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Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

CFSI's Innovation Contest

Barefoot Innovation Podcast

CFSI's Innovation Contest

Jo Ann Barefoot

We have a very special show today. I realized – rather late – that we should do an episode on the CFSI financial solutions lab competition. It’s belated, because the contest is open, now, for its second year of applications, and the deadline is April 7 – just a few days from now. 

My guests are Ryan Falvey, who heads the lab, plus three of last year’s 9 winners. They are Sheri Atwood of SupportPay; Jerry Nemorin, of LendStreet, and Quinten Farmer of Even. They explain how the competition works, what they are looking for this year, and, from the standpoint of last year’s winners, what they have gotten from participating in the program.

FINLAB:  The FinLab is investing about $5 million each year in the contest winners, who also receive a huge array of expert advice and access to networks and resources. Here’s the information on the competition and how to apply by April 7 And here is an overview of the full list of last year’s winners.

For today’s show, we’re featuring these guests:


As a Managing Director at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, Ryan oversees the Financial Solutions Lab, bringing together innovators from the fields of technology, behavioral economics, nonprofit services and design to provide guidance, share best practices and develop scalable financial products. He loves to help organizations solve hard problems. Prior to joining CFSI, Ryan was at Silicon Valley Bank, working with leading technology firms to develop innovative payment products and solutions. He also served as the Strategy Group Lead at Enclude Solutions, overseeing its global strategy consulting work in over 30 countries and supporting the development of several of the world’s most successful mobile-enabled financial products. Ryan has a graduate degree from Yale and an undergraduate degree from UCLA. 

Twitter: @TheFinLab@CFSInnovation

Personal Twitter: @Ryan_Falvey


Sheri Atwood, Founder and CEO of SupportPay by Ittavi (acronym for “it takes a village"), is a former Silicon Valley executive, single mom and child of a bitter divorce. Atwood, who was raised by a single mother and was the only person in her family to attend college, married at 19, completed her undergraduate degree in less than 4 years and completed her MBA 10 days before her daughter was born. When Atwood herself divorced at 25, she was the youngest Vice President at Symantec. Before SupportPay, there was no easy way for parents to exchange child support -- and Atwood was so determined to create a solution that she taught herself to code and is today an expert in front-end development. Atwood was named “#5 of 50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley” and a "Top 40 Under 40 Executive in Silicon Valley." 


Twitter: @SupportPayApp

Personal Twitter: @SheriAtwood


Jerry is founder and CEO of LendStreet. He previously worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its Global Corporate & Investing Banking division, helping major companies restructure their debt during the financial crisis and raise money from the high yield debt market. Jerry is now putting that expertise to use in a way that helps consumers in financial distress deal with their debt and rebuild their credit.

Jerry has been a speaker, guest, and advocate for responsible lending and sustainable financial services on Capitol Hill and industry events such as Finovate, SWIFT Innotribe Competition, Experian's Vision Conference and Credit Suisse Impact Investing Conference.

Jerry recently served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Darden School of Business Incubator. He began his career in Tyco's Treasury group and received a B.S. in Finance and Exercise & Sports Science from the University of Florida and an M.B.A. from the Darden Graduate School of BusinessAdministration at the University of Virginia.


Twitter: @LendStreet

Personal Twitter: @JNemorin


Quinten Farmer is Co-Founder at Even. Previously, Quinten ran Client Operations at Taykey, a venture-backed advertising technology company, and was Vice President of Operations at Onswipe, a New York-based startup. Quinten studied Computer Science at Columbia University, and also founded the Open Loans Project, a nonprofit working to bring transparency to the student loans industry. He founded Even to help employers enable workers to even out timing mismatches between paychecks and expenses, especially in volatile or disruptive situations.


Personal Twitter: @Quintendf

Also, be sure to come to the CFSI Emerge Forum on Consumer Financial Health, in New Orleans, June 14-17. The new contest winners will be announced, and there will be an amazing lineup of speakers and events focused on technology solutions to building consumer financial health and well being.

As always, please donate to my free podcast series (which seems to be trying to take over my life) and please write a review of it on ITunes!

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