New Frontiers in FinTech


In the mid 19th century, California awoke to a massive influx of prospectors eagerly seeking their fortunes in gold. A few brave souls actually managed to unearth some real and sizable nuggets – nuggets that made the arduous trip worthwhile. Nuggets that would eventually change their lives forever.

Then came oil, and states like Texas, Oklahoma and again, California became the new frontiers for claiming your stake in the new “black gold” economy of the early 20th century. Smart, hardworking and lucky (often a big factor) prospectors toiled for years in what must have looked like barren wastelands to them. Again, only a relative few of these “wildcatters” went on to become the successful oil barons that eventually shaped todays oil industry.

Today, generations are waking up to the realization that we are living in an era of even greater potential for humankind. Artificial Intelligence, Massive Data Sets, Powerful Computing Resources and a host of other advances are providing the framework necessary to allow the Information Age to finally deliver on its promise for a significantly better world.

In the process they are providing a world of opportunities for those “wildcatters” of the 21st century; we call them names like Entrepreneurs, Founders, Innovators and Technology Startups.

But, as with the gold and oil explorers of yesteryear, todays explorers are no less vulnerable to risk and the potential misfortune that goes with it. Instead of “fools gold”, empty wells and the perils of the wild west, we have fierce competition, intellectual property rights, market acceptance and scalability, to name just a few of the obstacles to success. Yes, todays bit hits are called unicorns for a number of really good reasons.

That said, we’d never have the growth and prosperity we have today if we never set foot on the promised land, the moon and more recently, Mars (hey, at least our robots are there today).

So…. a prospecting we must go! If for no reason other than it is in our DNA and we simply can’t help ourselves. To that end, I’d like to tell you about our little “exploratory trip” next week in New York City. It’s an event my co-chair and I from the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City have been working on since June and it is called “New Frontiers in “.

A brief excerpt from the description of the event reads:

“Digital trends in the 21st century are rapidly reshaping how, where, and even why we invest. Disruptive innovation and the development of new tools and financial platforms are teaching the next generation all about investing, while allowing them to put their money where their hearts and minds already are.

In this new investing paradigm, questions arise such as:

  • What are the best ways to attract the next generation of investors and encourage the existing ones?
  • How effectively are traditional and disruptive financial services leveraging today’s mobile, web and cloud technologies?
  • How can this reduce costs and improve the bottom line for investors, and financial institutions?”

The event takes place on Tuesday next, October 18th from 5:30pm – 8:30pm at Anchin Block & Anchin LLP, 1375 Broadway 23rd Floor, NYC. We have well over a hundred technologists, investors, journalists, entrepreneurs and MIT alumni confirmed as attendees to date. You can find further details on the event on the MIT Enterprise Forum web site here.

I wrote last week on how I learned to leverage the “Human Curated” concept the MIT Enterprise Forum provides to sift through the noise and daunting task of filtering out technology advances that are truly worthy of attention. I’ve only been a Board Member at the forum for a short while, but already it is proving to be the great “technology filter” I wrote about in my last post.

If you can’t make this event, check out future events on Cybersecurity, , Virtual Reality and more on the events page here.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have tips and tools for helping manage the sheer volume of information finding its way to us in electronic form these days? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Daniel O’Sullivan is the CEO and Founder of Gyst, a company focused on developing software to allow technology to adapt to human behavior in real time.