Ministerial Statement by the Minister of National Security, The Hon. Wayne M. Caines JP, MP:
Good morning Mr. Speaker:
I wish to update this Honourable House about my visit to Santa Monica, California last week to attend the very prestigious Montgomery Summit.
Mr. Speaker, now in its 15th year, the Montgomery Summit is a leading innovation conference which attracts a community of investors, executives and entrepreneurs from across the US and the world.
The aim of the conference is to promote exploration of trends and opportunities in the innovation economy. This year, attendees totalled over 1,200.
Mr. Speaker, the two-day agenda included panel discussions, presentations, keynote speakers, one-on-one meetings and thought-leadership sessions on technology-related topics such as blockchain, virtual currencies, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Bermuda’s attendance was organised by the Bermuda Business Development Agency and included myself, with representatives from both the BDA and industry partners.
We were pleased to work with John Narraway of the BDA; Chris Garrod of Conyers; Bermudian Gina Pereira, CEO of LA-based private-client advisory firm Dana Philanthropy; and Aron Dutta, the founder, chair and CEO of Bermuda-based VAPHR, a Bermuda-based blockchain accelerator that last year selected Bermuda as its global platform hub.
Mr. Speaker, the conference provided fruitful opportunities to meet start-ups and investors and talk to them about the value Bermuda can offer in the blockchain/digital currency arena—particularly our respected regulatory environment and the certainty our domicile provides for ventures looking to expand internationally.
Many of the early-stage start-ups we spoke with were high-growth companies looking for an international strategy. Attendees were responsive to the fact Bermuda is tech-friendly and that our jurisdiction, unlike most others, moves ideas forward quickly thanks to collaboration between our public and private sectors.
Mr. Speaker, events highlighting Bermuda included a breakfast meeting hosted by the BDA for invited guests, including venture capitalists and start-up executives.
The conversation allowed Team Bermuda to connect with a targeted audience interested in learning more about Bermuda, and the Minister and others were able to engage in a productive question-and-answer session.
Another event featured Bermuda participants in a special panel discussion open to all summit attendees, titled “Bermuda: The New Value Equation.”
Here, we spoke of Bermuda’s regulatory advantage in an increasingly complex business world. Again, we were able to stimulate discussion and questions and useful contacts were made.
Mr. Speaker, media opportunities included a video interview with Nasdaq on day one of the event, in which the I underscored Bermuda’s history of innovation and entrepreneurism and talked about how the Island’s spirit of ingenuity is driving digital solutions today.
I also had the good fortune to be interviewed by the Montgomery Summit’s own media and this video will be distributed to attendees and posted on their website.
Mr. Speaker, those we met with during the Summit included:
- Technology investor and futurist Tim Draper, of DFJ Venture Capital, who led investment in Tesla, Twitter and Skype and has been a strong advocate of digital currency initiatives.
- Brian Mulligan, CEO of Mulligan Investment Bankers, a broker dealer specialising in media, telcom, entertainment and tech. With 30 years in media/entertainment, he has served in the C-suite of major media companies, world-class advisory firms and private-equity firms, including Universal Studios, Universal Pictures, FOX Broadcasting, and Seagram; and
- Ray Lee, the founder and CTO of Syndicoin, a blockchain service provider that provides clients looking to raise capital through the ICO process with a full-service platform that includes advisory, technology development, marketing, and discretionary investment. Its team comprises some of the world’s most experienced blockchain developers, security experts, financiers and traders who are looking to further legitimise and institutionalize the blockchain and token ecosystem.
Mr. Speaker, these were just a few of the many informative and productive discussions the Bermuda delegation held over both days of the conference. And one thing was clear – people we spoke with were excited about the Bermuda Government’s plans in the blockchain and virtual currency sphere.
We also had numerous opportunities to promote Bermuda as a top-tier jurisdiction generally—as the best choice for both start-ups and investors for global projects.
Mr. Speaker, our main message was, Bermuda is open for business in this fast-developing digital economy and listening to experts at the Montgomery Summit validated our efforts so far and our plans for the future.
I wish to thank the BDA, and to our industry stakeholders who attended, for their support of Bermuda and their dedicated work for the island during the conference and their follow-up to come on valuable contacts made.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.