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FIS, Venture Center Name Fintech Accelerator Participants

3 min read

Global financial services company FIS of Jacksonville, Florida, and the Venture Center in Little Rock have named the 10 startup companies selected to participate in their 2018 VC FinTech Accelerator program.

This is the third year the program has been held. Gov. Asa Hutchinson with FIS executives and community leaders attended a kickoff event held late Wednesday at the Venture Center in the Little Rock Technology Park. 

The 12-week accelerator, funded with $500,000 each from FIS of Jacksonville, Florida, and Arkansas discretionary funds, is focused on identifying and accelerating the development of early-stage financial technology ventures.

The 2018 program received 281 applications from startups across the United States and 46 other countries.

The 10 companies selected from that pool are:

  • Arcanum of Athens, Georgia. The company’s technology provides an innovative and cost-effective authentication product that helps financial services organizations, banks and online merchants create a safe and secure business environment for their customers. 
  • Billon Group of London and Warsaw, Poland, a distributed ledger platform with business-ready products that seek to solve data reconciliation issues, remove intermediaries and costs, improve security and enable innovation. 
  • Bucket of Santa Ana, California, and Bentonville, a technology platform that integrates with existing point-of-sale systems to facilitate coinless cash transactions at retail locations.
  • Finvoice of San Francisco. The company focuses on factors and asset-based lenders, allowing banks to originate loans in five clicks, underwrite through 30-plus data application programming interfaces and scale a portfolio without growing its head count.
  • Gas POS of Birmingham, Alabama, which provides mobile payment processing for the trucking industry.
  • LexAlign of Austin, Texas, which provides simple, online compliance tools that find gaps in companies’ compliance and direct clients on how to quickly fix them.
  • Pay Your Tuition Funds of Washington, which provides gap funding for college students who need access to microloans. 
  • SONECT AG of Zurich, Switzerland, which converts shops into virtual ATMs to reduce the high cost of cash. SONECT is a geo-location based platform that uses algorithms to match those who want to withdraw cash with those who want to deposit cash.
  • Upper Room Technology of Green Bay, Wisconsin, which advances the process of bank bond portfolio management, enabling transactions in a fraction of the time.
  • Verikai of San Francisco, which helps financial companies predict customer behavior on an individual basis through the use of alternative data and machine learning. 

Each company will receive in-depth mentoring and training from FIS and the Venture Center and a $75,000 investment.

FIS executives told Arkansas Business in an interview Wednesday morning that this year’s big change this year was involving subject matter experts from the company, rather than generalists, in the selection process.

FIS subject matter experts have been paired with selected companies that are in their areas of expertise and will follow the companies throughout and possibly beyond the accelerator. The FIS touted that doing things this way gives their employees ownership of their company’s progress and encourages a healthy competition between FIS co-workers. 

Wayne Miller, managing director of the accelerator, added that the program is unique because “as you start an early-stage company, I always say there’s two approaches to the market; there’s the doorway and the gateway.

“The doorway’s the one where you go knock one at a time, which is long, arduous and expensive for an early-stage company. FIS offers these companies, if they’re successful and we shape them correctly, the gateway. This is the one-to-many opportunity that allows us to access 20,000-plus banks that are FIS’ clients,” he said.

The 2018 program will culminate with a demo day on July 18 at the Robinson Center, 426 W. Markham St. in Little Rock. Leaders from each company will showcase their innovations to potential investors, regional and local community leaders and financial institutions and companies at the event. 

The Venture Center said past program participants have raised approximately $39 million in capital, several have entered into formal agreements with FIS and four have put their headquarters in Little Rock.

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