This year, I had the opportunity to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos. Founded in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation, the WEF recognizes that the world is changing at an ever increasing pace. The forum brings together leaders from across many spectrums of society: politics, business, academia, NGOs, and the arts, who travel from all parts of the globe to discuss the biggest challenges facing the world. The topics of this year’s conference ranged from Big Data, Blockchain Technologies, Artificial Intelligence to Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunity.
“The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.” -WEF
Invited by John Werner of our Advisory Board, Vestigo was given the unique opportunity to participate and present. Our General Partner David Blundin, Vestigo advisor and Cogo Labs CEO Mira Wilczek, and FRST (a Vestigo Portfolio Company) CEO Karl Muth each presented. Mira and Dave shared thought provoking perspectives on Big Data. Karl Muth articulated the evolution of the Crypto marketplace while demonstrating the visualization power of the FRST platform.
David’s presentation described his journey as an entrepreneur and his ability to link the power and ubiquity of Big Data. He conveyed to the audience how the simultaneous evolution of software, processing power, growing data sets, and Blockchain Technologies will enable entrepreneurs to quickly move their companies and careers forward.
Mira was able to set the stage for Big Data in a trustless world and the important role that Blockchain Technologies will play. It was a thought provoking talk as Mira shared the IDC estimate that the average human on earth will generate 1.7MB of digital data every minute, while comparing the “wet” data (eyes, and ears) generated by the humans in the room at Davos. She discussed the challenges of data ownership, transparency, replication, and security, affirming the role of Blockchain Technologies.
Karl took us on a journey through the crypto world from the revolutionist to the professional. He described why FRST was created and demonstrated the power of their trading tools. The audience was amazed by the magnitude of the visualization tools and the edge that the platform provides for professional organizations trading crypto currencies. Karl outlined the path that we are moving along: from the crypto winter to the professionalization of the marketplace.
At Vestigo, we leverage Big Data and machine learning every day to find great FinTech companies. The collective “wow” moment from these talks, was the tangible absorption of the transformative power of Big data by the Davos audience. The results of the talks where immediate. Dave was quickly whisked away by the executive leadership from TATA, Forbes and many others. Mira was recruited to a leadership panel with the CIO of the US Government, Karl was interviewed on TV. I was engaged in the debriefs discussing Vestigo and our unique portfolio of financial services solutions with leaders from the world’s largest financial intuitions.
There were many wonderful random collisions of ideas and meet-ups with people from all sectors of society. I met a physicist who is developing the next generation of quantum computers. Over lunch he was able to explain how quantum computers work and for a moment I think I understood him. We attended an incredible variety of events including, the day at the TATA/MIT TCS Dome, CSAIL Artificial Intelligence group discussion, The TCS Global Reception, NYTimes Debate, Aberdeen Investments scotch tasting party, the Harvard networking event, the Global Blockchain Business Council dinner, the evening with Forbes executives, and had the opportunity to meet many thought leaders like Steve Forbes and David Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Web) and Amy Cuddy Ph.D. (most viral Ted Talk) and so many more amazing people.
We made many new connections and look forward to future engagement and visits to Cambridge. These are seeds that may well translate into good business, time and effort will tell. I want to thank John and our General Partners, Dave and Mark who created a unique opportunity for Vestigo along with Karl from FRST. We are looking forward to being invited back next year and we hope to include one or two of our leading portfolio companies.
The trip was a huge success. Being part of the collaboration of ideas through intellectual exchanges and having exposure to people willing to challenge the status quo was a whirlwind of fun!
—Ian Sheridan, Co-Founder & Managing Director