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2023 saw many exciting milestones for Mass Fintech Hub, including interactive events, welcoming new members, important lessons and more.

As we work to evolve and execute our programming to further build upon our vision in 2024, we spoke with several leading members of our network – ranging from brand new additions to veteran members – to learn more about the value, connections, opportunities and visibility that Mass Fintech Hub has brought to them and their communities:

Meet the participants:
  • Mark Casady, Founder & General Partner at Vestigo Ventures – Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub since before the collaborative’s inception
  • Nikolas Casagrande, Vice President, Digital Innovation & Strategy at Citizens - Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub for five months
  • Siobhan Dullea, Executive Director at Innovate@BU, Boston University – Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub since before the collaborative’s inception
  • Mine Ertugrul, Associate Professor of Finance and the director of the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program at the College of Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston – Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub for one month
  • Russ Graves, Bridging Innovation Leader at MITRE - Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub for one month
  • Charles Mutigwe, Associate Professor of Business Analytics and Director of the WNE Fintech Incubator – Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub for four years
  • Farrah Narkiewicz, Marketing & Events Manager at Babson College, Cutler Center – Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub for two years
  • Rob Sarnie, WPI Professor of Practice in Fintech – Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub since before the collaborative’s inception
  • Jim Smith, Partner at Blue Dun and Advocate at Fintech Sandbox - Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub since before the collaborative’s inception
  • Claire Verville, Head of Ventures & Strategic Partnerships at M&T Bank – Ambassador of Mass Fintech Hub for just over a year

    Our members told us all about how Mass Fintech Hub creates impactful value for their organizations and stakeholders; their best memories with the collaborative; what they saw as the highlights of 2023; what they are looking forward to most in 2024; and what the future holds for fintech and financial services – both in Massachusetts and beyond.

    So without further ado… let’s see what they have to say!

    Why did you join Mass Fintech Hub?

    Mine: “We are excited to become part of Mass Fintech Hub, increasing our engagement with the growing fintech community in the state. Our main goal is to gain insights into the community’s talent needs, adapt our curriculum accordingly, and actively contribute to the expansion of the fintech talent pool. We are also excited to offer our students opportunities to connect with fintech firms and industry experts, empowering them to make informed career decisions.”

    Russ: “In our fintech sector at MITRE, we have technical as well as mission-focused expertise on a wide range of topics, including digital assets, digital identity, fraud schemes and cyber vulnerabilities - so we are delighted to partner with another nonprofit devoted to advancing public interest, especially here in Massachusetts.”

    Since you’ve been working with Mass Fintech Hub, what has been your favorite memory?

    Mark: “I always come away inspired by the (Mass Fintech Hub) events at Boston Fintech Week by Fintech Sandbox. So many great events and so much energy by the audience and speakers.”

    Farrah: “I really enjoy seeing not only our Babson students, but students from across the Commonwealth, repeatedly showing up for our programs and events. That’s a really positive sign that what we are working on is resonating with the students and they understand the value and importance of these opportunities.”

    Charles: “The great working relationships and comradery in the Talent and Culture workstream and the events that have been organized by the Mass Fintech Hub, which our students have been able to participate in.”

    Claire: “Having Secretary of State for Economic Development, Yvonne Hao, attend our first quarterly meeting in 2023. It was great to hear her vision for the state and to speak candidly about the strengths and opportunities of Massachusetts and for greater collaboration with Mass Fintech Hub.”

    Siobhan: “I think it was our very first working group meeting (before the pandemic and the only in-person meeting before MFTH launch). It is my favorite memory because for the first time, in one room, there were people across the financial technology innovation ecosystem who could make things happen. The spirit was collaborative even though many of the organizations had been competitors for decades. It was humbling and inspirational to launch this effort with the caliber of people in the room.”

    What was your favorite Mass Fintech Hub event or lesson from 2023 – why?

    Rob: “They are all impressive to me. Seeing, hearing, meeting, networking and connecting with so many top fintech ecosystem people at every event no matter what topic.”

    Charles: “The opening events of the (Mass Fintech Hub) events at Boston Fintech Week. The two roundtables were very informative with participants from diverse backgrounds. The bootcamp activities were very engaging and we got some ideas that we plan to adopt for our Incubator events.”

    What work has been the most exciting, and/or have you been the most proud of?

    Farrah: “Being involved in the student programming opportunities has been the most rewarding part of being a Hub member. Collaborating with others has allowed us to execute boot camps and job fairs that have positively impacted our students directly. I’m most proud of opening up our Boston campus to host a bootcamp for students in spring 2023!”

    Siobhan: “My involvement revolves around economic development – that’s my jam. Fintech is a great opportunity for Massachusetts, but what excites me most is the way public and private organizations are working together to advance the creation of jobs, creation of innovative solutions to problems, and working on closing opportunity gaps in our workforce.”

    What finding from the recent KPMG study was the most surprising and/or exciting for you?

    Rob: “That MFTH needs to scale to get to the next level. We have been waiting for that green light, recognition and support. Buckle up!!”

    Claire: “I think it’s super exciting that there has been positive progress across all areas of a healthy fintech ecosystem since the previous report in 2020. That’s a tremendous accomplishment for the fintech community in Massachusetts, especially when you factor in the three years since the last report were largely taken up by a global pandemic.
    Additionally, Boston has such a supportive collection of people around fintech that are very dedicated and very plugged in. I’m seeing a lot of green shoots of innovation and fintech occurring outside the Boston area and I think the report highlights some great opportunities to spread that interconnectivity to other parts of the state beyond Boston.”

    Jim: “I was pleasantly surprised that two-thirds of survey respondents noted that collaboration with other fintech stakeholders has improved from 3 years ago. I feared we’d lost too many opportunities to connect and collaborate due to COVID.
    I was also surprised to read that employment in fintech-related industries in Massachusetts rose from a little under 200,000 in January of 2020 to more that 230,000 by December of 2022.”

    When it comes to Mass Fintech Hub events and programming, what are you looking forward to most in 2024?

    Nikolas: “The Banking CEO Forum (on March 12th) should be an informative and fun event for fintechs, bankers and the entire Massachusetts financial services industry.”

    Mine: “We look forward to the opportunities for our students to engage with the fintech community, including bootcamps, career fairs and mentorship programs.”

    Any fintech-based, Massachusetts-focused or fun predictions you have for 2024?

    Rob: “The first Fintech Ph.D. degree program in the USA will be out of Massachusetts by Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2024.”

    Nikolas: “2024 will witness a rebirth of fintech innovations supporting cryptocurrencies and NFTs.”

    Claire: “I think we’ll see a lot more practical focus around AI in 2024 and some really interesting use cases that create value for large enterprises like banks. It will be really interesting to see how we all navigate from the potential value to practical value. I also think we’re going to get a lot more snow in Boston this year than we saw in 2023 -- not looking forward to that quite as much!”

    Mark: “We are a town of fintech, so all the trends in machine learning and AI are so relevant to our Commonwealth. Having such great universities creating the talent needed to drive this area into fintech is wonderful to see.”

    Jim: “The next Boston Fintech Week will be the best one yet.”

    We greatly appreciate our members’ perspectives - who play an integral role in leading Mass Fintech Hub and helping us reach new heights. Contact us here to learn more about becoming a member of Mass Fintech Hub and getting involved in our upcoming programming.

    Please also remember to follow us on LinkedIn and X, and click here to sign up for our newsletter so that you don’t miss a thing.

    Finally, be sure to check out our recently released KPMG report. You can glance over the executive summary here, or dive into the full report here.

    - Team Mass Fintech Hub

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