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— Earn more from your money while keeping easy access is now possible. —
Since March 2023, the mobile app is available to download (Apple/Android), giving users access to the first feature released (Dedicated IBAN, Wealth Hub, Euro Blockchain Vault, Crypto Market Place, Wealth Card).
In the 2023 roadmap, chúng tôi will release new features including, the Shared Euro Blockchain Vault, a wider marketplace with US & EU Stocks, a Fixed §Allocation Portfolio, and the proprietary Wealth Bot (Multi Algo-layer) to automate investments according to personalized investment strategy.
In an interview with a team of chúng tôi we talked about its ecosystem, the mission and vision of the platform, the wealth card, the fiat market, and a lot more.
Q1) What was the thought process for designing chúng tôi Talk us through the vision and mission of the platform.
Like any other project, the first step to successfully design a product such as chúng tôi is to solve a problem by providing a clear added value to an existing offer through experiences, skills, networks, and most importantly, technology.
A good example is Revolut, with Nikolay Storonsky (CEO, Revolut) who launched the Revolut MVP by providing a new neobank product, offering the famous ‘’spend abroad with 0% exchange fees’’. As a professional trader, he saw that the fees applied by the bank for retail were too high, and he got a bright idea to build a product to fix this problem for the retail market.
At chúng tôi our process is similar. Gael Itier (CEO, Automata Group owner of chúng tôi united a team of professional traders, legal & compliance experts, and experienced developers to solve the problem. Traditional neobanks focus on spending features (payment disruption) but nothing has been disrupted when it comes to wealth management.
The vision of our platform is to defy the financial norm. The current system makes you think your money is worthless. It’s wrong
Wealth is the DNA of the chúng tôi team. The founders worked as professional traders (algo-trading and discretionary research) and designed the first MVP of an automated tool to manage people’s wealth with ease. Gael Itier united the team of experts, from developers to legal experts in order to deliver a world-class wealth app (saving and investing) by leveraging algorithms & blockchain technology.
Using chúng tôi is quite simple with the help of the Wealth Hub (multi-custodian settlement) connecting Fiat ramp, allowing each user to get access to a dedicated IBAN linked to a Wealth card, which lets users spend their funds invested in savings or investment vault at any time.
As I said, chúng tôi is able to revolutionize the current account, offering people the real freedom to earn daily interest through Defi & blockchain technology and to access automated investment tools for the neophyte. And you will soon be able to pay for everyday essentials from your savings or investment vault by using the Wealth Card.
Talking about the mission of chúng tôi It’s the first one-stop app to optimize the way you save and invest money while keeping your funds always available for spending.
Q2) How has the platform performed since its launch? Could you elaborate on the achievements and hurdles that came along the journey so far?
Fortunately, with the teams, efforts, and hard work, our past road map has been achieved. So, let’s start back a few years ago:
Starting in 2023
until 2023, Gael Itier united the team of expert founders and the first draft of the chúng tôi ecosystem came to be with Automata white paper, launching the first fundraising through ICO.
During the first two years, the team completed the first seeds through a private round and achieved the MVP (Fiat Ramp, dedicated Iban, automated investment (back-testing). In early 2023 the decision was taken to rebrand the project with the name chúng tôi (Automated Key Technology) and to integrate the savings vault by leveraging Defi and a crypto exchange.
In 2023 the ICO fundraising was completed with 27 Million Euros raised through the presales of AKTIO Coin.
In March 2023, the chúng tôi team was able to deliver the first version 1.0 of chúng tôi on Stores (apple/android), offering access to dedicated IBAN, crypto exchange, and saving vault for Euro deposit (EUR/PAR Stablecoin).
One month later in April 2023, the team listed the AKTIO Coin for the first time on CEX Bittrex Global at the Paris blockchain week Summit, integrating the utility of the AKTIO Coin into the core of the app (staking program – fees reduction – access to a better return on chúng tôi tools)
Q3) How does chúng tôi upgrade and transform the traditional financial sector?
To answer this question, there are two axes:
On one hand, optimizing the user experience by following the paths of the current fintech actors such as Revolut, N26, or Lydia. They use a simple app experience to help users manage their daily financial needs (payment or saving/investment).
Akt.io develops a user-friendly app for everyone to manage their money in one tap. Traditional institutions are late in this field and the recent fintech actors are providing less accessible investment tools as an add-on to the current account.
On the second hand, providing innovative technologies in saving and investment to optimize Wealth from the first Euros deposited in the app without complexity. chúng tôi already deployed an alternative to the traditional savings account by deploying an easy-to-use blockchain Euro vault with no deposit limit, interest paid in EUR daily (current average return is around 3.70% APY), and access to withdraw at any time.
Akt.io is about to deliver the first automated trading bot on crypto (multi-algorithm layer- Wealth Bot), which will be presented at CES 2023 in Las Vegas.
Q4) Talk us through the innovative products of the platform. How are these products in sync with the concept of decentralization?
At the core of Akt.io’s organization are transparency & efficiency. We are on a mission to transform the traditional investment landscape with the most innovative products, and while the road is still long, from day one, our team has been holding on to this key vision.
Decentralization allows the ability to record, track and activate any financial transaction from the user and the organization into a decentralized register such as a blockchain.
In this way, any transaction from the user or any transaction fees from the organization will be fully transparent and registered into the blockchain, via smart contract or equivalent. We do believe that this will be the major transformation of the traditional financial system.
Previously, we have worked closely with the Hedera HashGraph team to design the first draft of this technology using the HashGraph layer. We are determined to continue our participation in this revolution throughout the coming years.
Q5) What utility does the AKTIO Token offer to its users and how does it impact the overall ecosystem?
First of all, the AKTIO Coin utilities are flexible in a way that we are still building the interaction of the coin with the ecosystem.
Trading fees reduction (-30%)
Exclusive staking program on AKTIO (15% APY)
Unlock the EUR blockchain vault maximum earnings up to 8% instead of 4%
It is important to remember that the current utility adoption program is evolutive and offers a win-win deal. Indeed, chúng tôi has a very limited supply available (100 Million only). In order to reward users joining our revolution, we’ll be activating a bullish pressure quickly once we get a high client acquisition momentum (more new users, more ambassadors, higher price of the coin). And for the company, this will give us the reserve capacity for development and the community as well.
In 2023, we are studying the integration of the AKTIO Coin into the Defi space by listing the Coin in DEX to build new functions such as Dex SWAP, Liquidity Pool reward program, and worldwide community utility with future partners.
Q6) Recently, chúng tôi also got an invite to be a part of the CES Las Vegas from 5-8 January 2023. How will this event benefit the overall growth of the platform?
That was a very good surprise for us to be selected to participate in the CES 2023. Especially, when you consider the caliber of the other participants in the event.
It is, for us, the first significant recognition we get for the innovation we are developing, bringing also a lot of legitimacy to our organization. It will offer our company significant cover in the tech media and also encourage further investment that the company is seeking with VC for the next fundraising round.
Count on us to let you know how it goes in January when we are back from the US.
To know more about chúng tôi please check out their official website and follow their Twitter handle.
You're reading Revolutionizing The Financial Norm With Decentralization: An Interview With Akt.io
Founded in 2024, QNu Labs was incubated in IIT Madras, at the behest of Dr. Vijaya Raghavan, PSA to the Prime Minister. The company operates in the Quantum Cybersecurity domain and has clients in India and the Middle East. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Sunil Gupta, CEO, and Co-founder, QNu Labs.1. Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers.
Founded in 2024, QNu Labs was incubated in IIT Madras, at the behest of Dr. Vijaya Raghavan, PSA to the Prime Minister. The company operates in the Quantum Cybersecurity domain and has clients in India and the Middle East. QNu Labs is India’s first and the only company that offers commercially ready Quantum Cyber-Security Products with data encryption solutions that are designed to provide protection against the attacks on rapidly becoming obsolete public key cryptography and cyber-attacks from quantum computers.
QNu Labs quantum-safe data security solutions are designed to seamlessly plug in with the existing installed infrastructures in organizations and hence, are commercially most viable. The company’s technology and products have been extensively validated and are being used by the Indian army and navy; and are now available at the GeM portal, too.
Mentioned below are some of the projects that have been successfully undertaken by QNu Labs:
Established India’s first quantum security lab in MCTE, Mhow for Indian Army
Delivered India’s first quantum secure video conference solution for the Indian Army
Indian defence R&D organizations are using one of our products
BEL has procured our QKD product and has integrated it with BEL products
QNu Labs QKD product is also functional with C-DoT and Cisco Routers
QNu Labs also won the iDEX Open Challenge 2, to deliver 200Kms Single Hop QKD with trusted node technology
QNu Labs has received funds from Technology Development Board (under DST) to commercialize the technology
Securing a blockchain doing remittance using cryptos
QNu Labs current and potential target customers include:
Defence and Government Organizations
Telecom Service Providers
Large and Medium Enterprises
Over the last five years, QNu Labs has built an ecosystem consisting of academia partners, technology partners, professional services partners, vendors, and suppliers to develop fully indigenized products from concept to manufacturing.2. With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company?
QNu Labs was established with an objective to create a globally recognized deep tech product company from India. It was set up to build a trusted platform with an offering for the hyperconnected digital world of future, which can expose the current fragile security frameworks and security postures of today’s enterprises.
QNu Labs mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to quantum secure communications,” thus empowering enterprises to detect and prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. With encrypted data being harvested on a large scale by state-sponsored hackers, and the timeline for availability of scalable quantum computers rapidly shrinking day by day, our mission becomes extremely critical.
When QNu Labs released its first product, Quantum Key Distribution (Armos) in 2023, it was our first step to putting India on the Quantum map of the world. Some of our early clients in India and outside procured the technology for their use. This product was also integrated with Cisco ISR series of routers so that applications could use quantum secure robust symmetric keys for encryption. In the subsequent year, QNu Labs released India’s first Quantum Random Number Generator (Tropos) which is currently being used by multiple clients for different applications.
Last year, QNu Labs won a project under iDEX (Innovation in Defence Excellence) to develop a QKD technology that will not only stretch single-hop QKD distance to 150-200 kms but will also allow QKD keys to be generated to any distance using the “Trusted Node” approach. The success of this project has not only made India an “Atamnirbhar’ nation in quantum cryptography and communication technology but has also shown the prowess of India in QKD technology.
In 2023, QNu Labs released a few Quantum security services and solutions which can be easily used by enterprises through AWS.
With a specialized team of forty-five engineers and scientists, QNu Labs is playing a pivotal role in strengthening India’s National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) to build indigenous capability to make India ‘self-reliant’ in this game-changing technology.3. Kindly share your point of view on the current scenario of Quantum Technology and its future.
In the world of Quantum Technology, while some Chinese scientists have announced the possibility of being a step closer to a quantum code-breaking machine, the security concern is that the quantum computers will be able to crack RSA public-key cryptography, which is used to protect data in transit. This will require the security teams to pivot to new post-quantum cryptography solutions. In fact, a conservative estimate from a 2023 DigiCert report said, “teams will need to have protection from quantum computing breaches in place by 2023”.
We also foresee two major shifts that highlight the risks that are getting bigger and are bringing classical cryptography to the brink of total collapse. One is the rapidly eroding trust in the digital platforms making people move towards “Zero Trust” architecture and approaches which is an indication that existing technologies and approaches are not working. The second is that trust is getting decentralized with Web3.0 architecture. When we look at the proliferation of solutions based on blockchain technologies, it looks scary from the security point of view.
In a traditional banking system, if a cryptographic key is lost or compromised, its validity can easily be revoked by a central authority and a new key pair can be issued. Revoking the key in a timely manner ensures the continued integrity and confidentiality of the data. On the contrary, in a blockchain system, there is no central authority to manage users’ access keys. The owner of a resource is the one holding the private encryption keys. There are no offline backups. If the encryption key is lost, this invariably means that the secured data asset is irrevocably lost.
Quantum cryptography is the solution to address the decentralized trust requirement. We are seeing remarkably interesting applications with fintech and crypto companies that are using blockchain technology as the model. We are also seeing drone companies seriously looking at quantum tech for onboard security and communication security with ground control systems.
In the next 12-18 months, we will see quantum technology getting deployed in 4G/5G, banking, healthcare, pharma, and payment sectors.4. Kindly mention any major challenges the company has faced till now.
Given the complexity of the technology and that it was being attempted for the first time in India, developing technology and product that could deliver a low QBER with reasonable distance and the key rate was a challenge. After a long R&D cycle of 3 years, we developed our first QKD product with competitive specs.
Getting the right users and conducting trials for successful integration and deployment of the products in their existing environment was the next challenge. We had to deploy this cutting-edge technology into the client’s existing infrastructure (optical fibre network, encryptors, applications, etc.) without any disturbance to their operations. We achieved this with immense success with our product management approach and early integrations with the right partners.
It was also a bit challenging to raise funds through institutional VCs in India, as most of the VCs did not have any thesis in the quantum technology domain. Additionally, our early clients were mainly in defence, which was not a familiar domain for VCs to invest. A set of angel investors, who believed in the team and the mission, supported us in the early phase of our journey and later, Speciale Invest, who invests only in future technologies and in visionaries who are building deep tech and engineering innovations led the round.
The latest challenge we have been facing is the shortage of electronic and optical components which extended our delivery time by a few weeks. We overcame this by identifying alternate components and building a small inventory of a few components.5. Please brief us about the products/services/solutions you provide to your customers and how they get value out of it.
QNu Labs offers four products:
Quantum Random Number Generators (QRNG) called Tropos
Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) called Armos
Post Quantum Cryptography stack called Hodos
Quantum Secure Key Vault called Tholos
While Tropos and Armos are hardware products like appliances, Hodos and Tholos are software products. QNu Labs also offers cloud-based services to clients to reduce their capex spend with ease of upgrade and maintenance. It offers the following services which can be consumed in ‘pay as you use’ model through APIs
Entropy as a service, called Qosmos
Vault as a service
Additionally, QNu also offers packaged applications and solutions for email (QE mail), VPN (QVPN), and messaging (QVerse) security.6. Mention some of the awards, achievements, and recognitions that you feel are notable and valuable for the company.
QNu Labs has received significant recognition for its efforts and has won the following prestigious awards:
One of the winners of ‘Elevate 100’ start-ups from Karnataka Govt.
NASSCOM’s “Emerge 50″ and “League of 10” in the Cyber Security category for the year 2023
DSCI’s “Most Innovative Product of the Year-2024”
iDEX Open Challenge 2 winner in 2023 and was awarded a project to build “200Km QKD with Trusted Nodes”
National award in 2023 by the Department of Science and Technology for “Development of Indigenous Technology with Potential for Commercialization”7. Lastly, what does your technology and business roadmap look like for the rest of the year?
With a range of products and solutions portfolio already commercially ready, we aim to take this technology mainstream. We will spend most of our time implementing the solutions in at least three new different industry verticals. We already have about fifteen projects underway which will get completed in the next 3-6 months. Our solutions will also become available on the marketplace of one of the top cloud players.
On the technology front, our major effort will be towards building a satellite-based QKD product for the country and starting efforts towards ‘Integrated Photonics’ which will lead to the miniaturization of the technology.
Paris, France, July 10th, 2023, Chainwire
Leveraging its successful $4.5m fundraising, Swaap launches its v2 protocol, bringing easy-to-use and powerful market-making strategies to the global DeFi community. Swaap v2 is unique in addressing key challenges such as impermanent loss which have plagued Liquidity Providers.What Sets Swaap v2 Apart: Making Market Making Effortless
Stanislas Barthélémi, an early user of Swaap v2, shares: “As someone who was an LP in traditional Automated Market Makers but was burned by Impermanent Loss, Swaap v2 has been a game-changer for me. It’s like having an expert trader working for you around the clock.”
The Tech Behind Swaap v2
With models built in collaboration with the Louis Bachelier Institute, a leading financial research institute, Swaap v2 brings the best of traditional financial market-making models to DeFi. It incorporates strategies that intuitively adapt to market conditions, safeguarding funds while optimizing returns. Moreover, liquidity providers can effortlessly engage with a wide array of assets across the Polygon and the Ethereum ecosystems.Launch Partners Powering Swaap v2
Swaap v2 is backed by notable launch partners to ensure robust functionality and support. Chainlink provides critical price feeds for on-chain defensive mechanisms and safeguards, further reinforcing security for Liquidity Providers.
Additionally, Paraswap, Odos, and Open Ocean are onboard as aggregators, which already ensures significant volumes on the Swaap platform.
FRAX, a leading stablecoin protocol, has approved a proposal to incentivize liquidity on a FRAX-ETH pool on Swaap v2 to reinforce its role as a connector token in DeFi.Built with Security at its Core
In the world of DeFi, security is paramount. Swaap v2 has undergone rigorous audits by ChainSecurity & Quantstamp. Furthermore, Swaap v2 pioneers defensive modules and on-chain protections that offer users additional peace of mind.
Swaap is celebrating the launch by offering Swaap tokens to the first wave of liquidity providers, seamlessly integrating them into the governance ecosystem.
“With Swaap v2, we’re not just launching a product; we’re catalyzing a movement to empower people globally through decentralized financial tools. Our goal is to ensure that anyone, anywhere, has access to sophisticated market-making strategies that were once reserved for high-net-worth individuals and established financial institutions,” says Cyrille Pastour, co-founder of Swaap.
“Swaap v2 is an eloquent example of what happens when innovation meets expertise. We believe Swaap is on the verge of redefining how DeFi engages with market-making, and we are thrilled to be part of this transformative journey.”, says Nikolai Lambsdorff, from Signature Ventures.Liquidity Deposits to Secure Launch NFT
Swapp invites users to deposit liquidity in Swaap v2 to not only unlock the full potential of their assets but also to secure exclusive launch NFT. This uniquely designed digital asset is Swapp’s way of acknowledging users early participation and commitment to the evolution of DeFi.
Users who want to deposit liquidity to secure their piece of blockchain history and join the frontlines of DeFi innovation can visit this link.About Swaap
Swaap is an innovative market-making protocol specializing in blue-chip crypto assets. Through pioneering models developed in collaboration with leading institutions, Swaap is revolutionizing DeFi market-making by providing liquidity providers with effortless and superior market-making strategies.Contact
API integration is important, especially for companies operating multiple cloud-based apps and tools. There are a lot of reasons why API integration platforms are considered useful. APIs help organizations become more flexible. APIs allow an organization’s products or services to communicate with other products and services without having to know how they are implemented. They allow developers to make monotonous yet complex processes usable with little coding. This can simplify the app development process, saving a great deal of time and money. Speaking with Analytics Insight Rohit Taneja, Founder & CEO of Decentro spoke about the mission and objectives of Decentro in helping companies to launch financial products.Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers?
Decentro is a full-stack, automated API platform for banking integrations that enables companies to launch financial products 10X faster and reduce expenditure by 80%. Most companies find it challenging to work directly with banks and legacy financial institutions since the documentation and APIs are poorly structured, and their sandboxes never work in the desired way independently. We are a one-stop platform that helps companies save both Capex as well as Opex by more than 90% while launching a product. We offer several modular products such as KYC & onboarding, bank accounts, lending, cards, and UPI Payments. We also take care of all the upcoming fixes, underlying iterations, and automatic updates without breaking any flow at any point in time.With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company?
We founded Decentro amidst the pandemic in 2023. The introduction of the pandemic had turned the whole world upside down, and lockdown restrictions threw everything into chaos. There could have been no better time to empower thousands of businesses with a robust, reliable, and cost-effective banking infrastructure to prepare for the inevitable digital-first future. Fortunately for us, Y Combinator incubated Decentro in the same year. Decentro was created to solve the long-standing infrastructural problem of the banking system and offer automated solutions for seamless financial flows. The obsolete banking integration system hampers a company’s ability to launch its product quickly. With Decentro, companies can save a significant amount of time in banking integration and focus on faster go-to-market strategies. Since its inception, we have created a unique brand value. We have received tremendous responses from companies like FamPay, Jumbotail, MoneyTap, etc that have leveraged our API infrastructure and simplified integration of complex banking workflows. Further, we are working with some of the most trusted banks in India like Yes Bank, ICICI Bank, etc. to provide innovative solutions to its clients. Our products have also helped businesses experience 10X faster go-to-market timelines and reduced their initial expenditure as well as operational expenditure by more than 90%.Kindly mention some of the major challenges the company has faced till now.
Setting up a start-up in an unprecedented situation isn’t easy. One of the first challenges we faced as a start-up was to get our first set of customers. We had no case studies or customer base to present of course, and hence the product had to speak for itself. We all took turns talking to customers and attended calls to understand their pain points in greater depth while leveraging our own prior experiences of running fintech companies. One of the most underappreciated things is that everyone loves speed when it comes to building and launching products. Companies are unwilling to spend long integration cycles with banks that delay their product launch by months altogether. Our APIs are now able to help these companies get to the market 10x faster regularly.What is your biggest USP that differentiates the company from competitors?
After speaking with hundreds of businesses over the past year, one thing further cemented our mission. The struggle to incorporate a financial offering was no cakewalk; and more than often, business owners had to drop their launch midway, or settle with mediocre solutions that brought up new headaches each passing day. With a horizontal focus in BaaS, we enable platforms with modular solutions that aid a business in their journey across integrating various financial products. Be it identity verification before onboarding a user, facilitating simple & instant payments via multiple methods (UPI, QR codes, bank transfer), real-time payment reconciliations, business banking with accounts aggregation, linking, creation, lending as a product, prepaid payment instruments via virtual & physical co-branded cards, buy now pay later, and much more! We have partnered with some of the top banks in India to enable seamless API connectivity and a swift flow of money. For instance, we recently partnered with ICICI bank to offer customized business banking APIs to fintech, start-ups, and corporates alike. We integrated ICICI Bank’s seven business banking APIs from diverse categories like accounts, payments, and collections. In addition, our co-branded cards & wallets have Yes Bank as our first official bank partner, with more enroute, to help businesses to spend wisely and open additional revenue streams. Further, our unique multi-bank infrastructure is strengthened by partnerships with 3 of the best banks in the country, aimed to reduce technical as well as business risks. We want our customers to operate uninterrupted, and downtime should be the least of their worries.Please brief us about the products/services/solutions you provide to your customers and how do they get value out of it.
We offer several modular products:
KYC & Onboarding: Enables businesses to verify customer identity & onboard them seamlessly via national documents such as Aadhaar, PAN, GSTIN, driving license, and more. Our KYC APIs have reduced their customer onboarding time by 95%.
Accounts: Helps companies to interact with our APIs of the banking ecosystem and enable account aggregation, linking real-time transaction reconciliation, and application.
Lending: allows companies to build their capabilities for loan assessment, processing, and recovery. Businesses can easily plug into our lending ecosystem.
Cards: offer a plethora of financial services offered by the banks & wallets to your consumers & businesses, monitor spends on the cards, and track expenses.
Payments: our unique integrated suite lets companies plug into multiple payment channels such as bank transfers, QR codes, & UPI and transact in real-time.What are your growth plans for the next 12 months?
We’ve grown our live customer base by 4X in the last 6 months from February 2023 at a growth rate of 25%+ month over month on average. At the same time, our monthly API volumes (that are now more than 5 million) have grown by more than 100X over the past 12 months since our product launch. To take care of the growth and the exponential demand that we are witnessing, we are increasing our workforce and hiring talent in engineering, compliance, and bank partnerships in the current financial year. We are soon launching a new module to enable companies to embed lending & credit workflows into their products.How do you see the company and the industry in the future ahead?
Covid-19 had significantly impacted the entire ecosystem. It accelerated the adoption and investment in new technology and innovation in financial services. There’s a meteoric rise in the demand for business applications in financial services with the boom in the Fintech sector. Further, the growing role of Banking as a Service Platform (BaaS) has unlocked new opportunities for Open Banking. While our customers had their own set of operational challenges, we have seen tremendous growth in the number of transactions processed and customers onboarded at an aggregate level. We are planning to go deeper across different categories including but not limited to NBFCs, lending companies, and more.What does your technology and business roadmap look like for the rest of the year?
On the technological front, we plan to leverage different use cases in developing new API modules and further launch new products across categories. One of the key products that we are working on is embedded finance API that enables credit workflows in a few high-growth categories. One key aspect is that this will bring together our expertise across our horizontal module stack from KYC to credit checks to disbursements and recollections on top of any form factor like a card or a bank account. Companies can have easy access to credit and lending API workflows, making it easier to fulfill the entire cycle for their business. Further, we are also planning to increase our team strength for positions across engineering, compliance, and bank partnerships in the current financial year.What are some of the challenges faced by the industry today?
Fintech is the future of financial services. It is revolutionizing the current business landscape. The growing internet users and constant government effort have provided the kickstart it needs to grow. However, the industry faces some challenges from time to time. One of the major challenges is data security. The risk of cyber theft, sophisticated cybercrime, data breaches, phishing, and digital identity theft increases every day. The onus to protect consumer data and build a resilient digital infrastructure lies not only on fintech but BaaS companies as well. Further, the collaboration between traditional financial institutions and fintech isn’t always smooth. Banks have low confidence in fintech and fear losing customers’ trust while upgrading their legacy systems.
emlyon business school, founded in 1872, stands out among the top few business schools worldwide. It has been awarded three international accreditations and is ranked in the top 100 for Global Employability by the Times Higher Education – University Rankings 2024. Choosing to study at emlyon business school is choosing to study in a resolutely international environment that is fully connected to today’s business world.
The school has recently launched a ‘M.Sc. in Digital Marketing and Data Science’ course. It is being led by Margherita Pagani and Clément Levallois, the program’s co-directors.
Ms. Pagani is a Professor of Digital Marketing at emlyon business school (France) and an Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at Bocconi University (Milan). She holds a HDR (Habilitation to Direct Researches) and a Ph.D in Management.
Her current research examines digital marketing, consumer behavior and new technologies. Social media, mobile marketing and dynamics influencing value creation and capture in digital ecosystems. She published several books (published in US, Italy, Korea) two encyclopedias and articles in leading international journals and won several awards.
Clément Levallois is an Associate Professor in the Market and Innovation Department and a computational social scientist. He is a specialist in data mining : data visualisation, text mining, network analysis. He is the creator of CODAPPS, Coding mobile apps for entrepreneurs, a MOOC hosted on Coursera. He is a also a member of the Gephi Consortium and Director of the data r&d institute.
Here are excerpts of my conversation with both of them.
PD: Recently you have launched the ‘MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science’ course. Can you tell us briefly about the program?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: The MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science course is a unique format combining 2 essential disciplines – digital marketing & data science.
As many courses around the world focus nowadays on business intelligence in a global business environment, this program is different and delivers a unique take on a very specific field. This program is designed to grow a new generation of leading marketing specialists – digital savvy professionals that can benefit from an explosive growth of online technologies to develop business.
The MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science is a 16 months program entirely taught in English based in Paris with a learning trip to Boston and one semester in Shanghai.
PD: Why do you think there’s a need for a specialization in Digital Marketing and Data Science?
The program pedagogy uniquely combines a strong academic background in business studies, marketing, data analysis and strategy with an in‐depth and specific digital knowledge addressing the specific need of companies of all size, activity sector and profile to recruit marketing & data literate managers trained for the digital future. Offering this new ‘Digital Marketing & Data Science’ program is a response to companies’ growing digital demands.
PD: Who is ideally suited to take this course?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Students do not need to have a specific scientific background to follow this course. The program will provide all participants (from various backgrounds) with the necessary strategic and analytical skills to succeed in a digital world. emlyon business school take the applicant’s entire potential into account. It is very important to consider motivation as an essential element to pursue this course.
PD: Are there any prerequisites for the students?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Students will need:
Please note: 3-year Bachelor’s degree may be accepted for excellent profiles, including French Bac +3
It is important to remember however that this program is fully delivered in English. Therefore, English full proficiency is required to be admitted, follow courses and efficiently interact with the other members of the cohort. For the Admission Process, the English level will be evaluated taking into consideration 3 different fundamentals:
Examination of all written and redactional elements within the application file
A Video Interview
A potential face to face or Skype interview, if the Admission Board requires it
More information can be found on your emlyon business school account.
PD: What will the students gain from enrolling in this program?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Students will become accomplished digital marketing professionals, able to manage and innovate in a data‐rich business environment. You will be well‐prepared to work in a sales or marketing department of startups and major brands in business to consumer or business to business environments.
The program meets a real need for employers that want to recruit young talents with a “dual competency”, business and digital, capable of bringing a real plus. The application of big data in the marketer profession is crucial.
Throughout the year students have the opportunity to attend conferences and workshops which allow them to get hands-on experience and meet professional experts.
PD: How is this particular program different from others that the candidates might consider?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: In addition to the unique format combining two essential disciplines (digital marketing & data science), it is important to underline that the data science part of the program will entirely be delivered by emlyon business school’s professors rather than by an engineering school. This choice means that data science is always considered in a business environment and never out of that context which enable students to really develop their skills according to the reality of the employers’ needs.
PD: Will there be any industry leaders and practitioners who will be teaching?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Yes, many professionals will be teaching in this course. For example, Yihun Lim (Researcher/ Architecture Designer and Associate Director at MIT mobile experience laboratory) will share her experience with the new cohort.
PD: Do tell us briefly about the subject areas to be covered in this course.
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Here are a few examples among the many subjects covered during this course:
Web content strategy
Principles of user experience design
Web Analytics and Programmatic Advertising
Python coding bootcamp
Statistics for market research using R
Strategising: new online business models
Consumer behavior and identity in a digital world
Ethics in data driven world
CRM, data platforms and marketing
You can find the program structure, which includes all the courses taught each semester, here.
PD: Regarding the mix between digital marketing and data science, how much time will be spent teaching each area separately?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: An equal amount of time will be spent studying both areas during the first semester. In the second semester the students will select elective courses specific to the specific track of their choice (digital marketing or data science). During this semester two courses will be mandatory and their aim is to create a bridge between the two disciplines. In the third semester, students will have the opportunity to choose their specialization (in digital marketing or data science), participate in a project for a company and enlarge their horizons with Asian perspectives. The courses in this third semester will be in Shanghai and the students will have the possibility to further deepen their knowledge in an international environment.
PD: Are there any tie-ups with companies to do live projects during the course?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Yes, during their last semester in Shanghai, all students will have to complete an in-company project. Combining academic knowledge with practical, real-life business challenges is key to the future success of our students. Therefore, the MSc in Digital Marketing & Data Science includes business projects for a sponsor company and in-company internships.
The Business Project is a key module of the Shanghai experience. Students will work for a company on a real project. Working on these business projects will help students to:
Gain first-hand experience of turning an idea into a tangible project – while benefiting from the comfort of a supporting structure,
Learn intercultural skills, navigate different businesses and cultural environments,
Build a network
PD: Is this a full-time or part-time course? How will it be delivered?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: This is a full-time course that will take place over 16 months. The first two semesters will take place at emlyon business school Paris campus (France). In November you will benefit from a learning trip to Boston: a unique opportunity to discover how and why Boston is a privileged spot to innovate and create value.
Students will spend their last semester in Shanghai (China). That semester includes an in-company project (a project, based on a real problem faced by a company in the digital industry). You will work as a consultant for a real company, apply the knowledge gained throughout the program, and benefit from hands-on experience in an international environment.
PD: Is there any placement assistance provided to the students?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: emlyon business school has a specific careers services department that helps you prepare for your future career, and develop your professional network. A team of experts will provide you with continual support in identifying career goals, developing action plans to achieve them as well as support you in your internship and job search.
PD: When is the next batch starting and how do candidates enroll themselves?
Should your application be complete, you will receive the admission board’s final decision within 15 working days.
PD: What is the total course fee (including accommodation) for French residents and international students?
Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: The tuition fees is 24,000 euros (Pricing is for the 2023 intake. All indicated fees include tuition, enrolment fees and lifelong membership of emlyon business school forever alumni network.)
The application fees is €120.
All financing information can be found on our website.
This sponsored post has been written by Analytics Vidhya on behalf of, and with inputs from, emlyon business school.
Note: This post was updated on 12th April, 2023 to reflect some changes in the course.
It’s our pleasure to introduce top data Scientist (as per Kaggle), Mr. Steve Donoho, who has generously agreed to do an exclusive interview for Analytics Vidhya. Steve is living a dream which most of us think of! He is founder and Chief data Scientist at Donoho Analytics Inc., tops Kaggle ranking for data scientists and chooses his areas of interest.
Prior to this, he worked as Head of Research for Mantas and as Principal for SRA International Inc. On the education front, Steve completed his graduation from Purdue University followed by a M.S. And Ph.D. From Illinois University. His interest and work include an interesting mix of problems in areas of Insider trading, Money Laundering, Excessive mark up and customer attrition.
On a personal front, Steve likes trekking and playing card and board games with his family (Rumikub, Euchre, Dutch Blitz, Settlers of Catan, etc.).
Kunal: Welcome Steve! Thanks for accepting the offer to share your knowledge with our audience of Analytics Vidhya. Kindly tell us briefly about yourself and your career in Analytics and how you chose this career.
Steve: When I was in grad school, I was good at math and science so everyone told me, “You should be an engineer!” So I got a degree in computer engineering, but I found that designing computers was not so interesting to me. I found what I really loved to do was to analyze things and to use computers as a tool to analyze things. So for any young person out there who is good at math and science, I recommend you ask yourself, “Do I love to analyze things?” If so, a career as a data scientist may be the thing for you. In my career, I have mainly worked in financial services because data abounds in the financial services world, and it is a very data-driven industry. I enjoy looking for fraud because it gives me an opportunity to think like a crook without actually being one.
Kunal: So, how and when did you start participating in Kaggle competitions?
Steve: I found out about Kaggle a couple years ago from an article in the Wall Street Journal. The article was about the Heritage Health Prize, and I worked on that contest. But I was quickly drawn into other contests because they all looked so interesting.
Kunal: How frequently do you participate in these competitions and How do you choose which ones to participate?
Kunal: Team vs. Self?
Steve: I usually enter contests by myself. This is mainly because it can be difficult to coordinate with teammates while juggling a job, contest, etc.
Kunal: Which was the most interesting / difficult competition you have participated till date?
Steve: The GE Flight Quest was very interesting. The challenge was to predict when a flight was going to land given all the information about its current position, weather, wind, airport delays, etc. After being in that contest, when I looked up and saw an airplane in the sky, I found myself thinking, “I wonder what that airplane’s Estimated Arrival Time is, and will it be ahead of schedule or behind?” I have also liked the hack-a-thons which are contest that last only 24 hours – it totally changes the way you approach problem because you don’t have as much time to mull over the problem.
Kunal: What are the common tools you use for these competitions and your work outside of Kaggle?
Steve: I mostly use the R programming language, but I also use Python scikit-learn especially if it is a text-mining problem. For work outside Kaggle, data is often in a relational database so a good working knowledge of SQL is a must.
Kunal: Any special pre-processing / data cleansing exercise which you found immensely helpful? How much time do you spend on data-cleansing vs. choosing the right technique / algorithm?
Steve: Well, I start by simply familiarizing myself with the data. I plot histograms and scatter plots of the various variables and see how they are correlated with the dependent variable. I sometimes run an algorithm like GBM or Random Forest on all the variables simply to get a ranking of variable importance. I usually start very simple and work my way toward more complex if necessary. My first few submissions are usually just “baseline” submissions of extremely simple models – like “guess the average” or “guess the average segmented by variable X.” These are simply to establish what is possible with very simple models. You’d be surprised that you can sometimes come very close to the score of someone doing something very complex by just using a simple model.
A next step is to ask, “What should I actually be predicting?” This is an important step that is often missed by many – they just throw the raw dependent variable into their favorite algorithm and hope for the best. But sometimes you want to create a derived dependent variable. I’ll use the GE Flight Quest as an example – you don’t want to predict the actual time the airplane will land; you want to predict the length of the flight; and maybe the best way to do that is to use that ratio of how long the flight actually was to how long it was originally estimated to be and then multiply that times the original estimate.
I probably spend 50% of my time on data exploration and cleansing depending on the problem.
Kunal: Which algorithms have you used most commonly in your final submissions?
Steve: It really depends on the problem. I like to think of myself as a carpenter with a tool chest full of tools. An experienced carpenter looks at his project and picks out the right tools. Having said that, the algorithms that I get the most use out of are the old favourites: R’s GBM package (Generalized Boosted Regression Models), Random Forests, and Support Vector Machines.
Kunal: What are your views on traditional predictive modeling techniques like Regression, Decision tree?
Steve: I view them as tools in my tool chest. Sometimes simple regression is just the right tool for a problem, or regression used in an ensemble with a more complex algorithm.
Kunal: Which tools and techniques would you recommend an Analytics newbie to learn? Any specific recommendation for learning tools with big data capabilities?
Steve: I don’t know if I have a good answer for this question.
Kunal: I have been working in Analytics Industry for some time now, but am new to Kaggle. What would be your tips for someone like me to excel on this platform?
Steve: Here are some thoughts based on my experience:
Knowledge of statistics & machine learning is a necessary foundation. Without that foundation, a participant will not do very well. BUT what differentiates the top 10 in a contest from the rest of the pack is their creativity and intuition.
The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better prepared you are to solve a problem. If I only have a hammer in my toolbox, and you have a toolbox full of tools, you are probably going to build a better house than I am. Having said that, some people have a lot of tools in their toolbox, but they don’t know *when* to use *which* tool. I think knowing when to use which tool is very important. Some people get a bunch of tools in their toolbox, but then they just start randomly throwing a bunch of tools at their problem without asking, “Which tool is best suited for this problem?” The best way to learn this is
experience, and Kaggle provides a great platform for this.
Thanks Steve for sharing these nuggets of Gold. Really appreciated!If you like what you just read & want to continue your analytics learning, subscribe to our emails or like our
Image (background) source: theninjamarketingblog
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