When LendIt was founded back in 2013 we had no idea it would get to the size and scale that it is today. My fellow co-founders and I just wanted to host our small but growing community so we could all learn, network and do business together.
As the industry has grown and matured LendIt has grown along with it. Since those early days focused on peer to peer lending we have repositioned ourselves recently to focus on any innovation in financial services. Obviously, lending is still a significant part of our events but at our next conferences – in London next week and San Francisco in April – you will also see a focus on blockchain, digital banking and other major innovations happening in finance.
LendIt events today look and feel very different from our early events. Along with that LendIt as an organization has grown and matured. Last month we made some internal changes that I want to share with you here.
When we first started we were just four co-founders: Jason Jones, Bo Brustkern, Dara Albright and myself. There was no CEO; we just all worked together as a collaborative partnership. At some point we decided that someone should be CEO and I took on that role initially. I am not really one for titles and I was a somewhat reluctant CEO to be honest.
My partner Jason Jones, who has been the driving force in the growth of our business, took over the CEO role some time ago as the business became more complex. Under his leadership, we scaled our team and back office infrastructure, expanded into China, grew and diversified our global audience base, expanded our business from lending to all of fintech, and emerged as one of the largest financial services events in the world.
As of early September, Jason has transitioned out of the CEO role and is now Co-Chairman along with me. This allows him to focus his entrepreneurial drive on areas of our business where he can make the most impact. He is turning his attention to become more client focused as major global financial services and technology companies become more involved in our business. He is also passionate about blockchain and will be running our new “conference within a conference” at LendIt USA 2018 on that topic. And he will continue to serve as Chairman of PitchIt, our global startup competition. As always, you can expect big things to come from Jason, so stay tuned.
Bo Brustkern, who has until recently stayed in the background, is now taking on the mantle of CEO of LendIt. Bo has over twenty years’ experience leading professional teams to higher ground. His experience includes ten years as a financial services entrepreneur and five as a Silicon Valley VC. Those who have been following along closely will know that Bo is also the CEO of NSR Invest. With great teams at both LendIt and NSR, Bo is well positioned to take on the CEO role at both companies.
Similarly, we have promoted Joy Schwartz, our longtime head of operations, to become President of LendIt. Joy has over a decade of events experience and has proven herself to be a true leader within our growing organization. Congratulations to both Joy and Bo in their new positions.
I am as actively involved as ever working on the agenda, writing content, connecting with speakers and doing public outreach. I will also continue to be the MC of LendIt during our events – that is a job I truly enjoy and is well suited to me. Jason and I will now officially be Co-Chairman but we will all be working together to make our events shine.
I believe more than ever that LendIt’s best days are ahead of us. We have a fantastic team. It is due to our mutual dedication and complementary skills that we have built LendIt into the success it is today. That said, we are not resting on our laurels; rather, we are tirelessly pushing our business to new heights.
From all of us here at LendIt, thank you for your continued support. We are truly passionate about supporting the world’s fintech community and will work hard to keep driving the industry forward.