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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.
The long road to the Metaverse
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.
In algorithm, I trust thee. Or should I?
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?
FinTech and the slippery slope
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?
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”.
The windy road to financial security: Can incentivized savings be the new future for fintech?
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.
On FinTech and second chances
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.
Fostering human connections in a hyper-connected world
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.
On innovation and the curious mind
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.
On disruptive innovation: Oh!
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.
Whom are you listening to?
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?
To new beginnings: It all starts with a spark
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?
Simple payments and seamless solutions: How PayPal can be a good fit for merchants
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.
AI for Societal Impact: A new ethos of innovation
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.
The Future of Payments is Here: How Buy Now, Pay Later Can Add Value for Both Consumers and Merchants
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.
FinTech Talents Festival 2021 - Afterthoughts and Aftershocks
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.
A culture of purpose — and a tribute to a friend
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.
Can technology bring us hope in our often disconnected world?
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.
The future of money and humanity: There is no Plan B
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.
The new era of distributed cloud computing
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?
It is time to put our heart back into our ecosystem — and build what matters
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.
How can financial institutions thrive in an era of embedded finance?
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.
A spark towards true purpose: How fintech can lead us to Beyond Good
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.
Towards a financially inclusive society, one community at a time
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.
Beyond Good: How Technology is Leading a Purpose-driven Business Revolution (Kogan Page Inspire)
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.
Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership, Business Strategy
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.
Theodora Lau: Innovando Para Adultos Mayores
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?
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.
Tags: Cloud, Digital Transformation, Health and Safety
1 Steering Committee Membership
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.
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.