Name: Mark Woollen
Company: Principal Consultant, Capco (The Capital Markets Company)
Background (Education/Career etc):
- BS Computer Science at Georgia Institute of Technology
- Recently joined The Capital Markets Company (“Capco”) as Principal Consultant
Connection to Carolina Fintech Hub (CFH): The term “fintech” is defined as innovative technology solutions enabling financial services. For the greater part of my career, I have helped financial institutions apply innovative solutions to grow, evolve and solve real-world challenges. Joining Carolina Fintech Hub provided a natural opportunity for me to engage, collaborate and evolve fintech in the region. I connected with Carolina Fintech Hub in 2017 as a number of fintech leaders including Tariq Bokhari, Aubrey Hawes and Dan Roselli were conceptualizing the idea of bridging fintech across the Carolinas. In addition to CFH, as advisor with QC Fintech acceleration program in Charlotte to fintech entrepreneurs, I have had the opportunity to build relationships and assist founders of local fintech startups like Curu, Catapult, HoneyFi, WalletFi, Constellation and others. I currently serve on a number of CFH workstreams (Marketing and Digital Communications, Talent and Community Engagement, and Legislative Sandbox). I am proud of my contributions towards a number of recent successful events including the first Hackathon on the campus of UNCC and the launch of the expanded website. The collaborative vision of CFH to enable growth of fintech in the southeast will create economic opportunities for students, businesses, regulators, educators and founders for years to come.
Main passion: I love spending time with my family and I love playing golf. With 4 kids between the ages of 12 and 15, I don’t get much time on the golf course! I am also passionate about software technologies and innovative gadgets. Amazon Alexa helps us time the perfect steak, Sonos keeps the music playing, gigabit internet keeps Netflix streaming and multi-point Wi-Fi supports all the internet connected devices for a family of 6. I recently leveraged technology to build a digital golf range in my garage using an old laptop, HD projector, digital swing detector, virtual golf software and reflective impact net (doubling as a movie theater for the kids’ sleepovers).
I also enjoy influencing change through innovation as I consult with banks to address their most pressing challenges. A recent opportunity to help a Silicon Valley credit union replace their online banking platform, while simultaneously adopt Agile practices was a particularly rewarding experience. Leveraging innovations and efficient practices, financial institutions large and small can embrace technology solutions and innovative fintech partners to elevate their business and connect with consumers.
Why Fintech?: I learned to write software programs on a Commodore64, and I was hooked on understanding how computers could help people work more efficiently. Growing up in Charlotte, one would be hard-pressed to not be connected to the banking industry! Applying innovative technologies to help financial institutions has proven to be a worthy outlet for my geek-side passion. Banking technology has evolved greatly over the past 20 years. I think the current challenges (and opportunities) for banks involve determining how to embrace (and contain) the pace of innovations in microservices, cloud technologies, robotics, blockchain and distributed devices. My new role with Capco is an exciting opportunity to leverage deep expertise, experience and scale of a global consulting organization to help banks with their most complex challenges.
Why the Carolina Region?: I grew up in Charlotte. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents grew up in North Carolina. The Carolina Region is home to my family and I love the opportunities that my children and their peers will have to learn, develop and succeed here. The universities in North Carolina provide a diverse range of opportunities for students and consistently produce top-tier talent. The talent, technology and innovations have enabled industries like banking, health care and energy to evolve and thrive in the Carolinas.
What is Next?… (for you, the industry, the next 5 years?): I’m excited about the future of innovation in our region and in banking. Regional fintechs nCino and Constellation offer banking-as-a-service solutions in the cloud. UNC-Charlotte has established world-class data-analytics and cybersecurity curricula. Universities in Triad and Triangle areas produce amazing talent the continue to fuel the growing local economies. Our schools are training the next generation of thought leaders through the adoption of advanced curriculums. Our banks are leveraging innovations in cybersecurity, blockchain and data aggregation at an increasing pace. I see Charlotte and the surrounding region continuing to grow and become more than just a “banking center”. Charlotte is quickly evolving to be an innovative accelerator for entrepreneurs and technologists to apply their solutions and skills toward a thriving economy.
What Advice do you have for others interested in Fintech?: Learn all you can and share with others. The pace of technological change is almost overwhelming, and the benefits and opportunities for our community to leverage the growing talent in our region is enormous. Advice that I’ve received that has helped me in my career and family is to listen, engage and give back. I like the often quoted “to whom much is given, from them much shall be required.” Carolina Fintech Hub provides an opportunity to learn, connect and help others.