Fintech leadership earns Bermuda tech event
Bermuda was chosen as the destination of a leading technology conference because of its lead position in the Caribbean region embracing fintech.
This is according to the founders of the TechBeach Retreat conference which has attracted a panel of world-class speakers to the island from internationally renowned corporations including Google and Forbes.
The conference, sponsored by the Bermuda Tourism Authority in partnership with the Bermuda Business Development Agency, takes place on October 17 and 18.
It comes following an invitation by Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, who spoke at a TechBeach Retreat hosted in Jamaica last year.
Among the 20-plus speakers this year are X Eyee, a blockchain ambassador for Google and John Koetsier, a technology executive and award-winning journalist at Forbes.
David Burt, the Premier, and Mr Caines, are also on the panel for the conference which is titled “Fintech: Innovation Island”.
Kirk Hamilton, Jamaican architectural designer turned entrepreneur who launched the TechBeach Retreat in Jamaica in 2016 with Kyle Maloney, a Trinidadian tech entrepreneur, told The Royal Gazette: “What is exciting for us about Bermuda is that in a Caribbean context Bermuda has shown itself as one of the most, if not the most, advanced territories when it comes to the Government's will towards this sector and its desire to shape successful outcomes from it for Bermudians.
“The Government makes clear that technology is the future and this is the direction we need to go in.
“Every business is having to evolve into some form of a technology business and the critical thing now is to find the intersection where Bermudians are actually the ones who are building the solutions that companies then have to buy and use.
“Given the Government's current posture, Bermuda has that potential to become a hub.
“You have to start at the beginning — Bermuda can not become Silicon Valley overnight. Patience and general understanding has to take place.”
Jeff Pulver, vice-chairman of blockchain communication company Skrumble, whose work contributed to applications such as Whatsapp and FaceTime being free, is also on the panel while Jack Darcy, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, is a former participant.
Mr Maloney and Mr Hamilton said that the retreat promises to deliver strategic collaborations, open dialogue and valuable networking opportunities between tech leaders and influencers.
They said that Ms Eyee will discuss her work in machine-learning fairness and biases in artificial intelligence adoption, and Mr Koetsier will talk about how the application FaceApp resulted in millions of users' data being used in perpetuity.
Mr Caines said that hearing from leading experts in technology spurred him to invite Mr Hamilton and Mr Maloney to bring their conference to Bermuda.
“It immediately occurred to me that with our new emerging fintech market, that we should create a similar event for Bermuda,” he said.
“When you consider our proximity to the US and our visitor demographic, I knew that the Bermuda Business Development Agency and Bermuda Tourism Authority working together could bring this very positive, powerful event to our island.
“TechBeach Bermuda is a win for all involved and I am glad we were successful bringing the event to Bermuda.”
The venue for the conference is the Hamilton and Beach Club and the event falls within Tech Week which takes place from October 14 to 18.
• Online registration is open at https://techbeach.net/pages/bermuda