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Alexandre Lazarow Director Cathay Innovation Alex has worked at the intersection of investing, innovation, and economic development across the public, private, and social sectors for more than a decade. He is a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation, a global investment firm, with over $3.0 billion in assets, and offices across the world. He is also an Adjunct Professor with the Middlebury Institute for International Studies MBA program, where he teaches entrepreneurship. Previously, Alex worked with Omidyar Network, a global early stage investing platform that has invested over a billion dollars in hundreds of startups. Alex has experience in strategy consulting with McKinsey & Co., financial regulation with the Bank of Canada, and M&A investment banking with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is a Kauffman Fellow, CFA Charterholder, and CFR Term Member. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.Comm from the University of Manitoba.
Alex Todorov Product Lead Risk & Support Teams Chime Alex’s career spans consulting for the largest US commercial and investment banks, building products and product teams at startups from seed through growth stage, and helping traditional financial services companies leverage technology to achieve scalable growth. In his current role as Product Lead for the Risk and Support teams at Chime, he helps the risk team control fraud losses and eliminate compliance risks; and enables member services to support millions of bank accounts effectively and empathetically. He has B.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
Akshay Krishnaiah Founder/CEO Common Akshay is a financial tech inventor and entrepreneur whose mission is to deliver universal, affordable and unrestricted access to commonly needed banking and financial services. Akshay grew up super poor in India and came to the US with $200 in his pocket to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Texas. During his graduate years, Akshay slept on an $8 sleeping bag from Walmart while working 3 jobs in addition to being the president of the Indian Students Association and pursuing his startup BookRepublic a literary Social Network. Growing up in India and during his school years here in the US he felt the world stacks a lot against the common man/woman and decided his life’s work would be to try and at least bring one of those stacks down with whatever he learns and knows. When he got the golden opportunity to work at PayPal he spent 5 years in the weeds learning every nuance in the world of Fintech growing exponentially to become Global Product Head – Research Labs with over 75 inventions under his belt at which time he left in pursuit of his dream. To better understand his users he embedded himself in the community living the life of and with people who have fluctuating income to get up close and familiarize himself with his user’s financial life for several months. Based on his learnings and data gathered he started Common – A one-stop financial platform built for and around people with fluctuating income.
John Doppke General Manager Lending Varo John is passionate about delivering financial products that help people improve their financial lives. John recently joined the team at Varo Money as General Manager of Lending, focused on providing credit products that help customers throughout the United States who have been underserved by traditional banks. John has extensive prior experience in lending products from his role as VP Product Management at LendingClub, where he led the product team focused on borrower lifetime experience. His professional experience includes 15 years in Product Management and Product Marketing roles, including PayPal, Trōv, IBM, and BEA Systems, as well as previous roles as a developer, architect, and technology consultant throughout the US and Europe. John is an alumnus of the Booth School of Business, CU Boulder, and Notre Dame; and after living in Boulder, Zurich, Paris, Chicago, and Berlin, he is happy to call the Bay Area home for the last 9 years.
Brian Hamilton COO/CoFounder SafeCorp Technology a holding company focused on developing and delivering innovative digital financial services platforms globally, and is currently working on a new digital challenger for the US market which is still in private beta. Prior to SafeCorp, Brian was the Founder & CEO at Azlo, one of the most successful challenger banks for freelancers and small businesses in the U.S. A serial entrepreneur, Brian has 20 years of experience in banking, payments & FinTech across credit underwriting, digital product development and executive management. Brian was co-founder at Pushpoint, a location-based redemption platform successfully acquired by Capital One, where he then served as President of Capital One Merchant Services and SVP for Digital SMB banking products. Brian also founded Isomer Labs, a technology incubator in San Francisco, which developed the Chargesmart Mobile platform acquired by Verifone. He has served on the board of multiple high growth technology companies, and remains an active angel investor and advisor to multiple start-ups in the bay area and abroad. Previously, Brian led Product & Strategy for Clear2Pay, a global payments technology provider delivering multi-jurisdictional payment execution and operational platforms, later acquired by FIS. He began his career at Wells Fargo as a Commercial Loan Officer and later VP of product development for the WF Foreign Exchange group. Brian graduated with honors from Oregon State University and the graduate commercial banking program at WF, has been active in the Association of Financial Professionals and holds his Series 65 RIA. He lives in San Francisco, enjoys back country trekking, snowboarding and biking, and is an active advocate for diversity and equal opportunity in the tech community.
Colleen McDonald Structured Finance Partner SheppardMullin Colleen is a seasoned securitization and structured finance attorney with significant market know-how in terms of both working capital financing and capital markets transactions. Colleen works with banks, marketplace lenders and alternative capital providers, fintech companies, sellers and investors to structure debt transactions utilizing cash-flow generating assets in all stages of development. Colleen, and her colleagues in Sheppard Mullin’s Financial Services Group, help clients’ navigate the U.S. regulatory structure particularly as it relates to lending products.
Moderator: Mark Crager, Founder/Managing Partner Next Stage Partners Mark is the Founder & Managing Partner at Next Stage Partners with a focus on bringing meaningful innovation from early-stage fintech companies to leading financial institutions and merchants. He has extensive payments industry experience with a proven track record of moving products from concept to commercialization in consumer and B2B environments. Prior to Next Stage Partners Mark held executive management roles at Visa working with merchants and financial institutions. He successfully launched a variety of P2P, prepaid, mobile and e-commerce products and platforms. Prior to Visa, Mark held a National Sales Manager position at Sony and launched new divisions for both Nestle and Johnson & Johnson in the consumer packaged goods space. He received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from California State University, Chico. Mark is a Member Board Advisor with StartX, the Stanford University incubator for fintech startups, a Mentor at Plug & Play, the innovation accelerator and an Advisor to several payments technology companies.