Accelerating the Future of FinTech: Q&A with Joseph Jasperse




“The enduring culture and commitment to excellence at Cypher, coupled with the support of our advisors and mentors, position us at the forefront of FinTech innovation.”

– Joseph Jasperse, Senior Research Manager at Cypher Accelerator

The Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance powers Cypher Accelerator: a student-run program dedicated to supporting startups that will build a decentralized future. In January, the student leaders selected a cohort of startups focused on health care, project operations automation, medical imaging, and sustainability.

Cypher Accelerator will host Demo and Innovation Day on April 12 at The Penn Club of New York. This event will feature presentations by the companies in this cohort.

Joseph Jasperse is a student at Carey Law School, and is the Senior Research Manager for Cypher Accelerator, as well as research assistant to professor Sarah Hammer, Executive Director at Wharton. Read our interview with Joseph below to learn about Cypher Accelerator and the companies that will present at this year’s Demo and Innovation Day.

What is the Cypher Accelerator’s research hub? Can you describe your role in launching this resource?

Cypher Accelerator’s research hub is a cutting-edge initiative that delves into the intricate dimensions of emerging financial technologies through research-based analysis. As a comprehensive resource center, the research hub examines and analyzes the regulatory landscape, policy considerations, legal ramifications, and the nuanced technical aspects of novel financial technologies, including digital assets and artificial intelligence. My role as the senior research lead has been pivotal in establishing and launching this hub, and I have worked collaboratively with Professor Sarah Hammer for over two and a half years to shape its direction.

Our joint efforts have culminated in a repository that not only disseminates research papers and white papers but also facilitates engaging discussions with leading experts and policymakers in the field. This hub’s research-based approach has allowed us to offer credible insights to industry, academics, and policymakers alike.

Cypher Accelerator fosters the growth and expansion of FinTech. What impact do you think Cypher’s research hub will have on the future of finance and financial technology?

Joseph Jasperse poses with executive director Sarah Hammer and guest speaker, Heath Tarbert
Joseph Jasperse poses with executive director Sarah Hammer and guest speaker Heath Tarbert, former chairman of the CFTC.

The significance of Cypher’s research hub extends beyond being a repository of information – it is poised to impact the future landscape of finance and financial technology. By delving deep into these critical aspects, our objective is not just to understand but to contribute valuable insights that can actively shape and advance the rapidly evolving FinTech industry. The research hub stands as a testament to Cypher’s unwavering commitment to remaining at the forefront of innovations within the financial sector.

What first interested you in Cypher Accelerator? Have you always been drawn to FinTech?

Cypher’s focus on fostering innovation within the startup sector and financial technology initially sparked my interest. As a research assistant to Professor Hammer, I have had the unique opportunity to not only witness but actively contribute to the leadership and direction of our research endeavors. This includes steering the focus of our research projects, leading the charge on various initiatives, and actively participating in the publication of multiple research papers. The dynamic and collaborative environment at Cypher has been instrumental in fostering my continued involvement with the accelerator, driven by a shared vision of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the ever-evolving world of financial technology.

Cypher Accelerator recently announced its collaboration with Giga. What is Giga, and why is this alliance so exciting?

The recent collaboration between Cypher Accelerator and Giga represents a transformative development in the intersection of technology and education. Giga, an initiative launched by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union), focuses on connecting every school to the internet and providing information, opportunity, and choice to young people.

This partnership is not just exciting – it’s a strategic alignment of goals. It positions Cypher at the forefront of leveraging technology for financial innovation and broader societal impact. By joining forces with Giga, Cypher is poised to contribute to connectivity initiatives that go beyond financial technology, contributing to a more inclusive and digitally connected future.

The Stevens Center is getting ready for Cypher’s Demo Day coming up on April 12. What happens on Demo Day, and what can we expect from this year’s event? 

Demo Day gives Cypher’s startup teams the opportunity to show off their product and progress, connect with Wharton’s extensive network, and be discovered by potential investors. It serves as a culmination of the year’s accelerator as well as a strategic platform for cohort companies to showcase their innovative products and ideas.

This event is not merely a presentation, but a crucial opportunity for these startups to connect with influential figures who can potentially propel their growth. Expectations for this year’s Demo Day are high, with anticipations of witnessing not only the tangible outcomes of Cypher’s guidance but also the potential transformative impact on the development and success of the participating cohorts.

The Cypher Accelerator's student leaders pose for a picture with executive director, Sarah Hammer
The Cypher Accelerator's student leaders pose for a picture with executive director, Sarah Hammer.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

I believe Cypher’s story is best told through the success of its participants and the dedicated Penn students who power the day-to-day operations. The enduring culture and commitment to excellence at Cypher, coupled with the support of our advisors and mentors, position us at the forefront of FinTech innovation. The future looks promising as we continue to leverage Wharton’s legacy and global network to stay ahead of the curve.

Visit Cypher Accelerator’s website.

Learn more about Cypher Accelerator on this Wharton Story.

Learn about this year’s Demo and Innovation Day.

Visit the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance.