Fintech geeks will join music and movie stars in Austin, Texas, this year after the SXSW festival and conference invited a host of startups aiming to disrupt the financial services world to take part in an accelerator pitch-off competition.
Having made its way onto the Davos agenda this year, fintech is also arriving at the slightly less stuffy SXSW. For the first time, payment and fintech technologies is one of six categories in the annual accelerator competition, which will take place over two days in March at the startup village.
The organisers have narrowed down 470 applicants from around the world to 48 finalists - eight from each category - who will face a live audience and panel of judges as they pitch their visions and products. On day two, the top three from each category will return to battle it out for first place.
The fintech category includes blockchain-based exchange Chroma; currency exchange crnsy; fixed -income specialist Income&; savings outfit InSpirAve; Canadian neo-bank Koho; authentication firm Loqr; mobile commerce startup Mobeewave; and online security company SayPay.
Meanwhile, more established financial services firms - including Capital One and MasterCard - will be represented at a panel discussion on 'financial hardware in an app centric world', looking at where the humble credit card will go next.
Fintechers who can drag themselves away from the live music will also be able to attend a networking event put together by StockTwits and finservMarket, featuring craft beer, deep fried stuffed avocados and banking chat.