Andrew Works speaks to Yolande Piazza, one of the judges of the Citi HK Fintech Challenge. Yolande was named the permanent chief executive of Citi Fintech after she served as the interim head since August 2017. She has been with Citi for nearly 30 years and has held several technology leadership roles, including chief operating officer of Citi FinTech.
NEXCHANGE: We are here at the Citi HK FinTech Challenge. They got something like 280 applications for companies that want to plug into Citi and become part of their ecosystem. Only 14 were privileged enough to make the stage at today’s demo day.
I am here today with a woman who knows fintech because she is the CEO of Citi FinTech globally,runs the whole thing for the whole world and so you’ve got a real global perspective. Yolande Piazza, thank you so much for talking to us today. I’d like to ask you given that you do this around the world. You get to go to similar types of competitions. What do you see in Asia that’s different from say Europe or the Americas?
YOLANDE PIAZZA: You know it’s interesting. I think we look for a lot of our inspiration from Asia. If you look at the investment in fintech and the developments, I think by far Asia is the leading market. So when I’m here, I’m looking for solutions not just for the region. I’m looking at solutions that can service a global organization. So to me I really love the creativity, the passion, the intrapreneurial spirit that goes behind this and I think that there’s some huge opportunities with who we’ve seen today.
NEXCHANGE: Fantastic and so that gives us a bit of sense of a geographical spread but you’ve also been doing this for a couple of years. I know Citi’s been a leader in this area. What do you see changing over time? How do you see these types of things evolve in terms of how people think about fintech and where the startups are going?
YOLANDE PIAZZA: Yep so I think it’s our 20th hackathon event so it really is maturing. What I see is people really are understanding their space better. They’re understanding the problem space and I think a lot of that is is because they really do now know that there’s a lot of competition. You can take 80% of the investment of the 32 billion of investment in FinTech companies and spread that across really five different core categories. So there’s a lot of competition to be at the top. So what I’m seeing now is very deliberate, dedicated and sets of solutions where people really do believe that they’re going to be able to accelerate and be the leader in those core categories.
NEXCHANGE: Okay well we’ll be on the lookout for that. I’m Andrew Work from NexChange. I’m speaking to Yolande Piazza who is the CEO of Citi’s fintech division.