Like many events, Boston Fintech Week was forced to pivot to a virtual event during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this year, the in-person event returned, bringing a renewed buzz and excitement to the fintech space.
FinTech Sandbox organized the event, which included companies like SoLo Funds, AmpliFi and more. The events theme was Fintech &" a nod to the undeniable fact that financial technology solutions have impacted virtually every sector of the economy (i.e., health care, education, banking and many others).
Over 1,000 people registered for the event, which included over 50 content and networking sessions hosted by FinTech Sandbox and their sponsors and community partners across three days.
There were also 28 countries represented, with sessions on global fintech ecosystems hosted by the Colombian Consulate and the Canadian Consulate of Boston, which both sent delegations of startups from their countries.
The event was attended by a wide range of leaders in the fintech space from founders/entrepreneurs to investors, bankers, technologists, fintech executives and more.
All tying into the "Fintech &" theme, sessions included "Fintech & Metaverse"(sponsored by EY), A Conversation on Central Bank Digital Currencies (sponsored by Brandeis University), "Fintech &Web3"(sponsored by Vestigo Ventures), Fintech & Philanthropy, and Investing in Immigrants, among many others.
Fintech as a discipline is moving into adjacent industries, which I think is an important observation and one we tried to unpack during Boston Fintech week, FinTech Sandbox Co-Founder Sarah Biller said.
FinTechs largely refers to financial technology companies such as PayPal and Block. But, as Biller points out, now companies in virtually every industry are incorporating aspects of FinTech.
Sometimes these fintech solutions come where few would expect them. One example is BondLink, a company that allows cities and states to more efficiently engage investors in the municipal bond market for capital, not only to replace aging infrastructure, but to invest in projects that help tackle today's changing climate.
BondLink is a FinTech that enables municipalities like small towns to tap the bond market specifically for infrastructure projects that allow the towns to harden, or green their infrastructure, Biller said.
Without the fintech solutions that BondLink is providing, these small towns would have a much harder time accessing funds for projects. Colin MacNaught, the CEO and Co-Founder of BondLink spoke at Boston Fintech Week, as well as leaders of many other innovative companies.
One keynote speaker, Rodney Williams, founded a company called SoLo Funds that enables peer-to-peer lending. Essentially, if you need a small loan, say $200, SoLo Funds will connect you with a real person willing to lend you the money. This allows both lenders and borrowers to bypass the strenuous and potentially expensive hassle of getting a loan through a bank.
Other speakers included: Katherine Collins, Head of Sustainable Investing at Putnam Investments Joe Maxwell, Managing Partner at FINTOP Capital Stephanie Khoo, Partner at Nyca Investments Greg Smith, Managing Director at FT Partners Doug Nelson, Vice President at Long Ridge Equity Partners, and more.
At the event, there were both investors looking for opportunities to deploy capital, and early-stage companies desperately seeking those funds. Despite a downturn in the venture capital world amid rising interest rates, Boston Fintech Week attendees were optimistic.
We did not hear the tightening market conditions we thought we might, Biller said. In fact, we heard optimism.
Whether you are part of an innovative fintech company, an investor looking for your next project, or someone whos just interested in financial technologies, Boston Fintech Week is a must-attend event.