FIS, the financial technology giant headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, formed a new office this year to “further accelerate innovation and growth” for the company, Chairman, President and CEO Gary Norcross announced Wednesday during the virtual 2020 FIS Fintech Accelerator Demo Day.
The company and the state sponsor the accelerator, which is hosted by the Venture Center at the Little Rock Technology Park downtown. The program was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Norcross said Chief Growth Officer Asif Ramji leads the new office, which includes venture investing, product strategy, product management and the company’s participation in the accelerator.
“Our investments in innovation allow us to protect our leadership position in the existing markets we serve, expand into adjacencies and grow into new markets,” Ramji said. “The FIS Fintech Accelerator, in partnership with the Venture Center, allows us to do just that. It's really a key part of our overall investment strategy at FIS, to develop and bring to market the most innovative leading edge technology innovations that truly advance the way the world pays, banks and invests.
“The digital and technology transformation taking place today is driving significant changes in financial services. Innovation’s being driven by both traditional financial services companies as well as new entrants, like yourselves,” he told the 10 companies that participated in this year’s accelerator. “Without that innovation that companies and entrepreneurs like yourselves are driving, our industry wouldn’t advance at the pace at which it's doing today. So this is what makes our participation in programs like this so important to FIS’ future growth plans.”
Norcross called the program “arguably the most successful accelerator in any industry by any measurement” and said it’s “very important for [FIS] to continue this partnership, and I look forward to doing it for many years in the future.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson touted his Oct. 2 announcement that high school students in Arkansas will now be required to take a computer science course in order to graduate.
“This will greatly expand the pool of technology talent that will be needed to support companies, just like yours, and we're proud of this relationship,” he said.
U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., spoke at the event, touting the creation of congressional task forces dealing with fintech and artificial intelligence. Hill is seeking his fourth term in Congress, and faces Democratic challenger and state Sen. Joyce Elliott on the Nov. 3 ballot.
“We're committed to making sure that America is a leader in fintech, and we'll change our federal laws,” he said. “We’ll change our federal regulations. We’ll work with our states for the kind of regulatory environment we need to make sure that you can innovate, serve customers and build great financial companies in the years ahead.”
Companies participating in the accelerator pitched their products and services during the event. Sequretek of Mumbai, India, and Woodbridge, New Jersey, was named the 2020 “MVP.” TrustStamp of Atlanta won the “Best in Show” Award for its pitch.
The other accelerator companies were Cirrus Secure of Evergreen, Colorado; Leap XL of Little Rock; Dasceq of Dallas; Mall IQ of San Francisco and Istanbul, Turkey; Silot of Singapore; Stratyfy of New York; Surfly of Amsterdam; and XpenseOne of Spokane, Washington.