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Collisions and Community at C2C Connect Live: New York City

Trevor Marshall had just left the stage after over an hour of nonstop conversation, but he was ready for another interview. The CTO of Current, an aptly-named disruptor in the developing fintech space, had come to the event to participate in a panel discussion with Spenser Paul of DoiT, Michael Brzezinski of AMD, and Michael Beal of Data Capital Management, immediately following a one-on-one fireside chat with Paul, who also brought his labrador Milton onstage with him for both sessions. Now Marshall was sitting at a wooden dining table in an open workspace overlooking Manhattan’s Little Island floating park, enthusiastically describing a proof-of-concept his company is running with Google Cloud’s C2D compute instances, an offering powered by AMD’s EPYC processors.“It’s cool to actually be able to put a face to some of this technology,” he said. “We have a lot of compute-bound instances, and for me, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s the C2D guy!” Brzezinski had discussed AMD’s role in bringing C2D instances to Google Cloud customers, but Marshall hadn’t known until the two were seated onstage together that his fellow panelist is directly involved in selling the same technology he hopes to adopt. “I’m going to be reaching out to that guy,” he said. “I do have some questions. That will actually unlock some progress in our stack, and I think that’s pretty sweet.” Trevor Marshall of Current, Spenser Paulof Doit, and Paul’s Labrador, MiltonMarshall’s positivity and excitement to collaborate reflected the prevailing atmosphere at C2C Connect Live, New York City, the most recent of C2C Global’s regional face-to-face events for Google Cloud customers and partners, this one hosted at Google’s 8510 building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The scheduled program put Marshall in conversation with Brzezinski, AMD’s Global Sales Manager, Paul, DoiT’s head of Global Alliances, and Beal, Data Capital Management’s CEO, on the topic of innovation and cost optimization on Google Cloud. These sessions were designed as a starting point for the reception that followed, where the panelists and guests shared their stories and explored the topics discussed in more depth.“You get an opportunity to say the things you feel like people are interested in, and then you get to talk with them afterward,” said Brzezinski. “They’ll come and ask you more about what you said, or say, ‘you mentioned this one thing, but I want to know more about something different.’” “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Thomson Nguy, Vice President of Sales in the Americas at Aiven, was grateful to be able to meet both Brzezinski and Beal in person, having worked with both companies, AMD as a vendor and Data Capital Management as a customer, but only remotely. “We’re an AMD customer, we’re a Google customer, but also we’ve got one of our customers [at the event] that can actually use the price performance that AMD can drive, and so it’s actually being able to connect relationships along the whole value chain,” he said. “Working together as partners, we can actually create real value for the customers.” Customer conversations outside Google’sGoblin King AuditoriumNguy particularly appreciated being able to make these connections in an informal setting, where sales was not top of mind for him or his team. When he and Beal met, before talking shop, the two reminisced about Harvard Business School, where both earned their MBAs. “This event was very natural,” said Nguy. “It wasn’t like going to an AWS summit, where you get lost in 10,000 people at the Javitz center. It’s a very intimate place that lets you connect and talk with people, and it has that really cool vibe, a community vibe that I really appreciate.” Faris Alrabi, one of Aiven’s Sales Team Leads in the Americas, wholeheartedly agreed. At most events, he said, he feels obligated to pitch, whereas, at C2C Connect Live, he went out of his way not to.Attendees repeatedly echoed these sentiments. In conversation with Nguy in front of a spread of refreshments that depleted rapidly over the course of the reception, Geoff MacNeil of Crowdbotics, another company that brought multiple team members out to the event, attributed the unique value of this intimate setting to the possibility of chance encounters. “Collisions create innovation,” he said. “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Nguy and MacNeil also exchanged information to discuss opportunities to partner in the future.New business deals aside, however, the ability to meet and share ideas and impressions in person, guests agreed, was reason enough to attend already. “Even if we left this event without getting a single lead,” said Nguy, “the experience of being here and understanding our customers and the way they think and the way they talk in a lot fuller context, I thought that was super valuable.” C2C Will be hosting many more face-to-face events in the coming months. To connect with Google Cloud customers in your area and spark more innovation for your company, register for these upcoming events below:  

Categories:ComputeIndustry SolutionsC2C NewsFinancial Services

FinTech, Banking-as-a-Service, and the "DeFi Mullet": C2C's Deep Dive with Simon Taylor of 11:FS

Between electronic payments emerging as a default option for digital native and traditional businesses alike and blockchain technology going mainstream in the private and public sectors, FinTech is quickly becoming a solution no startup can afford to undervalue. As Simon Taylor of 11:FS put it in the C2C Deep Dive he hosted on Feb. 10, 2022, “Every company is becoming a FinTech company.”For any who weren’t able to make this live session, the full recording is worth a watch. In a concise but rapid half-hour session, Taylor offers a complete functional overview of the Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) model, covering every operational consideration from customer experience to go-to-market strategy.The real benefit of connecting live with a guest like Taylor, however, is the opportunity to ask him direct questions and get an immediate response. For those who want to dive straight into the issues this presentation brought up for discussion, below are some of Taylor’s answers to questions from C2C community members.First, a question about consolidation of the BaaS space in a post-integration market prompted Taylor to walk through a series of real and hypothetical acquisitions at major FinTech companies, including FiServ, Synapse, and Unit:  Later, a question about cryptocurrency in the digital payment space prodded Taylor to amend his previous statement about FinTech to “Every company is becoming a crypto company.” He also introduced the concept of the “DeFi” mullet, a “business up front, party at the back” model for FinServ companies which puts “FinTech at the front, Decentralized finance or crypto at the back”:  Taylor was also more than willing to point attendees to a host of resources 11:FS has made available for specialists looking to dive even deeper into BaaS:  Is your company a FinTech or crypto company, or becoming one? What do Taylor’s points imply for your company’s financial future? Post on one of our community pages and let us know what you think! Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube Plus, don’t miss the next event hosted by our startups community:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsGoogle Cloud StartupsFinancial ServicesSession Recording

Understanding the FinTech Payment Stack and Where Your Business Fits (full video)

Challengers in the financial services industry—existing firms looking to innovate, start-ups looking to scale, and everyone in between—will gain an in-depth understanding of the banking and payments system from this Deep Dive.   The recording from this Deep Dive includes:(1:15) Introduction to Simon Taylor and 11:FS (4:00) Introduction to banking as a service (BaaS) and its role across brands (7:20) Understanding the depth of service from BaaS API providers (13:10) How API providers enable focus on building user experience and expediting time to market (15:15) Embedding financial services into various customer experiences (17:25) Go-to-market requirements for launching FinTech products (20:10) Overcoming challenges between FinTech vendors and BaaS providers (21:20) Building finance operating systems (22:00) The four core issues and challenges: provider lock-in, geographic limits, flexibility vs. speed, and product configuration gaps (24:35) Open audience questionsFeatured in this session:   Simon TaylorCo-Founder and Chief Product Officer, 11FS Simon Taylor is the Co-Founder and Blockchain Practice Lead at 11:FS. Simon has been immersed in the technology of financial services for as long as he’s been working. He is consistently voted one of the most influential people in Banking, Insurance, and Fintech by banks, his peers, and industry bodies. Simon led Blockchain Research and Development at Barclays. In his time there, Barclays became the first bank in the world to perform a live trade finance transaction over a Blockchain / DLT with a real customer attached. Today Simon advises governments, regulators, and some of the worlds largest banks, financial institutions, and corporations on how Blockchain and DLT will impact their business in the short, medium, and long term. Previously, Simon helped build the Barclays www.thinkrise.com program and held a number of roles in payments, banking, and the telco sector.  Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube

Categories:API ManagementIndustry SolutionsGoogle Cloud StartupsFinancial ServicesSession Recording

How the Bank of England Uses AI for FinTech Innovation

The Bank of England (BoE), the world’s oldest central bank, is one of the most visible and high-profile investors in innovation. Over the last decade, it has developed its own innovation lab, with projects including The Bank of England Accelerator, Her Majesty’s Regulatory Innovation Plan and The Regulatory Sandbox. It introduced a RegTech cognitive search engine and uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for chatbots and predictive real-time insights. More recently, the Bank made headlines with its plans for a “digital pound” on the blockchain, called Britcoin, which will use AI in its executable smart contracts. Cognitive search engine  The BoE employs a Switzerland-produced cognitive search engine as their company search solution. The tool uses AI and ML to gather data from multiple sources and deliver real-time relevant responses to users’ questions. The Bank also embeds it in its CRM to improve client conversations and reduce meeting preparation times. Users find answers to their questions up to 90% faster than they would with a manual search. This tool not only boosts productivity and improves client trust but also makes it easier and simpler for the Bank to comply with ever-changing regulations. Chatbots Chatbots the BoE uses for various services include: Functional chatbots that help customers with routine questions, such as directing callers to the closest ATMs to their locations. More sophisticated AI conversational assistants that feed customers investment recommendations and real-time market-related news, among other industry-related data. Chatbots using a combination of predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics to give decision-makers at the BoE real-time insights. Examples include helping BoE executives gauge their biggest competitors in the micro-lending space and helping them determine which customer segment they should target for their advertising for a new mobile app.  Britcoin Bitcoin is the Bank of England's plan for a digital currency acceptable by retailers and other companies in lieu of debit and credit cards. Owners would have limits on how much Britcoin they could hold initially, but conversion to sterling and its transactions would take minutes. Unlike most cryptocurrencies, Britcoin will be a stablecoin, meaning it will tether itself to UK currency to avoid the problems of crypto fluctuations. Supporters appreciate that Britcoin would use AI-enabled smart contracts to execute DeFi transactions that are cheaper, faster, and more transparent than online payments and money transfers. Critics fear the innovation could lead to financial instability, along with higher loans and mortgage rates, among other problems. To resolve these issues, a task force has been assembled to report on the merits of the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) by the end of this year. Why the Bank is interested in AI In her 2021 keynote address at the FinTech and InsurTech Live event on how the Bank of England uses AI, Tangy Morgan, an independent BoE advisor, described how the Bank conducted a survey assessing how banks headquartered or operated in Britain have used machine learning and data science during Covid-19, and how the BoE can profit from that report. The BoE found that the use of AI was growing at an exponential pace and could benefit the Bank in various ways. Possible applications of AI in this context include: Money laundering prevention AI to identify patterns of suspicious behavior and curb AML. Underwriting and pricing applications, where big data analytics scrutinizes customers’ risk profiles, tailoring premiums to match individual risks.  Credit card fraud detection, whereby AI analyzes large numbers of transactions to detect fraud in real-time The Bank of England asservates that “developments in fintech … support our mission to promote the good of the people of the UK by maintaining monetary and financial stability.” Are you based in the UK? What do these uses of AI bring to mind for you? Write us on our platform and let us know.

Categories:AI and Machine LearningIndustry SolutionsFinancial Services

Insights on what a $100 Million Series D Startup Is Building Using Google Cloud and AI

A cellist, programmer, and oh yes, CTO of Ironclad, the legal technology firm he co-founded, Cai GoGwilt is a millennial’s renaissance man, and C2C got to sit down with him to discuss how AI is used to improve the contracting collaboration process and so, so much more.  What You Wanted to Know About Ironclad As a company, Ironclad is experiencing tremendous growth from marking the end of 2019 with three times the overall revenue growth and 90% customer growth, and also 250% product usage increase. But that’s not all. It also snapped up $100 million in Series D funding.  For the end-user, Ironclad aims to power the world’s contracts. Using AI and a platform to streamline the contract collaboration and negotiation process can improve the entire experience and enable businesses to move faster. Ironclad’s easy-to-use platform allows non-technical users to create workflows for automating the most repetitive parts of the document handling process. Also, legal teams can customize a contract’s text fields and specify the parties who need to sign or approve it and store the agreement in a centralized archive once finalized.  Get to know what the company does, directly from GoGwilt, and hear a use case in the video below.     Why Is Ironclad Is a Google Cloud Shop? Let’s talk tech. Ironclad has been using Google Cloud since 2014 and has continued to build its products using Google Cloud Platform. Watch the clip to understand the thought process; what resonates with you?    Suppose we understand that contracts are unstructured, unstandardized, and use nuanced legal language but are vital for organizations to bar against rare but detrimental occurrences. How does Ironclad solve them using Google Cloud’s AI/ML tools?   The CTO on Leadership, Music, and Starting a Business There is a fascinating confluence of three disparate skillsets—music, programming, and leadership—that compose GoGwilt’s day-to-day, like an electric orchestra adding beat drops to Mozart. Cool, right? Hear about GoGwilt’s day-to-day in the clip below.  Get to know his philosophy on how music helps him be the type of leader he also admires.  Have a billion-dollar idea? Hear GoGwilt’s advice on starting a business and why you should genuinely love it.  The 1 Word You Should Know When Building a Powerful Team: Integrity Building engineering or development teams—specifically, the right teams—is a challenge. Learn about how Ironclad does it and how it has scaled to meet its rapid ascent to Fortune Magazine’s Next Billion-Dollar Startups in 2020 list.  What makes Ironclad’s culture unique?    Final Question: If Ironclad Were a 10-Episode Netflix Series, what Episode Are We on Today?    IronClad and GoGwilt will also be sharing the latest advances in contracting at its flagship summit, State of Digital Contracting, on March 25. Extra Credit  GoGwilt’s favorite book is Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute. He said it helps the reader get out of the self-victimization framework and provides tools to change your mindset and be a better teammate with strong personal and professional relationships.   His favorite podcast is The Daily by The New York Times.   His favorite color is blue, has a love-hate relationship with “Silicon Valley” (the show, obviously!), and will probably beat you in any TI-83 Dance, Dance Revolution game.   

Categories:AI and Machine LearningIndustry SolutionsGoogle Cloud StartupsFinancial ServicesSupply Chain and LogisticsSession Recording

4 Industries’ Takeaways for Google Cloud Customers

This article was originally published on August 19, 2020.There has been no shortage of interesting and incisive industry profiles during the first five weeks of Google Cloud Next OnAir. The breadth and depth of the on-demand content is just right for leaders of enterprises looking for inspiration from peers and in-the-trenches know-how across several key industries.As VP of Industry Solutions Lori Mitchell-Keller noted in her welcome remarks, Google Cloud is focusing on a set of core areas to help drive business transformation for organizations in those industries. (See below.)Let’s take a closer look at some of the key industries that have been covered and what customers can take away from the compelling stories we’ve heard so far.1. Retail Is RockingSince July, we’ve heard numerous fascinating and insightful retail presentations during Google Cloud Next OnAir, as well as announcements from leading retailers that are seeking to change the status quo. We’ve heard from brand-name giants and smaller players about how they are charting their own paths during 2020 and how they’re preparing for the future.Best Buy, for example, is partnering with Google Cloud to “unify its data sources across various legacy platforms in order to develop more personalized shopping experiences for consumers,” according to ZDNet. Once the data house is in order, Best Buy is going to tap Google’s analytics, AI, and machine learning wares to create new retail services across channels.Keurig Dr Pepper is going to “shift to virtual machines running on Google Cloud by the end of 2020, retiring two data centers with more than 1,000 servers,” writes CIO Dive. The move is key for Keurig Dr Pepper’s “merger integration and modernization efforts.”Etsy did good for its business-modernization efforts and for the environment: “Etsy completed its Google Cloud migration in only two years, allowing the organization to scale both up and down as needed based on the cycles of its e-commerce business,” notes ITProPortal. “This transition enabled Etsy to be more cost-effective and set the organization up to reduce its overall energy use by a whopping 25% by 2025.”Lastly, online shopping can get much more personal—and help drive lasting customer loyalty—with Recommendations AI. Read about the topic on this post by Google Cloud’s Pallav Mehta. You can also check out a great summary of retail sessions and resources compiled by Carrie Tharp, Google Cloud VP of retail, including some helpful advice on getting ready for the holiday shopping season—which will be here before we know it.2. Financial ServicesStart your financial services deep dive with high-level conversations between Google Cloud and its customers Capital One and The Bank of New York Mellon. For the record, Google Cloud’s financial service category includes banks, capital markets, and insurance companies.Melanie Frank, managing VP of PowerUp Technology at Capital One, offers a look into its seven-year digital transformation journey, with a key focus around talent and how its employees work. Frank talks about how the company’s “work from anywhere, at any time, on any device” strategy has been hugely critical to operations during COVID-19.Sarthak Pattanaik, CIO of clearance and collateral technology at The Bank of New York Mellon, shares the financial institution’s “bi-modal” approach to technology strategy: its transaction platform, which is on-premise; and its cloud platform investments, which serves as the basis of its “innovation engine,” Sarthak said. One example: the bank is using Google Cloud Platform to predict the probability of a transaction fail, which is a huge customer service win for the bank.Another recent article involved CME Group and how the company has approached real-time data feeds. Of course, there are key constituents that need market data delivered in real time—and that’s what CME Group already does. But what about those who don’t need real-time data for, say, analysis of big sets of data? Here’s a look at CME’s offering so that its customers “can now access its delayed data, useful for analytics that don’t need more expensive real-time data, through Google Cloud,” according to Forbes.Finally, take an inside look at KeyBank’s decision-making around moving its data warehouse to the cloud. “There are some big considerations that go into making these kinds of legacy versus modern enterprise technology decisions,” writes Michael Onders, EVP chief data officer, divisional CIO, and head of enterprise architecture at KeyBank, in a blog post.3. Health Care and Life SciencesCOVID-19 has forced nearly every industry to reimagine “business,” and none more critical than health care and life sciences. Dr. John Halamka, president of Mayo Clinic Platform and a practicing ER physician, shared that “COVID-19 is pushing us toward a digital-first health care delivery system” during his interview on Google Cloud Next OnAir. He went on to predict that big change will continue: “Health care will be 60% or more virtual across all modalities of delivery in this new normal.”As for managing health care data, he offered this quip: “We have too much data and not enough wisdom.”Take a deeper dive into the Mayo Clinic’s story and read how its data platform has been accelerated using BigQuery and Variant Transforms. Beyond the ability to provide better services and make better decisions, there’s this benefit: “As Mayo Clinic scales out sequencing to hundreds of thousands of patients, they estimate saving $1.5 million over three years by using Google Cloud and Variant Transforms instead of their existing solution,” notes this Google Cloud blog post.We all know that, in many cases, good health care starts with the human being. This profile of how Fitbit moved its monolithic application to the Google Cloud Platform offers insight into how its “progressive” project plan kept Fitbit’s users happy during the transition. “Fitbit ultimately found success with its approach,” according to a diginomica article, “completing the migration three weeks early.” Which is always a nice win-win.4. What’s Next?What you just read was a small sampling of the customer stories, product insight, and resources available for Google Cloud customers across numerous industries.At C2C, we are continuing the conversation on multiple fronts and for multiple industries, so please join us:On Friday, Aug. 21, we host our first Next OnAir Talks, and cover Google Cloud industries and takeaways from Google Cloud Next OnAir. Read more about the series and register for that event or our two other upcoming sessions.On Thursday, Sept. 10, we’re kicking off our Rockstar Conversations series with none other than Lori Mitchell-Keller. You can reserve your spot here. Don't delay—seating is limited.

Categories:Google Cloud NewsIndustry SolutionsFinancial ServicesHealthcare and Life SciencesRetail