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Technology Act. 20 Sep 2018

Dialing up the heat at Fintech University

A photo of an attendee taking a picture of panelists at Fintech University.

If the second edition of Fintech University proved anything, it’s that fintech is still hot.

The daylong gathering at San Francisco’s Bently Reserve on Monday, Oct. 17, featured more than 25 notable names from financial technology companies around the globe. In front of a crowd of more than 200, they gave real-world advice and insights from their own experience as seasoned entrepreneurs in areas like payments, lending, user experience and more. The hashtag for the event, #FintechU, spent the majority of the day trending on Twitter.

“Startup entrepreneurs are always hungry for information that will help them succeed, something that we helped provide today at our sold-out event,” said Head of Open APIs for BBVA and co-founder of Simple Shamir Karkal. “For a fintech startup, the more you know — and the more you can find out from somebody who has been there — the better off you’ll be as you move forward.”

“For a fintech startup, the more you know — and the more you can find out from somebody who has been there — the better off you’ll be as you move forward.”

Panels were as varied and diverse as the panelists themselves, with each representing the hot areas of fintech, like lending, regulation, Know Your Customer (KYC), payments and more. Among the participants were Prosper’s Ron Suber, LendUp’s Sasha Orloff, Ingo Money’s Dickson Chu and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Wallace Young. The capacity crowd participated in robust question-and-answer sessions following each keynote and panel, with audience members engaging speakers to glean key nuggets of information.

Panelists were bullish on the impact of fintech in banking, both now and in the future, with many lauding the work BBVA is doing to bring fintech to the forefront of banking’s digital future.

During his panel, Suber said he believed there was a collision coming between Silicon Valley and Wall Street, saying people want to be part of this big thing, and somewhere they can make a difference, concluding with, “People forget we’re really helping other people.”

A photo of the lending panel at Fintech University.

“Fintech is no longer the new kid on the block, and as a financial institution, we need to be where our customers want us to be,” Karkal said. “In many cases, fintechs are already there and they're doing it better. It’s important to foster this ecosystem, and find ways for us to collaborate so that the end customer benefits.”

Fintech University is an occasional educational series for entrepreneurs, hosted by BBVA’s Open Innovation team. The first edition of Fintech University was held at BBVA’s Innovation Center in Madrid in June. For more on Fintech University, visit

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