Christian Duffus

Co-Founder of LEAF College Savings / FinTech Entrepreneur

FinTech Entrepreneur: Innovating the next generation of finance and technology.

Call Rates

Duration Price
15 minutes $50.00
30 minutes $100.00
60 minutes $200.00

Tags

FinTech Bitcoin Blockchain Financial Services Education Technology Student Lending Education Finance Wireless Spectrum Internet Marketplaces eCommerce Business Modeling Financial Analysis Regulatory Strategy Business Strategy Growth Strategy Sales Strategy Venture Capital Private Equity Mergers & Acquisitions Patents IP Strategy

Biography

Christian L. Duffus (“Chris”) is serial entrepreneur and innovator. Chris is currently a co-founder of LEAF College Savings, LLC (“LEAF”). LEAF is the leading employee benefit marketplace for 529 college savings. This platform is utilized by companies and benefits exchange platforms to allow employees to contribute to 529 college savings plans as a direct deposit employee benefit, making saving for college through an employer like a 401k or HSA. 

Previously, Chris was Vice President of Finance and Corporate Development for Spectrum Bridge, Inc. ("SBI"); the leading wireless networking company in the emerging TV White Space market, where he was responsible for all financial and strategic matters.

Prior to his position at SBI, Chris was the deputy CEO of Finance and Administration for the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee (“DNCC”) in Denver Colorado, where he was responsible for a budget of more than $100 million.  

Before joining the DNCC, Chris was Vice President of Finance and Corporate Development for M2Z Networks, a development stage entity formed to acquire AWS-3 spectrum (2155-2180 MHz) for use in a nationwide wireless broadband network.

Formerly, he served as the CFO and a managing principal for Govolution, Inc. (“Govolution”) the leading provider of electronic payment software and services to the public sector and the banking industries.  At Govolution, Chris led the company in various roles from start-up, growth, profitability and successful trade-sale to First American Payments (a Lindsay Goldberg portfolio company).

Earlier, he worked in the family investment office for John Kluge at Metromedia Company where he focused on Internet and telecommunications investments.

Chris began his career with Goldman Sachs in the North American Mergers and Acquisitions Group.

Chris is a Graduate of Florida A&M University and the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration where he currently serves as a member of the Alumni Board of Trustees.

Finally, Chris is the founder of the Scholar's Club, an extracurricular academic organization focused on developing a peer culture of accomplishment and academic excellence among disadvantaged and underserved students. It has become one of Southwest Florida's premier academic organization having served nearly 100,000 students since it's founding in 1989 as a high school student.

Education

UVA Darden Graduate School of Business

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

Florida A&M University

Bachelor's Degree

Other

Publications

Patents

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ESTABLISHING AN INDEX FOR SPECTRUM USED TO SUPPORT WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS

8,290,848
October 2012

Disclosed are a system, a computer readable medium and a method for determining a spectrum index value as a function of financial data for a plurality of selected publically traded companies and spectrum-related data for the selected companies.

1/13/2017 10:45:03 AM,
Christian Duffus replied:
I think the Trump adminstration will be "generally" good for FinTech innovation due to percieved lessened regulatory burden. That said, we will have to see what actually is provided. 
1/13/2017 10:42:49 AM,
Christian Duffus replied:
Sorry for delay, LEAF is not a 529 plan. We support 100% of plans through our web-based platform. So not linked to state of residence though 529 plans typically are which is why we have created our universal "Marketplace."
2/11/2016 5:22:44 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

Assuming you do not have another family member who can use the funds you can redeem the remaining funds (they are your funds). Here is a link that explains the process in detail http://bit.ly/1KdOZWj. Thanks for asking.

Has government regulation shaped your FinTech startups in any way?

As a 2nd part of this question - I note that Parker Conrad, the the CEO of the highly valued company Zenefits (which raised $500 million in funding), recently resigned amid scrutiny over the company's inadequate compliance measures. Will this have any effect on other FinTech start-ups?

2/11/2016 5:22:13 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

I think you “cannot, period-end-of-story” do anything in Fintech as we know it without a perspective on regulation. Thanks for asking.

2/11/2016 5:21:44 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

Addressing your questions specifically:

  1. Decentralized digital currency = Bitcoin:  http://bit.ly/1PovAAT
  2. Federated digital currency = Ripple: http://bit.ly/1O4TzRx
  3. Centralized digital currency eCurrency Mint = http://bit.ly/1o2vKo9

My assessment is that while all have their applications (other than currency), I see the centralized model winning out -- similar anonymity benefits as Bitcoin -- as currencies are the domain of sovereign nations that will fight at all costs to prevent any disruption to that. Thanks for asking.

How might advances in quantum computing impact financial services?

I am asking this question not for the typical answer of it impacting cryptography or algorithimic trading.   What else might it change in financial services technology?  For an example of a quantum computer see D-Wave System.

2/11/2016 5:20:30 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

I think it will lead to a renaissance of Artificial Intelligence as our primary interface w/ our financial institution; imagine your personal family office/hedge fund manager regardless if you have $10thousand or $100million in your account. Will also lead to interfaces that will pass the Turing Test http://bit.ly/1o2uz88. Thanks for asking.

2/11/2016 5:06:02 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

I might have addressed some of this in a prior question. That said I would answer your question a little differently, not what inspired me but who. My Dad, he was my first business partner. When I was a junior in high school, He guided me in starting a not-for-profit developed to get disadvantaged (grades 4-12) kids in my community college-bound. It was was called the Scholar’s Club http://bit.ly/23Z7vrV. To date we have graduated nearly 200 thousand kids w/ nearly 90% college matriculation rate. Thanks for asking.

2/11/2016 5:05:22 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

I started LEAF as I had gotten to a point in my career where could apply both my vocations in finance and technology with my avocation in getting more kids on the path to college; the most transformative process in our society today.  A child is up to 7-x more likely not just to attend college if they have any amount of savings but also to complete w/ less debt and superior professional prospects. This is regardless of socio-economic status. I thought national politics and policy might be that path. I then had an epiphany for LEAF one day after trying to give my niece a few hundred dollars towards her college savings and realized how much friction there was in the process. We still have more to accomplish as removing this friction is still a big problem. Thanks for asking.

2/11/2016 5:04:41 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

Yes, at LEAF the service is free to employees though we do charge a small administrative fee to employers for participating employees. This is similar to what companies pay on behalf of their employees from transit, health savings, 401ks, etc. Thanks for asking.

2/11/2016 5:03:55 PM,
Christian Duffus replied:

I developed a 2 by 2 matrix for being a financial manager of a political campaign (sounds like an oxymoron). One side of the matrix candidate wins and candidate loses and the second side cash surplus and cash deficit respectively. The take-away all that matters in politics is that your candidate wins (at any cost), you don’t get accolades for having money in the bank. I was the only DNC CFO in recent history to have a surplus at the end of the convention. I decided to stick w/ business where profits matter and the laws of finance (and gravity) apply! Thanks for asking.