Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Finnovate Spring 2021

Edited by Willem Duyck, Director of Media at Disrupt

According to a survey in Inc.com, the financial-services industry is the second-largest target for disruptive innovation, which is an innovation that creates a new market and value network that eventually disrupts an existing market and value network. In recognizing this truth, Disrupt — the Northeastern University Fintech Initiative, was formed. As the popularity of fintech grew, Northeastern decided to create a “FinTech” concentration that Northeastern D’Amore McKim Business students can graduate with. With the rise of FinTech and TechFin startups across the world, entrepreneurs have been racing to become the next big thing in the space. The next Pay-Pal. The next Venmo. The next Acorns.

With that being said, during the Fall 2020 semester, the Disrupt team launched for the first time ever, Finnovate, an elite innovation program in FinTech at Northeastern University. The program saw seven ventures come up with innovative ideas that they will continue to pursue. Now, Finnovate is back! We held our first workshop this past Saturday (January 30th) which saw an overwhelming attendance of passionate future entrepreneurs.

“Finnovate is the first step a student takes to building their next FinTech venture. We personally designed this curriculum to help students break into the FinTech space and be equipped with business knowledge and tech knowledge. The best part of this program is the immense growth that we see students have.” — Joanna Jacob, Vice President

So, what is the plan for Finnovate?

There will be 8 workshops over the period of 8 weeks, with topics ranging from technical tutorials on how to utilize Python, database design, market research, and how to practice giving a pitch that would make even the Sharks from Shark Tank take a bite. If you are not exactly sure of an idea going in, don’t fret — there will be an event specifically geared towards helping students brainstorm and flesh out their ideas. There will be guest speakers who are experienced in the industry all culminating in an awards show, where 3 teams will be declared winners from first to third place, winning $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 for each respective place. All participants, regardless of where they placed, will be awarded a certificate of completion validating their efforts and accomplishments. However, students are only eligible for the certificate if they attend every workshop. Each Finnovate workshop will occur every Saturday from 11 A.M.m — 1 P.M.

Zoom conference for the first Finnovate meeting

Jack Paolini, a sophomore studying fintech and finance at the D’Amore McKim School of Business, is the Director of Operations for Finnovate. He emphasized that Finnovate is very beginner-friendly towards students who are new to the space.

“The great thing is that you don’t have to know anything about cryptocurrency or A.I. before joining the program, but you leave the program with so much more knowledge making me FinTech ready” — Jack Paolini, Finnovate Director of Operations

Jack previously participated in the first-ever Finnovate cohort winning 2nd place with his venture. He teamed up with other passionate students wanting to learn more about how to come up with a better investing product. This is a great example of what Finnovaters are about as they look to disrupt traditional financial solutions with revolutionary ideas.

Mark Bernfeld gives a presentation at the first Finnovate workshop

Finnovate began on January 30th. The guest speaker was Mark Bernfeld, an Entrepreneurial Finance professor at Northeastern University and an angel investor in over 40 companies with a commitment to environmentally and socially responsible businesses including those in FinTech. Bernfeld and the Finnovate team used this event to introduce the FinTech industry and get the participants in the brainstorming stage of forming an idea to pitch for the competition.

Will Finnovate end up ushering a new big-time idea or company into the FinTech space? It’s hard to tell as of now, but as the Director of Medium for Disrupt, I will be covering the various Finnovaters for the next few months. I, for one, am ecstatic to give coverage and exposure to these students and their ideas so that they can keep pursuing them during and after their college experience.

Be sure to follow this page for more on Finnovate in the coming weeks and for more FinTech news and articles!

For more information on Finnovate, check out Disrupt’s website here.

Finnovate Team Members:

  • Mohamed Bennis
  • Joanna Jacob
  • Zain Alsakhi
  • Jack Paolini
  • Vedanshi Shah
  • Sarthak Bhandari
  • Willem Duyck

For more on Disrupt including our events, joining our Slack channels, our Mentorship Program, and more, visit the following link.

Visit our Disrupt Website!

Written by Jack Hughes, majoring in FinTech, Finance and Data Science at Northeastern University



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Disrupt - The FinTech Initiative

Disrupt - The FinTech Initiative

Disrupt is a student-led organization that aims to create a community which drives advancement, education, and engagement in FinTech at Northeastern University.