Interview with LendIt Co-Founder Jason Jones

Let’s Talk Payments is a proud partner of LendIt 2017. We’ll be heading up to New York next week to see what’s happening at The World’s Biggest Show in Lending & FinTech. Let us know if you’ll be there, we’d love to meet!

In preparation for the event we did a Q&A with Jason Jones, co-founder of LendIt. Enjoy!

  1. A lot of our audience knows about LendIt. For those who don’t, can you give us your a quick overview of LendIt?

LendIt is now in its fifth year, and since the first event in 2013 it has increased both in size and scope. From its beginnings as a gathering of roughly 350 peer-to-peer lending executives, it has evolved into an annual event that this year will bring together 5,000 attendees from the breadth of the fintech landscape, and from all over the world. This is where the industry comes to learn and form valuable business connections.

  1. LendIt is The World’s Biggest Show in Lending & FinTech. How do you keep the content fresh and engaging for the audience?

Our event reflects what’s going on in the industry. We have grown to encompass all elements of FinTech and we are excited about new tracks including financial inclusion, InsurTech and banking technology. When we see new types of profiles attending our event, we want to make sure that there is content geared towards them, and so our content naturally evolves and diversifies, while remaining true to our core audience as well. If you look at our keynote stage for example, you'll notice many new faces to LendIt. For example we'll have Brian Walter from IBM talking about artificial intelligence, Antony Jenkins from 10X Future Technologies (and former CEO of Barclays) and Ash Gupta from American Express among many others. This is our most diverse set of speakers yet.

  1. We’re excited to see hear the startups pitch. Tell us a bit more about PitchIt?

PitchIt is a competition for innovative FinTech startups, and is now in its third year at LendIt USA. We received nearly 300 applications this year and have partnered with 500 Startups for this year's event. We also have regional PitchIt events in Europe and China. What’s so great about PitchIt is that it gives these startups a chance to get valuable exposure by pitching live at LendIt, and many of our past finalists have gone on to do great things. PitchIt gives them invaluable connections to industry mentors, and also gets them in front of potential partners and investors. LendIt really loves startups, so we always want to make sure that we welcome them at our events and help lift up the next generation of industry leaders.

  1. FinTech and Lending continues to explode and LendIt has had a front row seat. What’s stayed the same over the years and what’s changing about the industry?

Some of the early entrants in the lending space remain the biggest players today, like Zopa, Funding Circle and Lending Club but we're also seeing more traditional players step in. Goldman Sachs is a perfect example of this, having launched their personal loan product called Marcus in 2016. Harit Talwar who heads up Marcus will speak publicly about it for the first time. We're also seeing an influx of bank partnerships. Historically there was this notion of disrupting traditional lending and banking, but now the sentiment has shifted to more about how FinTech firms can work with traditional players. The ecosystem has grown tremendously since LendIt first began and we are now starting to see increased interest from Washington.

  1. LendIt 2017 has an impressive lineup of sponsors and speakers. What does each type of attendee get from conference? (startups, bank/FI, investor)

As mentioned previously, for startups, we have our PitchIt startup competition, and the chance to forge connections with potential partners and investors. For FinTech platforms, they have the chance to hear the latest from industry regulators like Congressman McHenry and Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas J. Curry, as well as networking with their peers. Investors can uncover new investment possibilities, and learn more about the role of FinTech and lending in their investment portfolio. As banks start to diversify their lending offerings, LendIt provides a place where they can learn more and find potential platforms to partner with. And of course for service providers, this is an unparalleled opportunity to meet with current and potential clients, and learn what challenges and opportunities the sector is facing in order to best position their product to meet those needs. Beyond our content, LendIt has invested a lot of time in developing our networking program at the conference. We have made it easier for attendees to find relevant connections and schedule one-on-one meetings.

  1. Which topic this year are you most excited to learn more about from the speakers and startups?

We have a lot of new topics this year that I’m particularly excited about. One of our new tracks, Financial Inclusion, will explore the current innovative ideas and regulatory proposals that are helping the underbanked gain access to capital. We also have new content on the FinTech revolution, including blockchain, insurtech, digital wealth, AI and biometrics. Blockchain and AI have gone from just being an idea or proof of concept to actually being implemented in interesting ways. And of course, we have some great keynotes too. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing what Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has to say.

  1. For those in our audience who haven’t signed up to attend, now’s your chance! Give them your best pitch.

At LendIt, you can join established and emerging FinTech innovators and investors for two action-packed days of networking, learning and deal making. Nowhere else can you meet 5,000+ attendees from FinTech companies, investment firms, banks, service providers, regulators and the media. There are also two full days of keynote speeches on the hottest topics in the industry, so make sure you join us this March 6-7 at the Javits Center in NYC.

Thanks, Jason! And if you are registering today, use LTP17USA to get 15% off.