Advisory Board

Seasoned Leaders Guiding the Evolve Open Banking Division.

The Open Banking Advisory Board was formed in late 2020 to provide industry specific feedback and help Evolve stay ahead of the growing fintech market.

Ryan Gilbert

Founder and General Partner, Launchpad Capital

Ryan is a founder and investor with over 20 years of global financial services expertise spanning payments, remittances, credit, security, and compliance. He is founder of Launchpad Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage Fintech investing and company building. He is also co-sponsor and CEO Special Purpose Acquisition Companies focused on finance and technology, including FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: FTOC) and FTAC Parnassus Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: FTPA). Ryan is a former General Partner of Propel Venture Partners Fund 1 and currently serves on the boards of Charlie Finance, Ease, Guideline, Grabango and Steady. Ryan is the executive chairman of SmartBizLoans, a small business lending marketplace that he founded as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Venrock; a director of bKash, Bangladesh’s leading remittance network; a director of the Reserve Trust Company; and a director of River City Bank in Sacramento. His prior roles include co-founder and CEO of real estate payments company PropertyBridge (acquired by MoneyGram International), an early investor in Eventbrite, and a founding advisor to Square. Ryan graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is member of the State Bar of California.

Shamir Karkal

Co-Founder and CEO, SILA

A true FinTech pioneer, Shamir Karkal played a crucial part in building the infrastructure that would pave the way for online banking. In 2009, he co-founded Simple, the first bank of its kind in the United States, and later headed the Open Platform at BBVA. Shamir was drawn to serve smaller companies, co-founding Sila in 2018 with the goal of empowering financial innovations.

Shamir studied physics and computer science at Bangalore University and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon, and enjoys jiu-jitsu, long-range target shooting, and studying history whenever possible.

Edward “Ed” Labry III

Vice Chairman, First Data Corporation

During his 34-year career in the payment industry, Ed Labry led both First Data Corporation and Concord EFS, Inc., prior to its acquisition by First Data in 2004. He is best known for Concord’s role in the acceptance of credit and debit cards in the supermarket and quick service restaurant industries.

Ed and his team also consolidated the PIN-based networks under the brand name the STAR Network which accelerated ATM placement and acceptance of PIN-based debit at the point of sale. Under his leadership, STAR quickly became the largest PIN-based network in the US and is still the largest ATM network and second only to the card association at the point of sale.

Ed attended the University of Alabama and graduated from Cumberland University. In 2002, Cumberland honored him with the “Award of the Phoenix”, the school’s highest honor, and was later presented with an honorary doctorate for his role in helping develop and advance Cumberland’s business school and master’s degree program.

Ed has received various awards and honors in the payments industry with his favorite being the first-ever Distinguished Payments Professional of the Year Award by the Electronic Transaction Association.

Meg Nakamura

Co-Founder, APTO Payments

In 2014, Meg co-founded Apto with her long-time colleague and friend, Greg Kidd. Prior to Apto, Meg worked for a regulatory and compliance advisory company where she realized that the financial services landscape was in need of a significant upgrade — the industry was dependent on outdated, legacy infrastructure and entangled in a web of opaque regulatory requirements, making it difficult to build and launch innovative and bespoke card programs specifically designed for their end users. The system was set up to serve only the most highly resourced, established players in the market.

Meg is passionate about creating a payments ecosystem that is fairer and more equitable, allowing the most aspirational companies to enter the market quickly and responsibly. She loves working with those who are equally as enthusiastic about creating user-first experiences in the financial services sector. In a business that is focused on utility and transactions, she strives to create a partnership that is anything but transactional.

Since its Y-Combinator days, when Apto was known as Shift Payments, Apto now supports several of the fastest growing FinTech companies in the U.S. and expanded its business to Europe as of 2019.

Sankaet Pathak

CEO, Synapsefi

Sankaet Pathak came to the US from India to study Computer Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics at the University of Memphis. His experience of not being able to open a bank account due to his immigrant status, prompted him to launch a financial services company that could reduce barriers to entry for underbanked or unbanked individuals. Through his efforts, Sankaet found that the true barrier to entry was an outdated infrastructure which kept everyday folks from accessing best-in-class financial products.

Today, Synapse services over 1.8 million end-users and processes over $10 billion in deposits. Many of Synapse’s clients are early to late stage FinTech companies offering innovative financial solutions that are both accessible and affordable for end users.

Adam Spencer

Managing Partner, Elev8 Advisors Group

Adam started in the financial services career as an in-store retail banker at JP Morgan Chase in 1997. Adam’s final promotion encompassed Regional Management at JPMC’s Southeast Region where he led the TX, OK, LA, and FL Retail markets prior to leaving to join BBVA Compass in 2011.

In 2011, upon joining BBVA, Adam served as the Consumer Banking Segment Executive. Adam also managed the Network’s Direct Mortgage Sales group in this role. In 2013, Adam stepped into organizing and developing the U.S. Merchant Acquiring business unit for BBVA as the Director of Payments and Merchant Acquiring. From 2013 to 2017, Adam led the growth to over 55,000 Merchants and moved net revenues for the Bank’s payment group to over $35M annually in 2017 before leaving the company.

Today, Adam serves as Managing Partner of Elev8 Advisors Group, bringing his experience in Financial Services, and Payments together to provide guidance and strategy to both FI, and FinTech Partners and Clients.

Laura Spiekerman

Co-Founder and Cro, Alloy

Laura Spiekerman is a cofounder and CRO at Alloy. Alloy’s API enables financial services companies to better manage their digital onboarding and identity requirements, increasing conversion and reducing fraud for banks and FinTechs alike. Alloy works with both FinTech companies and banks, including Marqeta, Petal, Brex, Radius Bank and others. Alloy was recognized on the recent Forbes’ Cloud 100 Rising Stars list and as one to the global Venture Radar Top 10 RegTech Startups.

Prior to Alloy, Laura led Business Development & Partnerships at an ACH payments startup and was on the Research & Investment team at Imprint Capital Advisors (acquired by Goldman Sachs). Laura is a proud Barnard College alumna and lives in Oakland, California.