Matteo Rizzi conducts business in four different languages, but he may be most fluent in the language and culture of FinTech. The Italian native has spent more than 20 years cultivating relationships with banking executives, investors and entrepreneurs, allowing him to bridge the gap between traditional banking and the technology that’s disrupting the industry.
In 2015, Rizzi co-founded with Lazaro Campos FinTechStage, which holds events and conferences around the world to advance innovation and collaboration in financial services. Aiming to be what he describes as the “the glue of the global FinTech ecosystem,” FinTechStage has held conferences in cities such as Milan, Amsterdam and Buenos Aires – and later this year, the U.S.
FinTechStage will make its U.S. debut Oct. 5-6 in Chicago at BAI Beacon, the new immersive conference for financial services leaders.
With a background in technology, entrepreneurialism and venture capital, Rizzi is a venture partner with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. From 2013 to 2015, he was a partner with SBT Venture, one of the first funds focused on Series A investments—the initial, significant round of venture capital financing for a startup.
We talked to Rizzi about FinTechStage’s upcoming appearance at BAI Beacon.
Q: Why did you choose BAI Beacon as the site of the U.S. premiere of FinTechStage?
A: The reason is very simple. When I spoke at a BAI event earlier this year, I realized there is an immediate synergy between FinTechStage and BAI, the strongest U.S. financial services association. We live and breathe FinTech and disruption, and BAI wants to make FinTech and disruption a bigger focus because of its impact on the financial services industry. So it’s a marriage made in heaven.
Q: Why should someone interested in FinTech attend the conference?
A: Because of digital disruption, which is now focused on the financial services industry. Attendees will learn how FinTech will impact the next 10 years of banking. We have built anagenda that is both wide and deep. There is generic information at other conferences on how FinTech is relevant for different spaces in the financial services industry, including payments, blockchain, digital banks, digital currencies and more. But the people we invited as speakers have great expertise and will go into great depth in each of these topics that are very relevant for the BAI community. We will also have a number of entrepreneurs and startups who will give their perspectives on what type of solutions work for their customers.
Q: Who is the target audience?
A: FinTechStage is tailored for a variety of leaders, including line of business executives and innovators. And by innovators, it’s really more of a state of mind rather than a specific job at a bank such as marketing, upper management, corporate banking, payments, technology or security. The conference will allow you to go beyond the day-to-day business of banking and understand what’s coming next for financial institutions.
Q: What will an attendee learn?
A: They’ll learn a lot about how technology can produce customer-centric solutions that are cheaper, better and faster. They’ll learn about topics on the next frontier of FinTech like digital intelligence. Best of all, attendees will learn from each other through the networking opportunities between the BAI and FinTechStage communities. They will interact in a different and more effective way that stimulates working, learning and collaboration.
Q: What are some of the relevant issues in FinTech?
A: So far, FinTech companies have focused on the typical inefficiencies of financial institutions. That is how FinTechs get their start. Take any of the traditional businesses at financial institutions like payments, mobile payments, lending, asset management or digital identity. All of these segments have been targeted by different startups from around the world with faster, cheaper experiences for the customer. The two biggest potential disrupters of the financial services industry are distributed ledgers and blockchain. They could potentially become a new way for payments and smart contracts.
Q: Should bankers fear FinTech?
A: Definitely not. There are very few startups that are competing with financial organizations and not willing to cooperate. The vast majority of the startups are actually seeking collaboration with financial institutions. From what we have observed in different parts of the world, many banks are either sponsoring or building or participating with incubators, accelerators and startup initiatives. Also, many financial institutions are building up their own venture capital programs to better position themselves for growth in the startup world. Every day, we see new agreements between the two groups.