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Tearsheet’s DataDay Conference Preview: Hossein Rahnama, Flybits

  • Flybits helps banks personalize their digital channels without the hassle of data wrangling.
  • CEO Hossein Rahnama will be speaking Tearsheet's DataDay Conference.
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Tearsheet’s DataDay Conference Preview: Hossein Rahnama, Flybits

Flybits‘ Hossein Rahnama is one of our speakers at DataDay, the first-of-its-kind conference on financial data. Consumer data, data ecosystems, and data aggregation is changing the face of modern financial services. Join Adam and speakers from Plaid, Wells Fargo, Fiserv, MX, Stash, and more. Secure your spot.

Genesis Story

The foundation for Flybits came from a research lab and Hossein’s PhD research, which was about understanding context in large data sets. “I spun that off about six years ago and now, Flybits is a venture backed company headquartered in Toronto with offices in New York, San Francisco, London and Dubai,” he said.

Flybits’ Hossein Rahnama

AI requires domain knowledge and the understanding of the context in which the technology finds itself. For example, it’s very hard for an AI engine to understand the needs of a parent when she’s at home versus that parent’s needs traveling across borders.

“You can train AI algorithms to understand and predict patterns but understanding that context and domain knowledge has always been an impediment,” he said.

What Flybits does

Hossein’s research brought context and the world of ontologies into the AI world and then applies them to digital channels. “Your context basically determines the behavior of the experience that you’ll see on a digital channel.”

Consumers have access to concierge services like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. But Rahnama believes the real question for banks is how to create concierge capabilities on their own channels. “Most of them want to keep their data but come up with predictive services on their own digital channels, personalizing services while keeping their customers’ data secure,” he said.

“They want to be a lifestyle concierge engine for their customers.”

According to Rahnama, Flybits simplifies data unification, aggregation and synthesis. Instead of expecting a bank to over-rely on their IT department, Flybits gives them tools so that product and marketing can focus on creating use cases.

“A common story we hear from digital executives is that 90 percent of their digital transformation budgets is spent on IT complexities, creating a challenge to bring these use cases to market,” he said. Flybits essentially empowers that digital executive to bring those creative use cases to market without having to worry about the underlying complexity.

How customers use Flybits

As of late 2019, the technology firm had 16 large banks around the world on its platform, including TD Bank.

Flybits created TD for Me for the bank’s mobile app. “Think about it as an embedded Siri on their app that can understand the needs of their customers and proactively provide relevant services, Rahnama said.

For example, if a customer’s mortgage is up for renewal in the next three months and she’s walking by a branch that has an available mortgage specialist, she receives a message on her device with an invitation to visit the branch to renew my mortgage.

If a customer commits to receiving services from TD, the bank can figure out if a customer is looking to purchase a new home. Then, at the right time and on the right channel, TD actually provides a pre-qualified mortgage offer based on the customer’s credit score and the type of house they’re looking to buy.

“TD partners with a lot of data providers in the community to provide great service to the customer. In a way, they’re becoming a Smart City provider and not just a financial services provider,” he said.

Hear from Flybits’ Hossein Rahnama, as well as executives from other leading financial data companies like Fiserv, MX, Plaid, Wells Fargo, and Envestnet I Yodlee. Get tickets here.

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