Fintech people, Batch Two – January 2015

Looks like my previous post  of this kind was not only understood, but well read. Again, the purpose is not to make any ranking or who’s who type of list, but see people through their challenges, the context we met or talked, and simply share.
The month of January has started with abnormal amount of miles, setting up FintechStage at the same time, closing a couple of more deals, and obviously invited in the board meetings of our portfolio.
Yet, I manage to bump into some new and really interesting people,this month alone, and I would like to write about them.

– Mariano Belinky

Mariano is an exception to a rule I thought I had: partners from big 5 consulting companies have pretty much a corporate profile, wear a suit all the time and tend to think more than do. Mariano has the very big challenge to bring a 360 degrees FinTech investment strategy in one of the largest banking groups, with a global footprint. We met in the very cool Second Home hub in London Shoreditch, a place that all of us fintech lovers would instinctively like. I am amazed how much he managed to do since he joined the bank, only few weeks ago. I Love zero bullshit, smart, pragmatic and fast people. He is one of them.

– Guillaume Dubray

Guillaume is a young partner in a Swiss fund, happen to have invested in an early stage  startup we then lead the Series A of. What I like about talking to him is the “be independent” strong life motivation. We always have a very straightforward chat of the Fintech VC world, with no fringe discussions. He s younger than me,  and a very good advisor.

– Roberto Ferrari

General Manager of a very innovative Italian bank, and unlike many executives in his position, very aware of what his bank needs to do to stand out in terms of Innovation practices from the rest of the crowd. “Openness” would be one of his strongest assets, and to me is extremely valuable for a today’s bank. It gives agility, fast learning and customer focus. Working a lot with the Italian start-up eco-system as well, and smartly looking on ho two build synergies abroad.

– Mario Costantini

Mario as well has the challenge to manage many aspects of innovation. Start-up engagement and investment issues for the biggest Italian bank player, with obviously an established international presence. What is incredible is how we manage not to meet before, since we were born in the same town, studied at the same university and have a lot of good friends in common, so we didn’t need much time to connect.
He has all the good sides of being an intrapreneur, which is fundamental to accomplish the mission he has, and it must be the same background but conversation has nothing of a “just met” person

– Leticia Romero

Leticia is a very nice surprise, connected on LinkedIn from a while but only recently met. Why a surprise? Because I was searching for a while to understand better the innovation and most importantly the start-up engagement of this very large French bank and finally I managed to catch the right person. Integrating startups, finding the right counterparts inside the banks and screen fast what s compelling from the noise is a job I understand well, and Leticia is pragmatically good at it.

– Moshe Tamir 

Global Chief Innovation officer of a very large insurance group. Now, funnily enough two different contacts of mine both mentioned my name to him in the same week, so it was destiny I guess we were meant to talk. Insurance business is what I would call a Fintech vertical, with a huge potential for innovation, and looks to me like the banking industry few years back. The upside in this case is that what insurance groups need for real innovation became available not long go, in terms of technology, and not every insurance group has settled the right Organizational changes to cope with it. Moshe s background and challenges resonate a lot to my own story, and I value a lot “out of the comfort zone” people. Add a quick mind and a very good understand of technology and you get why he is where he is. Look forward to work more with him.

– Patrick Meisberger

I waited until today before finishing this post as I had a call planned with Patrick, and did not regret it. Patrick is one of the two partners of a newly created Fintech Venture Fund, built by ne of the largest german banks. He comes from the VC world, and this call was a real moment of serendipity. Same challenges, excitement and motivation that made me switch to the Venture Capital Fintech business, and i believe we will hear a lot about this team. Interesting how a while ago was very difficult to find people who’s job is to deal with start-ups within a banking environment, and now the collaboration and openness in this network becomes very tangible.
I need to find a way to write about all the amazing people I have met in the past seven Fintech years…most of the ones i like the most are not working. They are on a mission.
Both them and the mission are worth to share.

For the moment, let me gratefully celebrate this January new connections.

The picture is from Home town…a bit of a saudade I guess …

Stay tuned

Matteo