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Do the Avant and Marlette settlements make consumers safer or was it simply a win on paper for Colorado’s attorney general? Fintech attorney and Tech on Reg podcast host Dara Tarkowski seeks answers from financial experts Mary Jackson and Ed Gehres.

  • Colorado’s attorney general (AG) settled lawsuits against fintech companies Avant and Marlette Funding after a protracted legal battle.
  • The lawsuits alleged the companies illegally partnered with two out-of-state banks to provide loans with annual percentage rates (APRs) above Colorado’s limit.
  • While the AG’s actions focused on consumer protection, fintech experts Mary Jackson and Ed Gehres argue the settlement favors the parties over the public.

Colorado’s attorney general settled suits against fintech companies Avant and Marlette Funding this summer, after three years of litigation. The state alleged the companies illegally partnered with out-of-state WebBank and Cross River Bank, respectively, in what the AG referred to in a public statement as a “scheme to ‘rent’ those banks’ ability to lend above Colorado’s rate limits.” Did the litigation make consumers safer? What message do the lawsuits send to other fintech companies? …


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After 13 years at the intersection of three male-dominated fields — law, finance and technology — I thought I’d seen it all (ok, maybe not all, but a lot) when it came to the quest for gender equality. But even I did a double take this summer when U.S. District Judge James Donato denied a rather routine motion because the proposed legal team lacked diversity. With a swipe of his pen and publication to PACER, the judge showed that we inch closer to gender equality when allies and people in power take action. Now it’s time for everyone to discover their inner Judge Donato. No doubt, with the loss of a true national treasure this past week, our #NotoriousRBG, there is no better time than to double (triple? quadruple?) …


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Is voice dead? It’s a fair question. Chatter about the digitization of processes, new apps, and enhanced mobile banking technology runs rampant and suggests that a place for voice tech no longer exists. I disagree. We’ve seen an unprecedented surge in smart voice technology, especially as Siri, Alexa, and Google all stand at the ready, here to answer all our most pressing questions like “Alexa, what’s the weather today?” I’d even posit that people actually talking to robots. …


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As we see with Colorado’s record-breaking sales this summer, not even a pandemic can stop the cannabis wave. Adult medical and recreational use of cannabis is poised to become a $15 billion industry in 2020 and recent projections suggest it will eclipse $30 billion by 2024. How do investors and business owners decipher conflicting and confusing regulatory frameworks to make big bucks?

The industry, whose retail sales have increased 40% in 2020 over 2019, has grown despite metaphorically hopping on one foot with its hands tied behind its back. With the entire process heavily scrutinized and politicized, any misstep could have significant ramifications. That’s why regulatory compliance is so mission critical. …


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Investors holding Zoom meetings in their kitchens during the pandemic need only look in their bedrooms instead to find the next big opportunity.

Sex Tech has the potential to drive innovation, expand opportunity for investment and advance women in finance and technology. An industry that’s largely unregulated, Sex Tech is competing for investor dollars even though large swaths of the investor community won’t give the industry traditionally seen as “vice” or “taboo” a second look.

But are business leaders ready to invest in an industry that might make them squirm?

“The age-old adage that sex is recession-proof is not us as an industry boasting …this is where you should be investing right now,” says Dominnique Karetsos, CEO and co-founder of the UK based Healthy Pleasure Group. …


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Get excited. An article that isn’t about COVID-19 or “Murder Hornets!” Well, I may have slightly fudged the COVID-19 part. I’m not discussing human coronavirus directly, but the topic is pandemic-adjacent.

As we continue to read about and participate in discussions surrounding innovation and how the pandemic has pushed the need for digitization in many industries, a different issue is often brought front and center.

We live in the age of data and there are rumblings of a war brewing. Why?

Because there is a lack of clear ownership of data. Data and tech giants like Amazon and Facebook have laid claim to all the personal data they can get their hands on, using it to generate billions in revenue. Even smaller companies that offer “freemium” services are mining, collecting, sifting through, and selling personal information for a hefty price tag. …


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Dara (age 4) with her Daddy.

So today is officially ten years since my dad, the one and only Sandy Chevlin, was swiftly and unexpectedly taken from us. Don’t worry, this isn’t a sad post. I mean, maybe a little, but mostly not.

I was 27 and pregnant with my first child. My parents had just been in Chicago two days prior celebrating Passover and helping me buy maternity cloths and a crib. Two days prior, Sandy had been enjoying a vodka flight at Russian Tea Time while I ate my weight in fresh bread and butter, sipping my favorite black currant tea. I remember him talking to my belly and already giving life lessons to my little Mischa. (We didn’t know it was Mischa at the time as we were waiting to be surprised…) Sandy, however, knew it was going to be a girl. “Dad, why do you think it’s a girl?” “Because I want her to be.” So that was that. And I remember thinking to myself how lucky this little nugget was going to be. …


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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of the New Roaring ’20s. It was the age of isolation. It was the epoch of IRL. It was the epoch of Zoom.

Maybe I’m being a tad dramatic, but things have gotten…weird. It feels a bit like we’re all stuck in between two worlds: home and work are colliding, weeks and weekends seem to be merging, and opposing viewpoints are converging on one primary focus: survive.

If I can offer any advice to those who may be struggling with the new, virtual reality, let it be this: turn your camera on.

As a working, entrepreneur mom, I’m juggling running two companies (including suddenly managing 19 people working remotely), hosting a podcast from my home in Chicago, and homeschooling three kids. I’m doing it all while trying to share working space with my husband and corralling my dog (note: Lola is a little dog trapped in a big dog’s body), who clearly believes it is her personal mission to bark away the coronavirus. …


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We’re in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and I’m writing here from Chicago, where all bars and restaurants are closed (thank goodness for Doordash) and my kids are home from school. Our governor issued a shelter in place order on Saturday, March 21 and we’re still waiting for the availability of more coronavirus tests. It’s probably the understatement of the century to say that we’re living in a strange time. Before diving in, I want to take a moment to say that I really hope each and every one of you are staying safe, following the World Health Organization guidelines, and taking care of those around you. …


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A woman walks into a bar. That’s not a joke, but it does set the stage for this article on digital identity. If you’re wondering what the digital version of getting carded looks like, stay tuned. We’ll cover that, and more, shortly.

First things first: what is Digital Identity? In Episode 7 of the Tech on Reg podcast, we take a long, hard look at this concept — and some of the stumbling blocks in its way.

My guest, David Birch, an internationally recognized thought leader in digital identity, defines digital identity as the bridge between real and virtual identities — the things that bridge between things in the real world and their “shadows” in the virtual world. Things in the real world map to digital identities and digital identities map to things in the virtual world. …

About

Dara Tarkowski

Entrepreneur, Attorney, Writer, Speaker, Mother | Building Something New; Co-Founder @ActuateLaw \ @quointec | Host of Tech on Reg podcast

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