kind of in that sort of traditional banking, or feels like that, maybe more corporate fields. And they're like, Oh, no one told me that this is what we do most of the time. So now I have to redirect if this is what I want to spend the next 20 years doing to get to the top of the chain, whatever.

It was really also like counterintuitive because like I came from a startup world originally. And I was like, what's the measure of success? You know, you make the customers happy. And that's how you like progress. Right? You know, you, that's how your career advances and get to the next position, whatever, actually, well, I realised, and maybe that's just my experience with other people maybe have different ones. But in my experience, what I realised is that the more success you have, the more kind of internally focused you have to become, right? Because you have more of these internal issues that you have to like really care about and actually focus less on like the actual customers. And that was strange to me, actually.

No, I think I remember being in a more corporate field, No one tells you that part of working, So yeah, I think that's definitely something that's there. And another question that one of our guests asked us was, what keeps you up at night, professionally and personally?

Interesting. So professionally, I think it's around execution, right? Can we deliver the things that we need to deliver? Can we do it fast enough? Can we do it well enough? Can we build you know what our customers are asking us for? That's, that's a big part of what I'm thinking about. Can we kind of deliver it to them, right? Can we sell it to them? Can we kind of mark it, and they'll do all these things? And I guess, but maybe the professional side that I don't have as much control over? Is it regulation, right? So like, is there going to be a new law or whatever that's going to come in and change what we're doing? And actually, that's not a question. It's a given that it will be, and it happens all the time. It's like, what's the next thing that's going to happen to us? And where is it gonna go? Whether that's us or our countries?

Personally, I guess. It's very different, you know, think keeps me up at night the most is my girls. Usually, if they wake up and like, you know, they don't feel well or whatever, they wake up at night that I'm up as well. And there you go. That's, that's, that's it. Right?

How old are they?

So they're six, six years old and two years old.

If my six-year-old daughter that woke up in the middle of the night. She wasn't feeling well. That's it. You're up

Do they wake up really early?

Well, depends.

Sometimes it's actually really hard to get them to, you know, get the older one to get dressed for school or whatnot. But sometimes, yeah, like, it's like, cold season and flu season. Right. And they, like if they're coughing, obviously, they'll wake up so yeah, but you know, they're great. I love them, obviously. And but yeah, like, it's very different. That's a very different thing. Personally, the professionally though.

Quick Fire 🔥

Well, actually, that leads me to kind of like the quickfire session. So I've got, like, 10 questions. They don't have anything to do with fintech. And just want to know, like, just answer the first thing that comes into your head. Okay, you ready? Yeah.

What's your Starbucks order?

Red eye? So that's a coffee with an espresso in it.

Okay. If you were an object, what object would you be?

Oh, wow. I have no idea. I think I have a  chair. I don't know why. Maybe because of Im on a chair right now,

What's the best city in the world?

I love Tokyo actually great food. Great people.

And would you rather be in your pyjamas all day or suit all day?

If that's the choice and pajamas? Because I don't? Yeah, I don't know the suits

movie or museum?

Probably Museum. Yeah.

If you were responsible for choosing whether the world would only eat bagels or only eat doughnuts, which would you choose?

I think I'll go with bagels. I don't know. I don't want I don't really love donuts. And bagels. No more. You can put stuff on them. You can like you can put like salmon,

True. Yeah, I guess it's a question of more sweet or savoury. Well, yeah, you're right. With a bagel. You could still make it sweet if you wanted to.

Yeah, so there's option optionality. I guess that's what it's about.

If you hosted a TV show, what show would it be?

Oh my god, I have no idea. It would be probably a nature show. You know what it would be like? Like a nature documentary type thing.

would you rather have 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife? Or always have a knife but never be able to use spirits?

Wow. Okay. i So, I think I'd rather have the spoons because you can serve them and make a knife out of a spoon like a shank, like a prison shank. Where you can't you can't really make out of a knife. You know? I mean, If you have 10,000 spoons, you can probably make a couple of knives out of them. So it gives you more optionality. I guess.

makes sense. Yes, function functionality. Would you rather have a tiny home with a big yard or garden or a big house but no outdoor space?

That depends on where you live. If it's warm, I would rather have the outside like you from Florida or whatever. I'd rather have the downside if it's cold there or have a big house where I am in Boston. It's relatively cool. Just because like in the winter, you know, I mean, like, you can't really use the outside.

And would you rather only be able to whisper or only be able to shout?

Definitely whisper definitely whisper I don't like shouting. Don't usually shout.

Okay. That's it

I feel like i have worked on a lot of these ways too much. But that's just me. I guess.

You're fine. You're absolutely fine. I mean, they're quite like ridiculous questions anyway, so

but I think there's a deeper philosophical though meaning there because like at least a couple of them kind of give up, give out my nature, which is like, you know, functional practical stuff with bagels and the spoons and whatnot.

Well, honestly, when I was putting it together, I never even thought about the functionality. But the one about the bagels and the one about the spoons, like I mean, you made really good probably, like, it made sense.

Yeah, and if so if you weren't, you know, if you weren't hit here is like the CEO of Conduit, like, what would you be doing? Like what would you do outside of fintech?

I'd honestly, you know, even if I wasn't in FinTech, I'd still be an entrepreneur like this is there's some once you do once you just you can not do it anymore. And I mean, like, it's just so addictive. And if I wasn't doing FinTech, I'd just be doing a similar like type thing, startup, or just in another area. I don't know what but because Fintech is what I know pretty well by now in crypto, yeah, I'd be doing something startup-ish. I think at this point.

This is like my last like, kind of big question. And it's actually it goes into what you've just said. And it was a question that Giorgio or previous guests asked, but what's the event or thing that will stop you working? infintech? Like, what thing would it be when you'd be like I've completed it now.

Yeah, I hope that you know what, I actually hope there isn't something like that. Because, again, I kind of don't see myself doing something else. Honestly, I really want to make this company successful. I mean, maybe it sounds trivial, but it's true, right? This is why I'm doing this. And I don't it's a process. I like there's not like an end in sight at least. I mean, the only thing that could stop it is something quite dramatic. Again, maybe from a regulatory point of view, somehow all governments ban all crypto or something like that, then yeah, okay, I'd have to stop. But I think that's really unlikely at this point, by the way to kind of to answer the question like, literally, I think that's, that's what we'll have to be.

Yeah, that makes sense. So maybe it's when crypto was widely accepted and becomes like, the form of currency everywhere. Like, if I turn that same thing on its head, yeah,

Well, actually. So I guess Yeah, if it's, if it's really universal, I guess, and everybody's using it. And there's not a tonne left to do that. Maybe I'll start thinking, Okay, what's the next thing that we can innovate with? So yeah, that's, that's a really good point. That's, that's, that's really cool. Yeah, there you go.

Thanks. So yeah, thanks so much as this is the FinTech friends podcast, where we are quite keen to highlight other friends and people that you think we should be on the lookout for. So I guess the question is, who's a friend of yours that you think like we should be looking at and highlighting? T

The person that comes to mind is Simon Taylor

He's really kind of thoughtful about the space, and he's usually able to look at the trends or whatever is going on and describing it to verbalize it much better than I certainly wouldn't be able to.  Maybe it's the British accent. I don't know. But terribly cold. No, but I think he actually is that he really is that he's a really, really smart guy. So yeah, I don't know when you ask. That's the first person that came to mind. And he is definitely in FinTech.

And what is the question that you think we should ask the next friend of the show?

Hmm, that's a good one. I need to think about a little bit. Because I keep thinking about the spoons and knives and stuff like,

Oh, I could I could put that question out again, you're the only person I've asked that to

again. Oh, really? Okay, I got lucky, I guess.

Well, no, I think I think you definitely should, because I'm curious if anybody else was, was gonna think of the prison shank, but I feel like I also have to come up with something of my own as well.

And, you know, I think, you know, I think maybe a question that I would ask people is, maybe it's boring one, but it's like, how do you learn about the space? Right? Especially if you're talking about like crypto and defi right? How do you learn about this? There's not like a course or if there is, it's probably not very good yet. Because it's also new. Right? And like, how do you figure this stuff out? Because I feel like I'm actually really curious to see what people say because it's not easy and I mean,

yeah, I think that is a great question. Because it's so true. How do you learn I don't know. I don't know how to answer that myself. Wait hold on before you go like what how do you learn about the space? How did you like learn about it? I

think by doing right but I'm not sure. Well, partially, but yeah, but really by doing it by using like, you know, again, crypto and Bitcoin and I had a Bitcoin wallet back in like 2014 or so.  I lost it you know, which would have been worth a lot of money today, obviously. But these, these are really good lessons because they're painful. So that's probably, and then we say eventually started a company in this space, right? So kind of have to. But yeah, I just there was not really a resource, you know, I just tried stuff out and then failed and lost my private keys and stuff like that.

that's yeah that I think that's a great question and and it is true there is no real way or like book or whatever it's just kind of like people just all of a sudden everyone just knows things and other people don't and it is it is really I think that's a great question. I'm definitely gonna Y

I'd say it's there you go. Well, thank

you so much for joining me today.

It's been great. Thank you. I had a lot of fun. And this was really honestly a fun conversation I really enjoyed. So. Thanks for Thanks for having me. And bearing with my headphone issues and whatnot. Oh

no, you're fine. Thanks for coming on.

Signals

Hey Fintech Friends,

A new quarter can only mean one thing at This Week in Fintech– new Signals Quarterly Roundup 😎.

For new readers, Signals is the subscriber-only edition of TWIF designed to get you away from the headlines and to explore the larger trendlines. Each quarter, we break down four key questions on fintech activity:

  1. Which concepts are getting funded?
  2. Where are exits, M&A, and SPACs concentrated?
  3. Which firms are raising debt and venture funds for fintech?
  4. Which products were launched over the last quarter?

If you haven’t already, subscribe to future editions here!

For starters

Fintechs raised a total of $5.9 billion in Q3, a nearly $13 billion decrease quarter-over-quarter. In line with the broader tech sector, a number of fintech companies revised down valuations, called off acquisitions, postponed listings, or raised extensions of prior rounds (averting the prospect of a down round).

See the full Q3 ‘22 data here (for paid subscribers only).

Lower valuations aren’t necessarily bad signal– on an aggregate level, it indicates that the market is getting more meticulous in evaluating companies. There’s still a lot of green field for startups to tackle, and as we’ll see, investors are actively raising venture funds to back them.

If you’re looking to join such a venture, quick call-out that This Week in Fintech has a Job Board and that there’s a #hiring channel in TWIF’s Slack community!\

Events

(in the next two weeks)

Okay, so what events are happening in the next two weeks?

Well, money 2020 is happening in Las Vegas on the 23rd of October to the 26th

Hong Kong FinTech week is happening on October 31st, to November the 4th,

And of course, how can I not mention the best year and event which is back happening on the 11th of November? In New York, the FinTech formal, hosted by this week in FinTech

See you next week besties!