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Theodora Lau

Founder at Unconventional Ventures

Washington D.C. Metro Area, United States

58897 Followers

Founder at Unconventional Ventures | Podcast host | Startup advisor | Public speaker | Writer

Theodora Lau Points
Academic 0
Author 144
Influencer 664
Speaker 14
Entrepreneur 90
Total 912

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Service Provider

Areas of Expertise

AI 30.93
Business Strategy 32.56
Culture 30.06
Digital Transformation 30.98
Emerging Technology
Entrepreneurship 30.09
Fintech 46.87
Future of Work 30.26
Innovation 31.85
Leadership 32.26
Management 30.26
Startups 36.40
Big Data 30.29
Privacy 30.09
Cybersecurity 30.08
Diversity and Inclusion 36.25
Cloud 31.19
COVID19 34.63
Customer Experience 30.05
Social 30.51
Health and Safety 30.94
IoT 30.24
Retail 30.13
Blockchain 30.11
Ecosystems 30.32
Sustainability 30.51
Digital Disruption 30.05
Security 30.45

Industry Experience

Financial Services & Banking
Healthcare
High Tech & Electronics
Professional Services
Telecommunications

Publications

3 Advisory Board Memberships
Holt Accelerator
Holt Accelerator
April 01, 2020
AI Fintech Accelerator

We are modern day brokers, accelerating deals for fintech startups between corporate clients and investors. We help our partners navigate success through our investor and associated network of financial institutions; powered by an AI lab.

The Holt family has a history of investing, growing, supporting, and building financial companies for the past five generations. With the rising need for AI throughout all aspects of our daily lives, we have decided to launch Holt Fintech Accelerator that focuses on boosting AI capabilities of Fintech businesses and expanding their international network.

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Tags: AI, Fintech

BOND.AI
BOND.AI
March 01, 2019
The most advanced financial intelligence platform for banks & consumers, powered by the first of its kind EmpathyEngine

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Tags: AI, Fintech

Envel
Envel
September 01, 2018
The future is Autonomous! Imagine a bank with Autopilot that uses the power of Artificial Intelligence to guide your finances in real-time. Autonomous banking is finally here!

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Tags: AI, Fintech

81 Article/Blogs
The long road to the Metaverse
LinkedIn
April 27, 2022
Not a day goes by that we don’t hear something about some celebrity or brand building out their presence in the metaverse. Even fast food chains from Wendy’s and Chipotle joined a growing number of companies exploring the potential of virtual worlds, despite not being able to really eat there.

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

In algorithm, I trust thee. Or should I?
LinkedIn
April 06, 2022
How then can we make sure what gets surfaced is trustworthy and inclusive, and the process of which is fair and transparent? How can we build machines that can work together with human beings and help them make better decisions? And what happens when AI learns from the most subtle stereotypes and biases in our culture – not just what is being said – but what is unsaid?

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Tags: AI, Innovation, Fintech

FinTech and the slippery slope
LinkedIn
March 30, 2022
I was having a conversation with a friend recently about where we are with fintech innovation today, how far we have come, but yet, how much further we still have to go. And a question came up that got me thinking: Has fintech gone to the dark side?

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

What brings us together
LinkedIn
March 02, 2022
According to Britannica, “Canadian sociologist Barry Wellman defined community as networks of interpersonal ties that provide sociability, support, information, a sense of belonging, and social identity”.

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

The windy road to financial security: Can incentivized savings be the new future for fintech?
LinkedIn
February 23, 2022
There is no lack of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) news in the fintech ecosystem, with hundreds of BNPL startups around the world vying for a piece of the pie. The trend has also attracted the attention of the established giants, from Citi, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, and American Express, to Apple, PayPal, and Amazon, all competing for customers who want to spread payments over time. Even the B2B space is catching on, with ACI Worldwide launching a new product for merchants that enables them to offer customers payment options with more than 70 BNPL lenders.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Security

On FinTech and second chances
LinkedIn
February 16, 2022
The 17-year old Olympic skier Kai Owens was born in China and adopted at 14 months old by an American couple in Colorado. She went on to become the youngest American mogul skier to start in a World Cup competition. And just last week, she competed in the Winter Olympics as part of Team USA.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Leadership

Fostering human connections in a hyper-connected world
LinkedIn
February 09, 2022
According to AT&T archives, on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first humans to walk on Earth's moon. The longest-distance telephone call was the call placed by President Nixon to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon to congratulate them. The call was routed from the Oval Office in Washington D.C. to Houston, Texas, then into space via Mission Control, and through the capsule communicator, astronaut Bruce McCandless II. You can listen to the audio of this interaction here.

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech, Leadership

On innovation and the curious mind
LinkedIn
February 02, 2022
Back in early 2018, I wrote about the innovation petting zoo. It was a piece inspired by a conversation with my good friend Gregg Schoenberg over drinks in San Francisco, where he told me the story of a coffee machine in an otherwise empty bank innovation lab. It was also inspired by my kids, who were toddlers at the time, and their obsession with petting zoos and the desire to see animals in their natural habitat — though to be honest, there is nothing natural about zoo animals living in manmade quarters. But most of all, it was inspired by my own work experience, after witnessing companies spending millions of dollars renovating an office (or a building) with chic furniture and LED video wall display, which mostly served as executives’ bragging rights as they bring visitors along to see innovation in action.

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Tags: Fintech, Leadership, Culture

On disruptive innovation: Oh!
LinkedIn
January 12, 2022
It is nearly impossible to read through any new year prediction or sit through any tech panel without coming across the word disruption, a buzzword that I believe should have been banished to the fintech jailhouse. Especially with the vibrant fintech ecosystem, it would appear that everything is disrupting something.

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Tags: Digital Disruption, Innovation, Startups

Whom are you listening to?
LinkedIn
January 11, 2022
I have been told a while ago by a company that they’d only put people on stage if they can put “butts in the seats” so to speak: Meaning, do they have the pull and the status to attract a sizeable audience?

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Leadership

To new beginnings: It all starts with a spark
LinkedIn
January 05, 2022
If 2020 was the New Normal, how would we describe 2021? Looking back, what have we learned from the challenges and uncertainties that have shaped many aspects of our lives? What should we have learned, but didn’t? What new habits did we pick up, and how will our collective experiences shape 2022?

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Tags: AI, Startups, Fintech

A feast: Books are food for the soul
LinkedIn
December 22, 2021
As we bid farewell to yet another eventful year that was 2021, what books caught your attention or influenced your thinking? And who are your favorite authors?

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Tags: Startups, Fintech

Simple payments and seamless solutions: How PayPal can be a good fit for merchants
LinkedIn
December 15, 2021
As commerce evolved over the past decades, payment options have proliferated in response. While early digital shopping experiences provided few options beyond traditional credit cards, new payment methods have arisen, as have new ways of making payments over time. One alternative, Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), has proven to be very popular –– especially with younger consumers. According to CB Insights, by 2025, the global BNPL industry is expected to grow 10 to 15 times its current volume, topping $1 trillion in annual gross merchandise volume by some estimates. But it will take more than simply offering BNPL to have it resonate with consumers. The keys to building these connections? Simplicity, flexibility, and trust.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Business Strategy

AI for Societal Impact: A new ethos of innovation
LinkedIn
December 13, 2021
We have witnessed a dizzying pace of innovation in the past two decades, with technology such as the Internet and smartphone being adopted at a much faster pace compared to other major technologies in the past.

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Tags: AI, Innovation, Fintech

The Future of Payments is Here: How Buy Now, Pay Later Can Add Value for Both Consumers and Merchants
LinkedIn
December 01, 2021
Consumer behavior changed dramatically during the pandemic. From touch-free payments to delivery and pick-up alternatives, consumers are embracing new products and services and new ways to make purchases. While this has been partly born out of necessity due to safety and health concerns, it is also a reflection of the ongoing digital transformation that began even before the pandemic. The acceleration of e-commerce adoption has also changed the dynamic between consumer and merchant.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, COVID19

FinTech Talents Festival 2021 - Afterthoughts and Aftershocks
LinkedIn
November 22, 2021
Even though we could not be physically with our friends at the Fintech Talents Festival last week in London, we were still able to partake in many of the sessions virtually. If there is one word that we could use to describe last week’s fintech fanfare, it will be exhilarating.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech

With great resignation comes great transformation: An opportunity to re-imagine the future of work
LinkedIn
November 18, 2021
“Work is not about where you go. It’s about what you do.” That was one of the opening remarks made at the recent AT&T Business Summit by Anne Chow, CEO of AT&T Business.

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Tags: Future of Work

A culture of purpose — and a tribute to a friend
LinkedIn
November 16, 2021
We had envisioned a different theme to write about this week before we received the heartbreaking news of the passing of Brandon Dewitt, MX Co-Founder & CTO. The world has lost a passionate leader and a kind soul; and words cannot express this loss.

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

Can technology bring us hope in our often disconnected world?
LinkedIn
November 11, 2021
We are in the midst of a fundamental shift in the global business environment. Large technology platforms now control much of our everyday lives. They encompass everything from the bundling of everyday activities embedded into superapps (from ordering food to booking a trip) to payments to social networks to the devices themselves. With that in mind, we must examine what these business models and their immense levels of profitability mean to our society. While regulators are focused on necessary checks of power around consumer privacy and securing trade secrets, as users of these systems we should also be concerned about how our personal data, preferences, and daily activities are now empowering profit flywheels of these companies.

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Tags: Social, Startups, Fintech

The future of money and humanity: There is no Plan B
LinkedIn
October 13, 2021
Throughout history, money, in different shapes and forms, has enabled the development of social and economic systems in different civilizations. It allows us to trade goods and services, and enables us to save for the future. From paper money to mobile payments and digital currency, regardless of what forms they take and what medium they transit, they are still a means to an end.

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Tags: Cloud, Startups, Fintech

The new era of distributed cloud computing
LinkedIn
September 29, 2021
The ways that financial services firms leverage technology have always been a source of constant change. From the components of core systems and client facing applications to the underpinning platforms mitigating risk and ensuring compliance to the critical functions of the back office, the financial system remains one of the most robust users and purveyors of the latest technology. But has the adoption and deployment of new technologies been swift enough to counter changes within the industry and ecosystem itself?

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Tags: Cloud, Startups, Fintech

It is time to put our heart back into our ecosystem — and build what matters
LinkedIn
September 13, 2021
Having access to employment, being able to buy and sell goods and services, creating and leveraging savings over time – along with the ability to move money, store money, access credit, and invest – these are all modern day financial activities that many of us come to expect – and take for granted.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Ecosystems

How can financial institutions thrive in an era of embedded finance?
LinkedIn
September 01, 2021
The financial services business model has changed significantly during the past decade, as have the solutions that consumers leverage to manage their financial lives. Around the world, we are seeing more examples of how banking services have started to merge into non-financial applications. Unbundling is slowly changing the way financial services are delivered and consumed, allowing us to reimagine where financial services can be served and distributed, at locations where consumers engage with rather than being herded to bank branches, apps, and financial institutions’ websites.

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

A spark towards true purpose: How fintech can lead us to Beyond Good
LinkedIn
August 11, 2021
In the midst of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, millions of workers had already experienced deteriorating financial and physical health. Inequality within our developed nation was reaching historic levels. In fact, according to the OECD, income inequality in the U.S. is the highest of all the G7 nations.

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

Towards a financially inclusive society, one community at a time
LinkedIn
July 14, 2021
Nothing highlights the importance of access to financial services than a pandemic. From access to loans to the ability to cash out stimulus payments — all are especially crucial to the wellbeing of individuals as well as small businesses.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Diversity and Inclusion

Big tech, Big banks, and FinTechs.
LinkedIn
July 12, 2021
If we think back at our habits in the past decade or more, we’d have noticed the increasingly dominant role that smartphones — or rather, big techs — play in our day-to-day lives. From connecting with friends and family to ordering groceries and entertaining, we rely on our digital devices to keep track of everything for us.

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

Tech For Good: Humanity in a data-fueled future
LinkedIn
June 07, 2021
The past year is both extraordinary and challenging in many ways. In a world that has changed dramatically, from finding new ways to live, work, and learn, to pushing the boundaries of technology to find a vaccine, the human race has never been tested the way we did.

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech, COVID19

Restartup and the journey of entrepreneurship
LinkedIn
June 03, 2021
Ever get that sense when you wake up in the morning — that life is full of possibilities? Ever felt that burst of energy — and the sense of urgency — to do something different; perhaps to act on an idea that you have? Who inspires you on your journey? And what keeps you going?

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Tags: Startups, Entrepreneurship

Shared prosperity: Building a better future — together
linkedin
May 25, 2021
What does the word sustainability mean to you? Green energy? Conservation? Carbon Neutrality? What about when it comes to our ability to impact change and the long term viability of our planet and the human race?

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Tags: Innovation, Sustainability, Fintech

Unlocking the value of AI with data
LinkedIn
May 24, 2021
Business needs are changing, and companies must adapt. According to Global AI Adoption Index 2021 — a new research commissioned by IBM in partnership with Morning Consult — 74% of companies are exploring or deploying artificial intelligence (AI), with adoption being driven by changing business conditions and COVID-19.

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Tags: AI, Fintech, COVID19

Innovation at warp speed within the credit union business model
LinkedIn
May 13, 2021
As the financial services model has gone through so many iterations the past decade, and as fintech startups and tech giants have nibbled at the revenues and customer relationships of incumbent banking providers, one might be wondering how credit unions are faring through all of this. These not-for-profit member-focused institutions do seem to be out of mind in the conversations around business model evolution. But that would be a mistake. Credit unions are still with us — especially in North America — and while there are fewer of them from a decade ago, the credit union movement is alive and well we assure you.

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech, Management

The butterfly effect
LinkedIn
May 09, 2021
Yesterday was the first time I truly appreciated the power of social network.

The network that we use for our social posts and to call out bad behavior.

The network that we use for silly jokes. Cue cucumber tales (love you, Leda).

The network that we use to share the pain and joy of our day-to-day.

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Tags: Social, Fintech, COVID19

Reimagining our future with technology
LinkedIn
May 06, 2021
If we could predict the future, what would we see? Will we travel in flying cars? Will we have sentient robots working alongside us? Will humans finally be able to colonize Mars?

Remember The Jetsons, the animated sitcoms from the1960s? While many of the ideas seemed far-fetched at the time, much of the technology is ever present with us now — from video chat to robot vacuum cleaners; science fiction has come alive.

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Tags: Cloud, Social, Fintech

Thriving in Financial Services with AI built on Trust
LinkedIn
May 05, 2021
Can we build trust in something that we cannot see, feel, and touch? How do we best mitigate unintended consequences? Can we teach machines to be unbiased when humans — who program and create the algorithms behind this designed intelligence — are biased themselves?

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech

Reinventing the bank experience. What If?
LinkedIn
April 29, 2021
Would you like an everyday checking account or the preferred account? How about a relationship-priced premium account with all the trimmings? What is the real difference between the dizzying menu of choices of metals: gold, platinum, and titanium?

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Tags: AI, Fintech, Management

Thriving in a data-driven world
LinkedIn
April 28, 2021
It is hard to imagine that the iPhone was first announced in 2007, just a little over 13 years ago. Nowadays, smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives. It has created brand new industries and disrupted old ones, from ride hailing to food delivery. It has also drastically changed consumer experience and expectations from finance to entertainment to social interaction. A phone is no longer just a device where we place telephone calls — it has transformed to become the center of our day-to-day interaction and a connector to our parallel digital universe.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Fintech, Management

Sustainability is not a spectator sport: Together, we have the power to Restore Our Earth.
LinkedIn
April 22, 2021
As with diversity and inclusion, sustainability can no longer be merely platitudes reserved for corporate-social-responsibility reports. Increasingly, sustainability is being included as part of an organization’s core strategy and daily processes, as corporations are recognizing that we all have a role to play in contributing to a healthier planet and a more inclusive society.

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Tags: Sustainability, Fintech, Diversity and Inclusion

FinTech’s Expanding Opportunity to Make Banking Better
LinkedIn
April 15, 2021
What will the legacy of technology’s influx into banking be on the financial services business model? Has the banking industry and associated financial underpinnings changed enough to truly serve the needs of our diverse global community? Or will we continue to see the same focus on high-margin profitability and growth focused on the same customers in the same communities across the same geographies?

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Tags: AI, Sustainability, Fintech

Technology and Identity: Turning conversations into actions from diversity to customer centricity
LinkedIn
April 08, 2021
How can technology leverage the full extent of our identity to develop solutions that mirror the way our conversations lead to actions? How can these new practices help strengthen our communities, embrace our diversity, and develop more inclusive business models? How can these models form a deeper sense of intimacy, customer centricity, and a better match to deeper, more basic needs across more of our society?

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Tags: Fintech, Future of Work, Diversity and Inclusion

Building a container of future with hybrid cloud
LinkedIn
April 07, 2021
It has been less than nine months since IBM first launched its IBM Cloud for Financial Services ecosystem. We wrote about it back in July 2020, when we were in the initial stage of the pandemic and the world was scrambling to adjust to a new way of working and living.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Fintech, Ecosystems

From the Authors of Beyond Good: Part 2 of 2
LinkedIn
March 31, 2021
This book is dedicated to our families and friends, and all those who work tirelessly to make the world a better place.

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech, Leadership

On purpose - and going beyond good
LinkedIn
March 22, 2021
Nothing reveals the inequality in the world more vividly than a crisis. More often than not, those who needed help the most before the crisis tend to be the most impacted — both during and in the aftermath.

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Tags: Fintech, COVID19

A Brilliant Bank that Radiates: How Daylight Can Teach Us All a Lesson of Hope
LinkedIn
March 18, 2021
How can a bank be brilliant? How can a new bank grab our attention in a way that provides a truly different perspective, and a form of inclusion that most of us take for granted?

Maybe it’s just the feeling of hope you get when you first hear their founding story — the very personal empathy that it demonstrates. Though it’s likely a bit more than that too.



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Tags: Fintech, Diversity and Inclusion

What's next for banking with AI
LinkedIn
March 16, 2021
We wrote about some of this earlier this year: from vertical integration to embedded finance, we see new opportunities and emerging business models for both incumbents and fintech startups, propelled by technologies such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing, ushered in by a centralized workforce and customer appetite for all things digital.

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Tags: AI, Cloud, Fintech

Financial Services and Reimagining the American Dream
LinkedIn
March 11, 2021
Very few elements of our lives take a completely linear path. No one family is alike. No one’s journey is alike. Such is the case with younger generations — the so-called digital natives — as well as the older generations.

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Tags: Fintech

From land of the rising sun to land of the robots
LinkedIn
March 10, 2021
In fact, Japan has long been an early adopter of robotics, given its technology prowess and to address its labor shortage. One of the more prominent areas of deployment is in the service sector. Faced with demographic challenges, robots can help counter the shortage of care workers and growing need for long-term care services. While they cannot replace humans, robots can assist the older adults (such as in mobility) and provide temporary relief for care workers and healthcare staff.

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Tags: Blockchain, IoT, Fintech

Asia is turbo-charged for fintech innovation. Are you ready?
LinkedIn
March 04, 2021
As tempting as it might be to group all of “Asia” together though, Asian countries are far from being homogeneous in terms of their needs and pace of innovation. The continent is home to 49 countries, with more than 4.6 billion people (more than half of the world’s population) speaking 2,300 living languages across Asia. It is both culturally and politically diverse.

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech, Retail

There is another way
LinkedIn
February 27, 2021
Given the choice, would anyone choose to be poor?

Given the choice, would anyone voluntarily choose to work two or more jobs, just to make ends meet?

Given the choice, would you choose to put food on the table for the kids, or get the essential medicine to maintain your own health?

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Tags: Fintech, COVID19

Tokyo: The Perfect Harmony of East and West
LinkedIn
February 15, 2021
One thing that often strikes me when I visit Asia is the blend of Eastern and Western cultures — the ability to maintain cultural heritage while embracing influences from other parts of the world. And none displays the perfect harmony better than Tokyo, one of the top three financial markets in Asia, and a cosmopolitan city with more than 14 million people, the most populous metropolitan area in the world.

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Tags: AI, IoT

The coherence of our connections
LinkedIn
February 11, 2021
The omnipresence of financial services, fintech, and the very role of technology — at least in some of our lives — could be in question at this moment. We don’t know about you, but we may already be beyond saving from the spectre of technology echoing throughout our lives.

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Tags: Fintech

The purpose of principles..
LinkedIn
February 04, 2021
If you had to define the principles of financial services, what would they be? We would argue that all players in the financial services ecosystem must take a much longer view of their purpose of existence first. Their customers surely do, so why not financial business models too? After all, lasting relationships take commitment toward a shared set of principles.

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Tags: Fintech

The purpose of principles
LinkedIn
February 04, 2021
If you had to define the principles of financial services, what would they be? We would argue that all players in the financial services ecosystem must take a much longer view of their purpose of existence first. Their customers surely do, so why not financial business models too? After all, lasting relationships take commitment toward a shared set of principles.

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Tags: Fintech

A more equal pie for innovation: A new future of work
LinkedIn
January 28, 2021
For decades, Silicon Valley has flourished as the center of global tech innovation. It is home to some of the world’s most valuable high tech companies, including Adobe, Apple, Alphabet/Google, AMD, Cisco, Facebook, and Intel among others. Along with it, Sand Hill Road became the Main Street of venture capital and synonymous with startup incubation.

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Future of Work, Diversity and Inclusion

On the role of influence in our lives
LinkedIn
January 21, 2021
What’s next for the future of banking, the impact of the next technology trend, or for subsequent iterations of our society and the human condition?

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Tags: Fintech, Leadership

A moment of reckoning
LinkedIn
January 18, 2021
My 8-year old was working on her homework assignment for Martin Luther King Day, with the theme: I have a dream. While brainstorming, she said to me:

I dream that our country will have women presidents.
I dream that our world will care more about trees and our planet.
Inequality — including racial gaps and biases — is a frequently discussed topic at home. And it is true what they say about children — that they have much to teach us — to keep an open mind, and to look at things from different perspectives. For our judgments are often clouded by our own prejudices and life experiences.

We know best. Been there done that. Don’t bother trying.

For those of you who have young children, how many times have you been asked: “But wh

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Tags: Diversity and Inclusion

Voices of change: Movement towards equality
LinkedIn
January 14, 2021
How can we ever hope to get to a state of true equality when the bar continues to be raised against it? Much has changed. And yet, so little has truly changed.

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Tags: Future of Work

How will 2021 be a catalyst for the future of financial services?
LinkedIn
January 05, 2021
With challenges come opportunities. How will 2021 be the catalyst for another wave of innovation and transformative applications of technologies within financial services and the industries that surround it? While we don’t (yet) have artificial intelligence that can predict the future, we certainly have seen so many iterative ideas rearrange banking’s business model.

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Tags: Cloud, Digital Transformation, Fintech

2020: A dumpster fire year
LinkedIn
December 22, 2020
It will be extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to find one word or even one phrase to describe 2020. For many, it was a year of broken dreams and hardship. A global pandemic, coupled with a racial reckoning, leaving many of us feeling lost and exhausted.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Leadership

Longevity is the gift of time
LinkedIn
December 17, 2020
Longevity isn’t always associated with decline; we all start getting older the minute we are born. Yet, why is it such a taboo to talk about aging, even as we get older? What does it matter that we are blowing more candles on our birthday cake — after a moment of arbitrary time? Surely we have nothing against cake. But candles?

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Tags: Social, Fintech, Leadership

If you were a fintech genie...
LinkedIn
December 15, 2020
If you were a fintech genie in 2020, what wish would you grant?

For a year that is far from normal, with many of us being socially isolated, our first ‘obvious’ choice would have been: To be able to meet people in person.

As much as we have lamented the hassle of travel and as much as we appreciate the convenience of virtual conferences, after months of being cooped up in a house (many of us with small children doing distance learning), we can’t wait to actually be out and about to attend a live event, to have a cup of coffee or share a meal with our colleagues — rediscover the joy of serendipity moments.

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech, Leadership

We are here but to serve
LinkedIn
December 10, 2020
When we talk about digital banking nowadays, chances are, the conversation might quickly turn to one of the challenger banks launched the past few years — one likely positioning themselves as a new way of “X”. This would come along with their simplified user experience and bright colors designed just perfectly for those always-elusive millennials drawn like moths to a flame toward that ever-present metal card. The conversation would drift toward user engagement, bundles of perfectly unique user workflows, how much better these metrics were compared to incumbent banks, and how technology was changing the very dynamic of the business.

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Tags: Fintech, Management, Leadership

How Can Data Power the Money Experience?
LinkedIn
December 09, 2020
One thing that technology platforms from Amazon to Google to Facebook know is the value of data. These platforms know more about us — through how we use our mobile devices and applications, where we go, how we search, and what we buy — but to what end?

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Tags: Big Data, Management, Leadership

Accelerating the digital future in banking
LinkedIn
December 03, 2020
If you feel like we have accelerated digitally 3 years in 3 months, you are not alone. From grocery delivery to curbside pickup, consumers have adopted new habits in the shadow of the pandemic; or in some ways, re-adopted old habits (such as drive-through banking). As more people switch to online and acquire digital alternatives to in-person collaboration, exercise, retail, and healthcare, businesses must adapt to the fast-changing world.

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Tags: Cloud, Digital Transformation, Fintech

How to Keep Relationships With Your Customers Alive? The Money Experience.
LinkedIn
November 30, 2020
In a year where physical relationships have been completely eclipsed by the necessity for more digital means. This has created a renewed sense of urgency toward revamping experiences designed to improve customer engagement, reduce friction, add transparency, and retain critical connectivity — especially as we all sought out added reassurance during this time of crisis.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Innovation, Leadership

New era demands new ways of thinking
LinkedIn
November 17, 2020
We live in a transformative time. From all aspects of living, working, and learning, our activities are increasingly taking place in the online world. Will COVID-19 become the tipping point for further digital transformation, just as how the Great Blizzard of 1978 became the trigger for ATM adoption?

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Tags: Cloud, Digital Transformation, Fintech

Future of Work: Gig work, 1099s, and I feel fine?
LinkedIn
November 13, 2020
Is the future of work destined to be more transitory in nature? Will we all move from an average of twelve jobs in a lifetime to dozens upon dozens of gig work experiences, some lasting mere hours or weeks rather than years?

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Tags: Fintech, Future of Work, COVID19

Sign at the dotted line
LinkedIn
November 11, 2020
While customer needs are changing, the goal of a customer-centric organization has always been to deliver exceptional customer service, when the customers want it, and how they want it.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Fintech

Cloud at the heart of digital transformation
LinkedIn
November 09, 2020
The year 2020 has been transformative in many ways. We have adapted new ways of working and learning - and propelled new digital trends in a condensed time frame. New habits are formed, alongside new concerns and challenges – all of which have technology at the core.

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Tags: Cloud, Digital Transformation, Fintech

The story of data
LinkedIn
October 30, 2020
A picture says a thousand words, the saying goes. But what about the endless streams of data underlying those images? Or that which deciphers the broader picture of our digital activities and footprints? If data could talk — what kind of picture would it paint? What stories would it tell?

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Tags: AI, Fintech

Future re-imagined: With purpose and urgency
LinkedIn
October 22, 2020
When we look back at 2020, how would we remember this year? Surely, we would remember the weight of this global pandemic and the lives lost. The year has transformed every aspect of our lives — from how we work to where we work. With most of us socially isolated at home, organizations have had to adapt, technology has driven our labor and, for better or likely for the worse, the education of our children.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Fintech

The week that was — October 2
LinkedIn
October 02, 2020
I still remember the conversations over the past few years with Jimmy Chen, founder of Propel, a NY-based fintech that helps make SNAP more user-friendly while improving consumer financial health. One thing that he said in our podcast resonated with me a great deal: “People solve problems that they understand. The reality is that people who have the means to start a new company, or join a major bank and start a new initiative, generally come from a certain background that is not representative of everybody in the United States, especially that of low-income America.”

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Tags: Fintech, Leadership, COVID19

My word of the year: Trust
linkedin
December 30, 2019
New year is a time for reflection, when we look back at the year that was, and the journey that we have embarked on. It is a time when we reflect on our relationships with our friends, our work, and our family.

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Tags: Big Data, Privacy

FinTech Genie 2020
linkedin
December 20, 2019
What happens when you solicit your friends for what is on their fintech wish list? You open the floodgates, just like you when you ask your kids what they would want for the holidays. So what are our collective asks from the fintech genie, the generous one who grants more than just three wishes? Here’s what we would like to see.

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Tags: Fintech

Predictably unpredictable: Fintech trends for 2020
linkedin
December 14, 2019
As 2020 approaches, what does your crystal ball foresee for the world of financial services? How will China’s influence play out in Asia and beyond? What is the next iteration of the challenger bank model, super apps and platforms, and fintechs beyond payments and credit? Can broader societal challenges such as sustainability and the climate crisis finally make significant strides in how and where we invest? How will the financial needs of customers change in the new decade and how will banks react to all of this?

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

Heist for bytes
linkedin
December 06, 2019
Cybersecurity’s impact on financial services
2019 has been a banner year for cybersecurity incidents, with hackers targeting various state and local governments as well as private corporations. According to Varonis, hackers attack every 39 seconds, on average, 2244 times a day. In the first half of 2019 alone, data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records, and the average cost of a data breach was $3.92 million. Not only are cybersecurity issues costly, they are also damaging to the brands. Some of the recent high-profile incidents include the Target data breach that exposed 40 million

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Tags: Cybersecurity, Fintech

A FinTech Thanksgiving - With Added Gravy
linkedin
November 27, 2019
The end of the year always seems to bring on moments of reflection, a time to think about the year just past, to be thankful for the gifts and experiences we have received, the lessons we have learned, and the memories and moments that inspire us to move forward.

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Tags: Fintech

AI in Financial Services - In Data We Trust
linkedin
November 21, 2019
This past year has been a busy one for emerging technologies, especially in regard to artificial intelligence (AI). AI startup funding reached a record high of US $7.4 billion during the second quarter of 2019, according to CB Insights. From healthcare to financial services, from digital surveillance to education, new use cases continue to emerge – along with headlines on the dangers and opportunities of such concentrated power. This is hardly surprising, given an increasingly digital economy and that our daily lives are increasingly powered by personalized data.

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Tags: AI, Big Data, Fintech

March of the Pays
linkedin
November 15, 2019
2019 has been a whirlwind year for payments. Multiple mega deals were made, including the acquisition of Worldpay by FIS, buyout of TSYS by Global Payments, and Fiserv’s acquisition of First Data. Most recently, German-based Wirecard has agreed to acquire AllScore Payment Services, a Chinese payments group, for up to €109 million, following the footsteps of PayPal’s purchase of Gopay Information Technology, another Chinese payments group.

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Tags: Fintech

Digital Only Banks: Challenge we will - or not
linkedin
November 08, 2019
Are consumers finally ready to go all in with digital banking and ditch their branches? Some seem to think so, as a recent survey by Provident Bank indicated that “more than three-fourths of consumers prefer to deal with their bank through online and mobile channels.”

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

Build what matters - The unglamorous side of financial services
linkedin
November 01, 2019
Nothing like a natural disaster to bring us back to reality. Food, water, shelter, clean air, along with power and wifi, the basic modern day necessities that we need to survive. Things that we take for granted. And when it comes down to it though, it is the human connection – the communities that we live in and the bonds that we forge, that matters. We look at the unglamorous side of financial services in this episode.

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Tags: Fintech

A New Journey. A New Hope.
linkedin
October 24, 2019
By Bradley Leimer and Theodora Lau

A New Journey. There it was. Clarity around an ongoing thesis. Somewhere on the train outside of Bordeaux, reflecting on an article critical of Amazon and what had been discussed on stage earlier in the week, there was a bit of a revelation. There is something galvanizing about the art of travel that clears the mind and adds perspective to what you experience every day, and how the words and lives of strangers settle in your mind.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech

1 Book
Beyond Good: How Technology is Leading a Purpose-driven Business Revolution (Kogan Page Inspire)
Kogan Page
March 30, 2021
When we think of global corporations and business in general, do we feel pride in how we do things? Are we doing enough, given the undeniable reality of global climate change and the inequality faced by millions of people every day? Beyond Good is a call to arms for business leaders to recognize how they can do well by doing good.

Business for good, which is the philosophy that you can pursue profits whilst delivering on sustainable and societal development goals, is already delivering big changes in the business world. In Beyond Good, top tech influencers Theodora Lau and Bradley Leimer, showcase how fintech is taking the lead and what we can all learn from it. The winners in these tech start-ups are utilizing a momentum that exists within a thriving eco-system of current incumbents facing up to revolutionizing start-ups. They unlock possibilities with new technologies and serve the often-forgotten demographics to make financial health and inclusion a reality.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership, Business Strategy

1 Founder
Unconventional Ventures
Unconventional Ventures
November 01, 2017
Developing and growing ecosystem to make banking better - and to better address unmet needs of consumers, including older adults and women. Connecting founders with funders - with specific focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs.

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Tags: Startups, Fintech, Diversity and Inclusion

1 Keynote
Theodora Lau: Innovando Para Adultos Mayores
EmTech Caribbean
June 05, 2019
El Futuro del Dinero:
Viene una revolución al sector financiero. Las nuevas empresas de FinTech están estableciendo niveles más altos para el servicio al cliente y la experiencia del usuario y los líderes del mercado históricamente se están adaptando utilizando nuevos modelos de negocios. ¿Cómo pueden las nuevas formas de pensar sobre el dinero crear un sistema financiero más simple, justo, rápido y más inclusivo para los individuos, las empresas y la sociedad en general?
0 comen

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Tags: Innovation, Fintech

1 Panel
The Future of Fintech
#VCPopUp
March 08, 2020
The financial services industry has been deeply impacted by today’s global pandemic, and many in the financial sector wonder if the changes and technology adoptions we are seeing today will be temporary or permanent. On Thursday, May 7 from 3pm – 4pm CST, Unconventional Ventures Founder Theodora Lau and Bankrate’s banking editor Mary Wisniewski will discuss how switches to digital could cause a long-term change in behavior, whether or not fintechs will survive, and where the financial technology sector needs to focus next.

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Tags: Fintech

1 Speaking Engagement
Cloud Talks
DELL
January 04, 2021
Catch my chat with Michael Hale on how cloud infrastructure enables Steward Health Care meet key IT priorities worldwide.

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Tags: Cloud, Digital Transformation, Health and Safety

1 Steering Committee Membership
VC Innovations
VC Innovations
January 01, 2018
FinTech Talents is new two-day tech festival for London, focusing on the technology transforming financial services and the creators, innovators and users that are powering change. It is an event that aims to bring together a unique community of academia, financial services institutions, fintechs, service providers and the talent of today and tomorrow and explore the tech and talent driven future of financial services.

https://www.fintechtalents.com/

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Tags: Innovation, Startups, Fintech

1 Webinar
Voice For Equality
YouTube
July 01, 2020
Bianca Phillips, Noelle Silver, Theo Lau, and Audrey Arbeeny talk about advancing equality in tech.


Modev is a global community of mobile professionals making a difference across the broad mobile ecosystem. We connect developers, designers, marketers and providers through meetups, conferences and hackathons to help them stay ahead of fast moving markets and technologies.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Fintech, Diversity and Inclusion

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