- The Fintech Innovation Lab saw its ten chosen startups present their offering to its financial partners.
- In a virtual demo day, VC firms and established financial institutions came forward to mentor, advice and provide feedback to the entrepreneurs.
- The firms this year have addressed various painpoints not just in the financial sector but all such as risk management, upskilling employees, insurance compliance and improving client satisfaction by leveraging technology.
An entrepreneur’s journey is fraught with challenges from seeking funding to convincing VCs of their product. While many hurdles are inevitable for startup growth, it is not always easy to overcome them. Enter accelerators and incubators which give startups a platform to learn and progress.
One such is Fintech Innovation Lab created by Partnership Fund for New York City and Accenture which aids early-stage fintech firms access other financial institutions for funding and advice. With the aim to boost the fintech market in New York by creating more tech jobs as well as capitalizing on larger fintechs’ expertise, the programme was launched a decade ago.
The Lab was created as the founders believe that collaboration between financial firms and fintech startups is key to remaining nimble and delivering newer technologies for customers.
Introducing ten startups this year, the Lab will be providing opportunities for collaboration, funding and advice for future growth by connecting them with industry giants. Today, it heard from each firm about its product offering where partners gave feedback to each one of them.
Despite the fact that the Coronavirus-induced lockdown meant the lab was conducted virtually, the entire programme was delivered seamlessly with participating financial institutions and VC firms mentoring and providing feedback to every startup.
Firms chosen this year have focused on smoothening a slew of business trials such as workforce reskilling, insurtech, data management and analytics, customer engagement and wealth management. The companies have done so by leveraging various forms of modern technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), deep tech, automation, and machine learning.
The 2020 batch of startups are: Alkymi which helps automate key business tasks and eases real-time decisions through machine learning. Arthur AI monitors AI algorithms helping other businesses trace AI model issues in real time therefore preventing potential model failures. Broker Buddha assists independent insurance brokers to grow their business through its interactive online applications. ClauseMatch’s document collaboration software allows financial institutions’ global compliance and risk teams to ensure regulatory compliance. Machine learning-based DataFleets analyzes sensitive data without compromising on security and privacy for generating business insights.
Knoema works with corporations to catalog all public and internal data assets. Another risk management startup Sigma Ratings uses machine learning enabling automated risk benchmarking. AI-based SkyHive helps companies delve deeper to analyse their employees’ capabilities and equip their workers with new skills.
Addressing the issue of unending student loans, Summer helps borrowers lower their debt by identifying in the best repayment plan based on their financial situation. Lastly, True Flood Risk uses AI to provide local governments with flood risk data for properties reducing the need for on-site inspections.
Commenting on the role of the Lab, president and CEO of Partnership Fund for New York City and co-founder of the FinTech Innovation Lab Maria Gotsch said:
“The FinTech Innovation Lab has played a key role over the last decade in making New York City a leading center for innovation in financial services.
“As New York starts to re-open, the innovation and energy of entrepreneurs that are building cutting-edge solutions to address key industry priorities will play an important role in the recovery of our local economy.”
Connecting fintechs with executives of large financial institutions
What makes the Lab truly attractive for any potential fintech startup are its partners. Financial institutions which aid these potential next big fintechs include giants such as AIG, American Express, Bank of America, BlackRock, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley to name a few. Alongside, the VC firms comprise Anthemis, Bain Capital Ventures, Partnership Fund for New York City and Warburg Pincus among a host of others.
“The Lab’s mission — to ignite the local economy and enable job growth by identifying and supporting promising New York City-based entrepreneurs — is now more important than ever,” said David Reilly, Bank of America’s chief technology officer, CIO of Global Banking and Markets. “Bank of America is proud to be a founding member of such a vital program in which every party that participates is more knowledgeable than before.”
Indeed, these ten startups are bound to succeed as previous companies that participated in the Fintech Innovation Lab have raised more than US$1.2bn in funding till date. In addition, the alumni also boast of completing more than 240 pilot programs with 12 firms now acquired.
Some of the capital raises by the previous batches include US$60 million by HyperScience and US$50 million by Nova Credit in 2020, US$110 million by Dashlane in 2019, US$40 million by pymetrics in 2018 and US$60 million by Digital Asset in 2016.
It’s fair to say that business magnates don’t build success stories alone. It takes a plethora of mentors, investors and larger firms’ support. And this Lab is set to spawn many more notable firms this year as well as in the future.