NEWS RELEASE: Serial FinTech Entrepreneur Joins VC FinTech Accelerator at The Venture Center

News Release






Serial FinTech Entrepreneur Joins The Venture Center

Gary Dowdy tapped as managing director for global FinTech accelerator

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Mar 3, 2016) – The Venture Center announced that FinTech entrepreneur and executive, Gary Dowdy has been selected to lead the global VC Fintech Accelerator which kicks off its inaugural cohort this year.

About Gary Dowdy
Key Facts:

  • Founder and/or executive at six technology startups - including a mobile banking firm based in Silicon Valley

  • Executive at a global Fortune 20 company

  • Member of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s task force on computer science

  • Adjunct professor for Executive MBA program at University of Arkansas, Walton College of Business

Gary Dowdy is a technology executive with 25 years of experience in financial services, healthcare, logistics and ISVs.  As managing director of The Venture Center’s VC FinTech Accelerator, he is responsible for leading the accelerator program, a collaboration with FIS, to invest and grow financial technology companies.

In addition, Gary served as the co-founder and president of two technology companies specializing in the automation of distribution centers and creation of software development products.  

From 1998 to 2008, Gary held numerous technology, eCommerce and marketing roles at the executive level at Cardinal Health (Fortune 20) in Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio.  Since 2008, Mr. Dowdy has served as a management consultant and executive at four startup companies, one of which recently sold for $187 million.

Mr. Dowdy also teaches an internet/digital marketing and strategy class for the Executive MBA program at the University of Arkansas, Walton College of Business.  He also serves on the boards of the Arkansas Academy of Computing and Mid-America Science Museum; and the Board of Visitors for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts. Dowdy also serves on the Governor Hutchinson’s Task Force for the Computer Science Initiative.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Arkansas and an MBA from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University.

“It is rare for an accelerator program to be led by a serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive of Mr. Dowdy’s caliber,” said Lee Watson, President and CEO of The Venture Center. “In addition to a deep bench of executive experience, Gary has also built and sold companies, and cohort founders will benefit from the day-to-day guidance of someone who’s built and scaled startups at the highest level.”

About the VC FinTech Accelerator
The VC FinTech Accelerator is a 15-week rigorous program designed to accelerate the growth of early stage FinTech startups. The highly selective program will admit up to 10 leading startups poised to challenge the status quo in the financial services sector.

Through a fund established and directed by The Venture Center, portfolio companies will receive an initial $50,000 investment. In addition, the companies are eligible to pitch for up to $100,000-300,000 additional investment for selected winner(s) at the end of the program.

One of the biggest advantages of The VC FinTech Accelerator is an open door to the executives of a global financial services technology leader and access to the world’s largest banks.

“FIS has a strong track record in innovation that allows our clients to achieve their objectives, while empowering them with the tools necessary to stay competitive in the rapidly-changing financial technology industry,” said Rob Lee, chief product officer, Global Banking and Payments, FIS. “This collaboration with The Venture Center is an excellent opportunity to promote innovation earlier in the life cycle. Little Rock is a natural fit for this initiative given FIS’ history and large employee presence in the market.”

As the birthplace of early FinTech innovators like Systematics (now FIS), Arkansas Systems (now Euronet Worldwide), ABC Financial, Stephens Inc., Mainstream Technologies, and Acxiom and the home of the only FinTech Accelerator powered by the world’s leading financial technology company, Central Arkansas is the place for startups seeking to disrupt the FinTech space. Period.

“Members of the VC Fintech cohort have the unique opportunity to leverage an open door to executives of the world’s largest financial services technology company,” said Gary Dowdy, Managing Director of the VC FinTech Accelerator. “FIS powers 53% of the world’s banks, and this type of industry access and expertise provides our founders a competitive advantage unmatched anywhere in the world.”

To learn more about the program and apply, visit or follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter (

About The Venture Center
As the front door for entrepreneurism in Central Arkansas, The Venture Center’s multi-stage process is the engine which drives the development of scalable, investable businesses. The Venture Center’s best-in-class Mentorship Network along with a comprehensive Pre-Accelerator program supports and guides startup founders to viability. Corporate, Industry-focused Accelerator Programs leverage The Venture Center’s expertise in innovation in service of member startups, corporate partners, and investment community. The Venture Center provides expertise and solutions for partners in business, government and education to bolster the economic development of Central Arkansas. As a clear leader, The Venture Center is shaping the economic development of the State and region.

To learn more about The Venture Center, visit


For more information:
Steve Rice, 501.404.9875
Director of Marketing
The Venture Center