Second Annual Toronto Mobey Forum Sets the Stage for the Future

In Featured, Insights by Jay Welch

Over two jam-packed days, international leaders revealed what’s coming next in the world of finance and tech.

In August, Carta hosted the second annual Toronto Mobey Forum, giving attendees more than a glimpse at the future of fintech.

And based on what we learned, the future looks bright.

The idea of “Accelerating Innovation Through Cross-pollination” served as the foundation for two days of panels and keynotes. We heard from a roster of speakers you’d be hard-pressed to find in one room on any other day of the year. These international leaders came together to share their insights, their predictions, and their current projects in an intimate forum.

Some highlights from the event:

The Impact of Diversity in Fintech
Tracey Lagasse of the FinTech Growth syndicate chaired a panel—which included Eva Wong, co-founder of Borrowell and Illiana Valiente, founder of ColliderX—that addressed the value that diversity brings to Fintech. Highlighting the possibilities for innovation when different experiences, viewpoints, and skillsets merge, they explained that diversity is one of the major predictors of forward momentum for companies. Where women are leading projects in particular, they noted that the likelihood of collaboration is significantly higher—and collaboration adds new perspectives which make it easier to solve problems and find fresh approaches to questions.

Though panelists were particularly interested in gender and race diversity, it was an ideal frame for the rest of the weekend in which we looked at how diversity of skills, industries and nationalities can also boost the speed of innovation.

Artificial Intelligence to the Rescue
Once again, artificial intelligence was on everyone’s minds, as banks and fintechs become increasingly sophisticated in their application of big data. Robin Gosset from Mindbridge and Pavel Abdur-Rahman from IBM’s Watson initiative each explored how AI is shaping the financial sector while highlighting that its role isn’t to replace people but to augment them. Data and AI are giving banks and technology the ability to make smarter decisions, but it takes people apply that information in practical ways.

The shortage of people who are equipped to work with data was a hot topic. It’s clear the demand for data scientists will continue to grow in the years ahead. A live demo of IBM’s newest Watson technology, intelligently extrapolating data from a minutes-old news report, drove the relevance home.

When Fintech Meets Insurance
Mark Dowds, Chief Strategy Officer of insurance-gamechanger Trov, gave us a look at the near future: on-demand insurance that predicts your coverage needs based on your location and data in your phone, and responds. Trov is reaching a generation that is broadly underinsured—and Mark announced that this technology is coming to Canada in 2018, through a partnership with a major financial institution. Michael Serbinis, founder of League, explained how they are taking that same level of convenience and intelligence to health insurance.

Nordic Connections
Cross-pollination isn’t limited by borders or, as we learned, by oceans. One of the most exciting developments at Mobey Day was the firm relationships established by the Ontario and Danish governments. Ontario is smoothing the path for nordic fintechs to establish themselves in Canada, bringing an influx of fresh ideas and talent. The Nordic region is known for leadership in banking technology and has plenty to contribute to Canadian banking.

Relationships that will Fuel the Next Big Thing
Attendees left armed with insights that will shape the trajectories of their own businesses, but perhaps more importantly, the connections formed will lay the groundwork for innovation in the years to come. Amex, Blakes, and Carta sponsored a pre-conference cocktail reception and Dentons opened up their office to host the main cocktail reception in partnership with BDO, and attendees made good use of time to connect, share ideas and create future plans. Having so many key players in one place ensures new models take shape and ideas get legs.

Wish you’d been there? The next Mobey Forum happens in Barcelona, November 6–7. Register today to hear and foster what’s next in Fintech.