I loved the time I spent as an undergrad at the University of Maryland (UMD), and one of the best perks of my job as the Retail Bank CIO for Capital One is that I get to work closely with my alma mater to help ensure we’re providing opportunities for the school’s future leaders.
So today, it’s a real privilege that I get to unveil Capital One’s newest Tech Incubator on the UMD campus. The Tech Incubator expands our long-standing relationship with UMD and is part of a broader commitment and partnership to invest in machine learning and data analytics at the University and in the Greater Washington Region.
At Capital One, we believe the future of banking will be driven by intelligent, real-time experiences, many made possible by machine learning — constantly and proactively working in the background on behalf of customers and looking out for their financial well being. From more effectively predicting fraud, to making it easier to cancel those recurring subscriptions you forgot about, to more naturally and seamlessly interacting with your bank, machine learning helps make this all possible, and much more.
Our ability to continue delivering transformative customer experiences via machine learning — in a responsible, fair, well-managed, and human-centered way — is dependent on our ability to hire and nurture great people. To attract great talent, we’re focused on ensuring that both our company and the communities where we operate offer a diverse, cutting-edge, and inclusive environment. What better place to find, nurture, and support such talent than partnering with a world-class university in our own backyard?
The Tech Incubator is located in UMD’s Discovery District in the school’s Diamondback Garage, a mixed-use development space behind The Hotel at UMD. There, student interns will apply classroom learning to real-world problems and experiences in areas like data science and machine learning. We’re also sending some of our best technology associates to guide the students and work hand-in-hand on key projects related to research and business use cases at Capital One.
We’ve designed the space to maximize collaboration and creativity so that learning can be fluid and flexible, a design that reflects the broader workplace philosophy used by Capital One across all of our offices. A focal point at the Tech Incubator will be a Physical Design Experience Wall, or Feature Wall, which will display beautiful visualizations along with data-driven experiments and presentations. Its intent is to celebrate researchers’ work by giving them a platform to highlight their exciting projects, and to act as a medium between the abstract concepts used in machine learning and the physical experience of witnessing the work.
The Tech Incubator will not only help drive research and innovation for Capital One but also for the Greater Washington Region. Universities and affiliated research laboratories in the area have invested significantly in research and development in the past several years, so that the region now has the third-largest population of digital tech workers in the nation. Our hope is that the Tech Incubator will not only contribute to this robust growth and evolution of world-class tech talent in the area, but that the innovators working in our space help develop cutting-edge technologies to further position the region as a global tech destination.
The Tech Incubator at UMD will also join a growing list in our commitment to university lab collaborations, including our Illinois Digital Campus Lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as well as our founding support for UC Berkeley’s RISELab. As businesses continue to identify new areas of transformational potential — particularly in the fields of data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cybersecurity — strong relationships and partnerships with key higher education institutions can nourish companies’ appetite for innovation, talent, and growth.
We believe that the Tech Incubator at UMD will serve as fertile ground for these endeavors, and will further develop Capital One’s cutting-edge technology so that it both serves and empowers customers and improves their financial lives.