Scott Darden and Douglas Sellers, CTOs of Crowdfunder and AssetAvenue, respectively, discuss the impact of machine learning on the fintech industry at the Techweek LA Summit 2015. The session is moderated by Cameron Kashani, an advisor from Bixel Exchange Accelerator.

Many startups have disrupted the fintech ecosystem with machine learning as their key technology. The speakers feel that as large amounts of data are being collected in finance, many companies and startups are able to harness machine learning to remain innovative. However, the moderator tries to bring in some personal touch to this discussion by throwing some light on the lessons which the speakers have learned during their startups’ growth phases.

Some of our key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Fintech Industry is Evolving with New Emerging Technologies:
    At present, fintech startups are increasing with technologies like business intelligence (BI), data mining, and, remaining in forefront of it, machine learning. Machine learning in a way is application oriented and has given rise to data modelers and data miners.
  2. Machine Learning is Disrupting Fintech:
    Machine learning gives power to fintech. Financial processing and decision making can be enhanced by machine-learning technologies, that in turn, allow computers to process data and take decisions more efficiently. Banks still follow traditional technologies. They need to adapt to machine learning so that they can survive in the long run.
  3. Learning from Initial Failures:
    Both Scott’s and Douglas’ initial experiences with startups were as investors and co-owners. However, they also encountered failure, which was not easy to deal with. They went through an emotional turmoil and struggle and it helped them analyze the cause of the disasters. With this new perspective, Scott feels that “you get into a different emotional burnout” which eventually gives enormous sympathy for those who failed. Having a friendly community outside the industry can be helpful in this type of situation.

Below are some of the key points and moments from the conversation:

  • 0:01 – Scott Darden introduced the concept of fintech and how fintech startups are emerging now
  • 1:12 – Machine learning is gaining importance to detect fraud
  • 3:02 – The CTOs have learned certain lessons from their initial failures
  • 7:20 – Failures lead to emotional struggles, which forced Scott and Douglas to rely on support systems outside the industry
  • 12:27 – Entrepreneurs need to be honest and not get emotionally caught up in the situation which cannot be controlled
  • 14:27 – The traditional approach of banks needs to change with the adaptation of machine learning


Scott Darden
CTO, Crowdfunder
Douglas Sellers
CTO, AssetAvenue