Local banks back Ohio fintech accelerator

Local banks back Ohio fintech accelerator

A collection of Ohio financial services firms, including KeyBank and FifthThird, have banded together to back a new fintech accelerator in the state.

Grange Insurance, Huntington, First Federal Lakewood, Root Insurance, and Safelite are among the local players behind Fintech71, named in a nod to the cross-state highway I-71 connecting Ohio via its three largest cities: Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. JPMorgan Chase, a major technology employer in the state, and Silicon Valley Bank are also backing the effort.

The accelerator will open for applications next week, inviting fintech startups to seek one of up to 12 spots on the programme, which will start in September and be based in Columbus. Each finalist team will get a stipend of $100,000 as well as mentoring and the potential for partnerships.

Matt Armstead, executive director, Fintech71, says: "With the creation of this accelerator, we aim to leverage Ohio's tech-savvy talent, attractive cost of doing business and established industry strength to make Ohio a global hotspot for Fintech innovation and growth."

Ken Gavrity, head, commercial payments group, Fintech71, adds: "At KeyBank, we recognize that fintech partnerships are an important source of innovation to drive better client experiences. As a result, we spend significant time helping to establish and support the start-up ecosystem, and being a part of Fintech71 enables us to concentrate some of our efforts here in Ohio with a nexus of strong partners."

Separately, the Venture Center and banking vendor FIS are set to announce the next 10 portfolio companies participating in the VC FinTech Accelerator Program in Little Rock, Arkansas. The top ten firms were hand-picked from a field of 300 applicants.

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