Applications are open for New York's fourth annual FinTech Innovation Lab, a 12-week program that helps early- and growth-stage financial technology innovators accelerate product development by gaining exposure to top-level financial industry executives and venture capitalists.
The Lab was co-founded by Accenture (ACN) and the Partnership Fund for New York City. Applications are available at www.fintechinnovationlab.com and are due by December 6, 2013.
The Lab has gained momentum with the rising investment in the fintech sector in recent years. According to CB Insights, there was more venture and private-equity investment in New York’s fintech sector in the first half of 2013 than in all of 2012, which was the biggest year on recent record. On a global basis, annual venture investment in the fintech sector has nearly tripled since 2008, with more than $9 billion invested over five years.
“Fintech investment is growing rapidly, but entrepreneurs face the same headwinds in bringing new ideas to market,” said James D. Robinson III, co-founder and general partner of RRE Ventures, which supports the FinTech Innovation Lab along with Bain Capital Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Rho Ventures, and Warburg Pincus. “It is often a struggle for ventures to penetrate large, heavily-regulated institutions and to meet the product standards and procurement processes necessary to be ready for prime-time at banks. The FinTech Innovation Lab helps solve this problem.”
“Tech startups are plentiful in New York, but often face a tall challenge when trying to get their products in front of established companies – especially in the financial services sector,” said Kevin P. Ryan, a New York entrepreneur and board member of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “By offering direct mentoring and access to top decision makers at banks, the FinTech Innovation Lab offers a unique product and business development advantage.”
“The Partnership Fund and Accenture have created a fast-track for fintech entrepreneurs looking to validate their products and strategies,” said Fred Wilson, Managing General Partner of Union Square Ventures and member of the Partnership Fund’s board. “After its third successful year, the Lab has shown that the networking opportunities it opens up for entrepreneurs targeting Wall Street go well beyond the twelve-week program itself.”
“We expect fintech investment to continue strongly in the years ahead, as the financial sector develops more efficient and customer-friendly models, and as new entrants move in,” said Matt Harris, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures. “With this, more and more ventures will compete for capital. Programs like the FinTech Innovation Lab help pre-qualify entrepreneurs by teaching them how to make their innovations relevant to large financial institutions and their customers.”
The FinTech Innovation Lab is supported by Ally Financial, American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), Barclays (BARC.L), Capital One (COF), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX), Deutsche Bank (DBK.DE), Goldman Sachs (GS), JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), New York Life, State Street Corporation (STT), and UBS (UBSN.VX). Since it was founded in 2010, the Lab has provided 18 technology entrepreneurs with mentoring and access to more than 30 leading bank CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, venture capitalists and technology luminaries.
“Our Lab opens doors for some of the city’s brightest tech entrepreneurs and furthers the Partnership Fund’s goal of helping diversify a tech sector that is predominately focused on digital media,” said Maria Gotsch, President & CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City.
Bob Gach, global managing director of Accenture’s Capital Markets practice, said, “We’re proud of how the Lab is enabling technology innovation in financial services. Lab alumni are going on to significant business engagements, and in far less time than they might have done otherwise.”
The 18 alumni companies have generated over 50 proofs of concept at banks, raised $42 million in venture financing, and created approximately 150 jobs, 50 of which are based in New York City, since they participated in the Lab. In 2013, True Office, which provides compliance training based on a mobile game platform, received a $3 million Series A Preferred round from Contour Venture Partners, Rho Ventures, and Partnership Fund for New York City. Narrative Science, whose patented artificial intelligence engine mines data to automatically produce reports and communications in easy-to-understand narrative form, raised $11.5 million in equity funding.
Based on its success in New York, the FinTech Innovation Lab expanded to London in 2012 with support from the city’s mayor and the top UK banks.
2014 FinTech Innovation Lab
The FinTech Innovation Lab is a program for entrepreneurs that are developing cutting-edge technologies for the financial services sector – particularly in the areas of big data and analytics, mobile and wireless, payments, risk management, security, and social media and collaboration technologies. The chief technology officers and senior technology executives from the 14 participating financial institutions will select six entrepreneurs to participate in the Lab through a competitive process.
Applicants must have at least a working beta version of their technology that is ready to be tested for either the institutional or retail market. The Lab begins in April 2014, and will partner the chosen entrepreneurs with senior-level bank executives and leading technology entrepreneurs who will help them fine-tune and develop their technologies and business strategies through a series of workshops, panel discussions, user-group sessions, networking opportunities, one-on-one meetings and presentations. It culminates in June with a Demo Day presentation by all six participants in front of an audience of venture capitalists and financial industry executives.