Global financial services company FIS of Jacksonville, Florida, and the Venture Center in Little Rock held a kickoff event late Wednesday and named the 10 startups selected to participate in the 2019 VC FinTech Accelerator program.
This is the fourth year for the 12-week accelerator, funded with $500,000 each from FIS and Arkansas discretionary funds.
This year's program received 225 applications from startups across the United States and 31 other countries.
The 10 companies chosen for this year's program are:
- Digital Onboarding of Boston, which offers an online platform that motivates bank customers or credit union members to adopt account-related services and fully use their new accounts;
- Gremlin Social of St. Louis, which offers offers organizational tools to help manage social media for banks;
- Sendmi of Lehi, Utah, which has created the employer-sponsored Transfer Savings Plan that allows employees to send money to international destinations faster, more securely and less expensively.
- ChangeEd of Chicago, which offers an app that automatically collects spare change and uses it to help pay off the users' student loans;
- Voleo of Vancouver, which offers a social stock trading app for investment clubs;
- Neener Analytics of Sunnyvale, California, which uses an individual's online life to determine the risk for a bank that is considering loaning money to that individual;
- Genivity of Chicago, which offers health and wealth planning products and services for financial advisors, to help them prepare clients for retirement and wealth transfer;
- Curu of Charlotte, North Carolina, which offers an online service that helps consumers build credit and increase their scores;
- Highside of New York, which offers an online communications and files platform for employees to use that also has the cybersecurity features and compliance functionality required by executives and regulators; and
- Mimble of Portland, Oregon, which offers an app that incentivizes users to save through rewards from brands the startup has partnered with.
Each startup will receive in-depth mentoring and training from FIS and the Venture Center and a $75,000 investment. Startups will pitch their products or services to investors at a demo day on July 17.
Lynn Roche, executive vice president of IFS Leveraged Services at FIS; Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission; Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.; and Brian Bauer, managing director of fintech accelerators at the Venture Center, were among the speakers at Wednesday's event.
"I really do believe this is all about the partnership: the partnership that we have with the state of Arkansas, the partnership with the Venture Center, and certainly the partnership we have with clients of FIS and our employees that help drive this program," Roche said.
"We've created $28 million dollars in revenue out of the companies that have come out of this accelerator program. We've also created 450 jobs, so creating new jobs and new opportunities, that's exciting," she said.
The mayor said Little Rock is "on the cusp of greatness," and Preston agreed, mentioning the governor's coding initiative, which requires Arkansas public schools to offer coding classes.
"We're developing a pipeline of talent right here in Arkansas who are going to have the skills in computer science and computer coding to fill these jobs," Preston said. "So, when you go through this accelerator program, you take your company public or you sell to FIS or whatever you might do and make a lot of money, we want your company to locate here. We want your subsidiary to locate here."
Bauer said the accelerator "has hit a critical mass" and is all about offering the participants access to prospective customers and to industry experts, mostly FIS staffers. He also said the startups will connect with about 50 banks.