Day 1 of VenCent Summit 2023: Sanders, McDonald Speak

Posted on August 14, 2023
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by Arkansas Business Staff

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Update: 2023 Participants in FIS Fintech Accelerator Present Business Pitches

Entrepreneurs selected to take part in the FIS Fintech Accelerator Program began presenting their business solutions. Participants have 7 minutes to pitch their ideas.

Omri Yacubovich presented Lama AI, a solution making it easier for small businesses to obtain bank loans in less than 7 minutes. Eighty percent of small business loan applicants are denied, Yacubovich explained, “but there is also a constant need for capital.”

Rod Boothby, CEO and co-founder of ID Partner Systems, explained how his company creates an online real identification system using banks to verify an individual’s identity. “The proposal is to let people control their identity by creating a bank-based ID.”


Update: Hugh McDonald Opens Conference

Arkansas Commerce Secretary Hugh McDonald opened the first day of the conference, which has about 300 attendees this year. McDonald spoke about the success of the FIS Fintech Accelerator Program. Each year, FIS Global of Little Rock, in partnership with The Venture Center of Little Rock, selects 10 growth-stage fintech companies to take part in a three-month mentoring program. That program began in 2016.

“You have no doubt heard about the track record of this event,” McDonald said. “Since 2016, nearly 100 companies have been created from the fintech accelerator. Eighty-five percent of them are still in operation. The average capital raise was $17 million and $2.5 billion of capital has been raised in total. There are three companies now valued over $1 billion.”

McDonald continued: “Opportunities abound. We wish you the best of luck in repeating those awesome trends. We are hoping you keep coming back, keep innovating, solving problems and identifying solutions.”


The VenCent Fintech Summit is underway in Little Rock today, with keynote speakers Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Hugh McDonald, secretary of the state Department of Commerce.

It’s the second year of the two-day summit, which brings together banking leaders and fintech innovators from the U.S. and abroad to discuss challenges and opportunities in financial technology.

This year’s summit will feature a VenCentMatch, which, similar to speed dating, connects bankers and fintech leaders to forge new partnerships.

More than 400 people attended the inaugural summit last year. Arkansas Business is covering today’s events and will have more at later today.