The New Faces of Fintech — Featuring DAIZY

While we may not know exactly how fintech will impact our future, we have an idea as to who will be leading the charge. In the next installments of our ongoing blog series, “The New Faces of Fintech”, we will spotlight some of the emerging leaders in the fintech world to get their thoughts on what the future of the industry will look like.

Their origin stories are different, their paths to entrepreneurship are unique, but their impacts on their respective industries are significant. No one truly knows what the future of fintech holds, but these industry leaders may have an inkling as to what we can expect.

Our next guest is Deborah Yang, CEO & Co-Founder of DAIZY. DAIZY Scribe (currently in private beta) allows you to generate personalized financial content in seconds with compliant data, real-time calculations, and dynamic infographics and do so at scale. Deborah is based in Paris.

Deborah Yang, CEO of DAIZY, is featured in New Faces of Fintech

Deborah, tell us a little bit about your background. What were you working on before founding this company?

Before DAIZY, I was Global Head of Sustainable Indexes at MSCI, leading high-growth franchises including factor indexes, EMEA index, and Asia regions across 18 years. I am also the Co-President of Women in ETFs EMEA.

Tell us a bit about your company? What’s the problem you’re solving?

DAIZY combines compliant financial data, real-time calculation engines, and large language models (LLMs) to bring generative AI solutions to the financial services industry. We enable financial insights and communications production with unprecedented scale, authority, efficiency, and customization.

What’s the origin story behind your company? How and why did you come up with the idea?

We fundamentally believe that the wealth management and broader financial services industry is suffering the consequences of legacy technology and disparate data. The time for firms to make a technological leap is now, and with the adoption of AI there will be massive change and disruption in the industry.

Start-ups are all about the team. Working with Jonty Hurwitz, a veteran tech-founder with a track record including the unicorn FinTech company, Wonga, has been amazing because he is always 10 steps ahead of everyone else in dreaming up “the art of the possible”. We also brought on Jim Wiandt, the visionary behind and InsideETFs, because of his deep ties in the wealth and financial services industry. We have the best of the best from seasoned leaders, and we will need to continue to attract the next generation of builders. Together, we have a lot of ideas and potential, but right now we’re laser focused on scalable product-market fit for DAIZY Scribe — our first B2B platform for asset and wealth management firms.

What milestones has your company achieved so far?

We launched our B2B platform beta, DAIZY Scribe, in December 2023.

Immediately after launch, we started running implementations with leading asset management firms and platforms.

We were one of the first investment providers with a plug-in live in the OpenAI plug-in store, seeing huge numbers of queries coming from users.

We have built a team of genuine industry leaders in our business to oversee client implementations and will continue to build to remain agile in this evolving industry.

Can you describe what it’s been like to be part of the Fintech Sandbox community?

As a recent addition to Fintech Sandbox, we’ve already found the experience beneficial. We’ve been impressed with the speed of being able to arrange meetings with partners and the quality of people.

Access to reliable, high-quality data is crucial for the industry. Especially with the widespread concern of ‘hallucinations’ by large language models, we are committed to only using best-in-class data. For financial services firms, trust and accuracy are paramount.

What’s next for your company?

We are highly focused on deepening our scalable product-market fit by adding more Skills for DAIZY Scribe. Our implementations enable us to stay closely aligned with clients’ usage and make direct ties to the amplification of their human capital and revenue growth.

What is some of the best advice you’ve received as a startup founder?

Marc Andreesen famously believes that “only” product-market-fit matters. Though it’s a great point, the question is, how do you get there?

For us, we’re focused on three key areas: 1) building a world-class team by hiring the best talent and ensuring they are agile, 2) listening proactively to clients’ needs and pain points and constantly asking questions, and 3) combining 1 + 2 into a product that adds undeniable value to our clients’ businesses.

We believe we have those pieces at DAIZY, and we know we need to continually prove that. To solve the investing industry’s most daunting problems, first we must earn and maintain our clients’ trust. It’s the only way to bring AI solutions to our industry and generate the ROI we know we can for our clients.

What fintech trends are you most excited about right now?

AI in fintech has captured the industry’s imagination. The adoption of AI in wealth and financial services industry will revolutionize the industry in a way that I have not witnessed in my 25 years in financial services. It will be a step function transformation that will quickly separate the winners and the losers in the space because of the opportunity for massive productivity gains.

Are you hiring?

We anticipate the need for product builders, developers, and client-facing teams as we manage increasing customer demand for our AI solutions.

We’re thrilled to feature some of the incredible entrepreneurs who are participating in our Data Access Residency. If you are aware of any fintech entrepreneurs with an early stage company who could benefit from free access to data, cloud hosting, and a supportive community, please have them visit our website to learn more.

The Fintech 5 with Frazer Anderson — Principal at Vestigo Ventures

The Fintech 5 is a series of blog posts consisting of questions and answers designed to help you get to know the people in the Fintech Sandbox community.

Frazer Anderson is a Principal at Boston-based, fintech-focused venture firm Vestigo Ventures. Vestigo targets initial investment in seed and series A companies. Frazer has a particular interest in how machine learning and SaaS are transforming financial services.

Frazer Anderson
Frazer Anderson

Question #1: Frazer, what fintech problem has your attention right now?

Problems abound! I’m not focused on any one specifically — looking to find excellent founders who want to automate and build analytics on top of existing workflows. If there is one area I would look though it would be platform plays in private markets.

#2: What trends in fintech are you most excited about?

It’s all about AI-driven automation and infrastructure or the API-ification of financial services.

#3: What are some of the biggest learnings from your career journey in fintech and/or entrepreneurship?

Early-stage investing is 100% about the team. Everything else you do as part of diligence ultimately gets back to information about how perceptive, relentless, networked, etc. the team you’re investing in is.

#4: Which fintech companies are you keeping an eye on right now?

SaaSWorks is automating the customer data file and bringing superpowers to the office of the CFO.

#5: Hot take! What are your thoughts on AI in the fintech industry?

Visibility and accuracy are the biggest things holding back the adoption curve. The stakes in financial services are too high to have hallucinations for a lot of tasks and enterprises are going to require visibility into how decisions are made. That’s why there is still plenty of room to build good old-fashioned infrastructure or lean in to super high-value tech-enabled services.

Bonus Question! If you could have coffee with any entrepreneur, who would it be?

Warren Buffet.

If you are a fintech entrepreneur with an early-stage company and you could benefit from free access to data, cloud hosting, and a supportive community, please visit our website to learn more!

The Fintech 5 with Michael Haney — Head of Product Strategy at Galileo Financial Technologies

The Fintech 5 is a series of blog posts consisting of questions and answers designed to help you get to know the people in the Fintech Sandbox community.

Michael Haney heads product strategy for Galileo Financial Technologies. Galileo enables fintechs, banks, and both emerging and established brands to build differentiated financial solutions that deliver exceptional, customer-centric experiences.

Michael has spent his career at the intersection of technology and financial services, frequently driving digital transformation. Last fall, he was on the 2023 Boston Fintech Week stage as a participant in a panel called Laying the Foundation: Digital Infrastructure for Modern Banking.

Michael Haney — Head of Product Strategy at Galileo Financial Technologies
Michael Haney

Question #1: What fintech problem has your attention right now?

The Federal Reserve Bank analysis revealed that most consumers in the Millennial cohort have a high degree of interest in faster payments for both account-to-account (A2A) and consumer-to-business (C2B) scenarios, at 61% and 71% respectively. Two separate studies by Barlow Research Associates and Citizens Bank show that about 52% of businesses also indicate a high degree of interest in faster payments and expect about 22% of their outbound payments to faster payments. As of the third quarter of 2023, 461 financial institutions participate in The Clearing House’s RTP platform, and 331 participate in the Federal Reserve’s FedNow service. Here at Galileo Financial Technologies, we are meeting this growing demand by enhancing our money movement capabilities to support faster payments. Galileo clients of all types, including financial institutions, digital challengers, and even non-financial brands, can leverage this new capability.

#2: What trends in fintech are you most excited about?

(1) The rise of faster payments and its enablement of pay-by-bank services.

(2) The improvement of conversational banking by incorporating generative AI technologies.

(3) Better fraud prevention and detection through broad industry participation in data consortiums.

(4) Increased bank adoption of purchase finance solutions, such as BNPL.

(5) Bank workload migration to the cloud, including core processing.

#3: What are some of the biggest learnings from your career journey in fintech and/or entrepreneurship?

(1) There is no success in this industry without a deep understanding and appreciation for risk management and regulatory compliance.

(2) Surround yourself with colleagues who are smarter than you, complement your skill set, and are at least as equally passionate about the opportunity.

(3) Rebuilding the same capabilities on a modern technology stack is insufficient to succeed; you must offer something new.

(4) There is no straight path to success, but don’t let that detour you from achieving your goals.

(5) Start with a customer pain point or unexploited niche, then grow new offerings quickly and tangentially.

#4: Which fintech companies are you keeping an eye on right now?

Credit, used responsibly, has the power to enhance our lives greatly. However, traditional credit scoring limits individuals from accessing loans and increasingly impacts the ability to rent homes or gain employment. New credit scoring methods improve inclusivity and help create a more complete picture of existing clients already in the lending system. Emerging players for alternative credit scoring include Nova Credit, Zest AI, Altro and Pagaya.

#5: Hot take! What are your thoughts on AI in the industry?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is an umbrella term for several technologies that can work together or independently to increase automation, improve user engagement, or uncover insights. The three forms of AI penetrating the financial services industry the most are Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP). The application of these technologies is almost limitless, ranging from intelligent digital assistants and alternative credit scoring to personalized marketing offers. Financial institutions will improve productivity, increase efficiency, and shift work to more value-added tasks. These technologies continue to improve over time; for example, neural networks enhance ML, and generative AI enhances NLP. We have only begun to leverage the power of AI, and it will shape our industry for years to come. However, safeguards are required to ensure fairness, maintain resiliency, and improve confidence in the output of these solutions.

Bonus Question!

What’s the best career or life advice you’ve received?

Prioritize your health. Without it, you cannot achieve your professional ambitions, support your family, or enjoy your personal endeavors. Do what it takes to keep your energy levels high, your mood elevated, and your enthusiasm sustained.

If you are a fintech entrepreneur with an early-stage company and you could benefit from free access to data, cloud hosting, and a supportive community, please visit our website to learn more!

The Fintech 5 with Elizabeth Thomas – Program Director for Mass. Fintech Hub

The Fintech 5 is a series of blog posts consisting of questions and answers designed to help you get to know the people behind Fintech Sandbox and our Data Access Residency better.

Mass Fintech Hub is a public-private partnership comprising a network of fintech leaders, financial experts, academics, public sector leaders and venture capitalists who empower Massachusetts fintech startups to achieve success. It is an initiative under the Fintech Sandbox umbrella. Elizabeth Thomas joined as Program Director in 2022. Before this she worked in economic development with a focus helping fintech and tech companies scale internationally.

Elizabeth Thomas, Mass Fintech Hub Program Director

Question #1: What is your role with Fintech Sandbox?

Mass Fintech Hub Program Director.

#2: What fintech problem/solution are you focused on or most interested in?

My fintech passion is fintech as a solution for improving consumer financial health. I am thrilled when I learn about a solution tackling common problems such as financial literacy, consumer debt reduction, and credit building from a completely new angle.

In January, I will lead a virtual workshop introducing fintech as a vehicle for improved financial health as part of the Massachusetts Office of Economic Empowerment’s Worth & Wealth Seminars. You can learn more about the workshop here.

#3: What trends in fintech are you most excited about?

I am excited about the increasing fintech adoption and acceleration across industries. What was once a niche vertical is becoming a horizontal category. To quote Fintech Sandbox founder Sarah Biller, “Every company is becoming a fintech company”.

In the last few years, we saw new entrants into fintech from tech giants like Amazon and Google. Now we are seeing embedded finance solutions increasing across industries and platforms. More fintech opportunities will continue to reduce friction, time, and costs and increase benefits for the consumer.

#4: If you could change one thing about the fintech ecosystem, what would it be and why?

Our work at the Mass Fintech Hub is focused on accelerating the Massachusetts fintech ecosystem. We are working to unlock capital for new startups, increase corporate-startup collaboration, increase talent in the ecosystem, and enhance the visibility of the great things already going on in our ecosystem.

If I were to pick one thing to change, it would be to continue to increase opportunities for connections across the ecosystem in support of these goals. In November we released an Ecosystem Reassessment report in partnership with Mass Tech Collaborative authored by KPMG that surveyed the ecosystem to help us find ways to do just that. You can join our growing community and learn how to get involved here.

#5: Hot take! What are your thoughts on AI in the industry? Are we about to see a major transformation beyond chatbots? Is fintech the key to unlocking AI at scale for financial services?

At Fintech Sandbox we interview up to 6 fintech startups a week for the Data Access Residency program. In the last year, the number of startups we have seen with AI tools increasing efficiency, supporting decision-making and customer interaction in financial services has increased exponentially. We have a ways to go, but we are certainly on the brink of an exciting change in the industry.

Bonus Question! What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read recently? 

I’m currently reading the Four Agreements, based on ancient Toltec wisdom and philosophy. My sister had recommended it and in an exciting coincidence,  I subsequently came across it in a little free library stand around the corner from my house. Was it fate?  I find it intriguing to learn how different cultures deal with common philosophical questions about how to live a happy and fulfilled life. And I love the metaphor introduced in the book of every person existing in their own dream that they have the power to change through simple actions.

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If you are a fintech entrepreneur with an early-stage company and you could benefit from free access to data, cloud hosting, and a supportive community, please visit our website to learn more!