wharton cypher

Wharton Cypher Accelerator Demo and Innovation Day

Click Here to view the Demo Day 2024 Program.

Please join us for Wharton Cypher Accelerator Demo and Innovation Day on Friday, April 12, at the Penn Club of New York. This is a special event for Wharton and marks the relaunch of this important program: Wharton Cypher Accelerator – powered by the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance.  This past fall, the team worked hard to expand and elevate Wharton Cypher Accelerator from a blockchain-based accelerator to also welcome AI companies.

In January, the accelerator selected and announced a cohort of startups focused on health care, project operations automation, medical imaging, and sustainability. The April 12th event will feature presentations by these companies. The day will also include an update on our large language model research and insight into our policy work.

In addition, this year, Wharton Cypher formed a collaboration with an initiative at the United Nations: Giga. Giga is a technology-focused global initiative led by two UN agencies – UNICEF and the International Telecommunications Union – to connect every school in the world to the internet. With this objective, Giga utilizes machine learning, digital payments, and blockchain.

Wharton Cypher is accelerating three of Giga’s tech projects in its program this year. We are especially proud that Wharton Cypher Accelerator is collaborating with Giga to help connect every school in the world to the internet. We hope you will join us for this important day.

Note: This day is in person-only, by invitation-only, and closed to the press and public.

Visit the Wharton Cypher site to learn about the Cypher team and Startups: https://cypher.wharton.upenn.edu/



Date: Friday, April 12, 2024

9:00 AM – 9:50 AM: Registration + Light Breakfast
9:50 AM – 10:00 AM: Welcome
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: AI and Innovation in Finance Roundtable
11:00 AM – 11:10 AM: Break
11:10 AM – 11:25 AM: Startup Demo: Eoliann
11:30 AM – 11:45 AM: Startup Demo: pre.dev
11:50 AM – 12:05 PM: Presentation on Large Language Model Research: Evaluating Regional Bank Liquidity Risk with Machine Learning
12:05 PM – 1:15 PM: Lunch + Networking
1:15 PM – 1:30 PM Presentation: Financial Regulatory Research
1:30 PM – 1:55 PM: Keynote: Leadership
1:55 PM – 2:05 PM: Break
2:05 PM – 2:20 PM: Startup Demo: Pocket Scribe
2:20 PM – 2:50 PM: Fireside Chat
2:50 PM – 3:15 PM: Presentation: Giga at the United Nations
3:15 PM – 3:25 PM: Break
3:25 PM – 3:40 PM: Startup Demo: MediMint
3:40 PM – 3:50 PM: Cypher Alumni
3:50 PM – 4:00 PM: Closing Remarks
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Networking + Entertainment by the Wharton Cypher Band



Sarah Hammer, Esq.

Executive Director
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Adjunct Professor
The University of Pennsylvania Law School

Sarah Hammer

Professor Sarah Hammer is Executive Director at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, leading financial technology initiatives and Wharton Cypher Accelerator, which supports leading global businesses that are leveraging technology. Hammer is also Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Affiliated Scholar at the Penn Program on Regulation.

Previously, Hammer was Managing Director of the Center for Innovation in Finance and Senior Director of the Alternative Investments Program at Wharton. Hammer also led the launch of the University of Pennsylvania’s first digital asset, unique 3D intellectual property that memorializes the invention of the mRNA technology which enabled the COVID-19 vaccines.

Hammer is also a board member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the United Nations. The ITU is the UN specialized agency responsible for information and communication technology. She is also an advisor at the World Economic Forum, the Dubai International Finance Centre, and the Digital Dollar Project for Central Bank Digital Currency.

Hammer was previously Acting Secretary of the Department of Banking and Securities for Pennsylvania, having led the Department through the banking crisis of March 2023. The Department regulates and supervises ~290,000 bank and non-bank financial entities, totaling $3.5 trillion in AUM.

Hammer was also previously Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions and Director of the Office of Financial Institutions Policy at the US Department of the Treasury. In this role, she led the Department’s policy responsibilities involving financial institutions, as well as oversaw the Federal Insurance Office and the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy (cybersecurity).

While at U.S. Treasury, Hammer also led the cross-functional team conducting a full review and report on the financial regulatory framework. Hammer also served on the board of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and assisted the U.S. Treasury Secretary in fulfilling responsibilities on the board of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Hammer is Co-Chair of the International Expert Consortium on Artificial Intelligence, which is comprised of many of the world’s top experts in AI and has sustaining funding for research, publications, and global conferences. She has published in academic journals and is co-editor of a forthcoming Oxford University Press book on Generative AI. She is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee and an advisor at the World Economic Forum, the Dubai International Finance Centre, and the Digital Dollar Project.

Hammer has held various leadership positions throughout financial services in general management, portfolio management, trading, marketing, research, and analytics at the Vanguard Group, PIMCO, JP Morgan Chase, BlackRock, and Tudor Investments.

Hammer holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, and a Master of Studies from Oxford University. Awards and honors include being elected to the American Law Institute, selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, unanimously approved to the American Inn of Court, named to Pennsylvania City & State AAPI Power 100, TIME Best Crypto Course 2022, and Special Recognition from the Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union at the United Nations.

Dr. Ruimin He

Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer
Deputy Chief Digital Technology Officer
Government of Singapore

Dr. Ruimin He

Ruimin He is Singapore’s Chief Artificial Intelligence (AI) Officer, where he leads a multi-stakeholder effort to achieve Singapore’s strategic AI objectives, including developing and implementing Singapore’s national AI strategy. He is also concurrently the Singaporean government’s Deputy Chief Digital Technology Officer, and a member of the United Nations High Level Advisory Body on AI. Ruimin has a BS in Electrical Science and Engineering, and a PhD in Economics, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sharad Sharma

Founder of Teltier Technologies
Co-Founder of iSPIRT Foundation

Sharad Sharma

Sharad’s mantra is to lead big and small companies through orbit change. He has three decades of experience in the Internet, Enterprise Software, and Digital Infrastructure markets and is a prominent voice in India’s technology ecosystem.

Sharad is a passionate evangelist of the software product ecosystem in India. He co-founded iSPIRT Foundation, a non-profit technology think tank devoted to making India a product nation. Earlier, he Chaired NASSCOM Product Forum in its formative years and was a member of the NASSCOM Executive Council from 2009-13.

Sharad co-founded Teltier Technologies Inc., a wireless infrastructure startup now part of CISCO, and is an active technology angel investor with over two dozen investments. He was also instrumental in the success of India’s first IP focussed fund, India Innovation Fund.

Sharad has held several senior R&D executive positions with leading technology companies, including Yahoo, VERITAS Software, Symantec, Lucent Technologies, and AT&T. Zinnov gave him the R&D Visionary Award in 2008 for his work on creating a strong MNC R&D footprint in India.

Sharad is a member of National Startup Advisory Council and SEBI’s Financial and Regulatory Technology Committee. He has also served on RBI’s UK Sinha MSME Committee and National Digital Payments Committee.

Sharad got interested in kernel software development while doing his Electrical Engineering at Delhi College of Engineering. He started India’s first Student Minicomputer Club in 1984 as served as the Chairperson of the IEEE Student Chapter.

Michael Demissie

Managing Director, Head of Applied AI and Practice
AI Hub

BNY Mellon

Michael Demissie

Michael is Managing Director at the newly established AI Hub at BNY Mellon.

After joining the bank in 2019, he established the Advanced Solutions Group – an enterprise-level capability designed to define our strategic approach, build out and deploy our assets around artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging capabilities. The group continues to deliver innovative solutions as part of the AI Hub, enhancing our services as well as powering new offerings for our clients.

Michael also set up and led the enterprise-level Digital Assets Unit, accelerating the development of new products and solutions to support our clients’ Digital Asset needs. The unit scope covers expansion of the bank’s core services to digital assets (e.g. launching Digital Asset Custody in 2022, being the first systematically important financial institution to do so) as well as modernizing banking infrastructure through blockchain/DLT and new digital assets-specific products and services.

Michael also led the Global Innovation Centers, where we bring product, service delivery and technology teams together with clients and FinTechs to explore and prototype new solutions addressing clients’ needs.

Michael has over 20 years of experience in technology, financial services and strategy consulting. He joined BNY Mellon from State Street, where he led transformation programs enabled by robotics and artificial intelligence. Prior to State Street, Michael was a management consultant at Booz & Company and an engineer at a division of United Technologies developing clean tech energy solutions.

Michael holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering, magna cum laude, from the University of Kentucky, an MSc in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Thomas K. Lee

Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer
New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS)

Thomas Lee

Tom Lee has been the Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of NYSTRS since 2007. He also serves on the Board of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries and the Board of the PREA Foundation. Tom holds a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Dickinson College, an MA in Political Science from Temple University, and an MBA from George Washington University.

Jonathan Ashtor

Global Co-Head of Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions
Partner in the Corporate Department
Paul Weiss

Jonathan Ashtor

Jonathan Ashtor is Global Co-Head of Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions and a partner in the Corporate Department. His practice focuses on technology M&A transactions, IP licensing, technology development and collaboration agreements, AI services and hosting agreements and technology dispute resolution and advisory work. His experience has included major, complex and multi-jurisdictional M&A, including public company mergers, private equity and venture-backed transactions, spinoffs and joint ventures. He advises clients across a variety of industry sectors, including computer & semiconductor technologies, life sciences & biotech, emerging technologies, e-commerce & media, industrial chemicals and manufacturing, among others.

In 2023, Jonathan was recognized by Bloomberg Law in its “They’ve Got Next: 40 Under 40” and one of the “500 Leading Dealmakers in America” by Lawdragon. Jonathan was ranked among the Top 10 Intellectual Property Lawyers in North America in 2021 by MergerLinks. In 2015, Jonathan was ranked by the Financial Times North America as an “Innovative Lawyer”.

Jonathan’s expertise includes complex analytics of patent matters through the use of proprietary models and commercial databases, and he develops new analytics tools through his academic research appointments. He has published numerous thought leadership pieces and empirical studies focused on patents and innovation economics, and he regularly presents at research and practitioner conferences worldwide.

Jonathan is also a Professor of Practice at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he designed and teaches a course on Technology Transactions.


Penn Club NYC
Address: 30 W 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
Tel: (212) 764-3550
Website: https://www.pennclub.org/

All meals and sessions will take place at The Penn Club NYC for the Cypher Demo Day.

We have not booked a block of hotel rooms for this event but there are many nearby hotels to choose from with various price points and amenities.

If you are a member, The Penn Club does have a limited amount of guest rooms available.

Here are some nearby hotels in walking distance to venue:
Royalton New York – https://www.royaltonhotel.com/
The Knickerbocker – https://theknickerbocker.com/
The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection – https://www.algonquinhotel.com/
The Iroquois New York – https://www.iroquoisny.com
Sofitel New York – https://www.sofitel-new-york.com

Penn Club Dress Code – https://www.pennclub.org/club/dress-code


Contact Us About Demo Day

Please email us at info@whartoncypheraccelerator.com with any questions or comments regarding Demo Day.

Visit the Wharton Cypher site to learn about the Cypher team and Startups: https://cypher.wharton.upenn.edu/


Wharton Cypher Accelerator Disclaimer, January 22, 2024

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