Nov 27, 2023

Inside the Lab: The Forces Behind Fintech Fast Pass

The perfect launchpad for startups, scaleups & AI ventures in financial services: Fintech Fast Pass announces its advisory board

Inside the Lab: The Forces Behind Fintech Fast Pass

Interview multiple candidates

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Search for the right experience

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Ask for past work examples & results

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Vet candidates & ask for past references before hiring

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Once you hire them, give them access for all tools & resources for success

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In rapidly changing spaces like fintech, standing out is vital for both startups and scaleups. According to McKinsey, “revenues in the fintech industry are expected to grow almost three times faster than those in the traditional banking sector between 2023 and 2028.” How can founders standout in the crowd?

Meet Fintech Fast Pass

Meet Fintech Fast Pass, by Machinelab Ventures and IBM Cloud for Financial Services, an initiative custom-built for emerging ventures to capitalize upon the momentum, create exponential growth, and gain visibility within financial services.

IBM is sponsoring 40 innovative fintech startups and scaleups from across the world to join us. Fintech Fast Pass includes a suite of benefits tailored to the needs of fintech founders and their teams. The program centers around growth. It’s not an accelerator or incubator, and there’s no complicated schedule that disrupts your business. You’re also not giving up equity to participate.

Intimate Engagement with Financial Institutions

Gain direct access to bank innovation leaders and industry experts made possible through a quarterly series of invite-only roundtables. Bypass the usual barriers of sifting through LinkedIn profiles and cold outreach. IBM services 90 of the world’s top 100 banks and the IBM Financial Services Council has grown to 200 members in 2023, giving fintech startups and scaleups the perfect launchpad for establishing and fostering bank partnerships and ecosystem collaboration.

Quarterly roundtables serve as a vehicle for intimate engagement with financial institutions. Learn the art of talking “bank”, which heavily leans on factors such as data protection, privacy, safety, security, risk, compliance, and technical assurance.

Bank-Grade Technology

Ensuring a fintech’s tech stack is bank-grade is critical, and this is especially the case when incorporating AI into the mix. Participants not only gain access to data privacy experts from both a regulatory and technical perspective, IBM business and technical leaders provide one-to-one tech support. This includes design thinking sessions to build solutions together and co-sell. Don’t worry if you’re running on another cloud, watsonx and other IBM Cloud solutions are purpose-built for multi-cloud at scale and easily snap into existing architectures and roadmaps. To support your multi-cloud journey, participating ventures with less than $10M in revenue and less than ten years old will receive up to $120,000 in IBM Cloud credits to be used over a one-year period.

Curated Fintech Solutions for Banks

Fintech Fast Pass Partners can expect an equally transformative experience. What bank leader doesn’t want a curated list of innovative fintech solutions delivered to their doorstep? This white glove solution helps banks, for example, spend less time and brain power on scouting for new technologies and solutions. IBM’s trusted brand and allegiance to zero trust technical solutions provide banks with an extra layer of confidence.

Meet the Advisory Board

Central to the success of Fintech Fast Pass is its distinguished Advisory Board featuring top-tier experts. Dr. Melissa Sassi, Venture Partner here at Machinelab, and member of the Advisory Board, eloquently captures the essence of the program: "building and scaling a fintech is demanding, frustrating at times, often lonely, and puts founding teams in vulnerable positions. We’re here to help fintechs flourish. We see Fintech Fast Pass as a movement towards a more innovative, inclusive, and forward-thinking financial world—and the Advisory Board embodies this.”

Dr. Melissa Sassi and Shahjahan Chaudhary, both Venture Partners at Machinelab, exemplify the spirit of innovation and ecosystem collaboration that Fintech Fast Pass brings. Melissa has built neobanks and vendor compliance programs on Wall Street and in small town America. She has also scouted and led growth enablement with 225+ startups across 75+ countries with $450M+ in investment capital. Shahjahan, a tech investor and venture builder, brings a unique blend of community engagement, business modeling, and founder-centric expertise. Their combined efforts enable startups and scaleups to accelerate growth while powering enterprises with innovation via up-and-coming fintech solutions.

Prakash Pattni from IBM Cloud for Financial Services and Arun Aggarwal, Fintech Investment Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, provide a deep understanding of the technological and financial aspects crucial for fintechs. Prakash’s extensive experience within big banks and his role in leading the IBM Cloud for Financial Services business fuel participants with the secret sauce of navigating within the sector. Arun's investment expertise at Lloyds offers insights to help participating ventures grow via bank partnerships.

Benefit from the insights of thought leaders like Theodora Lau and Mercedes Tunstall. Theo, a public speaker, writer, and Founder of Unconventional Ventures, fosters innovation, while doubling down on bringing more diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging among underrepresented demographics. Her podcast, books, and other content is trusted by top financial services leaders and practitioners worldwide. Don’t miss her blogs and posts in LinkedIn and X. Mercedes, a Partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, is a legal expert in fintech and digital assets. She helps participating founders navigate the complex regulatory environment prevalent within financial services. Her ability to dissect regulations and turn them into snackable insights is one of her superpowers. As a legal powerhouse within fintech, she is often called upon by Fortune 100s, big banks, fintechs, and large organizations incorporating fintech solutions into their portfolios.

Entrepreneurial spirit is embodied by both Dan Roselli, Co-Founder of RevTech Labs & CFV Ventures, and Helen Yu, Founder & CEO of Tigon Advisory Corp. Dan forges collaboration between Fortune 500 companies and startups, and has made Charlotte, North Carolina a destination for fintechs looking to collaborate with big banks  Helen's expertise in leveraging AI, cybersecurity, and IoT offers participants a wealth of knowledge from both a practitioner lens and that of an industry voice. Don’t forget to check out Helen’s frequent posts in both X and LinkedIn, as well as her YouTube channel - CXO Spice.

Scott Mills, President of William Mills Agency, and Adam Mastrelli, Partner at Woodstock Fund US, bring a wide gamut of strategic insights based on their deep experience and engagement with startups, scaleups, investors, and the sector as a whole. Scott advises fintech startups and scaleups on their communications strategies and tactics, and Adam introduces the important role that blockchain and digital assets play in ensuring product-market fit, positioning, and visibility..all vital for fintech startups and scaleups.

Roxana Nasoi, Alex Murphy, and Samrah Kazmi represent a cross-section of perspectives. Roxana’s social impact, venture capital, blockchain, and fintech expertise blends nicely with Alex's marketing acumen in financial services and Samrah's deep-seated expertise as a practitioner and C-level executive within the risk and compliance facets of financial services. Collectively, this trifecta of leaders enrich the program with their practical examples of building teams, establishing policies, and gaining fans and advocates of brands.

Neel Nathan, Nathalie Schwarzkopf, and Nuno Afonso offer fresh and dynamic viewpoints that round out the needs of fintech startups and scaleups when it comes to access to capital and growth.

Your Ticket to Growth

Each Advisor contributes by sharing their unique vision built upon their deep expertise. Together, they are more than the sum of their parts. They are YOUR powerful collective charged with helping YOUR fintech to grow.

Be it Melissa’s passion for storytelling and social change, Samrah’s commitment to sustainable growth, or Theo’s advocacy for inclusivity, every member contributes. They are not just a collage of headshots on a landing page with some bla bla bla. Together, they are your ticket to growth.

You aren’t just navigating the present; you’re shaping the future—a future where financial technology transcends traditional boundaries and becomes a catalyst for global growth and change.

If you're a fintech startup or scaleup, or AI venture looking to partner with financial services institutions, Fintech Fast Pass is your gateway.

Apply now and join our next roundtable!

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