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Silicon Valley in the Classroom: Babson College Teams with Wildcat Venture Partners and GreenFig to Offer Fall Courses that Tap Real-World Venture Expertise to Help Budding Tech Entrepreneurs Succeed

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Wildcat Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm, and Babson College, a thought leader ranked #1 in entrepreneurship, have joined forces to offer a range of classes this fall aimed at injecting a shot of real-world Silicon Valley venture know-how into the classroom. The classes will share best practices aimed at helping early stage venture companies scale and reduce risk of failure, harnessing the Traction Gap Framework® – a step-by-step survival guide for startups developed by Wildcat Venture Partners. The classes will be delivered by GreenFig, the leading micro education company partnering with institutions around the country to deliver hands-on, applied learning experiences.

Starting in September, classes will be offered at the Babson College campus in Wellesley, near Boston, Massachusetts. They will consist of a 16-week program for undergraduate students titled “Silicon Valley Tech Ventures: Traversing the Traction Gap”; a series of one-day workshops woven into Babson’s new MBA curriculum for graduate students; and immersive, high-impact Executive Education workshops.

“Given the sky-high risk of startup failure, the collaboration between business schools, real-world CEOs and venture capitalists to teach students how to build early stage ventures in a smarter way is paramount,” said Randall Ussery, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Babson who will facilitate the classes. “The Traction Gap Framework offers a pragmatic approach to building startups based on operational business experience, and the GreenFig classes and workshops set learners up for success by giving them access to a scientific approach they haven’t had in the past. Personally, as a professor, if I can help early entrepreneurs identify ways in which to minimize the risk involved in starting new ventures, I’ve done my job.”

The Traction Gap Framework
The Traction Gap Framework fills a conspicuous vacuum in business literature, seminars and workshops by providing guidelines for navigating the period between the go-to-product and go-to-scale phases when 80 percent of startups fail. Most entrepreneurs have a solid product to offer, but in order to scale their business, they must first create go-to-market traction by getting their product into the market and generating initial awareness and interest. The Babson classes will focus on how to traverse this crucial phase, known as the Traction Gap.

“Entrepreneurs often focus on what they’re passionate about – their product and how to get it to market – rather than looking at the bigger picture, which includes operations, revenue and team building,” said Bruce Cleveland, co-founder of Wildcat Venture Partners, chief architect of the Traction Gap Framework and author of the best-selling book Traversing the Traction Gap. “Often, they don’t understand the hotspots that may be an issue, until it’s too late. As a result, rather than engineering their success, they’re potentially engineering their own failure. We developed the Traction Gap Framework based on decades of experience within our partnership and greater network of successful CEOs. Every aspect of the framework has been tested, and under the right conditions has led to astounding levels of business success. We’re excited to be sharing our insights with a new generation of entrepreneurs eager to learn.”

 

SOURCE Wildcat Venture Partners

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360Quadrants Recognizes IBM, Microsoft and Salesforce as Visionary Leaders in the AI in Fintech Space

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AI in Fintech solutions are used by enterprises to perform finance-related tasks that traditionally require human intelligence. These solutions leverage AI-equipped technology to allow the financial sector to design better investment strategies, swiftly detect anomalies, recognize patterns in data, implement voice recognition, and engage in thorough market analysis. Simply put, the AI in Fintech market hosts vendors that provide AI-enabled Fintech solutions.

360Quadrants the most granular comparison platform has released a quadrant on AI in Fintech Solutions to help businesses make quicker and more informed decisions. The quadrant has IBMMicrosoft and Salesforce sharing space as Visionary Leaders. 360Quadrants are generated post analysis of companies (product portfolios and business strategy). Quadrants will be updated every three months based on market and regional analysis and developments in AI in Fintech.

AI in Fintech Solutions Quadrant Highlights

360Quadrants covers 79 companies in the AI in Fintech Solutions space and places the top 44 of them in a quadrant depending on their quality, reliability, and business outcome. These 44 companies are categorized into Visionary Leaders, Dynamic Differentiators, Emerging Companies, and Innovators.

360Quadrants recognizes Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick, Amazon AWS Alexa, Salesforce Einstein, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite, and IBM Watson Platform as Visionary Leaders; IPSoft Amelia, ComplyAdvantage, Nuance Virtual Assistance, Inbenta InbentaBot, Digital Reasoning Conduct Surveillance as Innovators; Samsung and Microstrategy HyperIntelligence as Dynamic Differentiators; and DataRobot, Razorthink Big Brain, Numenta HTM for Stocks suite, Anodot AI Analytics, Brighterion Smart Agents, Kasisto Kai BankingNext IT AlmeZestFinance ZAML, Ayasdi Enterprise AI, Voyager Analytics, AlphaSense and Wallet. AI as Emerging Companies. The 360Quadrants platform provides the most granular AI in Fintech Solutions comparisons between vendors.

Additionally, 360Quadrants has dived deep into research and released a niche region-specific quadrant. This quadrant recognizes the top player in the market in specific regions. The regional quadrant covers North AmericaEuropeAsia PacificMEA, and Latin America. Intensive research was conducted to place companies in regional quadrants based on their developments, presence—both online and physical—and support/reach in specific regions. IBM Watson, Salesforce, and Microsoft are recognized as Visionary Leaders across regions. In the North America and Asia Pacific regions, Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick is recognized as a Visionary Leader by 360Quadrants. Finally, for Latin America and MEA, 360Quadrants recognizes AWS as a Visionary Leader.

Methodology

The methodology used to rank AI in Fintech Solutions companies involved the use of extensive secondary research to identify key vendors by referring to annual reports, press releases, investor presentations, white papers, and various related directories and databases. 44 key vendors were shortlisted based on their breadth of product offerings, organization size, and other criteria. The scores and weights for shortlisted vendors against each parameter were finalized post research.  After the finalization of ratings, each vendor was placed in the most relevant quadrant based on their score in the product offering and business strategy parameters.

 

SOURCE 360Quadrants

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Infinicept Achieves 5X Growth Putting FinTech and SaaS Companies on the Fast Track as Payment Facilitators

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As the payment facilitator market continues its trajectory of nearly 80% CAGR, representing $500 billion in total transaction volume by 2021, Infinicept is quickly capturing market share as the first and only open, agnostic payment facilitator platform. Since the company’s launch in 2012, Infinicept has helped fast track over 200 payment facilitators by offering consulting services and products that greatly reduce the time it takes to embed payment acceptance into software offerings. This momentum continues in 2019 as Infinicept records 500 percent growth in revenue and customer acquisition.

Recognizing the potential for further growth, Mastercard has invited Infinicept to join Start Path, a six month program that connects innovative later-stage startups to Mastercard’s global ecosystem.

“Having evaluated 10,000 startups from across the globe, we are always adding ground-breaking entrepreneurs to our network of innovators,” said Amy Neale, Mastercard vice president and global lead for Start Path. “Mastercard Start Path companies today are later-stage startups reaching unicorn status, entering the public markets and co-creating with world-renowned financial services firms to deliver real solutions for consumers.”

As the payment facilitator model matures, hundreds of thousands FinTech and software as a service (SaaS) companies worldwide are realizing they can provide a better customer experience and increase revenues and valuation by becoming a payment facilitator. The main obstacle being the time it takes to become a payment facilitator and the risks that come with onboarding submerchants. Payment Facilitator in a Box™ was developed by Infinicept to provide companies with the merchant underwriting and back office platform they need to easily get up and running—in weeks, not years.

Infinicept has already attracted customers in a variety of vertical markets who recognize the benefits and return on investment (ROI) this payment model offers.  Signed customers include businesses in retail, food and beverage, healthcare, real estate, events and many more.

“Within the healthcare industry, there is a huge demand for a more positive payment experience. Patients expect modern, intuitive payment tools and large health systems need the flexibility to respond to their patients’ financial needs by rolling out consumer-friendly payment options across their enterprise,” said Alan Nalle, Chief Strategy Officer of Patientco. “Leveraging Infinicept’s innovative Payment Facilitator in a Box™, Patientco simplifies the complexities of implementing, managing and scaling new payment technology for health systems while providing a superior financial experience that today’s patients expect.”

“FinTech and SaaS companies see the value of integrating merchant acceptance, underwriting, onboarding and back office operations into their products, but in order to do that, they need a supporting platform that reduces the complexities of it and works with any bank, processor, gateway or CRM they choose,” said Deana Rich, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Infinicept. “Achieving 500 percent revenue growth and joining the Mastercard Start Path program confirms Infinicept is on the right path to fill a critical market need for FinTech and SaaS companies. Our engineering team and partners have done a great job delivering a dynamic suite of open and automated services that provide an operational backbone for any company looking to take the simple path to becoming a payment facilitator.”

 

SOURCE Infinicept

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Guaranteed Rate Appoints Suk Shah as Chief Financial Officer

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 Guaranteed Rate, one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the nation, has hired Suk Shah as its Chief Financial Officer to accelerate growth. As Guaranteed Rate continues to break monthly volume records, it has been named one of 2019 Chicago’s largest privately held companies, reporting nearly $24 Billionof overall loan volume in 2018 alone.

“Suk is a huge hire for Guaranteed Rate and is a perfect cultural fit,” said Founder & CEO Victor Ciardelli. “With an extensive background as a FinTech CFO, he brings a ton of experience to the company, including areas such as mergers and acquisitions.”

As CFO, Shah will lead and oversee Guaranteed Rate’s focus on profitability and efficiency, while supporting various growth strategies and initiatives. Shah’s presence will enable Guaranteed Rate to expand the company’s product, technology and service solutions that will further enable the business to drive revenue growth and margin expansion across the organization.

“Guaranteed Rate is a pioneer in the digital mortgage industry and is uniquely positioned as an industry leader to drive mortgage volume and revenue through its innovative products and services,” said Shah. “I’m looking forward to joining this highly tenured and passionate leadership team to make a transformative impact for the company.”

Shah joins the Guaranteed Rate team from his former position of nearly five years at a high-growth financial technology company, where he helped raise over $600 million in equity and $4 billion in debt capital. Before that, Suk was the CFO of the US and Canadian divisions of a Global Commercial Bank where he oversaw a $40 billion loan and deposit. Shah began his career with General Electric and spent over eight years with the company in various finance and operating roles, helping to execute business priorities and deliver financial commitments.

Shah has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Information Systems from the University of Illinois and an Executive MBA from Northwestern University.  He lives in Hinsdale, Ill., with his wife and two children.

Guaranteed Rate has delivered competitive pricing, mortgage products and unmatched expertise from its top-producing loan officers, helping thousands of customers move into their dream homes. The Company introduced the market’s first Digital Mortgage, creating an easy-to-understand, transparent loan process, which has led to an industry-leading customer satisfaction rating and exponential growth.

 

SOURCE Guaranteed Rate

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