Sahara-Sparks-Matteo-Rizzi

Sahara Sparks and Omidyar Network call FinTechStage in Dar Es Salaam

After the great MozTech experience, Dar Es Salaam called for Sahara Sparks.
Second time in Tanzania this year and really impressed by how entrepreneurs community is growing.

As written in my previous post, FinTechStage has the firm intention to build the FinTech eco-system here.
We met the FinTech entrepreneurs and some VCs In a breakfast meeting organised with Omidyar Network. Tanzania being one of the focus country of the organisation.

The good news is that I believe we found the right Enablers onsite to move the dialogue on another level. The eco-system needs pre-series A investors, business angels and believe me the country is full of opportunities.
We had a great panel on Investment opportunities and in the afternoon a startup challenge for digital entrepreneurs.

FinTech sector need to be further developed, but the market is big and growing fast.
I hope I will be able to say more shortly, but it s very likely I will be back soon.

Special thanks to :

Jumanne and Maryam, relentless souls behind Sahara Sparks organisation and all their teams for being to instrumental in making this happen.

Dr Hassan Mshinda and Dr George Mulamula for being so open and helpful and to share what we can do together to help FinTech and Financial Inclusion locally.

Alisée and Pierre Alain, co-founders of Seedstars , with whom I hope we will collaborate more and more in the future, for sharing their network with us and being so open in collaborating.

Lilian Makoi a marvellous entrepreneur in the InsurTech space who s energy is inspiring.

My partner in crime and my dear friend Ameya, in charge of African investments at Omidyar Network, for sharing this whole adventure with me and bringing an invaluable brightness to the mix.

So… this happened in Tanzania and I am really looking forward to the next steps !

Stay tuned

Matteo

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Maputo_Matteo-Rizzi

Maputo calling FinTechStage

I was invited last week to speak at the MozTech conference in Maputo.
After moving to Lisbon, destiny keeps me coming back to a Portuguese speaking environment and I am definitely in love with it.

Maputo is a thriving city, flirting with the Indian Ocean and this event was all about serendipity.
During our FTSInclusionForum in Jakarta I met Dr Esselina Macome and Aurora da Gloria Vaz Billa, the neo-director of FSDMoc and the Central bank payments infrastructure head respectively, and Esselina asked me to lead the first EVER FinTech panel in the country.

Mozambique is a 26 Million people country, with only 2M bank account and only 7 millions mobile phones. Half of the active population is off the digital and financial grid (Recalling this from conversation, but numbers are close to real and I am too lazy to google so you guys do it eventually pls ;)).
In other words, Mozambique is an enormous opportunity for financial inclusion and startups to thrive.

FSDMoc organised this panel with David Milligan from Maatchi (Tinder for Banks and Startups), Philip Ngarambe, the Co-founder of a value added Oyster for Ruanda, AC Group (with close to 100% of Kigali covered, a million people) Mercy Zulu from GoodWell and impact investor very active in Africa and Helder Buvana, the business development head of FSDMoc.

As you know by now, I have now devoted my time in building FinTech eco-systems, by bringing together what we believe to be the 5 pillars of each financial innovation initiative : the incumbents, the entrepreneurs, the venture capitalists, the regulators and the technology partners.

I believe we should add the academia as well, but more as a ground effort to educate the students and open their eyes, as the R&D of certain universities are part of the Tech enablers in my view.

FSDMoc organised a session with the students at the university, as an introduction to FinTech opportunities. It was really interesting to realise how differently the Millennials in emerging markets see banks and financial behaviours. More on that another time.

MozTech is by far the biggest tech gathering of the country.
Looks clear to me we need now to build a FinTech national initiative, which is why we – FinTechStage – have chosen Mozambique and Tanzania (where I went immediately after Maputo) to launch the FTS4Africa Enablers program. Branding aside (still under construction) the idea is simple : can we build catalysts of FinTech innovation, with all the 5 communities represented (see below) in as many African countries as possible, so that startups have a soundboard to thrive and grow, VCs will have a snapshot of the opportunities of the country in a single place and incumbents (with the blessing of the Regulator) can find ways to collaborate with the new players ?

Looks like we build the right ground to start working on it in Maputo and I hope we will be able to agree on concrete next steps soon.

Special thanks and kudos to the wonderful FSDMoc team for their kindness, flexibility and support in having me there!

Stay tuned

Matteo

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fintechstageinclusion

FinTechStage Inclusion Forum Jakarta : snapshot debrief

Sitting in Doha Lounge, in a stopover on my way back from Jakarta, where we – awesome team – delivered an awesome FinTechStage Inclusion Forum.
600+ participants over 3 days, 2 workshops, a great conference, 29 countries represented, close to 20 regulators, 150+ participants from Indonesia.

The objective of this event was to enhance the dialogue at the crossroads of RegTech, FinTech and Innovation, with a Financial Inclusion focus.

The 1st day we had an invitation only workshop managed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where Kosta & C talked about fundamentals and progress of the Level One project, a bold initiative to standardise open API financial infrastructure for emerging markets.

The 2nd day, in a beautifully crowded space, we welcomed the local government officials and a number of great speakers for a super content rich conference.

We will post the report soon, but one of the highlights of the day was really the eco-system mapping. Basically, we extrapolated from the conversation the interactions amongst the different players and spot the intensity or the lack of it in the dialogue.

The last day was a RegTech workshop with Omidyar Network, where we :
– worked on the sails and anchors of the regulators dialogue,
– announced the R2A Initiative (accelerator for Regulators) from ON,
– shared best practices around the world on Technology, SandBoxes and market initiatives.

We had at least 15 different regulators or central bank representatives in the room and most of our speakers.

FinTechStage cube flying microphone went from Uganda to Tanzania to Pakistan to Singapore to Nigeria in the same conversation.

Sopnendu Mohanty, one of the smartest, forward looking and innovative regulators in the world (if not The smartest) said he never saw such a powerful and interactive conversation on RegTech.
That says it all 🙂

 

Here is the knowledge wall we built :

And here is the v2 of the eco-system mapping we built during the workshop, which is very consistent with th one built during the conference day :

 

We are very humbled and grateful to have the support of ON and BMGF and we really hope this is the first instance of a long term collaboration !

On a personal note, this is what I really LOVE to do : build dialogue and knowledge bridges around the world. Having fun in doing that. This picture says it all…

 

Lastly, kudos to the team.
We proved ourselves to be resilient, flexible, hard working and I am beyond proud of you !

 

We also just opened FinTechStage Milan registrations – http://fintechstage.com/milan-2017/ – just saying 🙂

Stay tuned

Matteo

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MatteoRizzi_Lisbon

2017 notes to self

It has been a while guys.

 

I promised myself to blog twice a month this year, but only if I have something interesting to share (at least to my judgement) : I am very tempted to start writing about something else than FinTech or at least balance that with something more engaging.
I will not spit on the plate I eat (free translation from Italian and if this expression does not exist it should) because Innovation in Financial Services is something I love, so maybe what becomes boring is that everyone seems entitled to grasp a bite of it.
And it is more and more difficult to separate substance from mindlessness (but I already blogged about that).

 

Note#1
Building tribes has always been my passion and somehow my destiny : Italiansonline, then the SWIFT Community, then Innotribe, now FinTechStage.
My work at Omidyar Network has a lot to do with that as well. We actually added another component of the work in 2017 which specifically speak about Eco-system Development.
Someone would say “Is that even a thing ? Eco-system Development ?”
If you ask the majority of the FinTech, InsurTech, RegTech lists popping around like mushrooms, everyone will unanimously say “Hell yes !”, and possibly saying it is entirely or partially what they do.
If you ask large corporations, or financial institutions, or Insurance groups, or the Big10 Consulting companies, all of a sudden seems clear there is (more often than not) no such a figure. Most of the time there is someone doing that function, but his or her job title says something else and this role is not something he or she is measured on.
Most people do not understand that is not about you, is about the Tribe : you can write a book and have one million readers who bough your masterpiece, but you are not their leader, nor they are  your tribe. They might want a selfie with you, but you are not building the network. You are using it. The risk of it is that you become slave of your own novelty, because you need to keep finding reasons for these selfies continuing to happen.
Building eco-systems requires a depth and a selfless attitude and the business comes then naturally because no one is more valued that the kind of person who builds bridges.

 

Note#2
I will become better at sharing what I learn and find the right context to amplify that.
This goes beyond FinTech and has to do with self development, lifestyle, entrepreneurship structuring, relationships.
I want to contribute, even if for a fraction of it, in helping people to become a better version of themselves. And I want to get the tools to do it.
More on this, but it has to do with depth (or the lack of it).
When all you can say about a person is the company he or she works for and eventually the job title because saying it implies which role he or she can have in helping you making more money, not only you are not owning that relationship, but you can’t count on it.
I want to surround myself with as many people as possible (no matter where they are physically) knowing each other as a person, not as a business entity. The only way to do this is to give them time, for free, with the sole purpose to open up reciprocally.

 

Note#3
I will perfect Portuguese and explore Lisbon (my new home and the country with it), because I want to add another soul. In order to do that, I need to be more disciplined about my travel and get space for myself and my loved ones.
I have the serious intention to build 2 businesses in Portugal.
One related to FinTech and entrepreneurship (there is very little in this space, despite Portugal smartly took the Tech spotlight hosting WebSummit and making some amazing simplified company building initiatives for Start-ups).
The second initiative is to build on another passion I have : the real estate (which has overlap with the first one, because my very first  real estate investment could become a FinTech hub. I just need to find the right partners for it.

 

Note#4
FinTechStage has to go deeper and vertical.
After Luxembourg (March 1st), the first FinTechStage Inclusion Forum will take place in Jakarta, March 22-24th, go to www.FTSInclusionForum.com and have a look.
Then, 4-5 May, FinTechStage Milano doubles down with InsurTech. We partnered with probably the best connected person in the space, Matteo Carbone, so another Matteo joined the family and I really hope we will build many more events of this kind together.

 

Note#5
Building Tribes for Omidyar Network is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. I want to help ON changing the world. This note is to remind myself to be grateful everyday for this opportunity.
If you read my blog that far without getting bored, you earned a free pass to come to Jakarta. reach out to me and will personally send you an invitation 🙂

 

Stay Tuned

 

Matteo

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