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Atlanta: A Global Epicenter for Financial Technology

Most people think of New York and London when it comes to global financial leadership. But when it comes to financial technology, Atlanta is where it’s at. Over 120 financial technology companies call the city home. As a result, over 70 percent of all global transactions pass through the metropolitan area. FinTech companies in Georgia process 128 billion transactions annually, accounting for more than $5.1 trillion.

From smart debit cards for kids to bitcoin transaction processing, Atlanta is king. And it’s only growing.

Ample Resources and Support for FinTech Companies

Atlanta is an attractive place for many companies. The city boasts a wonderful climate, tremendous diversity, and the busiest airport in the world. But for financial technology companies, the attraction extends well beyond the weather.

For one, Atlanta offers a sizable talent pool for financial technology companies.

Out of 100 large cities in the US, Atlanta ranks in the top ten for FinTech talent.

In part, this relates to the local educational programs that support undergrad and graduate-level FinTech degrees. Specifically, Georgia Tech University, University of Georgia, and Georgia State University all have curricula in financial technologies. This is a major draw for financial technology companies.

Besides human resources, FinTech companies enjoy other support in the metro Atlanta region.

Georgia Tech sponsors the Advanced Technology Development Center. This resource for financial technology companies provides access to venture capital for start-ups, and mentorship from existing FinTech companies.

In addition, Atlanta has a natural FinTech culture that includes all sectors of financial technology. Processing companies, financial AI businesses, and venture capital firms all exist within the Atlanta area. This not only enriches the financial technology landscape, but provides a nourishing environment for the industry.

The Kabbage Perspective

“Atlanta has proven to be a terrific place to build Kabbage,” says Rob Frohwein, CEO of Kabbage. The company, founded in 2009, provides an automated lending platform for small businesses and consumers.

The Kabbage Perspective

With nearly half a billion dollars in raised venture capital, Kabbage boasts well over 150,000 customers. But whatever business mojo the city has visited upon the company, Frohwein agrees that there’s more to the city than that.

“Beyond business, we have tremendous energy and buzz in Atlanta which has led the population to double in size, reaching 6.5 million,” he says. “As Georgia is the home to a global music and film scene, Atlanta benefits by attracting a super young workforce that is diverse and creatively-minded, creating a unique culture as the city booms with new construction and offers the best in dining, shopping and entertainment.”

Other Notable Atlanta FinTech Companies on the Rise

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the term “financial technology” went hand in hand with big banks. But digital evolution has taken FinTech beyond the realm of investment banking and asset management. Nowadays, the FinTech space is dotted with startups and burgeoning giants – each claiming a piece of transactional real estate as their own.

Atlanta: A Global Epicenter for Financial Technology and FinTech
Bradley Leimer Discusses Banks vs Amazon

Atlanta has a number of other well-known FinTech companies in the area. Major players like First Data, World Pay, Global Payments, and TSYS all call Atlanta home. But many more start-up companies now dot the landscape as well.

They include:

  • Greenlight — This innovative financial technology company provides smart debit cards for kids. Parents can set limits on amounts, and designate locations where kids can spend. Plus, Greenlight provides enhanced security and safety for financial transactions.
  • Trust Stamp — Founded in 2015, Trust Stamp is a biometrics AI firm that deals with fraud detection and identity protection. Specifically, Trust Stamp specializes in facial recognition intelligence for digital transactions. This is a great example of Atlanta’s diverse financial technology landscape.
  • Vanco Payment Solutions — Vanco has been providing online payment processing services since 1998 from its hub in Atlanta. With over $80 million in raised capital, Vanco features both payment and donation transactions. Likewise, it specializes in services to small- and medium-sized companies.
  • Elavon — This financial technology company has been providing merchant services and payment processing for more than 25 years. In particular, Elavon specializes in e-commerce, mobile payments, and chip card processing. They are also consistently among the top five payment processing companies in the world.
  • BitPay — From retailers to consumers, BitPay offers a platform to manage bitcoin and convert bitcoin into cash. Using blockchain payment structures, BitPay provides financial technology tools to accept bitcoin payments or manage bitcoin accounts.
  • Cardlytics — More than two-thirds of consumers now prefer digital rewards programs. Cardlytics has taken advantage of this by providing banks and financial firms a means to better manage their digital rewards offerings. In essence, Cardlytics combines marketing with financial analytics that appeal to consumers and businesses alike.

Atlanta—FinTech’s “Transaction Alley”

To give you some idea about the growth of Atlanta’s FinTech sector, one only has to look at job availability.

Financial technology companies need three times as many job applicants compared to those available. This demand, and the digital transaction volume processed through Atlanta-based firms, is why Atlanta has become known as “Transaction Alley.”

The sheer number of FinTech start-up companies justify this label. And with the venture capital opportunities for FinTech firms on the rise in the state, Atlanta’s growth will likely continue.

Is Webtalk the Future of Relationship Management & Social Networking?

Webtalk, an all-in-one free networking, collaboration, contact management, and cloud data storage app, just recently announced its latest rankings in a survey of the top sites around the world. It’s now in the top 42k globally and in the top 10k in the U.S. The platform provides a new revolutionary way to do relationship management and is the brainchild of the Co-Founder and CEO RJ Garbowicz.

Is Webtalk the Future of Relationship Management & Social Networking?

The rankings are expected to become even better in the coming months. As of October 7, the site has amassed a total of more than a million users, 5.3 million page views and 75 million monthly engagements.  It is growing at over 600 percent monthly. With the influx of tens of thousands of people joining Webtalk every day, people are now asking if it could one day replace Facebook or Linkedin. The former recently suffered yet another security hack impacting 50 million accounts.  Favorable reviews are also helping the site draw more attention.

Is Webtalk the Future of Relationship Management & Social Networking? - Infographics

Founders Rj Garbowicz and Jeff Catherell put in the first-round seed funding for Webtalk at $200,000. A lead investor provided an angel funding of $750,000 that financed a test launch. It is now earning revenue through advertising as well as in-app purchases. In total, Webtalk announced that the company has raised more than $3.5MM from undisclosed investors since inception, which has been matched by the founders and principals of the company in both cash and salary investments.

Webtalk of the Town

Friendster, MySpace, and Orkut were just some of the social media sites that caved in after LinkedIn and Facebook dominated social media. Users considered both sites to be reliable and easy to use. However,  Webtalk has ruffled the status quo and has generated much talk since its beta launching.

Established in December 2011, Webtalk pivoted in 2015 to focus more on professional and business services. Webtalk is a startup software technology that offers online relationship management utilities including professional and social networking. It is a unique platform that allows people to connect with their colleagues, friends, acquaintances as well as business associates.

According to RJ Garbowicz, he developed the web application because he wanted to create a difference in the internet industry. It means unraveling real problems with work and life organization, relationship management and fragmentation in people’s lives, and giving them back control of their communication, contacts, and content.

RJ Garbowicz talks about the reason for establishing Webtalk

What Sets Webtalk Apart?

Webtalk, as RJ Garbowicz puts it, “is the smartest way to manage relationships, and the smartest way to earn money with the affiliate opportunity”. The founders of Webtalk put an emphasis on letting people control and manage their lives. Some social media platforms have compromised the privacy and safety of millions of people. Webtalk is putting that behind and is giving people a fresh perspective on managing online relationships, whether it’s personal or business in nature.

That said, with so many social networks that have been built, how is Webtalk any different? Imagine a site where you type or speak a phrase such as “certified sailing instructor” and instantly a list of certified instructors, training companies, and training products appear. What sets them apart is that they are all recommended by people you know and trust. It also works with purchasing products, booking services, and hiring trained contractors in one place.

That is what Webtalk is creating—a way to segregate professional and personal connections, and categorize them based on relationship value.

How is Webtalk Organized for Relationship Management?

The website has a patent-pending labeling feature built into its connection process that offers superior segmentation of relationships. The labeling feature segregates and categorizes the user’s connections using a built-in network, group and subgroup filters for distributing communication and content. What this means is that your colleagues will not see what’s going on in your personal life if you choose to share content-only with your friends. Likewise, your friends won’t have to know about your latest projects at work if you don’t want them to.

The profile page of Webtalk is as organized as its contact management. With a banner that could be customized anytime, the page also displays the user’s virtual resume-type information. It has different tabs for your media galleries, which include files, photos, and videos.

All media uploaded by the users in Webtalk are going to be private by default. It will assure each user the protection of their virtual desktop until they choose to let other people see it. Another exceptional thing about the website is that users can control who can see and access their posts.

The Commercial Impact of Webtalk on Newsfeeds

For all things commercial, Webtalk will soon extend pages for different activities such as celebrities, brands, and businesses.

Webtalk Team - RJ Garbowicz and Jeff Catherell

Newsfeeds are pretty much one of the main reasons for having a social media account. Webtalk filed a patent on its real-time network feed. The patent caters to the process of posting news and even includes the history of their network newsfeeds. Posting to Webtalk’s newsfeed offers several unique features:

  • Share to the public or to either your professional and personal
  • Post to default private group channels and even mark a post as “Confidential”, which removes the sharing functions and stamps the post with a large red “Confidential” stamp that lets your connections know not to share it.
  • Attach any kind of file to your posts like photos, videos, and documents of all types.

Webtalk states that soon subscribers will also be able to syndicate all of their posts to other social media sites, which means you never have to leave Webtalk. Viewing your posts within your newsfeed also has several unique features:

  • View posts from the pages you follow, your professional connections, your personal connections and even your private groups using the channel filter.
  • Search your newsfeed with a built-in keyword search feature.
  • Filter your newsfeed by media attachments: all photos feed (like Instagram), all videos feed (like YouTube) and an all documents feed (like Dropbox).

Accessing Webtalk anywhere is not going to be a problem because users can also view the website on their mobile phones.

Other Perks of Webtalk

Webtalk users can also enjoy sending messages to their connections because of its real-time chat feature. They will, however, require an upgrade to a premium account in order to chat with non-connections.

Starting at $20 per month, users will be able to upgrade to the Pro premium service. Within Pro, subscribers can see who viewed their profiles, upload large media files and documents, execute advanced search filters, browse in stealth mode, gain more contact management features, send email newsletters with spotlight posts and more.

One of the most exciting things about Webtalkis its SocialCPX, a one-of-a-kind affiliate program software. Providing ease of use, the affiliate marketing software is a lucrative option for more enterprising users. Webtalk will share 50 percent of its revenue to the company’s Beta users for joining early and helping them grow.

With all these game-changing features, the promising newcomer in the social media industry has a bullish take on the future. In an ABC News interview with Garbowicz, the founder said he’s certain that Webtalk will be the number one social media website in five years. Now at 2.4 billion social network users worldwide, the industry is expected to experience a 10 percent annual growth. This certainly offers plenty of opportunities for Webtalk to compete.

Free access to WebTalk is only available through invitation.  Bold Business readers can get their free WebTalk access by clicking on the link below:

Free WebTalk Invitation Link.

Webtalk Infographic

Is Webtalk the Future of Relationship Management & Social Networking? - Infographics

Women in the C-Suite—Bold Business Top Companies Promoting Women

In today’s fast-changing world, a climate that welcomes diversity and inclusion should not be an afterthought. A decisive, analytical, independent and aggressive leadership is essential. However, companies also need nurturing, flexible, collaborative, patient and empathetic leaders. Dynamic businesses should be able to combine both masculine and feminine leadership traits.  Thus, in a nutshell, there is a need for more women in the C-Suite in order to propel companies to greater heights.

Women in the C-Suite Reality Check: Looking at the Numbers

Ideally, diversity and inclusion should become a natural foundation of a company’s leadership and culture. However, the numbers tell us a different story. Out of the Fortune 500 companies, the total number of CEOs went down from 32 to 24 just a year ago.  With only about 5 percent of the executive leadership positions allotted to women, one can’t help but ask—Why are there few women in the C-Suite? 

When joining the workforce at an entry level, men and women start on equal footing. However, the pipeline of female talent begins to decline in middle management. Based on the 2018 data of S&P 500 companies, female executives among mid-level managers make up only 36 percent of the roster and 26.5 percent for the senior level management.

photo quote of Sheryl Sandberg on the discussion about the Importance of Women in the C-Suite
Facebook COO, Sherly Sandberg on the Importance of Women in Leadership

More Women in the C-Suite Can Help Close the Gap

According to the World Economic Forum Report on The Global Gender Gap Report of 2017, it will take 217 years to close the pay disparity and workplace opportunities between male and female workers. Plus, at the rate we are going, the overall global gender gap can close in 61 years in Western Europe, 62 years in South Asia, 79 years in the Caribbean and Latin America, 102 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, 128 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 157 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 161 years in the Pacific and East Asia, and 168 years in North America.

Clearly, there is an undeniable call to invest in more effort to close the gaping workplace gender disparity.

Businesses Advocating for Women in Leadership—Yes to More Women in the C-Suite!

Industries and businesses are becoming aware of the growing gender gap. More so, companies are now recognizing the need to tap on the strengths and qualities of a female executive to bring in a distinct leadership brand into the board. Additionally, more women in leadership encourage a culture that values equality, diversity and more open communication. Consequently, having more women in the C-Suite will encourage more women in leadership roles.

Here are some of the businesses boldly stepping up to advocate for more women in the C-Suite Level:

Roth Staffing Companies, L.P.
Roth Staffing is a professional services company based in Orange, California. The company was ranked No. 68 in the Fortune’s Top 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity. Women make 71 percent of the company’s executives, and 68 percent of the entire company population are women. While it is notable that the majority of senior level management roles are held by women, Roth Staffing offers remarkable professional support and empowerment within the company.
Biogen Inc.
Biogen’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy is topnotch. This Massachusetts-based global biotechnology company has earned a 100 percent rating from Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for 2018. Biogen also ranked No. 38 on the Forbes List, Best Employers for Women in 2018. Despite these accomplishments, Biogen continues to work on elevating female workers to the next level. (The company actually launched two separate leadership-training programs in 2015.)
State Street Corporation
State Street is a global leader in providing financial services to institutional investors. Likewise, the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has also been recognized. The Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) has acknowledged the company and gave them a perfect score for its equality policies and practices. State Street has been receiving this recognition for four years in a row now. With the company’s culture and values, its top executives are acknowledged for their contribution to diversity and inclusion. International Ltd.
Ctrip is China’s largest online travel agency headquartered in Shanghai. Ctrip believes that bringing in the best talent, whether female or male, is critical to the company’s success. As a matter of fact, Jane Sun — Ctrip’s female CEO — is determined on accomplishing this goal. With this, Sun introduced female-friendly policies to the workplace. Some of these policies include reimbursing female executives for egg-freezing procedures so that they’d have the choice of delaying childbirth until their 30s or 40s. Another company policy encourages working breastfeeding mothers to bring their babies on business trips. (This company isn’t definitely afraid to support the idea of having more women in the C-suite.)
Whitbread PLC
Based in the UK, Whitbread holds the No. 2 spot in The Female FTSE Board Report of 2018. The company holds 50 percent share of women in the C-Suite - with the CEO post currently held by Allison Brittain. As one of the few female CEOs in the UK, Brittain believes that diversity and inclusion are vital to the success of the business. Programs such as WOW stands for ‘Women of Whitbread’ and GLOW (GLBT out at Whitbread) are some of the programs that support their goal of becoming “The Most Inclusive Business in Hospitality.
Hillberg & Berk
From its humble beginnings, since it was founded in 2005, Hillberg & Berk has been creating exquisite jewelry and empowering women—one sparkle at a time. Based in Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada, this multi-million-dollar company now has retail locations in Saskatchewan and Alberta, wholesale stores across Canada, and an online store serving customers globally. Its founder and CEO, Rachel Mielke, firmly believes that women deserve equal opportunity and should be supported to reach their full potential. For this reason, the company supports causes that deal with inequality and yearly gives back a percentage of their profits to charities benefiting women worldwide.
OMV Petrom S.A.
OMV Petrom’s Romanian subsidiary had two consecutive female CEOs-Mariana Gheorghe appointed in 2006, who stepped down after 12 years. She was be replaced by British executive Christina Verchere in May 2018. This fact is a testament to the company’s commitment to diversity as a crucial part of the OMV strategy. Their goal is to achieve a 30 percent female diversity at senior vice president level by 2020. Their programs are aimed at the highest level of management, as all other levels will consequently follow.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
For PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), their diversity and inclusion commitment started in 2012 when the company decided to revamp the way they addressed this issue. By using a data-driven approach, the company created annual diversity plans. Since then, PwC has seen steady progress in its Diversity Journey. From zero female leaders in 2013 to 18 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2017. PwC also spearheaded the creation of the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion back in 2017. The group now includes 350 member-companies from 85 different industries. This community aims to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace by working collectively across organizations and sectors.
Estia Health Ltd.
Estia Health is a company with 50 years of experience and expertise providing aged-care based in Australia. Norah Barlow heads the company as its Chief Executive and Managing Director. In her Annual Report for 2017, Barlow shared the company’s achievements in upholding gender diversity. Estia’s female representation across all employees is 80 percent. Additionally, Estia has more women in its executive leadership team than any other ASX200 company, with 57 percent of their senior leaders being female.
Banqer was given an award as the Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year 2018 in New Zealand. Back in 2015, the company won the Best Innovation in Show Award from Afiniation FinTech Showcase in Sydney. The reason for this is because of the platform’s mission to bring financial literacy to young people. Founder and CEO Kendall Flutey sees these citations as icing on the cake. The company was brought about by her aspiration of dispelling women’s outdated views of the tech sector. Indeed, women can contribute so much in the field of developing. Hence, this young tech entrepreneur is encouraging others to follow her lead.
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One Big Step for Mankind, One Bold Move for Women in the C-Suite

Gender diversity doesn’t only benefit the company’s culture. Equality in gender can also future-proof the business. Research shows that companies with more female leaders are 20 percent more innovative than companies with all-male leaders.

Notably, a female brain has higher connectivity between the brain’s left and right hemispheres. This neurological composition allows women to be more intuitive and analytical. On the other hand, a man’s brain is hardwired to take action and execute tasks.

The stark differences in behavior and leadership styles between men and women are complementary. When harnessed accordingly, both leadership styles of men and women can help businesses address a host of issues and bring more benefits to the workplace. Hence, why not start by taking a bold collective step in having more women in the C-suite of existing companies?