Virtual Venture Café


April 23, 2020


3:00 - 7:00 PM




FinTech Connect 2020


Venture Cafe’s FinTech mini-conference is taking place on April 23, 2020. This special virtual conference night seeks to bring together the brightest minds who are building, funding, and innovating the Greater Boston area’s FinTech Community. Join us for the evening to discuss the technologies defining the future of financial technology, innovations in payments, blockchain, lending, robotic process automation, insurance tech, and real estate. During this event, accomplished FinTech experts will discuss the innovations that shape FinTech as an industry, local entrepreneurs will share their consumer-facing fintech solutions and five promising startups will pitch to a panel of investor judges. 

2019 Event


 Our Partners


FinTech Connect is hosted by Venture Cafe and brought to the Greater Boston community by:










3:00 – 5:00 PM   NETWORKING

3:00 – 5:00 PM   OFFICE HOURS



5:00 – 6:00 PM    FINTECH SHARK TANK




Fintech Showcase (3:00 – 5:00pm)


Fintech Connect will feature a select number of startup demos in the Remo Platform we use for networking. Drop in to check them out, ask questions, and meet some of the new makers in the industry.


Technologies Defining the Future of FinTech

New technologies are gradually making their way into banks, insurance and investment companies revolutionizing the way experience and engage with financial services. In this session, two experts will discuss the hottest technologies that power our mobile banking applications, help us make data-backed investments and select insurance providers wisely. They will address such technologies as blockchain, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and mobile payments and transfers and offer their insights on why some technologies are more widely adopted than others. The guest experts will discuss the problems current technologies solve and the challenges related to implementing such technologies. They will also outline opportunities for entrepreneurs working in the FinTech industry and share their predictions on which technologies will define the future of FinTech.




Deniz Johnson, Pera Partners

Deniz Johnson, Pera-Partners, LLC   

Deniz Johnson is a results-driven FinTech executive who combines long-range vision with a proven track record of building high-performance global organizations. Balancing strategic insight with hands-on technical knowledge, Johnson is an innovative digital transformation and operational performance leader for the financial services, software and healthcare industries in North America and Europe. As a FinTech thought leader and Top100 RegTech Influencer, Johnson brings an insider’s view of the top global institutions as she provides advisory services in Boston and New York.




Devon Sherman, MassChallenge FinTech

Devon Sherman, MassChallenge FinTech  

Devon Sherman is the Managing Director of MassChallenge FinTech, a public-private partnership launched in 2018 that makes it easier for large enterprises and startups to work together in the financial services industry. In its inaugural year, MassChallenge FinTech drove 30+ enterprise-startup partnerships, tackling everything from modernizing charitable giving to using satellite imagery to predict food supply. Prior to joining MassChallenge, Devon was a Global Strategist at State Street Corporation in its Boston, New York and London offices. At State Street, she sourced and evaluated FinTech startups for partnership opportunities, drove research for market entry and expansion opportunities in Latin America, the Nordics and the Middle East, and developed competitive intelligence for C-suite executives. Devon is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and a graduate of Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Ignite Program.



Round Robin: A Lifetime of FinTech


Setting up a savings account, purchasing health insurance, applying for a loan. During a lifetime, there are many decisions an individual has to make. In this session, four local entrepreneurs introduce you to four outstanding consumer-facing financial technologies that change the way we approach investments, savings, insurance, and home owning. Join us for a session of a lifetime of Fintech where Envel shares their insights on savings for teenagers, Surround Insurance addresses insurance and financial protection for those in their 20s, Cranberry talks about enabling a modern, flexible, and accessible approach to home buying for everyone in their 30s, and Vincere Health discusses using financial rewards and behavior modification to improve both physical and financial health of middle age and older population. Moderated by Vasilios Roussos, Director at DCU Fintech Innovation Center, this session will teach attendees how to leverage the technology to achieve their financial goals.



Vasilios Roussos, DCU FinTech Innovation Center

Moderator: Vasilios Roussos, DCU FinTech Innovation Center

Vasilios focuses on the nexus point of innovation, partnerships, and entrepreneurship. Currently, he leads Workbar’s Innovation Centers’ practice and the DCU FinTech Innovation Center, which is the leading sponsor of FinTech startups in New England. Through the Center, Vasilios is advancing the Boston FinTech ecosystem and the development of seed-stage startups. Previously, Vasilios founded and sold an omnichannel B2B2C tech company and worked in venture capital, digital product development, and investment research at Village Ventures, Dell EMC, and Cambridge Associates. He graduated with Honors from Brandeis University and has an MBA from Cornell University.





Ryan Kennedy, Cranberry

Ryan Kennedy, Cranberry

Ryan’s career passion is using financial services to unlock economic opportunity for more people. Ryan has taken fintech products from concept to hundred-million dollar origination platforms at the venture-backed companies Earnest and LendingHome. Ryan is currently piloting Cranberry, a lease to own housing start-up designed to help renters build equity.








Kate Terry, Surround Insurance

Kate Terry, Surround Insurance

Kate Terry is Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Surround Insurance. Her background is in insurance product management including both personal and commercial lines. She has had profit and loss responsibility at Progressive, Plymouth Rock, and Liberty Mutual, where she was most recently Senior Vice President, Commercial Product Management for six years. Kate is a licensed agent and surplus lines broker and a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter.








Jake Keteyian, Vincere Health

Jake Keteyian, Vincere Health

Jake graduated from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University with a degree in finance and went on to work as a management consultant for KPMG in their Healthcare Strategy & Technology practice. At KPMG, he helped design innovative care delivery models and Value-Based Care initiatives. After completing his master’s in health management at Harvard, he helped cofound Vincere Health. Jake is passionate about leveraging technology to increase quality and accessibility to care for those who need it the most.





Steve Le Roux, Envel

Steve Le Roux, Envel

Steve is a visionary, innovator and FinTech/Tech Entrepreneur with 2 exits and has been successful in leading game-changing innovation within Government, financial Services, NGOs and FTSE 100 companies. Founded a SaaS based Tech company back in the mid-2000s that was red hot in the city of London, but lost the race to Salesforce.
Steve was proud to have been awarded an Honours by the British Virgin Islands Government in 2012. Currently serves as Advisory Board Member to Lafferty Group International Retail Banking and Fintech Council. Received an Innovation Award from FTSE 100 company in 2015.




FinTech Shark Tank

During this Shark Tank session, five entrepreneurs will pitch their innovation, technology, product or service to a panel of investor judges for an opportunity to receive expert feedback and be invited to a second meeting with an interested investor. Venture Café’s Shark Tank sessions are a program aimed at facilitating connections between entrepreneurial and investment communities, and an opportunity for everyone in the ecosystem to learn about the most recent developments in the industry and those who are at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of innovation in FinTech.



Leland Holcomb, Hartford Insurtech Hub

Judge: Leland Holcomb, Hartford Insurtech Hub

Leland is the Lead Scout for Startupbootcamp’s Hartford InsurTech accelerator. Leland sources innovative insurtech companies within the global Insurtech ecosystem while managing Hartford’s Insurtech startup portfolio. He also engages investment funds and angel investors and assists startups in their insurtech accelerator through the fundraising process. Prior to joining the Hartford InsurTech Hub, Leland worked as a Global Fellow on the India deal team with Patamar Capital, an impact investment venture capital fund.






Jennifer Jordan, PickAxes & Shovels

Judge: Jennifer Jordan, PickAxes & Shovels 

Jennifer brings more than 18 years of experience working with private and public management teams and institutional investors. Most recently she was a member of the Golden Seeds angel investor network, where she analyzed early stage investment opportunities, and worked with entrepreneurs in designing more effective business strategies. She has also provided start-up mentoring for entrepreneurs through Springboard and the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. She is the founder of the Reed College Start-Up Lab and has served as a first round judge for the MIT $100K and MassChallenge business plan competitions. She recently served as Entrepreneurship Lead for the MIT Accelerating Information Technology Innovation program sponsored by Google in Cali, Colombia, where she lead 30 young entrepreneurs in a six week lean start-up program to form ten new mobile technology companies, and connect them to mentors, angel and venture investors in the region. She earned her MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and is a black belt in the Indonesian Martial Art of Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen.




Russ Kilman, SEI

Judge: Russ Kliman, SEI

Russ is the global leader of SEI Ventures, SEI’s corporate venture capital program which seeks to invest in emergent and potentially disruptive technologies or business models. Russ also leads SEI’s global innovation programs, which focuses on initiatives that enable creative problem-solving through design-thinking principles. Russ serves as a Startup Mentor for Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship and is an adjunct professor for Villanova University’s Executive MBA program, focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship.






Amanda McBride, Accenture Ventures

Judge: Amanda McBride, Accenture Ventures

Amanda McBride is the Northeast Regional Lead for Accenture Ventures. In this role, Amanda is responsible for growing the ventures sales revenues and sourcing startups through building a portfolio of strategic partnerships and equity investments in emerging technology companies. The intent of this portfolio is to catalyze Accenture’s and our client’s business transformations. Investment and business growth priorities include Artificial Intelligence, CyberSecurity.








 FinTech Flash Talks

6:00 – 6:45 PM

Disruption Constant for Startups – Either Your Industry or Your World

Living in New England means change is constantly in the back of our minds. It is natural that our region produces so many entrepreneurs, as we’re constantly looking to improve processes and evolve the systems around us. When founders position their startup to disrupt and bring change to an industry, we’re often advised to be laser-focused on that one metric for success for your launch and go-to-market plan. After all, you can’t take the entire continent if you die on the beach. However, as we’ve seen recently, companies, large and small, need to keep an eye on the global landscape for variables outside of their control, and often, well outside of their industry or “forces of nature” that bring rapid change, like the current global pandemic, can bring even well-established, global companies to their knees.

In general, startups are much more flexible than established industries – and their founders need to be as agile as any leader to shift at a moment’s notice towards the new beach head if their previous target gets washed away in a rapidly changing ecosystem now shifting under their feet.

In this talk, we’ll cover the unique situation that we’re facing right now – the known variables and the unknown variables of what the world will look like in 3 months, 6 months, and up to a year from now and how startups can bend in the winds to stay grounded and weather the storm.

Benjamin Cavallari, Tunnel


Presenter: Benjamin Cavallari, Tunnel 

Benjamin has worked in the industries of research, higher education, wearables, AR/VR, biotechnology, display and streaming technologies, distributed ledger technologies, and more. Some of his previous workplaces have been with WB Games (Platform and Product Development), Microsoft (Streaming technologies), Oculus (University Relations), and he currently is the VP of Business Development for a cloud-based, global payments network launching in Q2: Tunnel. Even pre-launch, Tunnel is pivoting to address the new landscape of a globalized world.





What’s your story? Nailing your message and strategy in a chaotic market.

Learn best practices in developing a message that captures your strengths, differentiates you from competitors, and creates a clear path for your audience.

Too many companies make assumptions about their value and the best way to capture it. The path of least resistance is to create the message in a vacuum based on the founder’s perception — but getting to the real story requires more diligence and self-discovery. The payoff is a big one: a concrete, consistent message guides the way to a marketing strategy that will better connect with targets.

In addition, the business landscape is embracing themes such as sustainable business practices, models designed for social change, and diversity and inclusion. We will look at how the market is moving to those themes, and why considering those elements as part of your message is becoming more important each day.

Evan Zall is an award-winning communications expert and founder of Longview Strategies. He has guided companies in the financial services arena for decades, has routinely published on financial marketing themes, and has spoken on messaging and sustainability for the SRI Community and CFA Society. Best of all, he is an entrepreneur who completely appreciates the challenges that come with creating something new and valuable.


Evan Zall, Longview Strategies


Presenter: Evan Zall, Longview Strategies 

With more than 20 years in strategic marketing, Evan believes that strong communications can resolve a great number of complex challenges in the world. Whether solving business problems for today or global issues for the next generation, it starts with crafting the right message. Evan is a member of the Boston chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO); is a founding member of PR Masterminds, a group of industry thought leaders from across the U.S.; and is on the Advisory Board of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.




Real Talk: Building FI and Fintech partnerships during COVID-19


Boss Insights had a platform that accelerated business loans from months to minutes. Since SBA CARES/PPP opened on April 3, 2020 3 million applications were submitted, 1.4 million were approved and $350 Billion was disbursed. The talk will cover how Boss Insights altered its platform to support CARES/PPP, how banks look at fintech partnerships during this time & Q&As on tips for partnering.



Keren Moynihan, Boss Insights

Presenter: Keren Moynihan, Boss Insights 

Keren Moynihan is CEO of Boss Insights,a Big Data & AI platform that empowers lenders to measure businesses on their merit in addition to their collateral. With a Joint JD/MBA and awarded a Top 25 Executive Leader in Lending, Keren has a diverse background as a commercial banker, wealth manager, and former founder of an impact startup. She’s a regular speaker and mentor on AI, Big Data, lending and investing and entrepreneurship. She’s spoken at Banking Innovation Ignite, NY Fintech Week, Fintech Connect UK, Fintech South Atlanta and Women In Finance highlighting how to use Compound Data to measure businesses on their merit in addition to collateral. By creating collaborative approaches to democratizing capital Keren envisions bridging the need-gap in the lending industry and powering the economic engine of the future: small and medium to mid-market businesses.




Rodrigo Suarez, INV Fintech 

Presenter: Rodrigo Suarez, INV Fintech 

Rodrigo Suarez is Principal of INV Fintech, a NY-based startup accelerator in partnership with Fiserv and 20 financial institutions. Rodrigo has extensive experience supporting banks, credit unions, technology providers, and early-stage startups on strategy, product development, operations, and other aspects of financial innovation. Prior to joining INV Fintech, he worked as a management consultant focusing on the financial services industry.