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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How would you categorise FinTech Eco-systems?

A couple of days ago Lazaro, Mariela and I sat together and, treasuring the experience of the first 4 events with FinTechStage, we tried to spell out our mission, and the first thing we did was to define different Type of FinTech Eco-systems, to assess where the value we can bring reaches its best potential.

We came out with FOUR categories:
Disconnected
Disorganised
Organised
Recognised
1- Disconnected
In many countries there is some form of Startup gathering and related capital, and even a significant banking presence.
FinTech is more a “wave” they see being talked about, but there is no “go to” place to even have a meaningful discussion. Capital and Statups are definitely not focusing on FinTech, and at best there is a Meetup around a beer (I am not undermining here, it s actually a great excuse to have a beer :))
2- Disorganised
Up until only 12 months ago, this category (in developed countries) was by far the biggest.
In this type of eco-system you can easily identify the FinTech initiatives, either from financial institutions or private (sponsored) incubators and accelerators and few local gaterings on the topic.
Venture Capitalists have these countries on their radar, and often there is little “local” FinTech Capital available, mostly because the effort of local scouting is left to the goodwill of the global investors themselves.
Disorganised Eco-systems tend to set up local events mostly, for the very precise reason of getting together the different pieces of the system, and to exchange with other experts or listen to Chris Skinner they have to go abroad (Chris, I have stolen you a slide today, I making it up :))
3- Organised
The nuance between this category and the “Disorganised” one is actually very thin.
An Organised (FinTech) system has a local catalyst, and what we observed is that it usually works best when this role  is taken by some sort of super-nation, government or community backed (or linked) and in any case non-commercial, “super partes” body. Like Luxembourg for Finance, Holland Fintech, FinTech CH, Innovate Finance, FinTech France, FinTech HK and others.
A strong nuance between Disorganised and Organised eco-systems is the sense of sharing and collaboration, and i have a story about it.
FinTechStage is mainly a sponsorship based business, that s how it gets sustainable.
Whilst in certain countries having two big banks co-sponsoring the same event is just an utopia, on other places they are OVER  the “pissing contest” stage, and understand how the engagement with the start-ups, the investors, and the other innovators from the rest of the world is the right approach.
In our last event a government-backed organisation acted as the single point of contact with the entire financial community, to organise without doubt has been the best Fintech Event event in the country.
4- Recognised
London, New York.
Now, we have to make a difference between the Financial Services Centres and the FinTech Centre. For Singapore and Honk Kong, for instance, I am not sure – yet – what would matter the most.
This exercise was extremely helpful.
Discovering talent, bringing or build capital, bridging the different communities in for the Disorganised and the Organised Eco-systems and structure great content is what FinTechStage should do and what he does best.
Is not perfect, and we have plenty of ideas on how to make it better.
I have NOT nominated any of these (category 2 and 3) on purpose, I am expecting you reactions to figure out wether or not I made sense of it and – most importantly – where some of the countries of my readers might stand.
Italy, for example, was disconnected until two years ago, and is getting disorganised, which sounds rough but is actually a positive sign (and – of course – my opinion). Actually my almost omonym Prime Minister, that s a call for you. Well, there will be more YouTube video with your english sloppiness, but I have plenty myself 🙂
Stay tuned
Matteo

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FinTechStage Buenos Aires – how amazing is this ? #soproud

Mauricio Macri, major of Buenos Aires, made it to President.

Most of us, me for sure, don’t know what it means to live in a country where political and economical crisis are dominating the scene so heavily, that it affects your perception of hope and – especially with an expatriate lens – makes you look back at your home with a bitter sense of impotence.

We are running FinTechStage in Buenos Aires in exactly 3 weeks and it’s a good example of FinTech is driving part of the change there.

Our friends from NXTP Labs – very successful accelerator mainly operating in Latam, but also in Israel and Ireland – are launching their first FinTech batch and partnered with FinTechStage to deliver an international event.

The agenda is here : http://fintechstage.com/fintechstage-buenos-aires/agenda/

Obviously Financial Inclusion is one of the topics of the conference and Omidyar Network is sponsoring the event as well.

I am really happy to gather together with my Argentinian friends Mariano Belinky and Gustavo Vinacua. I am also very thankful to Santander Innoventures and BBVA to support the event. There are plenty of other local sponsors. I already thank them all and can’t wait to meet them.

We have now 300+ delegates already registered.
If someone would have told me in its first year of existence that FinTechStage would have run 3 events in 2 continents, I would not have believed it. It’s an interesting model, whereby FTS puts its brand and build up the agenda bringing international speakers, and the local partner uses the conference to either launch a FinTech initiative or simply to start creating a community around financial services innovation.

It is the last conference of the year – very intense one – and I can’t wait to spend time with the kids (after of course the wrap up blog of the conference).

Stay tuned

 

PS : the picture features Avenida 9 de Julio, the largest avenue in the world.

 

Matteo

 

 

 

 

 

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Human-chain

Changing the world…one person at the time

This time I have a story to tell and a project associated to it.

A couple of years ago I was giving a speech in Kampala, Uganda for a SWIFT conference and I had the chance to meet a young student that for personal reasons had to find a job instead of keep studying. It was the only encounter outside the bankers of the conference and it was really nice to hear what local people life was made of.
Few months later, after staying in touch by email from time to time, the same person asked for my help. She got admitted at the Makelele University, in Kampala and needed help to pay the tuition for the campus.
500 dollars to rent a student room for the year and not having to commute from the other side of the town, virtually impossible with public transportation.
Despite the risk of scamming and having met that person only for 1 hour, I opted for trusting her. I was right.
2 years later, we decided to do something more.
For the Fintechstage conference, for 10 speakers joining the panels, we will finance 10 students of the University. I asked the person I trusted to become the coordinator of it.
We received many applications, here a few samples :
**An Optometric Student
My main reason of writing this mail is to apply for the student grant since am desperately in need of financial support as far as my education and future are concerned. When I was admitted for my course last year, I couldn’t qualify for the gov’t loan scheme and other scholarships since my course is a new one and unfamiliar to many. My father is a police officer and my mother is a peasant farmer.
Am the third born in a family of six children and the first family member to reach this far in education. Our first born got married without even finishing primary school and so she is illiterate. I sat UACE together with my other sister who is the second born but she is still at home waiting to continue with her education in the near future. 
In A-level I was sponsored by Invisible Children Uganda under the Legacy Scholarship program. They couldn’t continue supporting me since they are withdrawing their support from Uganda and shifting attention to Central African Republic (CAR). Fortunately my father was saving some money during the few months I was in vacation to help me start  the first semester. The tuition was paid in three different installments. Since the money wasn’t enough to cater for my accommodation, I was commuting from my uncle’s place in Nsambya the whole semester. 
As for this year, two of my siblings finished primary education last year and qualified for the next level. Together, they have joined my other sister in Gulu Secondary School. The rest of my family members are in Gulu since it is where my father is working.
  
**An Environmental Sciences student
 Am writing to apply for the study grant. I come from a family of five children ranking the fourth in position. My parents are farmers in mukono district and have been able to look after us through the years at school with difficulty and hardship to obtain our school fees. With the dynamics of the weather and the market for our produce from the garden, it’s been hard to raise school fees through the lower levels as well as tuition for my undergraduate degree. I have had to go through struggles with school fees even during my secondary and primary levels that greatly affected my performance. Last semester I managed to raise tuition through the sale of coffee that I collected during my vacation together with help of some relatives as well as my sister. With all these huddles that I had to go through to collect tuition for last semester it put me on tension and kept I worried about the future of my studies. During my holidays I have been working at Mukwano industry to raise some of my tuition and upkeep during the course of the semester though with the wages paid it was difficult to cater for my upkeep and tuition.
Some might say this is a still in the ocean, but it got me thinking a lot and I don’t mean the usual bullshit about how fortunate I am and not being thankful enough or realise it (which stay true, no doubts).
It made me think about FAIR CHANCES and how clumsy the word can get when it comes to being totally unbalanced.
One person at the time. 10 people will hopefully get closer to have a fair chance.
Stay tuned
Matteo

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