Global remittances plenary in Abu Dhabi – intro

Tomorrow we will run the first Innotribe session at a MERC conference, here in Abu Dhabi.
I wanted to share the introduction to this session (followed of course by a 2 hours workshop) because Mela (@mela_atanassova you rock) did an AWESOME job in putting the challenges and the facts that will put the debate in context: is Remittance still a good business ?

Reasons that make this not a trivial question are multiple:

– immigration / emigration context is changing (unemployment youth 30% in UAE , so limiting immigration is compelling)
– regulatory pressure increasing ( Dodd frank law in US, going up to guarantee operation abort within 30 min)
– technology increasing – lower margin (world bank report, Middle East to Pakistan has the lowest margin)
– established channels are hard to fight
– users now care about speed, reach,reliability (tracebility) and price .. They re evolving in their behavior

This VIDEO will be opening the session: check it out!

Needless to say, more to come, live reporting from the conference.

Stay tuned



Wrap up (and link to the video pitches) of NYC start up challenge

Time has come to wrap up the full NYC event, now that all start-up videos are online.
Ok, I should have put the whole list of start-ups pointing each one to a video, but I had no time to do it.
But If you go to the page and you are as smart as a 8YO kid, you’ll find it (tested it with my son)

Great energy, great facilitation, great content. Again.

As a reminder, 10 Early stage pitched for 6 minutes each, followed by 3 min Q&A, and 5 Late stage (called Innovators)
pitched 10 minutes during a “chat room” session (that in a nutshell is a 5 parallel pitches session with the crowd divided in smaller groups).

I reckon more than 30 banks represented, and as many VCs, vendors, and entrepreneurs within the financial industry space.
And a great atmosphere.

So, what’s next:

– Invest in Northern Ireland, one of our delighted sponsor will host an invitation-only networking event beginning of may. Interested to attend? Contact @heathervescent pls!
– We are in full prep mode for Singapore (april 24th) and Belfast (june 14th) our two next competitions: apply now at
– Interested in becoming a judge? Send your motivation letter to … me. You’ll figure how to get in touch I guess

Stay tuned


Ps below, one of the chat rooms, real quality time !



2012 objectives of an Innotribe Evangelist

In the spirit of total transparency, and because I was asked to do so, I want to share my (SWIFT) objectives for 2012, or I should better say my Innotribe objectives for 2012.
I might kill two birds with a single bullet ( what an horrible metaphor, now that I think of it) in the sense that by doing this more than one friend of mine will understand at last what is that I am actually doing for living!

Design (together with my dear @mela_ata) and manage the Innotribe incubator, which role is to develop in a fast-fail way new projects and ideas for the financial community.
The incubator activity is build upon the Enablers group. Enablers are a bunch of bright brains of our industry, from banks, Venture Capitalists, innovative vendors and consultants, and they meet together 3/4 times a year to “enable” new projects.
I built this group more than an year ago, and a clear objective for 2012 is to continue to grow in terms of scope, leveraged network and collaboration.
I am supposed as well to make sure there are enough ideas for the incubator to work on. Call it a “gate zero” for New potential projects. I am doing this with the help of @heathervescent and @nekliolios (so part of my job is also to coordinate the activities of this team in the “lead generation” effort.

This one is shared with few other members of the team, but is extremely important for the Innotribe network and marketing development: the challenge
Last year we tried at Sibos in Toronto a first start-up competition where 200 companies applied, and the top 10 were brought to the conference pitching in front of the top 50 banks of the planet.
This year, we do more:
– three regional competition (New York, Singapore, Belfast) plus Sibos in Osaka
– two different challenges, for early stage and late stage companies
– self-funded (sponsorship allowed)

New York was just successfully delivered by @heathervescent, and Singapore is under @nekliolios responsibility.
I am helping in different domains (finding the sponsors for instance, or reach out to my business network to make sure we have the right attendance at each competition, or finding the location for the events) but overall, I need to make sure this thing happens, and that we bring to Osaka the best possible start ups within the financial industry space.

I would call it an “Innotribe marketing and network” objective.
Since Innotribe was founded, we never ceased to grow. A fundamental element of this growth is the constant reach out to the financial and innovation community through conferences, speaking slots, Innotribe Labs, and networking.
I think I have planned already a dozen of (external) speaking slots where Innotribe is – needless to say – at the hearth of the speech. Just as an example.
The use of social media to reach out is another example.
A very concrete objective in this area is the Belfast Innotribe conference, in June, for which I am designing the content, and basically managing the event (with the help of course of logistics, comms, the facilitation team, etc).
Innotribe has become a new, relevant way to engage with our customers (and the financial Eco-system in general): in order to do so, you need to share, reach out, identify the right profiles, and engage. We are proud of the Innotribe network, and we all contribute to grow it.
Part of this objective is typically Sibos, where usually I am in charge of one of the Innotribe streams.
Last year was Social Data, for example. @petervan is usually in charge of the overall content and event delivery, but is a real team effort.

I don’t know if I was able to give you the feeling of what my job is about, but I wanted to end with a morning thought (from Singapore, where jetlag on the third day is hitting badly): in my business card my title is “innovation manager” and sometimes we refer ourselves as “innovation leader”.
We are none of this.
We are (I feel like) evangelists.
I am meeting in a couple of hours @simon, an Amazon Web Services Technology Evangelist.
Simone explained me his job, more described as a mission, and I felt like I am doing the same for Innotribe.
Next business card printing, call me Innovation Evangelist.
In another blog, will talk about the parallelism between innovaton and faith.

Stay tuned, and enjoy a morning sunrise from 31 st floor of the Conrad



Your fragility is your ultimate power

I had a chat with one of my volleyball mates, yesterday evening, after a very cool match with my team.
I know him for 7 months now, never really had a proper conversation. When you grow old(er), you don t often dare to share more than akin deep stuff with people who cannot put things in context because they know you well already.
Somehow we both did, for a couple of drinks, and on my way back home I wrote a “passion for kindness” sentence in a self-mail, because I wanted to talk about this.
We (I) spend a lot of time showing self assurance, power, unconditioned richness of resources (not financial, but emotional) and at the end, your true self stays behind.
Your fragility is actually your true force, but you don’t share it unless you feel is welcomed, “apprivoisee” ( you guys find a French-English dictionary now) because it puts you at risk.
Well, I tasted that risk yesterday, and told myself I need to do it more often. Because it feels good.
Is not about sharing pain, is not about “if we are both down it feels less down”.
At all.
And none of us was yesterday, neither.
Is about the true discovery of a person in all his richness, and the good vibes it generates. And requires to reach out.
My friend and colleague Peter told me recently: do not ask “how are you?” but “what do you want to achieve and how can I help you?”: well I think I got it.
This is also a thank you post to my world scattered, diverse, male and female friends who know me for who I am, or at least for who I want to be.
They know who they are.
And If one day my kids will ever read my blog (god knows) I hope they will do two things:
– say to themselves they do have relationships like this around
– with a smile in their faces, think of their father as one of them

Stay tuned