Hundreds of investors, bankers and others interested in financial technology heard pitches Thursday from the 10 most recent graduates of the FIS Fintech Accelerator program.
The demo day, held virtually and in person with a limited audience, wrapped up the sixth annual program, which has been extended for another year.
Hosted by downtown Little Rock’s Venture Center and sponsored by FIS of Jacksonville, Florida, and the state, the program consisted of a four-week incubator followed by 12 weeks of mentoring from FIS leaders and industry experts.
Tax Status of Atlanta won the “Collins Andrews III Most Valuable Participant” award for its product, which provides quick access to all of a consumer’s tax documents and credit scores for lending purposes. Taxpayer consent is required for Tax Status to do its work.
“We want to do nothing more, literally, than give every lender immediate and instant access to all IRS tax records and account status for any individual or business,” Charles Almond, CEO and co-founder of Tax Status, said during his pitch. “And, while doing that, I want to give every taxpayer and business owner insights into their own IRS accounts so they can see what's going on.”
Tax Status also creates a tax status report, which is an organized summary that eliminates weeks of back-and-forth between banks and their customers applying for loans, Allman said. He said the company already has 40 banking clients.
The name of the MVP award was changed this year to honor Andrews, who has been the accelerator’s executive-in-residence since its inception in 2016. He previously served in executive roles at Acxiom Corp. and the ESI Group, started a consulting firm and owns Andrews Autosport, a dirt track racing team.
Audience Choice Winner
Also Thursday, Long Game of San Francisco won the audience choice award for its financial wellness mobile game that rewards consumers for saving money. Lindsay Holden, co-founder and CEO of Long Game, said the company is focused on helping banking clients acquire millennial and Gen-Z customers.
The Long Game mobile app rewards users for saving, making direct deposits, taking financial literacy quizzes and other positive financial action with cash and cryptocurrency prizes, Holden said.
For the banks, the app offers space for in-app promotions, messaging and other content. The bank’s brand can be featured as well. The app already operates in every state except Georgia, Holden said.
The eight other 2021 accelerator alumni companies pitched credit monitoring, authentication, direct deposit, banking-as-a-service, lending, automation, data-as-a-service and customer relationship management products and services.
Accelerator officials said 30% of participating companies this year are women-owned. There was one local company, BankLabs of Little Rock, which offers lending products and was the subject of a July 26 technology column in Arkansas Business.
Participants had nearly 60 visits with potential clients, dozens of visits with venture capital firms, mentoring from industry leaders and one-on-one consultations with Venture Center staff.