Little Rock Venture Center program cohort featured at annual summit

Posted on August 15, 2023
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by Andrew Moreau

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The Little Rock Venture Center on Monday introduced its newest internationally flavored financial technology cohort to a receptive audience of bankers looking for innovative products and services the entrepreneurs offer.

The cohort for the annual financial technology accelerator program includes three English companies and another from Tel Aviv. The financial technology concerns pitched their products Monday as part of opening ceremonies for the Venture Center’s second annual VenCent Fintech Summit, two days of sessions and get-to-know-you meetings at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Commerce Secretary Hugh McDonald opened the sessions by touting the pro-business environment in Arkansas, and the region, that promotes entrepreneurship and growth. McDonald noted the Venture Center’s success in highlighting Central Arkansas as a fintech hub, capitalizing on the lineages that stretches back to early financial software developer Systematics.

The fintech accelerator has been a key financial engine.

“You have no doubt heard about the track record of this event,” McDonald said, noting that nearly 100 companies have been created from the fintech accelerator with 85% of those still operating. “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.”

Little Rock has a fintech pedigree that began in 1968 with the founding of Systematics Inc., which is now part of Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), one of the world’s largest financial technology providers.

This year’s cohort includes U.S. entrepreneurs based in California, Florida, New York, Utah and Washington. The 12-week bootcamp is sponsored largely by FIS, which is also the main sponsor for this week’s Little Rock summit.

The program includes 10 growth-stage companies that serve the banking and financial services sectors, developing technologies that save time and money for the companies.

Cohort participants are ASA of Orem, Utah; AutoCloud of Seattle; Azimuth of Jacksonville, Fla.; DIRO of New York; Forage and IDPartner Systems, both of San Francisco; three England-based companies: Kani of Newcastle upon Tyne, NayaOne and Triple of London; and Lama Aim which has offices in Tel Aviv and New York.

Several accelerator alumnus have opened operations, including headquarters, in Central Arkansas after completing the program. This year’s participants, McDonald said, should join the movement.

“Opportunities abound,” he said. “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.”