Start Something big in fintech
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The Venture Center selects 10 financial technology startups poised to challenge the status quo in the financial services sector.
“At FIS we’re investing in innovation that keeps our clients competitive in today’s environment while also looking at what the global financial services industry will look like in the future,” said Gary Norcross, FIS president and CEO. “We’re excited to partner with The Venture Center on this initiative and to further establish Little Rock and Central Arkansas as a desirable location to start and grow a business.”
The Venture Center received 295 applicants from all over the U.S. and more than 25 other countries for their 2017 cohort.
“FIS has been a key player in the financial services space not only in Central Arkansas, but around the world,” said Lee Watson, president and CEO, The Venture Center. “The Venture Center is proud to partner with FIS on this initiative, which provides FinTech startups access to the largest financial services technology company in the world. This joint effort will provide FIS increased access to the top FinTech innovators in the world while supporting the growth of the financial services sector.”
The 10 selected portfolio companies will be announced at a Launch Day announcement in May and the program will culminate with Demo Day in July.
To learn more about the program or to apply, visit VCFinTech.co.
Access the world's top financial technology company and gain insight on selling your solution to a global market. Leverage FIS & customer expertise in the FinTech space.
Intense. Aggressive. Focused. The VC FinTech Accelerator is a rigorous program designed to accelerate the growth of financial technology companies.
Portfolio companies receive an initial $50,000 investment and high-potential companies are eligible for an additional investment of up to $300,000 at the end of the program.
The VC FinTech Accelerator - Empowered by FIS Global - seeks early stage financial technology companies that are innovating in core banking services, wealth management, wearables, wallets, back office, compliance, payments and other areas of the financial services industry. In addition, companies leveraging emerging technologies in IoT, cognitive computing, enterprise blockchain, and neural networks should also apply.
If you are looking to rapidly expand your technology solution in the financial services industry, there is no better place to do it than VC FinTech.
Our roadmap to success is simple - but effective:
- By putting our founders through a world-class business development curriculum, we are equip them to rapidly scale their companies.
- With mentoring and coaching from an engaged community of FinTech executives and successful entrepreneurs, we help our company founders become better leaders.
- By connecting our companies with the world's largest distribution system for financial services, we are give them the opportunity to reach over 20,000 banks and financial institutions around the world.
FIS™ is the world’s largest global provider dedicated to banking and payments technologies.
THE VENTURE CENTER COMMUNITY PARTNERS
PARTICIPATING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Bear State Bank
Bank England Mortgage
Crews & Associates
First Security Bank
Live Oak Bank
First National Bank of Scotia
Bank of Oklahoma
Malvern National Bank
Arkansas Bankers Association
VC FinTech Accelerator
2017 Portfolio Companies
VC FinTech Accelerator
2016 Portfolio Companies
About the Accelerator
Applications Close - February 5, 2017
Selection Notification by March 31, 2017
Program Dates - May 8 - July 28, 2017
Demo Day - July 26, 2017
The program officially launches on May 8. However, as soon as your company is selected for the Accelerator, we will help you work out all the logistics, expectations and commitments to make the transition to Little Rock as easy as possible.
Evaluation & Acceptance
Applicants being advanced through the evaluation process will be asked for additional information and documentation beyond the initial application. We will schedule founders for a series of video interviews that will consist of founder presentations, demos as well as Q & A.
Our video interviews are conducted through video conference. Applicants are advised to be ready at least 5 minutes early for their interview session due to the volume of applicants and the limited amount of time to conduct the interviews.
Intense. Aggressive. Focused. The VC FinTech Accelerator's 12-week rigorous on-site program is designed to accelerate the growth of early stage FinTech startups through detailed business development; compliance, regulatory, security and risk management guidance; technology development and specialized financial services content. In addition, we will work with portfolio companies to build a solid, investable model to support founders in seeking additional funding. Concurrent with our curriculum, we have routing and by-appointment attendance by our mentors and subject matter experts to help your business grow.
The curriculum begins upon acceptance to the Accelerator. Participants will complete some deliverables and required reading prior to the program that will be due before the program start date. On day one - we hit the ground running to accelerate your growth.
The Accelerator teams have access to all of The Venture Center's partners (legal, accounting, technology, marketing, etc.) as well as access to great data science and analytics and market research resources from our partners at the University of Arkansas and state-of-the-art, data visualization resources at the UALR Emerging Analytics Center.
The Accelerator encourages all entrepreneurs who are poised to disrupt the financial technology space to apply. In addition to working with early stage companies in Core Banking, Payments, Mobile, Compliance, Wearables, Wallets, Back Office, and Fraud & Security, we’re interested in supporting and potentially partnering with startups leveraging emerging technologies like cognitive computing, neural networks, IoT, and enterprise blockchain innovation in financial services.
Portfolio companies will receive a $50,000 initial 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. The Venture Center will also leverage its network of investors
As the birthplace of early FinTech innovators like Systematics, Arkansas Systems, ABC Financial, Stephens Inc., Mainstream Technologies, and Acxiom and the home of the only FinTech Accelerator powered by the world’s largest financial technology company, Central Arkansas is the place for startups seeking to disrupt the FinTech space. Period.
2016 Weekly Overview
Week One: VC FinTech Launch
During the first week of the Accelerator, the portfolio company founders arrived in Little Rock and met privately with FIS CEO, Gary Norcross. The meeting with Mr. Norcross was followed by a press conference and welcome mixer at the Venture Center. Gary Norcross, CEO of FIS; Lt. Governor Tim Griffin; Mayor Mark Stodola as well as business and community leaders welcomed the founders to Little Rock. The mixer was followed with by an exclusive Founder's Dinner sponsored by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce at the prestigious Capitol Hotel in downtown Little Rock. A special surprise meeting with former President Bill Clinton the weekend before the Accelerator kickoff added to the stellar first week.
Week Two: A Focus on Finance
This week, the founders got down to business with presentations from local business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thursday evening, the founders gathered for a special Founder's Dinner at local favorite Lost 40 Brewing.
Week Three: All About Connections
Founders connected to industry experts from FIS as well as former employees from predecessor Systematics at an authentic Southern shrimp boil Founder's Dinner at the home of Venture Center mentor, Alese Stroud and her husband, Doug. On Friday, the founders journeyed to Northwest Arkansas for a private meeting with regional investors. The founders also spent time with Doug McMillon, the CEO of Wal-Mart.
Week Four: Key Industry Connections
Week four was focused on revenue and business building. The Founders met with Lynn Roche, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at FIS. They also met with officials from the Bank of England (Arkansas), Centennial Bank, and IBERIABANK.
Week Five: Selling to Financial Institutions
Week five was comprised of meetings with several key FIS executives, including Tere Brun (EVP - Community Banking and Product Management), Peter Connors (General Manager, FIS), John Gordon (EVP - Large Financial Institutions), Zeynep Fredrick (EVP - North America Lending), and Mike Whitacre (SVP - Global Financial Institutions). The founders also had meetings with local business experts like Shelly Loftin, CMO of Bear State Bank; Rush Harding of Crews & Associates; as well as Larry Middleton and Brad Eichler of Stephens, Inc. The week was punctuated by an exclusive Founders' Dinner hosted executives of Bear State Bank at Table 28.
Week Six: Marketing and Payments
Week six is the half-way point. The founders focused on marketing, and gained key insights into the global, digital and mobile payments markets via meetings with key FIS executives including Mike Florax (VP - Direct Banking), Serena Smith (Head of International Payments), and Doug Brown (SVP - Mobile). It wasn't all work and no play for the VC FinTech founders. They concluded the week with a lake day and casual Founders' Dinner hosted by VC FinTech executive Collins Andrews and his wife at their home on Lake Hamilton.
Week Seven: A Focus on Regulation
Week seven was punctuated by a visit from Rep. French Hill (AR) who visited with the founders about regulations, public policy. In addition, he shared his insight and expertise from his experience as a businessman. The rest of the week focused on key meetings with executive teams from Simmons Bank and Arvest Bank. The week wrapped up with a visit from Mike Sharkey, CTO of Signature Bank in NYC and Scott Ford of Westrock Coffee and Westrock Asset Management Group.
Week Eight: Sales, Sales, Sales
Week eight was the point where the founders really began to pour "fuel on the flames" as they accelerate the business success. Following the 4th of July holiday, the founders went to the Capitol Tuesday morning for a private roundtable discussion with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. On Wednesday, Gary Norcross--the CEO of the FIS--returned to Little Rock for a follow up meeting with the founders. He then spent nearly three hours doing one-on-one meetings with each of the founders. The week wrapped with private tour of the Presidential residence atop the Clinton Center and a tour of the Library and Museum. This was followed by a casual Founders' dinner at Dizzy's hosted by the AEDC.
The VC FinTech Accelerator is Powered by FIS
“Powered by FIS” is more than a slogan. As a member of the Accelerator, you leverage the power of FIS--55,000 employees and 20,000 clients. FIS serves the largest players in the financial world, processing 27 billion transactions and $9 trillion annually. FIS is committed to disrupting the FinTech space with innovation centers in San Francisco, New York, London, Bangalore, Bangkok--and now, Little Rock, Arkansas. FIS stands uniquely poised to support your startup in ways that no other organization can. By joining The VC FinTech Accelerator, you leverage the power of FIS to accelerate the growth of your company!
Portfolio companies enjoy a unique collaboration with FIS, a global financial technology services leader. Founders can leverage the power of FIS by working with and receiving advice and direction from FIS leaders. In addition, founders have an opportunity to pitch their companies to global product executives and potentially banking customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the accelerator?
Our curriculum is 12-weeks on-site.
Can VC FinTech help me sign a partnership with fis or other FInancial institutions through the accelerator?
VC FinTech will bring in key decision makers and C-Suite executives from FIS and several other financial institutions to learn about your company and provide coaching and mentorship. We can't guarantee a partnership, but you can be assured you will have the opportunity and exposure to decision makers within FIS and other financial institutions to make it happen - the rest is up to you.
Do I have to move to little rock?
Accepted companies must locate to Little Rock for the duration of the 12-week program. After the program, what you do is up to you. We hope you'll come for the accelerator and decide to stay. Little Rock is a great place!!
CAN I BRING MY FAMILY?
Certainly!! Housing arraignments are up to founders to make and there are plenty of options to choose from. We will do several events throughout the Accelerator that will be family-friendly.
What does your curriculum cover?
Our curriculum covers everything from Marketing to Executive Development. You may know your tech, but we will help you refine and validate your model. We will give you access to veteran entrepreneurs and industry experts to prepare your company to increase sales, grow, and seek investment for scaling. But we don't stop after Demo Day - we will to stay connected to you and help cultivate your company's success.
What types of businesses does the VC FinTech Accelerator serve?
The VC FinTech Accelerator is designed to accelerate the growth of early stage financial technology ventures. We are looking for innovative, creative and technology-focused FinTech businesses and are open to companies across the full spectrum of the financial technology space.
Where do your mentors come from and what value do they provide?
The VC FinTech program will draw mentors from both FIS and from the Venture Center's Mentorship Network. FIS has committed to providing key persons from their organization to assist our FinTech Accelerator startup companies. Some mentors from the FIS organization will be selected after the VC FinTech cohort is chosen in order to provide a tailored experience.
The Venture Center's Mentorship Network is comprised of four types of mentors: Executive Leaders, Domain Leaders, Industry Leaders, and Capital/Funding Leaders.
Executive Leader– The seasoned and successful business leader, whether a CEO, growing startup founder or small business owner, all bring valuable leadership experiences to the entrepreneur.
Domain Leader – Skilled professionals who provide guidance regarding a specific subject matter. They provide valuable expertise in areas like: intellectual property development, financial and operational strategy, technology development and sales and presentation skill development.
Industry Leader – Recognized industry leaders provide assistance navigating the complexities and connections within areas such as advertising technology, communications, financial services, government, healthcare and retail.
Capital Leader – Raising capital or selling a company is as much an art form as a science.
The VC FinTech Accelerator - Empowered by FIS Global - is seeking early stage financial technology companies that are innovating in core banking services, wealth management, wearables, wallets, bank back office, compliance, payments and other areas of the financial services industry. In addition, companies leveraging emerging technologies in IoT, cognitive computing, enterprise blockchain, and neural networks should also apply.
If you are looking to aggressively validate and sell your existing technology solution to the financial services industry, there is no better place than The VC FinTech Accelerator.
Company founders find a cadre of seasoned entrepreneurial mentors, FinTech and financial services industry experts, and a number of functional-area experts that will help founders refine their business models, craft their messaging and get their products to market FASTER! In addition, founders find a community of support behind their efforts.
Be a part of something real! Supercharge your financial technology company - We're not Just an Accelerator - We're a Strategic Partner
We are the ONLY accelerator program that has an open door to the executives and subject matter experts of the global financial technology services leader AND access to the world's largest banks. Thousands of banks - not just one...
FIS™ is the world's largest global provider dedicated to banking and payments technologies. FIS empowers the financial world with payment processing and banking solutions, including software, services and technology outsourcing.
If you want to partner with or sell to financial institutions - The VC FinTech Accelerator can get you there faster than you ever thought possible.
Summer 2017 Program:
- Key Dates:
- Program Duration - May 8 to July 28, 2017
- Applications close - February 5
- Acceptance Notifications by March 31
- VC FinTech Demo Day - July 26
- Initial investment of $50K
- Over $100K in web services
- 12 weeks of intense on-site training and mentorship
- Free office space for Founders and Key Persons for the duration of the program
- 12 months of focused effort to achieve developmental goals
- Potential follow-on investment at Demo Day
- Curriculum focused on FinTech business development and selling to financial institutions
- Access to entrepreneurial mentors and coaches, FinTech innovators, and financial institution decision-makers
The VC FinTech Accelerator
FIS is the world's largest global provider dedicated to banking and payments technologies. FIS empowers the financial world with payment processing and banking solutions, including software, services and technology outsourcing.
If you want to partner with or sell to financial institutions - The VC FinTech Accelerator can get you there faster than you ever thought possible.
By connecting our companies with the world's largest distribution system for financial services, FIS, we are giving you the opportunity to reach over 20,000 banks and financial institutions around the world.
Investing In You
Portfolio companies receive an initial $50,000 investment and high-potential companies are eligible for an additional investment of up to $300,000 at the end of the program. With mentoring and coaching from an engaged community of FinTech executives and successful entrepreneurs, we help you become a better leader.