Conference Agenda

Funders Forum is the first conference organized for the small business finance industry, by the small business finance industry. The two-day program provides fellow funders, industry thought-leaders, and policymakers with the opportunity to discuss the most pressing issues facing the small business finance industry.
March 9, 2022

South Palm Court
Welcome to FundersForum! Kick off the conference with cocktails and bites on the South Palm Court.
  • Expansion Capital Group
  • Fundworks
  • CFG Merchant Solutions
  • Everest Business Funding
  • Forward Financing
  • NewCo

March 10, 2022

Grand Ballroom East

Grand Ballroom West

Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez 

Grand Ballroom West

Hear from a panel of influential leaders in alternative finance discuss the most important issues impacting the industry today. From regulation to financing, this panel will take a deep dive into insight gained over the last 2-years and their strategic vision for the future.

Moderated by Scott Crockett - Founder and CEO of Everest Business Funding

Scott Crockett is the founder and CEO of Everest Business Funding. He is a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in the finance industry. Mr. Crockett’s track record includes raising more than $500 million in capital and creating thousands of jobs. Scott has founded, built, and managed several finance companies in the consumer and commercial finance sectors.

Panelist Jeremy Brown - Chairman and Co-Founder of Rapid Finance

Jeremy is Chairman and co-founder of Rapid Finance, a fintech SME platform lender started in 2005.  Rapid has originated close to $3 billion for it’s own balance sheet, and over $300 billion on behalf of others through their LAAS (Lending as a Service) platform.  Jeremy holds a B.A. in Economics from Duke University.

Panelist Vincent Ney - President and CEO of Expansion Capital Group

Vincent Ney is the President and CEO of Expansion Capital Group (ECG), a small business lending firm specializing in innovative financial services for the small businesses community. Over the past 25 years, Vincent has been a leader in alternative financial services for both the consumer and commercial sectors. His companies have helped thousands of underbanked and underserved consumers and small businesses across the nation achieve financial success. Vincent specializes in Risk Management, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, and Credit, and has a proven record of success for building financial services businesses across the United States.


Panelist Bill Gallagher - President of CFGMS

Bill Gallagher has been the President of CFGMS since its inception in 2015. Prior to that, Bill was the Chief Credit Officer of CapFlow Funding, CFGMS’s factoring sister company, since 2009. Bill has held various senior-level Capital Markets and Investment Banking positions in the Institutional Fixed Income divisions of Lehman Brothers, and Barclays Capital. CFGMS was launched as a direct funder in 2015 to focus on providing efficient capital access to small businesses across the United States that have been historically underserved by traditional financing sources. Since inception, CFGMS and CapFlow Funding have provided over $1 billion in growth capital to small and medium-sized American businesses, while doing so at the very highest standards of industry best practices. Bill holds a BA in economics degree from Villanova University and currently resides in Northern New Jersey with his wife and four children.

Panelist Andrew Gutman

Grand Ballroom Foyer

Grand Ballroom West

It’s no secret, the funder-broker relationship is complex, but this panel of industry experts will offer prospective from both funders and brokers on how to build stronger partnerships moving forward.

Moderated by Justin Bakes - Co-founder and CEO of Forward Financing

Justin Bakes has nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is dedicated to helping more small business owners reach their full potential. Since he co-founded Forward Financing in 2012, the company has provided over $1.3 billion in funding to more than 33,000 small businesses nationwide. Forward Financing has been recognized by Inc. Magazine for each of the past five years as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the country and by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as the 2021 Small Business of the Year for Impact.

Panelist Jared Weitz - CEO and Founder of United Capital Source 

Jared Weitz is the CEO and founder of United Capital Source (UCS), one of the fastest-growing business financing brokerages in the nation. UCS believes that every business deserves the opportunity to expand to its highest potential and he is committed to supporting their cause. Jared entered the finance world as an underwriter in 2006 and quickly grew in the ranks through Business Development and then onto building out internal sales teams. He knew right away this was the industry he was meant to be a part of. In January of 2011 United Capital Source was born and is now one of the leading brokerages Nationwide not just helping all business owners but many underserved business owners, UCS, an online marketplace using in-house developed proprietary software FUNDIO (trademarked) which connects small to mid-sized businesses to various credit and lines of capital and equipment financing within 1-3 days through it’s algorithms and API connections to over 75 lenders nationwide  In 2020 UCS surpassed 1 billion dollars in brokered financing for over 25,000 clients nationwide. Through this work, Jared won the National Commercial Loan Broker of the year award in 2019 and UCS has been listed on the Inc5000 list twice in 2015 and in 2017, Jared was elected as one of LIBN’s 40 under 40 here on Long Island as well.

Panelist James Webster - CEO of ROK Financial

Long Island native James Webster is a serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of financial services industry experience. Having developed a strong work ethic early in life, he began managing various sales floors at 18 years old, amassing knowledge in small business financing and payment processing. He then went on to learn the different facets of the mortgage industry by working on the residential side until 2007. Three years later, his innovative thinking and passion for helping small business owners led James to serve as co-founder and CEO of National Business Capital in New York. Over the next 10 years, the company would be ranked among the Top Places to Work in Long Island, and his team would help to secure over $1 billion in financing for nearly 100,000 small businesses nationwide. Today, James is the Founder and CEO of ROK Financial; a New York-based financial lending institution focused on commercial capital and small business financing options. Launched in July 2020, ROK Financial took off at a lightning-fast pace, filling with immediate demand for commercial financing products ranging between $25,000 and $10 million. ROK offers a wide variety of products and services including SBA loans, equipment financing, small business term loans, and much more, with direct access to the top fintech and commercial lenders in the Nation. The team is currently averaging hundreds of transactions per month, resulting in tens of millions of dollars distributed to small businesses on a monthly basis. “Small businesses are the heartbeat of the nation and have shaped the country that we are today. We’re happy to see that our streamlined process, revolutionary technology, and knowledgeable team of experts are empowering them to create new opportunities to thrive,” says Webster. In the spring of 2021, James’ desire to help people compelled him to launch a new franchise-like arm of ROK—the Remote Sales and Education Platform—a model designed to create business opportunities for individuals. In addition to his role as CEO at ROK, James owns other businesses in Long Island as well as serving as co-chairman of the Small Business Financing Association Broker Council. 

Panelist Mark Cerminaro - CRO of Rapid Finance 

Mark Cerminaro is the Chief Revenue Officer at Rapid Finance overseeing revenue generating functions.  Mark has been in the industry since 2007and is a seasoned executive with experience in creating and evolving a company’s strategic vision and execution plan through various life cycle stages of growth. He is a highly analytical decision maker with extensive experience in driving integration between revenue generating functions, sales, marketing, business development and revenue management. Consistent track record in accelerating business growth and profit expansion by developing strategies and managing them to completion; assembling high performing teams, building an inclusive culture and leading businesses across a broad range of areas.

Panelist Reuven Mirlis - Founder and CEO of FinTap

Reuven founded FinTap (rebranded from RDM Capital Funding) at the end of 2015 with the vision of creating financing products designed to meet the capital needs of small businesses more effectively. FinTap provides capital to small businesses throughout the United States. FinTap’s mission is to provide quick and efficient working capital for small businesses and create a positive customer experience. As CEO of FinTap, he is responsible for all facets of the business including setting the vision and direction of the company. Reuven’s strong leadership, unique sense of intuition and resourcefulness fuels his relentless desire to continue to grow the company and the impact it brings to underserved merchants in the United States. Reuven has over a decade of experience in finance and is an early-stage tech investor. He started his career at Chimera Securities, a proprietary trading firm, and at 19 years old was the youngest trader on the floor. Reuven graduated with a B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson with honors. Reuven is a New Jersey native and splits his time between New Jersey and Florida. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as watching sports, going snowboarding, and reading. Additionally, he has a strong interest in economics, history, and geopolitics.

Grand Ballroom West

A flood of new laws and regulations are coming, are you prepared? This panel of top former regulators and nationally recognized legal experts will discuss the latest developments and how to focus your company on compliance.

Moderated by Steve Denis - Executive Director of the Small Business Finance Association

Steve is the Executive Director of the Small Business Finance Association, a non-profit advocacy representing the non-bank alternative finance industry. The SBFA’s mission is to educate policymakers and regulators about the technology-driven platforms emerging in the small business lending market and how member companies bridge the small business capital gap using innovative financing solutions. Steve has 17 years of experience working in public affairs in both Congress and private sector. Previously, Mr. Denis served as the Staff Director of the Small Business Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has held senior aide positions in both the House and Senate working on the front-lines of public policy, with a focus on financial services, technology, and international relations.


Panelist Andrew Smith - Partner at Covington & Burling

Andrew Smith is a partner in the Washington DC office of Covington & Burling. He advises clients on retail financial services, data protection, advertising and consumer protection, technology, credit reporting, and e-commerce issues, and regularly represents clients before federal and state agencies—particularly the FTC and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—in law enforcement and rulemaking proceedings. Andrew is recognized as a leading expert on retail financial services. He is a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers, and a former Chairman of the American Bar Association Committee on Consumer Financial Services. From 2018 to 2021, Andrew served as Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where he was in charge of enforcing privacy, data security, financial services, and marketing laws and regulations across a broad range of areas, including fair lending, technology platforms, digital advertising, payments, telemarketing, lead generation, affiliate marketing, consumer reporting, and small business financing.


Panelist Kate Fisher - Partner at Hudson Cook, LLP

Kate is a partner in Hudson Cook, LLP's Maryland office and co-chair of the firm's Business Funding practice group. Her practice focuses on the areas of Consumer Financial Services and Small Business Financing. Kate represents banks, finance companies, private equity and investment bank investors, merchant cash advance companies, and small business lenders establishing new programs and products, and conducts due diligence and compliance reviews of consumer lending and business financing portfolios. Kate's practice also includes assisting clients with compliance with state and federal consumer protection and related laws as they develop and maintain mortgage lending, automobile finance and other credit programs. Kate has testified before the United States House of Representatives Small Business Subcommittee regarding improving small business capital access, before the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee and Senate Finance Committee regarding proposed bills to regulate sales-based business financing transactions, and has appeared several times before the California legislature and New Jersey Senate Committee on Commerce regarding proposed disclosures for business finance transactions. Kate is a founding member of the Alternative Finance Bar Association, an organization of attorneys who represent merchant cash advance companies and lenders providing financing to small businesses. She is recognized by Best Lawyers 2022 in Financial Services Regulation Law and is a member of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers.


Panelist Scott Pearson - Parter at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Scott M. Pearson focuses his practice on the defense of regulatory enforcement actions and class actions, other complex business litigation, and regulatory compliance counseling. Martindale-Hubbell rates Scott “at the highest level of professional excellence.” He has been called “a true expert in complex litigation and consumer class actions” and “a no-nonsense bulldog lawyer who is highly respected by his peers and the judiciary.” In March 2018, Scott was named a BTI Client Service All-Star for "delivering the absolute best client service” based on a national survey of in-house counsel. Prominent companies regularly entrust Scott with the handling of matters with bet-the-company exposure or extreme complexity, such as overlapping claims being pursued simultaneously in multiple jurisdictions by federal regulators, state regulators and Attorneys General, and class action plaintiffs.  He also serves as a trusted strategic business advisor, drawing on more than twenty-five years of experience. Scott is well-known in the merchant cash advance space, having defended the seminal Bistro Executive and Clark class actions that sought to recharacterize MCAs as disguised usurious loans in the early days of the product.  Since that time, Scott has become a go-to compliance and enforcement lawyer for MCA companies, drafting properly structured agreements and developing compliance programs needed to mitigate regulatory risks.  He represents the leading trade associations focused on alternative small business finance, as well as most of the larger players in the industry.  He also has substantial experience advising on small business loans and other commercial finance products.


Panelist Jan Owen - Senior Advisor at Manatt Financial Services Group

Jan Owen is a senior advisor in the Manatt Financial Services group, and is  based in the Sacramento office. Her practice includes a wide range of oversight work including accountancy,  assets recovery, auditing, banking, benefits administration, corporate  governance counseling, strategic planning, public policy review and analysis, regulatory representation, budget preparation and financial reporting. With her  deep understanding of regulatory issues, Jan provides innovative, practical and  commonsense solutions. Her clients include major banks and consumer  financial institutions, fintech startups, blockchain and cryptocurrency companies,  cannabis owners and operators, and technology companies.Prior to joining Manatt, Jan was the first and longstanding Commissioner of  California’s Department of Business Oversight (from 2013 to 2019), now known  as the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI), the state’s  financial regulator. She regularly counsels her clients on strategic approaches in  response to DFPI and other financial services regulatory inquiries and  investigations, and can appear in front all state and federal regulators on her clients’ behalf. Prior to that, she served as Commissioner of the California Department of Corporations. Before serving  in these significant public roles, Jan worked at a leading investment banking firm, one of the world’s  leading consumer products companies, and at her own consulting firm. Jan is a frequent speaker and author on topics relating to regulatory and consumer protection  developments for California and other states nationwide. She has been extensively quoted by national  publications such as American Banker and Bloomberg Law.

Grand Ballroom East

Lunch Speaker Congressman Andy Barr

Andy Barr has served as the U.S. Congressman for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District since January of 2013.  Congressman Barr is a senior Member of the House Financial Services Committee and is Ranking Member of the National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy.  In the 117th Congress, Congressman Barr also began serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and serves on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Barr has fought to deliver resources to frontline healthcare heroes, small businesses, workers and families throughout Kentucky.  Congressman Barr helped craft and supported five bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages.  Additionally, Congressman Barr helped devise the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), delivering over $1 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses and keeping paychecks flowing to thousands of workers and their families in the Sixth District.

In the 116th Congress, Congressman Barr served on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC).  During his time on HVAC, Congressman Barr led amendments to passage expanding access for student veterans to the Edith Nourse Rogers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholarship as part of the Forever GI Bill.  Congressman Barr also worked to reduce veterans’ suicide by advocating for a historic expansion of equine assisted therapy (EAT) as an innovative therapy for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other invisible wounds of war.

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic in meeting with constituents face-to-face, Congressman Barr remains committed to his Accessibility Initiative.  Congressman Barr created several constituent coalitions, such as the Sixth District Veterans Coalition and the Recovery Working Group focused on finding solutions that will help Kentucky’s veterans and combat the ongoing drug epidemic.

Congressman Barr is also focused on strengthening Kentucky’s signature bourbon, equine, coal, agriculture and manufacturing industries, and serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Horse and Bourbon Caucus’.  In 2020, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, championed by Congressman Barr was signed into law by President Trump.  This represented the most transformational and consequential reform of the thoroughbred horseracing industry since enactment of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 and solidifies the industry for decades to come.

Congressman Barr graduated from Lexington's Henry Clay High School in 1992, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1996, and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky in 2001.

Additionally, Congressman Barr is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Lexington and has served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and President of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky.

He and his late wife, Carol, have two daughters, Eleanor and Mary Clay.

Grand Ballroom West

Kevin O'Leary - Speakers
Investor on ABC's Shark Tank, Chairman of O'Leary Financial Group & Bestselling Author
The son of a United Nations ILO official, Kevin O'Leary had the opportunity to be educated in Cambodia, Cyprus, Tunisia, Ethiopia, France, and Switzerland. Kevin attended the University of Waterloo, in 1977, receiving an Honors bachelor’s degree in environmental studies & Psychology, in 1980 received his MBA from Ivey Business School.

After briefly working at Nabisco Brands, he pursued a career in television production & became a founding partner in Special Event Television, which produced programming such as The Original Six, Don Cherry’s Grapevine, and Bobby Orr and the Hockey Legends.

Kevin co-founded SoftKey Software in 1986, the 1st software company to apply the principles of consumer goods marketing to the software industry. In January of 1994, SoftKey became a catalyst of consolidation in the software industry, raising over $ 1 billion in a series of debt & equity financings & completing the first trans-border three-way pooling, merging with Spinnaker Software & WordStar International. In 1995, SoftKey acquired Compton’s New Media & The Learning Company. In 1996, SoftKey completed the acquisition of Minnesota Educational Computer Company. In 1997-1998, SoftKey acquired Creative Wonders, Mindscape and Broderbund making it the world leader in the development of educational, reference & home productivity software & the world’s second largest consumer software company with annual sales over $800 million, two thousand employees & subsidiaries in 15 countries. In 1996 SoftKey became The Learning Company. In May 1999, The Mattel Toy Company acquired The Learning Company for $4.2 billion.

In July of 2007 Kevin became a founding SPAC investor & Director of Stream Global Services Inc., focused on the growing outsourcing business services market.

Kevin O’Leary is the Chairman of O’Shares ETF Investments & Beanstox, an automated internet-based investment advisory service. He holds investments in over 30 private venture companies. He is a member of Boston’s 120-year-old Hamilton Trust, the oldest investment club in the US. He is a contributor to CNBC, ABC News and Good Morning & an entrepreneur/investor co-host for the Discovery Channel’s Project Earth series. He is also an investor/host of ABC Television’s four-time Emmy Award-winning venture capital reality programs Shark Tank & Beyond the Tank, produced by MGM//Sony/ABC.

Kevin O’Leary is an active photographer, watch collector, guitarist and author of three number #1 best best-selling book

Grand Ballroom Foyer

Grand Ballroom West

From Washington, DC to state capitals around the country, the alternative finance industry has fully engaged in the political ecosystem. Hear from leading federal, state lobbyists and important trade groups how the industry can grow our political influence.

Moderated by Danny Pfeifer - Founder and Managing Principal of CATALYST

Danny Pfeifer is a nationally-recognized government affairs strategist and consultant.  He is the founder and managing principal of CATALYST, one of the nation’s leading multi-state lobbying firms. CATALYST has attracted a Fortune 500 and blue-chip client base by fully integrating with its clients and quickly adapting to the rapidly changing environments they face, specifically new or antiquated federal and state regulations that impact private sector innovation at the expense of consumers. CATALYST represents clients that are producing large-scale disruptions in their industries and emerging businesses facing regulatory challenges and marketplace entry barriers. Since founding CATALYST over 14 years ago, Pfeifer has created a dynamic and fast-growing government affairs practice, evolving quickly to his clients’ needs in the innovation economy.  Founded in Pfeifer’s home state of Missouri, CATALYST quickly became one of the largest firms in the state. Pfeifer’s ability to engage with clients at an executive level has made him one of the most sought after government affairs specialists, providing strategic counsel in the boardroom that will impact public policy in the halls of state capitols, influence outcomes in the regulatory sphere and inform decisions in the political trenches.  With his years of experience in managing complex government affairs, Pfeifer is a strategic partner for his clients, evaluating challenges, identifying opportunities, and offering solutions to help them accomplish their goals. Pfeifer’s strategic drive and experience has been a magnet for Silicon Valley based businesses, especially high-tech entrepreneurs embracing new technology to drive changes in their own industries such as electric vehicles, mobile-app-based transportation networks, fantasy sports, online financial services and more. Pfeifer has a reputation for helping deliver desired outcomes, shaping public opinions, mobilizing influencers to shape decisions and designing effective political strategies that result in positive results for his clients. Before founding CATALYST, Pfeifer worked at the highest levels of national and state politics, serving as a senior advisor to high profile elected officials and political campaigns including candidates for U.S. Senate and attorney general, as well as several presidential candidates.  Through these leadership opportunities and experiences, Pfeifer developed unique skills and cultivated a vast network of relationships. Pfeifer is an active leader in his community.  For six years running, he chaired highly-successful events for Hope House in Kansas City, helping the organization raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help women and children who are victims of domestic violence.  He actively supports Higher M-Pact, which helps young people in high-risk urban communities, and San Jorge Children's Hospital, which is enhancing the quality of life for children with special needs and difficult medical conditions in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Pfeifer received his degree in finance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Bloch School of Business.


Panelist Dan Gans - Founder and Managing Principal of Polaris Consulting, LLC

Dan Gans is the founder and managing principal of Polaris Consulting, LLC. Prior to establishing Polaris, Dan managed the Telecommunications, Technology and Energy practice at a top 20 lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. for three years. Under Dan’s stewardship, Polaris Government Relations has quickly become one of the most in demand boutique lobbying firms in Washington. Dan in an expert in fintech policy and works closely with the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs. Dan is an eleven-year veteran of Capitol Hill. Most recently, Dan served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Bob Riley (R-AL). In addition to serving as Riley’s Chief of Staff, Gans was also a Senior Advisor (in a volunteer capacity) to Riley’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2002. Dan worked with the campaign General Consultant to develop and implement a successful media, grass roots, and fundraising plan. As Chief of Staff, Dan served as Congressman Riley’s principal strategist and advisor on all legislative and political matters including the Congressman’s work on the Financial Services, Armed Services and Agriculture Committees. Dan’s responsibilities included oversight and management of the Washington, D.C. and Alabama offices. Dan also served as the Congressman’s liaison to House leadership and the Republican Study Committee. During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Gans was recognized by The Wall Street Journal for designing a state-of-the-art interactive Congressional website that implemented an e-video communication platform. Bob Riley was the first Member of Congress to communicate with his constituents using video email technology. It was no surprise that Campaigns and Elections magazine cited Bob Riley’s campaign website as one of the best in the country and critical to his election success in 2002. Dan has been a regular speaker on internet communication and e-strategy for the House Republican Conference. Dan also held a Department of Defense security clearance, which he was required to have in order to handle Riley’s work on the House Armed Services Committee.


Panelist Brian Simon - Founder and Managing Partner at Hollis Public Affairs 

As Founder and Managing Partner at Hollis Public Affairs, Brian works closely  with clients from across the board in health care, financial services, infrastructure, tourism, technology, education and Native American tribes to identify, develop, and capture opportunities, as well as providing legislative and regulatory guidance. He brings decades of experience in shepherding and overseeing public and private projects that impact capital and social infrastructure ranging from medium-to-large-scale economic development deals. As the former Director of Government & Community Relations at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Brian oversaw and facilitated significant developments through project review and construction. While at the Port Authority, he also managed the Office of Strategic Planning & Analysis, where he worked closely with the Executive Chamber to advance critical transportation infrastructure policy aligned with a transit-oriented development agenda within the Port Authority. Brian also served as senior staff in the United States Congress, including roles as Deputy State Director to US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Executive Director to Congressman Gregory Meeks. In 2004, he was tapped by Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign to serve as its national Deputy Director for African-American Affairs.


Panelist Scott Talbott - SVP of Government Affairs at the Electronic Transactions Association 

Scott Talbott is Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) in Washington, D.C. and is responsible for its governmental strategies, and directing ETA’s all of policy and advocacy efforts at the federal, state and international levels. Talbott has over twenty-five years of experience advocating for the financial services and FinTech industries.  He has received numerous accolades in his tenure, including being named a top lobbyist by The Hill in from 2009 thru 2021 as well as a “winner” for his work during the economic collapse of 2008 by Washingtonian magazine. In 2010, he appeared in the Oscar-winning film “Inside Job.” Once named NPR’s favorite bank lobbyist and the voice of the financial services industry, he frequently testifies before Congress and is a regular contributor to both national and international media. Talbott received his B.A. from Georgetown University, cum laude, and his J.D. from George Mason University School of Law.


Panelist Deveron Gibbons - Executive Director of the Revenue Based Finance Coalition 

For more than 25 years, Deveron M. Gibbons has served as a strategic and tactical business leader, an advisor and counselor to governors, legislators and congressional representatives and as a passionate community advocate for the city of St. Petersburg. In his professional capacity, Deveron leads the day-to-day operations of Amscot Financial’s Public Affairs Department, representing the company before local, state and national elected officials. His role as a trusted advisor to elected officials has given Deveron the opportunity to help shape the laws and the regulations that govern the financial services industry, creating an environment that both protects consumers and establishes a level playing field in which competitors can operate fairly. Additionally, this role makes Deveron an indispensable advisor to the national trade associations for the financial services industry. Deveron joined Amscot in 2004 after working as a lobbyist for Holland & Knight’s Tallahassee office and soon took over responsibility for growing Amscot’s bill-pay business. Amscot serves more than 3 million unique customers a month, and many of them utilize Amscot as their connection to pay their monthly water, electric and cable television bills. Over the years, Deveron has developed direct relationships between Amscot and hundreds of utilities across the state of Florida and today, Amscot’s bill-pay category generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Deveron’s track record and connections to both business leaders and community leaders in Florida make him a go-to source for advice and counsel from elected officials across the state and throughout the country. Deveron understands the challenges and opportunities facing elected officials and political candidates, having made a strong bid in the 2009 mayoral race in St. Petersburg. Deveron’s devotion to St. Petersburg is rooted in his upbringing. He was reared in St. Petersburg’s Midtown community as the son of a teacher and a church pastor. A football standout in high school, Deveron played football while attending the University of Florida. Friends told Deveron, as he was preparing to leave for Gainesville, “Goodbye Deveron. We’ll never see you again.” Deveron prom- ised them then that he would one day return to Midtown and make it his home. Deveron made good on his promise and today lives just a few blocks from the home where he was reared. He continues to live up to his promise to make St. Petersburg his home. In 2006, Deveron received a gubernatorial appointment to the St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees. He has been subsequently reappointed twice by Gov. Rick Scott and by Gov. Ron DeSantis. In 2016, Deveron earned a juris doctorate degree from the Florida A&M College of Law in Orlando. In 2018, he was awarded a master’s of business administration degree from Florida A&M University and he also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Florida. Deveron lives in St. Petersburg with his family.

Grand Ballroom West

The small business finance market has bounced back in a big way. This panel of influential funds and credit providers will discuss the state of play and financing options available for companies as we continue to recover from the pandemic.

Moderated by Sol Lax - CEO of Pearl Capital Business Funding, LLC

Solomon Lax served as Chief Executive Officer at Pearl Capital Business Funding, LLC. since 2015. His 15 years of experience as a venture capitalist and investment banker include bridge and venture debt financing, restructuring, distressed company investment, and mergers and acquisitions. Sol was a general partner of CS Capital Partners LLC, an early stage venture fund, and a board member of several portfolio companies. 


Panelist Prath Reddy - President of Percent 

Prath Reddy is the President of Percent, where he is responsible for the firm’s securities business that focuses on originating, structuring and executing debt securities for a variety of companies within the private credit market leveraging Percent’s technology platform. He has over 12 years of experience in financial services, primarily within investment banking. Prior to joining Percent, Prath was a Director at UBS Investment Bank within their debt capital markets group based in New York. He has executed numerous fixed-income securities for both public and private corporations across various sectors and markets during his career. Prath received a BS in Business Administration with a Finance concentration from Northeastern University and is a CFA® charterholder.


Panelist David Goldin - Head of Originations at Lender Capital Partners + Founder & CEO of Capify

David is a proven entrepreneur and a “founding father” of the alternative financing / merchant cash advance industry to small businesses which he was one of the original entrants by starting AmeriMerchant in 2002 (which was later rebranded in 2015 to Capify globally). David is Head of Originations at Lender Capital Partners (LCP) –Lender Capital Partners provides capital to commercial funding companies, particularly in the merchant cash advance / alternative business loan space in the form of credit facilities, forward flow / whole loan purchase programs and participations / syndications. The company is a division of a seasoned specialty finance group that has provided extensive financing(s) in the specialty finance space with a proven track record.  LCP has the subject matter expertise of the MCA / alternative business loan industry that is second to none in the industry based on the cumulative years of experience of the team members in the MCA industry. In addition to his role at LCP, David is the Founder & CEO of Capify, an alternative lender in the UK / Australia markets.  David created a network of MCA / alternative finance companies that were among the first in their industry to operate in their respective countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia). He created these companies originally with a $75,000 investment and scaled it to a $55 million company with 225 employees.  At the beginning of 2017, Capify exited its US business to a competitor in order to focus on its Australia and UK businesses.   Founded in 2008, Capify Australia and Capify UK were one of the first MCA providers / alternative small business lenders in their respective markets and provide business loans and merchant cash advances in these respective countries.  Capify utilizes a credit facility provided by Goldman Sachs. David is a global small business alternative lending industry expert with over 20 years experience who has been featured in numerous media outlets including Bloomberg TV, New York Times, Wall Street Journal,  Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, MSNBC, Fox Business, SkyBusiness, and Business Week, amongst others. David is also one of the primary founders and was the former President of the Small Business Finance Association (SBFA), formerly known as the North American Merchant Advance Association (NAMAA), a non-profit trade association for the US-based business alternative financing industry. Prior to founding Capify, David was a co-founder of an Internet development company in the mid-90s, that he successfully built from 3 to 50 employees and which he sold to a multi-billion dollar publicly traded telecommunications company.


Panelist Peter McNierney - Executive Managing Director of Brean Capital

Mr. McNierney is an Executive Managing Director of Brean Capital and a member of the firm’s Operating Committee. Mr. McNierney previously was President & Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Gleacher & Company, Inc. Prior to that, he was CEO and Head of Investment Banking for Broadpoint, the predecessor of Gleacher & Company. Earlier in his career, he was a Managing Director in the investment banking group at Robertson Stephens & Company and a Vice President in the Healthcare investment banking group at Smith Barney. During his 25+ year career, Mr. McNierney has been involved in several hundred equity and debt public offerings, private placements and merger & acquisition and strategic advisory assignments for public and private companies in a diverse range of industries. Mr. McNierney obtained his BA and JD/MBA from The University of Texas at Austin.


Panelist Victor Dupont

Grand Ballroom Foyer

Grand Ballroom West

Building your brand on social media isn’t just for millennials and D-list celebrities. Learn how industry leaders are leveraging their network online to grow their influence and develop more business.

Moderated by Shawn Smith - Chairman and CEO of Dedicated Financial GBC

Shawn Smith is chairman and CEO of Dedicated Financial GBC. When Shawn founded the company in 2015, his vision was to create a new kind of commercial loan portfolio management company, combining both a new model of connecting on a personal level with those in financial trouble and a new corporate philanthropy model. Under his leadership, the company has grown by 50% or more every year since its inception. For its revolutionary approach, Dedicated has been rewarded both with strong team member loyalty and a solid client base of like-minded companies. Shawn created a model of philanthropy that leverages the resources of Dedicated Financial GBC to improve communities around the world, donating both money and time to help nonprofits achieve their missions. Shawn and his wife, Stephanie, have focused their personal philanthropy on children's health and well-being, education, hunger, and other social issues. In addition, Shawn is the Executive Director of the Jenika Francois Foundation, which partners with nonprofits that help mend broken spirits, heal mental and physical pain, and help children and families to flourish on their own. Shawn believes that businesses have the greatest opportunity to change the world and Dedicated is taking steps to prove that. He has embraced a multi-stakeholder approach to leadership, serving all stakeholders including clients, team members, business partners, and communities-to make the world a better place. Shawn also inspires fellow business leaders to do the same by sponsoring client service trips to underdeveloped countries and ensuring that, at Dedicated Financial GBC, men and women are paid equally for comparable work. Shawn is a 20-year veteran of the financial services industry. Prior to launching Dedicated Financial GBC, he worked at various companies where team members were devalued and unappreciated, thus fueling his passion for justice and equality in business as well as in life.


Panelist Matthew Washington - Founder and CEO of Moneywell GRP

Mathew grew up in the San Francisco Bay area where his mother raised four kids by herself. Growing up in a single family home taught him how to work hard and to overcome obstacles. He was always breaking the rules, challenging authority and asking questions, which has made him into the leader that he is today. At the age of 17, he dropped out of High School and started selling cars to help his mother. Since 2009, Matthew has been in the commercial finance space, lending working capital to the small business community nationwide. He has also helped build one of the fastest growing direct lenders in the nation, PIRS Capital LLC, where he was the Chief Revenue Officer for eight years. Through his network, he has successfully been the center of over $700MM in business funding issued to small business owners across all 50 States. Matthew believes in helping those in need through an organization called World Vision, which is a platform where he is the sponsor of several kids across the globe, helping provide them with shelter, proper nutrition and education. Matthew is a master at building relationships & his main focus is making sure those relationships maximize their opportunity, stay in place for a lifetime & are unbreakable.


Panelist Jennie Villano - Senior ISO Manager at NewCo Capital Group

Jennie Villano has maintained key roles in the Alternative Financing space for the better part of a decade. As a Sr. ISO Manager with NewCo Capital Group, Jennie has a strong following and presence across social media which she has leveraged to promote and grow her brand and audience. In addition to being a featured speaker at the Funders Forum, Jennie has also been a featured speaker at DeBanked and the Brokers Fairs in New York, California and Miami.


Panelist James Webster - CEO of ROK Financial

Long Island native James Webster is a serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of financial services industry experience. Having developed a strong work ethic early in life, he began managing various sales floors at 18 years old, amassing knowledge in small business financing and payment processing. He then went on to learn the different facets of the mortgage industry by working on the residential side until 2007. Three years later, his innovative thinking and passion for helping small business owners led James to serve as co-founder and CEO of National Business Capital in New York. Over the next 10 years, the company would be ranked among the Top Places to Work in Long Island, and his team would help to secure over $1 billion in financing for nearly 100,000 small businesses nationwide. Today, James is the Founder and CEO of ROK Financial; a New York-based financial lending institution focused on commercial capital and small business financing options. Launched in July 2020, ROK Financial took off at a lightning-fast pace, filling with immediate demand for commercial financing products ranging between $25,000 and $10 million. ROK offers a wide variety of products and services including SBA loans, equipment financing, small business term loans, and much more, with direct access to the top fintech and commercial lenders in the Nation. The team is currently averaging hundreds of transactions per month, resulting in tens of millions of dollars distributed to small businesses on a monthly basis. “Small businesses are the heartbeat of the nation and have shaped the country that we are today. We’re happy to see that our streamlined process, revolutionary technology, and knowledgeable team of experts are empowering them to create new opportunities to thrive,” says Webster. In the spring of 2021, James’ desire to help people compelled him to launch a new franchise-like arm of ROK—the Remote Sales and Education Platform—a model designed to create business opportunities for individuals. In addition to his role as CEO at ROK, James owns other businesses in Long Island as well as serving as co-chairman of the Small Business Financing Association Broker Council. 


Panelist Amanda Kingsley - Founder of The Confident Broker

Amanda Kingsley is the Founder and Ringleader of The Confident Broker (tcB), a professional network and validated connection tool for Brokers in the Alternative Finance Industry. The tcB Network applies standard and basic compliance procedures for direct financing institutions with wholesale departments. For almost a decade, Amanda has navigated the online business development ecosystem and kept her ears to the industry and voice to the ever-growing market. Her goal is to bring together the influence needed to succeed in being the voice for small business financing. 

At your own discretion

Hop aboard the South Beach Lady for a cruise along the iconic Intracoastal Waterway departing from the Diplomat Dock at 6:00 PM, returning at 8:15 PM and ending at 9:00 PM.

March 11, 2022

Grand Ballroom East

Grand Ballroom West

A rise in fraudulent activity across the industry has put pressure on companies to increase their preparation and response. This panel will discuss the fraud and data security issues they see daily and the best way to protect their companies.

Panelist Jesse Carlson - Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Kapitus

Jesse is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Kapitus. Prior to joining Kapitus in June of 2017, he served as Counsel in the Professional Liability & Financial Crimes Section of the FDIC’s Legal Division and practiced at Williams & Connolly LLP, where he focused on complex financial services, litigation and professional liability litigation. He also served as the Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and his undergraduate degree from Colby College.


Panelist Matt DeLoca - VP of Sales at Truepic

Matt has 30 years of experience in technology sales and marketing, spanning roles at both public and private companies. He started his career at Apple, in the media and entertainment sales division. It was this experience in digital content solutions that led him to join growth teams at several venture-backed software companies, including Virage, The FeedRoom, and Smartling. Matt joined Truepic in October 2021, following the company’s Series B funding led by Microsoft, Adobe, Hearst, and Sony. He is expanding the sales team to drive growth with enterprise customers and move into new markets. Matt has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and is a long-time resident of Short Hills, NJ.


Panelist Dan Taylor - VP of Compliance and Data Assurance at CFG Merchant Solutions

Dan Taylor is Vice President of Compliance and Data Assurance at CFG Merchant Solutions, where he is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and data integrity across all lines of business. As a long time business consultant and two time CIO he understands the data integrity, fraud and compliance challenges organizations face every day. Dan has spent a number of years traveling the globe assisting clients in the telecom, smart energy, and banking sectors build data and compliance solutions to address the risks and regulations businesses find themselves confronted with.   Prior to joining CFGMS, Dan ran the Synopsys application and data security service which was ranked by Gartner as number one for five years running. His work has assisted numerous companies across the globe, including Fannie Mae, FINRA, Morgan Guaranty Bank, TD Ameritrade, FICO, Hongkong Telecom, Teleglobe, and AT&T. Dan has a Bachelors in Quantitatively Analysis from Clark University and a Masters in Finance from Rutgers University.  In addition, he holds CISA, CSM, PMP and AWS Professional certifications.


Panelist Jonathon Nelson - General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Dedicated Financial GBC

Jonathon Nelson is an attorney licensed to practice in Minnesota and Utah. Jonathon currently serves as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Dedicated Financial GBC, a company that views debt collection as a force for good. In that role, he advises Dedicated’s various business lines and executive management, in addition to working with his Legal Path Team to ensure that Dedicated’s clients achieve the best possible outcomes in state, federal, and bankruptcy court litigation. Prior to joining Dedicated, Jonathon represented creditors in courts in Minnesota and Utah, litigating from commencement to trial to full satisfaction of judgment. While the focus of his practice was commercial creditor litigation, he also assisted consumer creditors with litigation matters, and assisted businesses with transactional matters. Jonathon formerly worked in the Legal Department of Polaris, Inc., handling with litigation management and compliance matters, and in a Nonprofit Organizations Clinic, helping to create and manage organizations that sought to change the world.


Panelist Preston Neel - Partner at Bradley

Preston Neel provides litigation and regulatory compliance assistance to financial services clients across the country. He is one of a small number of lawyers who has earned an Accredited Mortgage Professional designation through the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). With respect to litigation, Preston primarily represents clients in the residential mortgage space, including forward and reverse mortgage investors, originators and servicers. He has litigated cases involving a wide array of state, federal, and statutory law claims, including claims related to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the Telephone Collection Practices Act (TCPA), bankruptcy discharge violations, and state consumer protection violations. On the compliance side, Preston has assisted several clients with bringing their operations into compliance with various obligations imposed on them by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (FRB), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and a host of state banking regulators and court systems. In this capacity he has managed examinations, including CFPB supervisory exams, and served as in-house counsel for several financial services companies supporting internal business units, managing and responding to information requests, self-disclosing issues to state and federal examiners, and working with examiners during on-site reviews. Preston also provides compliance support for securities-based mortgage lenders and mortgage issues involving estates, probate and trusts. Preston is licensed to practice in Alabama and Texas. He is also licensed as an inactive Certified Public Accountant in those states. Prior to law school, he worked in the areas of audit and attestation for Arthur Anderson, LLP and KPMG, LLP and as a financial analyst for J.P. Morgan. Preston leverages his previous experience as a practicing CPA to deliver a business-driven approach to the law.

Grand Ballroom Foyer

Grand Ballroom West

Regulatory, political, and pressure from the media has motivated companies to examine their relationship with other industry partners. Experts on this panel will discuss the impact of outside pressure and how companies are adapting their internal onboarding process for the future.

Moderated by Josh Novotney


Panelist Tim Mages - CFO of Expansion Capital Group 

Tim Mages is an experienced Chief Financial Officer with a demonstrated history of working with middle market growth companies. He has a strong strategic financial background in financial reporting, insurance, banking, capital/asset management, and capital markets. He also has experience with private equity and family office equity investors.


Panelist Heather Francis - CEO and Founder of Elevate Funding

Mrs. Francis has over 15 years of experience operating in the finance sector, Seven of those at the helm of her company, Elevate Funding. An acknowledged thought-leader in the Alternative Finance Industry, she is routinely consulted on trending topics in banking and payments. Heather leads Elevate Funding with the mission to provide business owners with financial products using the cash underwriting model to service the underserved subprime market.  Under Heather’s leadership; Elevate Funding has made great strides to provide top notch customer service, business products, and transparency to a subprime market. Heather serves on the board for the Small Business Finance Association, of which she has been a part of since 2009 as continued efforts to operate Elevate Funding under the best business practices set forth by the association. 


Panelist Robert Kleiber - Chief Operating and Financial Officer for The LCF Group

Robert Kleiber is currently serving as Chief Operating and Financial Officer for The LCF Group. In this capacity, Rob is responsible for overall cooperate strategy, sales and operations. Coming from a background of Consumer Banking, Rob had spent over 20 years with Citibank North America, and served as their National Segment Head of Small Business Banking from 2014 to 2016. From there, Rob moved into the world of Fintech, taking on the roles of Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer at Biz2Credit. While at B2C, his focus was on growing their SAAS business, Biz2X in various geographies across the globe. Rob joined the LCF Group in Lake Success NY in June of 2020 with a task of strengthening processes, improving our networks and ISO relations and also building a stronger direct sales channel. Since joining, LCF has more than doubled in size, and is now funding merchants fully across the credit spectrum.


Panelist Alexis Shapiro

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