Sibos through hugs, connections, re-connections and smiles…

I am in Frankfurt, happy to have survived to the economy flight back from Boston (when I started this post).
I want to make a note of joy for reconnecting to the Innotribe gang, new and old. Like a diary made with my encounters of this week.
This explains why I started this post in the Lounge in Frankfurt and I am finishing it now, 3 days later, in a plane to Madrid to attend the SouthSummit startup challenge as a judge.

Innotribe @Sibos simply feels like family.

Let’s start with what used to be the Innotribe Enablers group that I have built three years back now…
A bunch of brains, forget politics, meeting quarterly to help Innotribe (and SWIFT) think and move forward.

They were almost all there so I want to be thankful to each and everyone I reconnected with (in order of appearance) :

Dan “the misfit” Marovitz, strong and vocal personality, very fast brain, a true curious, a friend outside the business (because we took the time to meet outside the business as well).
Udayan Goyal, very impressed by your new healthy, super fit lifestyle, just for that you deserve all my admiration. Oh, we happen to be co-investors in a couple of deals, by the way and – actually – real buddies.
Gautam Jain, seasoned banker, but with that sparkle making him constantly look for inspiration outside the box. From Singapore not easy to see each other often, but time does not count in the genuine way we reconnect every time.

Neal “the wise” Livingston : wonderful to reconnect. Now in a new, exciting business mission with CBA, extremely sharp and knowledgeable.
If I had to choose someone as a mentor in the banking space that would be him. He has all the calm that I miss.

There are then the “pillars” of Innotribe network, not because the others aren’t, but because historically they have been there almost from day one.

Peter Hinssen, one of the smartest AND humblest (VERY few people in that category) person I know. Hard to catch, he did a “quick” Boston-Paris-Boston for a meeting in 24 hours. Do you know the difference between him and many others ?
If you take a 24h round trip during a conference you want to make sure EVERYONE knows about it because he makes you so cool, especially if you are the Master of Ceremony. I would SO bark around about it. He wouldn’t. (Others did for him anyway ;-))

Chris Skinner, Mike Sigal, Tony Fish, Jaspar Roos, Jennifer Sertl, Dave Birch, Brett King could be keynote speakers, each one of them, in any Fintech conference. They were all together in one place…
All of them speaking or MOCing, some of them signing books, some talking at their radio station, all of them bringing serious content and energy to the conference.
Chris, in your honour a pic I just took this morning in LCY airport 😉


One of the most enlightened session to me was the Captive Funds session on Thursday.
PeterVan, the architect of Innotribe, called it the Hundred Million(s) Dollars Club.
Why enlightened ? For the “vibes”.
– 6 large institutions in the same panel with VERY senior people (except for SBT they just sent me ;-)),
– an agreement that Venture Investments is THE area where banks NATURALLY can collaborate and they actually do,
– new Innotribe groupies on board, specifically talking about Vanessa Colella from Citi, Christophe Chazot from HSBC, Julio Faura from Santander, Derrick Whyte from Barclays, Manuel Silva from BBVA and… yourS truly completed the panel, but Manuel and Innotribe go way back.

Look at the article on Sibos Issues :


– a true energetic session, relaxed, well structured, and most importantly with smiles all over
– wonderful pic of the session :

Sibos Boston 2014_5
Christophe Chazot, Vanessa Colella, Derrick Whyte, Manuel Silva & Julio Faura

Good also to reconnect with the coaches of the Startup Challenge, like Jacob Jeger, or Bijon Mehta, and some every cool Fintech folks that have all my esteem, like Samarth Serkar from Fintech DACH or Adrian Seto from Accenture Fintech Lab in Hong Kong.

Many old colleagues from SWIFT met in the Sibos exhibition hall, few of them at the Innotribe stand, too long to tell all the names, but was cool to catch up (Ok… I had to tell the VC story few times but I didn’t mind).
Loved to see again Jean-Loup Fabbro, one of the colleagues from the SWIFT Paris Office (about 13 years ago). Thank you JL for taking the time, back then, to explain me most of the things that I know about SWIFT technology.

Saw briefly Kosta and Lazaro, just for a drink, but I would say our friendship is time and geography independent.
I say only their first name when it s obvious – if you follow me – who they are.
Good to reconnect with the whole crew of L39, I don’t spend enough time there.
Same for Cognito (PR firm of Innotribe) tribe, very good memories together.
Nektarios, paradoxically we found a good spot to finally have a decent chat when the least we expected.
And loved it… (here with Ioana, due selfie in every conference we do).

Mircea Mihaescu, my business partner In the fund. The single persons I spend most of my phone-talking time with, so when we see each other we can actually have fun. And we did !

Of course I have spent hours in coaching the 14 startups of the Startup Challenge final. I had met all the entrepreneurs already in the three previous challenges. I actually have an anecdote to report, about Epiphyte, the winner of the challenge.
Edan, Epiphyte CEO and founder, just after the regional startup challenge (I think it was in NYC) that obviously saw the company winning, came to me with a bit of a sweet arrogance and asked “what exactly is Sibos, not sure I should bother…”.
I reminded him this episode and (we are good friends now) he truly thanked me to have convinced him to “give a damn” 😉

Petervan, Kevin, Ioana, Audrey : I know, very well, what does it mean to deliver a Sibos.
You rocked. Extremely happy to see Innotribe kicking. Bravo !

I named twenty-nine (ish) people in this blog, as I remembered the conversations we had, some of them a simple heads-up or a hug, some others with more time. It all happened in three days.
This is Sibos.

Stay tuned


4 thoughts on “Sibos through hugs, connections, re-connections and smiles…”

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