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  • Writer's pictureW.B. King

Tech People in the Know: Glia Technologies’ Dan Michaeli

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

By W.B. King

Dan Michaeli’s “aha” moment struck in 2011 while working as a growth strategy consultant for a Fortune 50 retailer. This particular client’s competitive advantage was “superior” in-person customer service.

“This sparked the question: How can we replicate that same, winning experience online?” Michaeli told Finopotamus.

This epiphany was shared by Justin DiPietro and Carlos Paniagua, who along with Michaeli, founded the New York City-based Glia Technologies in 2012.

Dan Michaeli

“We set out to build a unified digital customer service platform from the ground up, with funding from supportive, tech-savvy investors,” said Michaeli, who serves as the company’s chief executive officer. “Today, the Glia team is helping more than 300 financial services companies modernize how they can support customers in a digital world.”

Values-based Fun

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Michaeli worked as a business analyst for Accenture before launching Glia Technologies. And since entering the tech space, he has noticed some changes.

“The rate at which technology continues to evolve has challenged departments and leaders to become more nimble in all that they do,” he said. “For example, there are now many more remote or hybrid positions available, which would have simply never been the case 10, even five years ago. The rising competition for strong tech talent has also caused a shift, forcing many to evaluate their overall company culture.”

Culture shifts at Glia Technologies have also occurred. This is partly in response to market conditions, where many companies are prioritizing making work environments more flexible, values-based and fun, he explained.

“At Glia we’ve implemented a ‘flex work’ policy company-wide, enabling anyone to work remotely, in a Glia office or a hybrid of both. Because we are remote-first, we gather our employees for different opportunities to have face-to-face time and collaboration,” Michaeli said. “This includes team-specific gatherings as well as region or company-wide events such as our ‘CChaMP Camp,’ which celebrates our company values.”

Glia Technologies’ mission of helping institutions reinvent how they support customers in a digital world is made possible, he noted, by the company’s 300-plus employees.

“Our team is [also] made up of 100-plus diverse technical experts, with many folks from Gen Z to baby boomers, helping take part in Glia’s digital customer service journey,” Michaeli said. “In fact, age diversity is often underestimated in hiring tech talent. We strongly value it and cultivate a team that brings a broad set of perspectives and experiences to our company.”

Delivering Exceptional Service

To best serve its clients, which include 186 credit unions, Michaeli said the company’s goal is to be a partner rather than a vendor.

“Credit union clients often come to us when evaluating general technology decisions, which we really enjoy. When investigating new technologies, we always advise credit unions to very carefully vet three key areas: security, reliability and scalability,” he continued. “Credit unions are a uniquely collaborative group; the value in gathering a potential technology provider’s references and picking another credit union’s brain can’t be underestimated.”

To stay current, Michaeli and his colleagues believe in the power of collaboration and continually gain insights from attending industry events.

“CUNA’s Government Affairs Conference, and even state and regional association events, are strong forums to investigate new technologies and get a quick pulse on what’s out there,” he said.

Collaboration took on another form in June 2022 when Glia Technologies announced the acquisition of the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -based Finn AI, which provided an AI-powered virtual assistant platform for banks and credit unions.

“We are extremely excited about the Finn AI acquisition. We are confident that this is enabling a new chapter for virtual assistants, where verticalization meets scale,” Michaeli shared. “Related to the acquisition, we are working on some new artificial intelligence (AI)-related initiatives that will be coming out this summer. We also have several exciting partnerships with financial tech companies that we will be announcing soon.”

Tech trends on Michaeli’s radar include fintechs offering crypto solutions and web3. The latter incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies and token-based economics. He is also interested in conversational AI platforms that use vertical chatbots at scale to drive efficiencies. And he shared the following prediction: “Institutions will abandon the unrealized promise of omnichannel in favor of an entirely digital ‘channeless’ experience."

When asked what intrigues him about the credit unions industry, Michaeli said it is a credit union’s unique ability to narrowly focus on the member experience, while delivering exceptional member service.

“Credit unions are also highly collaborative between each other, often sharing best practices and expertise. From a technology perspective, they tend to be more open to embracing new technologies and trends,” he continued. “For example, credit unions made up many of Glia’s earliest clients; they understood the urgency around digitalizing member service and support. We are proud to be partners to so many credit unions.”

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