Interview with FinTechStage Co-Founder Matteo Rizzi
With the first Money20/20 of the year fast approaching, we are profiling some of the most exciting speakers at June’s event. First up is Co-Founder of FinTechStage, Matteo Rizzi, who speaks to us about the trials and tribulations of organising global FinTech events, and bringing the FinTech community together in all four corners of the world.
To see Matteo, alongside over 200 other leading speakers from the world of FinTech, at this year’s Money20/20 Europe, buy your tickets now and take advantage of Adastra’s very special discount code to get €200 off admission:
Where did it all begin for FinTechStage, and how did the first event come about?
Like most of my ideas, it happened overnight. I called my business partner, Lazaro, ex CEO of SWIFT, and we decided to give putting on our very own conference a go. So, I called a few BFFs (Best FinTech Family) and decided the first event would on my 45th birthday, in Milan. So we just did it, and the rest is history.
What do you find most challenging/most rewarding about working in the FinTech space?
As one of the Innotribe co-founders, I have been in the FinTech space since the very beginning, when innovation was only a buzzword in financial services (some would argue it still is).
Something that is both rewarding and challenging is finding the perfect collaboration framework for an ecosystem to thrive. There are different stakeholders, each with different perception of “delivered value” – especially in emerging markets – and seeing the virtuous circle we can instigate between these different players (entrepreneurs, financial institutions, regulators, investors and technology partners) is very exciting.
What sets FinTechStage events apart from other events in the FinTech space?
The true answer is the community and the attitude.
To start with, FinTechStage is first and foremost an ecosystem builder, events are a means to an end, and most of them are supplemented by a number of additional activities (varying from workshops, to hackathons, to tailor made start-up challenges and more).
Our unique attitude comes from the trust of the network we have gained over the course of the last 10 years, where we have fostered a culture of opportunity and created countless connections.
“Something that is both rewarding and challenging is finding the perfect collaboration framework for an eco-system to thrive.”
Who attends FinTechStage events?
If you come with an open mind, a willingness to open up your network, a desire to learn and have quality time with exceptional profiles in a “designed” (not conventional, most of the time) way, and no intention to sell anything, FinTechStage is for you.
Our gatherings are not so big you’d get lost or confused, not driven by commercial emptiness or pay-per-play games, and have compelling content for all stakeholders of the ecosystem.
Where has been your most successful event to date?
I would have to say Jakarta 2017! Three days of dialogue around regulation, innovation and financial inclusion, with over 30 regulators represented, and both the Omidyar Network and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supporting the event.
I suppose the real answer I should give is: “Always the next one!”
“If you come with an open mind, a willingness to open up your network, a desire to learn and have quality time with exceptional profiles in a ‘designed” (not conventional, most of the time) way, and no intention to sell anything, FinTechStage is for you.”
How has FinTechStage grown since your very first event?
We are starting our third year with very strong growth across the board, and have now been responsible for more than 20 events so far, so we must do something right. People come back because we are a catalyst of content, because our network is amongst the deepest and widest in the industry, and because we are truly global.
We have organised events In Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Africa. We treat it as a passion, not as a work. That’s why – I think – people keep coming back.
Where would you say the next up and coming FinTech hubs are going to be?
Look out for Africa and Latin America. Places like Sao Paolo and Lagos, with the right ecosystem work, could become a very attractive place for FinTech to thrive.
As far as FTS is concerned, we will dedicate a lot of energy in broadening our reach (think Financial Inclusion here), as well as being more supportive of industry initiatives trying to solve challenges with technology.
What one thing should we look out for in 2018?
Regulation in emerging markets. Watch this space!
You’re on stage at this year’s Money20/20 Europe: what will you be speaking about?
This is not my first gig at Money 20/20 Europe, we are good friends and always exchange ideas on content, speakers and topics. I will be speaking about investment trends, financial inclusion, emerging markets, and new models of engagement between entrepreneurs and incumbents.
About Matteo Rizzi
In his 13 years role at SWIFT, Matteo covered various activities in sales and global account relationship.
In 2007 he founded swiftcommunity.net, the communication platform 2.0 that fosters interactive dialogue in the financial community.
In 2008 he cofounded Innotribe, the innovation arm of SWIFT. This is where Matteo launched the Innotribe Startup Challenge, the first global challenge for FinTech entrepreneurs, as well as the Enablers group, a crossindustry group mentoring Innotribe and SWIFT on strategy and financial trends.
From 2013 until 2015, Matteo was a Partner in SBT Venture Capital, one of the first funds (100m USD) solely dedicated to FinTech investment (Series A), building a portfolio of 12 startups.
For Three years in a row (2014-2016), Financial News has nominated Matteo as one of the “40 most influential FinTech executives in Europe” and Bank Innovation named him one of the “30 Innovators to watch shaping the industry” in 2014.
In 2015, Matteo created and co-founded www.FinTechStage.com, a platform for Investors, Innovators and start-ups to foster FinTech innovation globally.
From October 2015 until 2017, Matteo was a Senior Advisor for Omidyar Network, the organisation founded by Pierre Omidyar (eBay founder) investing globally in the Financial Inclusion sector.
Matteo speaks five languages, holds a University degree in Computer Science (University of Genova) and a Postgraduate in Financial Transactions (Solvay Business School).