Speakers list

Brock Blake

Brock Blake

CEO, Lendio

Brock’s passion is to make small business lending simple for the 30 million Main Street businesses across the USA. Lendio is growing rapidly by helping over 100,000 small businesses each year get matched to a lender to start or grow their business. Successful companies start with passion to solve a major problem, a great team, and a superior company culture. He has led Lendio to become #34 in Inc.’s 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies. At age 24, Brock was recognized by Utah Business Magazine as one of the Top 40 Under 40 business executives in Utah. In 2006, the Utah Technology Council named him Utah’s Emerging Executive of the Year. He’s also been included on vSpring Capital’s v100 Top Entrepreneur’s list five times in the last six years. Brock’s most important accomplishments come from being a husband and father of four.
Kathryn Petralia

Kathryn Petralia

Co-Founder and Head of Operations, Kabbage

Technology has played a role in Kathryn Petralia’s life since her parents gave her a TRS-80 computer at age nine. When Rob Frohwein shared his idea for Kabbage with Kathryn, she immediately saw the value in using technology to reexamine lending. She believed funding decisions could be automated based on access to real-time data generated by numerous business operations rather than a lengthy, manual process. Before co-founding Kabbage, Kathryn spent nearly 15 years working with large and small companies focused on credit, payments and e-commerce. An English major (and Kabbage’s resident grammar expert), Kathryn returned to her interest in technology to launch a number of successful startups. As someone who camped her way down the west coast to launch an e-commerce startup in the mid-90s, Kathryn can appreciate the lengths to which small businesses have gone to access capital. She also served as Vice President of Strategy for Revolution Money, an Internet-based credit card startup, and was a corporate development executive with CompuCredit Corporation, where she was responsible for entering new markets, developing products and establishing strategic alliances.
Jennifer Tescher

Jennifer Tescher

President and CEO, CFSi

Jennifer Tescher is President & CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), the nation’s authority on consumer financial health. Tescher founded CFSI in 2004 and has since achieved notable success in championing increased access to high-quality financial products and services for underserved consumers as an objective for the industry. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights and events, CFSI connects members of its network to build a more robust financial services marketplace. Tescher is a nationally known thought leader on the topic of consumer financial health, contributing often to American Banker, and frequently quoted in high level consumer and financial press. She is a frequent speaker across a broad spectrum of industry and policy convenings, including everything from Money20/20 to the Department of the Treasury. Tescher also launched CFSI’s annual conference “Emerge: The Financial Health Forum,” which presents cutting-edge thought leadership and showcases innovators, executives, and emerging companies in the financial services industry. Tescher received Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40” Award in 2006 and is currently an advisory council member of Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion. She received undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and a public policy degree from the University of Chicago.
John Hecht

John Hecht

Managing Director, Jefferies

Mr. John Hecht is an Equity Analyst at Jefferies LLC. Mr. Hecht joined Jefferies in June 2014, following 10 years as a senior analyst covering consumer finance, specialty finance and community/regional banks at Stephens and JMP Securities. Before joining equity research, he served in investment banking, covering the financial services industry at both Merrill Lynch and Montgomery securities from 1992-1997. Mr. Hecht has been ranked for investment recommendations and forecasting accuracy at Thomson Reuters and has received Wall Street Journal awards for stock picking. He received a BA in International Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and received an MBA at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.
Rob Frohwein

Rob Frohwein

CEO and Co-Founder, Kabbage

In 2008, Rob Frohwein recognized that companies like eBay offered automated access to small business transaction data via APIs. Rob realized small businesses could simply share this data to allow underwriters to make better, faster credit decisions and provide a great user experience. He co-founded Kabbage in Atlanta, Georgia, to leverage the power of real-time data automation through technology. Kabbage has since expanded to serve all small businesses throughout the U.S., providing billions of dollars to more than 100,000 customers. In addition, Kabbage licenses its technology to global banks. Kabbage has been recognized for its technology and innovation with awards from CNBC, Inc., Forbes and Fast Company and was named one of Glassdoor’s 2017 Best Places to Work for companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. Before founding Kabbage, Rob advised, established and/or led several successful businesses, including LAVA Group, U.S. Micro Corporation (acquired by Arrow Electronics) and Surgical Biologics (acquired by MiMedx). Additionally, he led business development and legal for ZapMedia and Security First Network Bank (SFNB), the first online bank. Prior to SFNB, Rob practiced corporate and intellectual property law with Troutman Sanders LLP. He is the listed inventor on seven U.S. patents, is a co-author of three books on intellectual property and has been recognized four times as one of the top 300 intellectual property strategists globally by Intellectual Asset Magazine. As Kabbage expands and continues to support more small businesses, Rob ensures the company maintains great conviction to its vision, as well as a unique culture and considerable laughter quotient. One of his favorite small businesses is ACME Farms + Kitchen, an online food purveyor Rob admires for their efficiency and ingenuity in creating interesting and delicious meals.
Jay Abbasi

Jay Abbasi

CEO, Plain Green

Jay Abbasi began his career with Plain Green in January, 2015 as Operations and Planning Director and was promoted to CEO in January 2016. While working for the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Jay realized in order to help the Tribe change and sustain its infrastructure for generations to come, the company needed to become a disruptor and change the current “service provider” model in the industry. Therefore, Jay led the successful split from service and software provider, Think Finance. By in-sourcing all major business functions at Plain Green, the company was able to optimize revenue, which significantly increased income for the Tribe. Since the split from its previous service provider, Plain Green has been able to focus on economic development for the Tribe. Plain Green also became one of the largest employers on the reservation and helped provide the Tribe with additional resources for all tribal members. Jay has a diverse economic, financial, and start-up background, from holding management positions at top five banks, being involved in co-founding technology and mortgage companies, to negotiating the delivery of the world’s largest super computer in the 90’s. Jay is also passionate about helping people in any way he can ­– from employing the most amount of tribal members on the reservation, to inspiring people to become better managers and innovators, to notable, charitable work on and off the reservation. Jay’s acquired this knack from a young age and took steps to help people in business by attending the University of Arizona and achieving a B.A. in Liberal Arts, which focused on Business Communications, Humanities, and History. Jay furthered his passion of helping people by attending San Francisco State to study Psychology. As Plain Green expands its infrastructure and increases its workforce, Jay helps ensure the company maintains its unique culture of giving back to the community. One of Jay’s favorite moments at PG was receiving many “thank you” cards from children and adults from the Tribe thanking him and PG for their winter jacket and back-packs and school supplies.
Sabrina Basht

Sabrina Basht

Chief Strategy Officer, Marlette Funding

In the role of Chief Strategy Officer, Sabrina is responsible for developing new and innovative strategies supporting their customer-centric mission and communicating the strategy to the market. Sabrina joined the company in 2014 as the general manager of their partnership business. She spent 2017 leading an in-depth consumer research initiative to inform the next chapter for the company and shape the direction of Best Egg’s brand. Prior to that, she spent over 20 years leading successful business development and marketing teams in large global banks and high growth start-ups. She has cultivated and managed business relationships with some of the most sought-after Fortune 500 companies across many different industries including travel and entertainment, retail, financial services, technology and telecommunications.
Ryan Brennan

Ryan Brennan

CEO, Neat Capital

Ryan Brennan is the President of Neat Capital and oversees the company’s wholly-owned loan trading subsidiary, Whole Loan Solutions. In addition to being an experienced entrepreneur, he has expertise in the portfolio management, trading, and capital markets arenas. Ryan’s experience in the mortgage industry has come from many different angles, including working on a proprietary trading desk at Merrill Lynch investing in residential mortgage-backed securities, building out a whole loan acquisition vehicle at a regional bank, investing in distressed RMBS positions for a hedge fund, developing a loan-level RMBS database at Standard & Poor’s, and launching his own company to advise jumbo mortgage industry participants on capital markets and secondary marketing activities. Ryan resides in Riverside, CT with his wife, Amanda, and two sons, Rory and Blake. With limited immediate mountain access, he has taken to road biking recently having completed numerous centuries including the CT Challenge, Tour de Pink, Ride to Montauk, and North Fork Century multiple times. He enjoys the outdoors and will ski whenever the opportunity presents itself. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Georgetown University.
Kirk Chartier

Kirk Chartier

Chief Marketing Officer, Enova

Kirk joined Enova in 2013, leading the Marketing, Communications, and Corporate Development groups. In this role, he is also responsible for Enova’s Government Relations and oversees the firm’s involvement in several industry groups, including the Center for Financial Services Innovation and the Small Dollar Roundtable, a group of consumer advocates and lenders. Kirk also leads the small business financing business at Enova. From 2010 through 2012, he served as EVP & CMO at optionsXpress, first leading the global marketing and business development groups, and then the integration into Charles Schwab following its sale. He also worked at Zyman Group, where he served in interim-leadership roles at Safeco Insurance and EDS. Kirk has an MBA from Syracuse University, a BA in Economics from Holy Cross and a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is a retired Marine Corps Officer, combat helicopter pilot, and Desert Storm veteran.
Larry Chiavaro

Larry Chiavaro

EVP and Principal, First Associates

Larry Chiavaro is a Principal and the Executive Vice President at First Associates, the fastest growing loan servicer in the country with a $9 billion dollar portfolio under management for various asset classes including marketplace lending, automotive, powersports and student loans. His straight-forward approach to market insights and his amicable and engaging presentation style makes Chiavaro a very popular conference speaker. Chiavaro is a dynamic sales and business development executive with an outstanding 25-year track record of identifying and developing growth fi nancial services markets. Prior to joining First Associates, he developed the Loan Servicing Business for CSC, managed divisions for NovaStar, HSBC/ Household, and GE Capital, working with banks, investment banks, fi nance companies, and credit unions on a national level. Chiavaro has strong historical ties to the rating agencies built over years of experience in the consumer fi nance industry, and was active in the fi rst marketplace lending securitization for Eaglewood Capital, CAN Capital and Blackrock’s securitization for Prosper’s loans. Chiavaro is a graduate of the GE Management Institute and GE Six Sigma program. He is a former semi-pro ice hockey player and a current HS and youth hockey coach.
John Dancu

John Dancu

CEO, IDology

John Dancu has served as CEO of IDology since 2005. John has a widespread track record in advising customers, including many Fortune 500 companies, and pioneering industry collaboration initiatives. IDology’s reputation as an innovator has been driven by continual advancements to identity verification and fraud detection methodologies. The fraud landscape is continually evolving and through IDology solutions, John has helped businesses reduce losses, improve processes and collaborate across industries with solutions that attack fraud. 

Rick Eckman

Rick Eckman

Partner, Pepper Hamilton

Richard P. Eckman is a partner in the Wilmington office of Pepper Hamilton LLP. He is a finance and transactional lawyer and from 2003 to 2015 was chairman of the firm’s Financial Services Practice Group, which includes over 40 lawyers practicing in the areas of investment management, commercial and consumer financial services, public finance and affordable housing. Mr. Eckman’s transactional practice focuses on representing financial institutions, corporations and other entities in complex financing transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, asset securitizations and other lending and venture transactions. As a result of his background in banking, Mr. Eckman has in-depth experience and knowledge of financial services companies. He represents many financial institutions and lenders in a broad array of areas, including commercial lending, consumer finance, mortgage banking, insurance, trust matters, outsourcing and operational issues. He also represents a number of institutional trustees in Delaware business trust transactions. Mr. Eckman also has an active practice representing non-depository institutions and specialty finance companies, and service providers in compliance matters, payment system issues, strategic transactions, government investigation and enforcement actions. He is an active speaker and writer on the activities of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulators, and their implications for the industry. He represents financial institutions and non-regulated entities, including marketplace lenders in many areas, including consumer finance, small business lending, merchant cash advance and co-branding relationships. He also represents many clients in dealing with payment issues including dealing with FinCEN and state money transmitter statutes. He specializes in helping non-bank lenders and their service providers in designing and launching online lending platforms and businesses that operate on a national basis. He also has represented a number of American Indian tribes in launching online lending businesses. Active in politics early in his career, he was campaign manager for Pete duPont’s 1976 successful gubernatorial campaign and was legislative counsel in the Washington office of Congressman Thomas B. Evans, Jr. (R Delaware) from 1977-1979. He also was one of the drafters of Delaware’s landmark Financial Center Development Act that attracted over 25 financial institutions to Delaware, many of whom he represents. He was chairman of the Commercial Law Section of the Delaware Bar Association from 1989-1991 and of its Banking Law Committee from 1984-1992. He has been counsel to the Bank of Delaware, now PNC Bank; was a founder of and vice president and general counsel for The Chase Manhattan Bank (USA), N.A.; and was a director and secretary of FCC National Bank, the national bank subsidiary of Bank One Corporation now part of JPMorgan Chase, headquartered in Wilmington. Mr. Eckman is a fellow in and former regent of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers and a member of the Lawyers Committee of the Consumer Bankers Association. He is also an adjunct professor at the Villanova University School of Law where he teaches financial institution law. He is active in and held leadership positions on the Consumer Financial Services Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association and served as editor-in-chief of its e-newsletter. Mr. Eckman was a founder and president of the Delaware Entrepreneurs’ Forum. He is a member of the board of directors of the Delaware Innovation Fund, a nonprofit seed and preseed venture capital fund, and was chairman of the board of Early Stage East, Inc., a nonprofit that sponsors venture fairs in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mr. Eckman also is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Payment Systems Law.
Jim Granat

Jim Granat

President and CRO, Lendio

Lendio has the ability to solve a complex problem for a small business owner’s need of capital. That is a really unique and fulfilling position for Jim as President of Lendio. By developing and scaling a dedicated team through Lendio’s technology, company culture, work ethic, and distinct competitive advantages Jim has helped deliver successful outcomes for both the borrower and lenders. Prior to Lendio, for nearly a decade, Jim managed companies involved in online lending verticals and asset based lending, allowing him to be a valuable asset to the Lendio team and specifically the marketplace team. Most importantly, he is a loving husband to Carrie and an adoring father to Ryan and Taylor.

Sasha Grutman

Sasha Grutman

Partner, MiddleMarch Partners

Mr. Grutman is a founder of Middlemarch Partners and co-leads the firm’s merchant banking and investing efforts. He has spent his entire career investing and advising high-growth financial services and business services companies that leverage technology to create sustainable advantage. At Middlemarch, Mr. Grutman advises clients on business and capital strategy issues, has sourced over $730M of capital for clients, and serves as a board member for a number of Middlemarch clients and portfolio companies. He has deep domain expertise in specialty finance and transaction processing, sectors where he has been exceptionally active both as a merchant banker and as a private equity investor since 2002. Active with both private and public companies, he has participated in over $3.2B of transactions over the course of his career as a merchant banker and private equity investor. Prior to founding Middlemarch Partners, Mr. Grutman served as a Partner at TH Lee Putnam Ventures, a $1B growth equity fund, where he co-led the firm’s financial services investments in specialty finance, insurance services, and electronic capital markets investments. Previously, he was a Managing Director at Citigroup where he oversaw the firm’s on balance sheet financial services private equity holdings as well as managed the bank’s $6 billion private equity fund-of-funds business. He has also held private equity investment roles at Goldman Sachs and Frontline Capital. He began his career at The Boston Consulting Group in its Financial Services and e-Commerce Practices. Mr. Grutman received an MBA from the Wharton School where he majored in Finance. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Italy where he pursued independent research on Dante. He graduated from Yale University magna cum laude with a BA in Humanities. He holds Series 7, 63, 79, and 24 FINRA registrations.
Lingyun Gu

Lingyun Gu

Founder, Board Chairman &CEO, IceKredit

As one of the most experienced experts in the credit evaluation field, Lingyun Gu has achieved outstanding accomplishments both domestically and internationally. He used to receive his PhD degree in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University before he joined ZestFinance as the Founding Member of modeling team. Later, he worked as the Chief Data Scientist at Kabbage in a short time. He then joined Turbo Financial Group, where he served as Co-Founder, Board of Directors, and CRO. Later, Gu became an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) and Investment Advisor at IDG-Accel/ IDG Capital Partners. Lingyun Gu now is the Founder, Board Chairman and CEO of a leading fin-tech company, IceKredit, Inc. Meanwhile, he remains a Board Member at Turbo Financial Group, and holds a position in a public company, Beijing Sino data, Inc. (002657). Additionally, Gu is the Investment Partner of FreesFund and works as a visiting Professor at University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC). Under his leadership, IceKredit has been named to CB Insights’ Global FinTech 250, Member of NIFA, National High-tech Enterprise, KMPG’s China FinTech50, and many other valuable prizes in home and abroad. Gu meanwhile got a lot of awards like “Shanghai ‘Thousand Talents Plan’ Specially-invited Expert, Shanghai Overseas Talent”, One of the ‘10 elite returnees of Shanghai Lujiazui Financial District’, One of the “50 Outstanding Credit Assessment Chinese Professionals” and so forth. With dozens of academic writings published in international journals and numerous patents granted to his models, Gu is indeed a knowledgeable, experienced, and exceptional expert in his field.
David Johnson

David Johnson

CEO, First Associates

David Johnson is a charismatic leader with a well-earned reputation for innovative ideas, a talent for building world-class management teams and the skill to create leading-edge approaches to technology and processes. In the 10 years since his private equity firm acquired First Associates and he became CEO, the company has grown from a small niche player in the mobile home servicing space into an award-winning, global financial services company that offers B2B solutions across the consumer life-cycle. Under Mr. Johnson’s leadership, First Associates has massively expanded to deliver solutions across Europe, Latin America and Canada as well as becoming a major player in the United States. They have also earned a top Morningstar Credit Ratings ranking, the LendIt Top Service Provider award and gained FCA authorization to manage and administer debt in the United Kingdom. Mr. Johnson has over 25 years of experience across industries including finance, technology, communication and consumer products that gives him a unique insight into today’s financial landscape, as well as a keen eye to future trends and opportunities. Prior to First Associates, he was SVP of Corporate Development at Memec LLC and a consultant at McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company, working with Global 500 clients across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In addition to his role at First Associates, Mr. Johnson is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, a partner at Social Venture Partners and serves on the board for several other prestigious & successful organizations. Mr. Johnson earned his BS from UC Berkeley and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Wei Ke

Wei Ke

Managing Partner, Simon-Kucher & Partners

Wei Ke, Ph.D.is a managing partner at consultants Simon-Kucher & Partners. He is a behavioral economist and pricing expert who advises big banks on their pricing strategies. Wei received a Ph.D. in Decision, Risk, and Operations from Columbia Business School, and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering & Applied Mathematics, summa cum laude, from Columbia University
Brian Knight

Brian Knight

Director of the Program on Financial Regulation, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Brian Knight is the Director of the Program on Financial Regulation and a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Brian’s research focuses on numerous aspects of financial regulation, including the creation of pro-innovation regulatory environments, the role of federalism in fintech regulation, the use of digital assets for financial transactions, the role of regulation for credit markets and consumer protection, and the provision of capital to businesses. Prior to joining Mercatus, Brian worked for the Milken Institute, where he headed up the FinTech and Capital Access programs. He has experience working for a broker-dealer with a focus on the emerging online private-placement market and was the co-founder of CrowdCheck, a company providing due-diligence and disclosure services to companies and intermediaries engaged in online private offerings. Brian received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.
Greg Nowak

Greg Nowak

Partner, Pepper Hamilton

Gregory J. Nowak is a partner in the Philadelphia office of Pepper Hamilton LLP and a practice leader for hedge funds in the firm’s Funds Services Practice Group. He concentrates his practice in securities law, particularly in representing investment management companies and other clients on matters arising under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the related Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Mr. Nowak also handles mergers and acquisitions, corporate and regulated investment company tax work and other corporate matters. He also represents broker-dealers and CTAs and CPOs with respect to matters under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Commodity Exchange Act. In addition, Mr. Nowak represents many hedge funds and other alternative investment funds in fund formation and investment and compliance matters, including compliance audits and preparation work. Mr. Nowak has represented a broad range of investment funds, from funds that use the traditional broad investment charters and invest globally in virtually any financial asset that can be readily traded to specialty niche funds with narrowly defined investment strategies that invest in distressed debt and other illiquid securities. He also represents fund managers with products spanning both the private equity and hedge fund markets. Mr. Nowak also handles mergers and acquisitions, tax matters for corporations and registered investment companies and other corporate matters. Mr. Nowak also has represented hospitals, health care systems and health care providers and other health care entities as outside general counsel and as special counsel in regulatory, corporate and transactional matters, business operations and many other issues. Mr. Nowak writes and speaks frequently on issues involving investment management, health care and other matters. Mr. Nowak is the author of four books on hedge funds. Hedge Fund Disclosure Documents Line by Line – A User’s Guide to Confidential Private Placement Memoranda for Funds Formed as Limited Liability Companies (the 2nd edition was published in January 2011; the 1st edition was published in 2004) and Hedge Fund Agreements Line by Line – A User’s Guide to LLC Operating Contracts, (the 2nd edition was published in September 2009; and the 1st edition was published in 2004) All were published by Aspatore Publishing. Mr. Nowak joined Pepper from Gartmore Global Investments, Inc., an asset management subsidiary of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Mr. Nowak was Gartmore’s executive vice president for mergers and acquisitions and was responsible for all aspects of acquisitions of investment advisory firms. He also was instrumental in developing and managing Gartmore’s hedge fund business and in developing a compliance module that allows Gartmore to manage alternative assets, such as hedge funds, along with traditional investment products. Before joining Gartmore, Mr. Nowak was in private practice as a partner in another large, Center City Philadelphia law firm.
Dr. Pat Nanda

Dr. Pat Nanda

EVP, MicroBilt

Dr. Nanda is the head of the analytics team at Microbilt. He directs all activities related to client studies, scorecard development, default reduction strategies and interaction with clients regarding monthly reporting of their portfolio qualities including benchmarking this quality against a peer group. Dr. Nanda has been dealing with alternative data sources in the development of credit evaluation systems for the last 25 years. These have included bad check prediction models, a prediction of default for a retailer in Mexico and default prediction models in third world countries including the Philippines and Malaysia. Dr. Nanda brings his experience to bear in providing innovative approaches to solving the problems facing the short-term lending community and in creating state-of –art solutions at Microbilt that will take short term lenders to the next level of analytical sophistication that is lacking today and that they sorely deserve.
Scott Pearson

Scott Pearson

Partner, Ballard Spahr

Scott Pearson leads Ballard Spahr’s Marketplace Lending Task Force, and is widely recognized as one of the preeminent authorities on the unique issues facing this industry. He focuses his practice on the defense of regulatory enforcement actions and class actions, other complex business litigation, and regulatory compliance counseling. Prominent companies regularly entrust Mr. Pearson with matters involving bet-the-company exposure or extreme complexity, such as overlapping claims being pursued simultaneously in multiple jurisdictions by federal regulators, state Attorneys General, and class action plaintiffs. He also serves as a trusted strategic business advisor, drawing on more than twenty years of experience.
Bill Phelan

Bill Phelan

President and Co-Founder, PayNet

As President, Mr. Phelan has grown PayNet into a firm with the largest collection of payment histories for commercial loans and leases. Under his strategic direction, Mr. Phelan oversees the sales, marketing, analytics and information technology functions of the business. Prior to co-founding PayNet, Mr. Phelan managed an investment portfolio of fixed income securities for Trustmark Insurance Company in Lake Forest, IL. In this fiduciary role at Trustmark, Mr. Phelan managed asset and mortgage backed securities and corporate bonds to achieve policy holder goals of total return and safety of principal. From 1993 to 1995 Mr. Phelan worked at Dain Rauscher Securities helping pension funds, banks and asset managers meet their clients’ investment needs. As a consultant at Ernst & Young from 1988 to 1993, Mr. Phelan advised privately-held companies on acquisitions and valuations to help them expand their business and conduct estate planning. Prior to that time, Mr. Phelan worked for International Business Machines Corp. and started his career in 1982 as an operations director in the retail industry. In 1992, Mr. Phelan became a Chartered Financial Analyst from the CFA Institute. He completed a Masters in Business Administration in 1987 from Loyola University Graduate School of Business where he was a member of the Dean’s List and received the MBA designation with a concentration in Finance. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College in Northfield, MN. Mr. Phelan is quoted by national media outlets on a regular basis including Reuters, Bloomberg Business News, CNBC, FOX Business News, Business News Network (Canada) and The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Phelan regularly speaks throughout the nation on the latest trends on the small business economy such as Testimony to the House Committee on Small Business, United States House of Representatives, February, 2011; Equipment Leasing and Finance Association Annual Conferences; Synovus Business Banking C&I Forum; Consortium on Bank Regulation. National articles Mr. Phelan authored include: ”Success to Come in C&I Lending in 2015,: RMA Journal November, 2014; “Business Loan Delinquency Rates Continue to Edge Up,” October 2006; “Banks’ Small-Business Lending Practices at Odds with Growth Aspirations,” July 2006; “Leasing and the Economy… Benchmarks Show Varied, but Improving, Credit Trends,” May 2004; “Technology & Credit: Pooling Lease Payment History,” November 2000.
Shawn Princell

Shawn Princell

President, Cash Flow Solutions

Cash Flow Solutions empowers corporates to transact from consumer and business bank accounts with less friction, risk, and cost than a CNP transaction. Our PAYMENT API authorizes direct payments and disbursements from any U.S. bank account in real-time rather than relying on lengthy micro-deposits. The API combines the industry’s top technologies for enrollment, risk, and payment processing using ACH and real-time payment networks. Simply link a widget to any online portal, mobile app, or retail software to modernize payment capabilities. Visit the Frog company at www.FollowTheFrog.com for more information.
Stu Richards

Stu Richards

CEO, Bredin

Stu Richards is CEO of Bredin, a B2B marketing consultancy that helps marketers develop profitable, long-term relationships with small and medium businesses (SMBs). He is responsible for setting organization strategy, business development, client engagement supervision, and partnership and alliance development. A 20-year veteran of SMB marketing, Stu joined Bredin in 1997 as vice president of marketing. He was named president in 1999 and CEO in 2001. Prior to joining Bredin, Stu served as director of marketing at DeLorme Mapping, product manager at Nabisco Brands, and marketing representative at IBM. Stu holds an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College and a BA from Middlebury College.
Jason Romrell

Jason Romrell

General Counsel and Director of Government Relations, LeadsMarket.com

Ohad Samet

Ohad Samet

CEO, TrueAccord

Past life: Spent almost a decade implementing machine learning for financial service companies in roles that include: Head of Analytics for FraudSciences (acquired by PayPal), Founder of Analyzd (acquired by Klarna) and the Chief Risk Officer of Klarna, among other notable tech companies. Why TrueAccord: After I had a personal experience with a debt collector, I realized that the industry is ripe for technology innovation and needs to change. Combining technology with meaningful societal change turns this into a passion product for me.
Parris Sanz

Parris Sanz

CEO, CAN Capital

Parris Sanz is CAN Capital’s Chief Executive Officer. Parris previously held the roles of Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Compliance Officer. Parris joined the company in 2004 with more than 11 years of experience as a corporate, securities, and transactional attorney. Before joining CAN Capital, he was a senior executive and General Counsel of a specialty pharmaceutical company, the successful sale of which he led in 2003. Prior to that, Parris was an attorney in private practice at the law firms of Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in San Francisco, where he handled a wide variety of M&A transactions, securities offerings including IPOs, and other corporate transactions, and acted as outside general counsel to a number of technology start-ups. Parris received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1993 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from U.C. Berkeley, High Honors and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1990.
Justin Steffen

Justin Steffen

Partner, Jenner & Block LLP

In addition to representing clients in a wide range of financial services and other litigation matters, Justin is particularly focused on the intersection of technology and the financial services industry, including issues pertaining to marketplace lending, cryptocurrency and blockchain, and payments. Recently, Justin defended mortgage originators and depositors against breach of contract and tort claims stemming from their sale and securitization of billions of dollars of mortgage loans. Justin also counsels trustees, creditors, and committees in Chapter 11 cases and represents parties in complex bankruptcy litigation matters. Recently, he represented a committee of executive and administrative retirees in connection with its investigation and pursuit of claims in excess of $100 million. In addition to his private practice, Justin maintains an active pro bono practice. He chairs Jenner & Block’s Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program and has counseled inmates in state and federal court, including representing a client convicted of multiple drug offenses at a criminal resentencing hearing in the Central District of Illinois and on appeal. Prior to joining Jenner & Block, Justin served as a law clerk on Senator Richard J. Durbin’s Judiciary Committee staff.
Cameron Stevens

Cameron Stevens

Founder and CEO, Prodigy Finance

Cameron Stevens is a serial entrepreneur who focuses on social entrepreneurship and early stage technology investing. He came up with the idea of Prodigy Finance in 2005, lamenting over a beer about the challenges faced by international postgraduate students in financing business school. Cameron knew his INSEAD classmates were ideal candidates for low interest loans. Most had exceptional credit track-records in their home countries and were successful prior to commencing postgraduate studies. He recognised that while this may be the case; traditional lenders use credit history to assess risk which varies from country-to-country, and is rarely transferable. The issue was in the assessment metrics and process used by traditional lenders, with the solution being to transform the way financial institutions assess risk. Prodigy Finance has since revolutionised international student loans with a borderless credit model available to 150 nationalities. Disrupting the traditional funding market, loans are collectively funded by a community of alumni, institutional investors and qualified private investors who receive a financial and social return; while the student borrower gains access to higher education that they might not otherwise be able to finance. To date, Prodigy Finance has funded more than US$250 million in loans to over 6,200 students globally, with repayment rates in excess of 99%. Prior to Prodigy Finance, Cameron co-founded a corporate advisory firm in South East Asia, which successfully listed a technology company on the Malaysian Stock Exchange. He also founded a 30-person staffing company in the events industry, which helped upskill the unemployed. In his personal capacity, Cameron is a chilli fiend, street food aficionado, bookworm, planespotter and relentless traveller. He holds a Bachelor in Business Science (Finance Hons) from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from INSEAD.
Phil Toth

Phil Toth

Managing Director, Oberon Securities

Phil Toth is a Managing Director of Oberon Securities where he focuses on capital raising for specialty finance and financial technology companies. He has over 20 years’ experience in securities trading and investment banking. Phil started his career in Asia eventually co-founding an investment banking advisory firm The Quant Group, now an industry leader in SE Asia, by age 27.  He since played a leading role or participated in transactions totaling billions of dollars.  Sample transactions include acting as placement agent for marketplace lending securitizations, collapsing several securities deals and advisory roles for numerous other companies.  He works out of Oberon’s office in New York City. Phil has an undergraduate degree in Finance from Michigan State University, and master’s degrees from the University of Oklahoma (MBA), SDA Bocconi (Master International Economics) and Columbia University (Master Public Policy).   He also teaches Finance at Montclair State University.
Tom Welch

Tom Welch

Principal, Victory Park Capital

Tom Welch joined VPC in 2009 and is a Partner. He is primarily responsible for sourcing, analyzing, executing and management of direct private debt and equity investments in middle market companies within the specialty finance and financial technology sectors. Mr. Welch also actively works on value creation initiatives and strategic alternatives for VPC’s investments. Mr. Welch currently serves on the board of directors of VPC portfolio company, Borro Ltd. Previously, Mr. Welch served as a credit underwriter in the Cash-Flow Lending Group for CapitalSource, concentrating his investment efforts in the industrials, consumer products and business services industries. He also worked in the Global Multi-Industries Investment Banking Group at Merrill Lynch, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, leveraged finance and growth capital transactions. Mr. Welch received a B.S. in finance with honors from the University of Illinois.
Tim Wieher

Tim Wieher

Chief Compliance Officer, CAN Capital

Tim Wieher is CAN Capital’s Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel. Prior to joining CAN Tim was Chief Compliance Officer for the Direct Segment with GE Capital Corporation in Chicago. Earlier in his career with GE, Tim was the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for GE Public Finance, and also served as Senior Counsel for the Corporate Finance division. Prior to joining GE, Tim practiced law in the areas of corporate finance, M&A, and tax with Reed Smith, Thompson Coburn, and Smith Hemmesch Burke Kaczynski. Tim holds a J.D. with a Federal Tax Certificate, an LL.M. in Tax Law, and an M.S. in Accountancy from Loyola University in Chicago. He received his MBA with concentrations in Management & Organizations and Entrepreneurship & Innovation from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2013. In 2009, he was recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine.
Jeff White

Jeff White

Partner, The Wheelhouse Group

I’m a founding partner at The Wheelhouse Group, an online and offline marketing agency. Among other things, a major focus for us is bridging that gap between online and offline marketing efforts in the consumer finance industry. I’ve been in marketing all of my career and have worked with hundreds of nationally recognized clients in nearly every state. I love to learn and test new approaches, channels, and creatives that keep pushing the baseline higher. In my job I get to learn something new from the people around me every day. I’m rarely the smartest person in the room, but I love being in a room full of smart people working together toward a common goal. I am fortunate to hang out with brilliant people every day who continue to keep us at the front of today’s marketing evolution.

Edward Wu

Edward Wu

Director, Revere Capital

Edward Wu serves as a Director at Revere Capital with responsibility for the origination of special situations debt opportunities with emphasis on sourcing, originating and underwriting real and financial asset based loans. Mr. Wu’s prior experience includes stints in investment banking with Salomon Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch, and Bryant Park Capital, where he primarily focused on advising in M&A and equity and debt placements in a range of industries and transaction structure types, including debt placements, such as ABL revolving credit facilities and senior and subordinated term loans, as well as cash and stock mergers, LBOs, restructurings and reorganizations, IPOs and follow-on offerings. After serving as an investment banking advisor for seven years, Ed managed liquid credit portfolios at Reservoir Capital and Harbert Management, where he also served on numerous Ad Hoc and Official Creditor/Bondholder and Equityholder Committees for numerous Chapter 11 reorganizations/restructurings. Ed graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and received a JD from Harvard Law School. He also holds FINRA Series 7, 24 79 & 63 Licenses.