5′ with Neofytos Kolokotronis
Innovation Specialist at Found.ation | KDE e.V. Board of Directors Member
FinQuest 5′ sessions welcomes Neofytos Kolokotronis.
Neofytos studied medicine and got a degree in psychology, before deciding to follow his passion for technology. He is a co-founder of open data and open government citizen initiatives and has been a long-time contributor to international communities and organizations developing open source products. Neofytos is also a member of the global board of directors of KDE, one of the largest software communities in the world.
As an Innovation Specialist at Found.ation, Neofytos is leading the company’s projects related to the startup and innovation ecosystem, including incubation and acceleration programs, and of course initiatives like FinQuest. He is also the liaison to EIT Digital, responsible for the organization’s activities related to supporting deep tech startups in the SE Europe region (Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Cyprus).
- What do you consider to be the greatest innovation in history?
I wouldn’t pick one, as every era has its own game-changing innovations that help push technology and society forward and have a wider impact on our daily lives. With science and technology moving at much faster pace nowadays, it looks like every decade has a landmark breakthrough. I can though mention the ones that greatly affected people around my age, and those would be the internet and the smartphone.
- What do you consider to be the trending technologies now and what is your prediction for the technologies of the future?
There are various technologies already available that are expected to affect our lives, the tricky part is predicting the prevailing ones and the massiveness of the impact they will end up having. Significantly faster and more reliable internet connections (whether its via 5G, fiber, or satellite), made widely available everywhere, would definitely act as a base for additional services to develop based on advanced technologies (e.g. IoT, AR/VR, Data Analysis) and will contribute to new business models evolving. I am particularly interested on the next generation of internet-based Web3 technologies that are being developed, around the concept of decentralization.
- How is technology impacting the finance and banking sector?
The finance and banking sector is inevitably a major technology user, from interacting with clients to managing a tremendous amount of data, and all that while providing secure transactions and reliable solutions. Consequently, any development on these fronts, will have a big impact on the delivery of banking and financial services. We nowadays take web and mobile-app banking for granted, and we are already benefiting from the implementation of open banking at EU level. Investing and trading is also another area that has become more accessible to the wider public, and going forward, we expect AI and ML to contribute to topics like customer service and fraud detection. And of course, blockchain technology can potentially bring tremendous changes on how things are done across the sector, including topics such as currencies, security, transactions, verifiability, data ownership and information management.
- Do initiatives like FinQuest promote product /service improvement or enhance customer satisfaction and how?
Τhe outcome of initiatives like FinQuest is twofold. On one hand, the bank has an opportunity to be introduced to innovative teams developing novel solutions on mostly FinTech, but also other sectors. This provides an option to build synergies with them that could have a positive impact on its business and products, as well as its internal processes and customer-facing services. On the other hand, the teams themselves get a chance to receive mentoring from industry experts and decision makers, in order to adjust and improve their products, test their market fit and better align their offerings to the sector’s needs.
- Would you suggest to a young startup to take part at the competition and why?
Yes, and my suggestion is to always keep their eyes and ears open during the competition so they can make the most of it. To try and quickly summarize the main benefits for a young startup that joins a competition like FinQuest, I’d point out the following:
– Product development based on intensive mentoring by industry experts
– Market validation and feedback by the bank professionals
– Networking opportunities with potential clients and investors.