After Dark comes to the Big Apple

Cokie Hasiotis
5min read

Last week, 11:FS hosted its first After Dark in NYC, bringing together the local fintech community and curious thinkers to talk tech trends and the Big Apple’s advantage for startups.

11:FS landed in New York in September to launch our #americanpresence. One guy with a suitcase, wandering around confused, trying to figure out when the hell the L train actually ran.

Since then, we’ve been really busy trying to get people to like us. And last Wednesday, we hosted our first After Dark at Rise, Created by Barclays, which we’ve been lucky enough to call home for two months.

Before I do anything, I want to thank our amazing media team, namely Laura Raimondi and Pet Berisha for organising such an incredible event all the way from London, and Sarah Timmins for consistently fabulous marketing strikes from Denver.

Thank you to the team at Rise for being so helpful (and not murdering us when we changed the furniture on the stage eight times). I also want to thank myself for accepting a ton of credit for the event (where none was deserved) so graciously.

Welcome to New York

In the wake of our first After Dark, I have that incessant Taylor Swift song ‘Welcome to New York’ stuck in my head (yes, thank you for asking, I do have a headache). But besides this minor complaint, I am trying to wrap my head around an amazing evening.

First, let’s talk about our speakers.

The illustrious Sam Maule co-hosted the panel with 11:FS Group CEO David Brear, overusing puns to the satisfaction of our lively crowd. They were joined by Angela Ceresnie, CEO of Climb Credit, Chris Maddern, Co-Founder and CIO of Button, and Melissa Stevens, Chief Digital Officer at Fifth-Third Bank.

Big apples in the Big Apple

When asked “why New York,” Angela Ceresnie responded with a three part answer that really couldn't be beaten:

  1. The source of credit and opportunity for investment here is such a draw
  2. Exceptional talent is available at the drop of the hat
  3. And, to the audible delight of the crowd, it’s the greatest city in the world

This, naturally, led to a conversation about who the 'big apples' in the Big Apple are and, more broadly, the Fintech landscape in NYC. Boe Hartman of Marcus fame was in the audience and I think we adequately embarrassed him with overwhelming platitudes about everybody’s favourite incumbent venture.

Without further ado… the world’s first trillionaire

“I am telling you, the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of,” Mark Cuban.

With this story in the back of everyone’s minds, talk turned to what the panellists would do if they were to start from scratch in NYC.

David responded: “I think the core banking space is where things are kinda broken right now.” I mean he’s not wrong...and don’t worry, 11:FS is coming to the rescue (but much more on that soon!)

Chris from Button replied that his focus would be on changing the payments system in retail, which hasn’t evolved… really ever. Whoever cracks that particular nut is going to make a lot of money.

Angela’s response? She couldn’t imagine doing anything other than what she’s doing because she’s really passionate about the problem she’s solving.

If you don’t know, Climb Credit aims to improve the education system through highly targeted funding to help create a highly skilled workforce for tomorrow. (sidenote: CEOs and aspiring CEOs, be like Angela.)

Lastly, Melissa from Fifth-Third Bank noted that she would overhaul consumer healthcare in America, because we really, really need it. She also agreed with Mark Cuban’s assessment that the world’s first trillionaire will be the person to really figure out AI.

And... cut!

Thank you to our amazing audience who came from all over the city to attend our first After Dark. Our brilliant media and marketing team, to our gracious and supportive hosts, Rise, and to our panelists who made it one hell of an evening.

Catch y’all in 2020.

In the meantime, find me on Twitter, I need followers!

If you weren’t at After Dark and want to hear the entire conversation, don’t worry we have you covered in this special episode of Fintech Insider.