nbkc bank announced on Wednesday the launch of Fountain City Fintech, an accelerator program for early-stage financial technology startups from around the world.
Five companies will be chosen from a pool of international applicants to receive a minimum $50,000 investment and join the initial program this fall. Fountain City Fintech will provide capital, mentorship and access to a forward-thinking banking partner in nbkc bank.
Fountain City Fintech will be the first accelerator of its kind in the nation that is run by a community bank and focuses exclusively on fintech.
The application process for the accelerator’s inaugural class opens this week and the 75-day program kicks off October 1.
LaunchKC, the grants competition for tech entrepreneurs that was founded in 2015 by the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City, will support the fintech accelerator.
“LaunchKC is thrilled to partner with nbkc bank, as it starts Fountain City Fintech – adding another great resource for entrepreneurs and expanding the city’s efforts to become the most entrepreneurial city in America,” said Drew Solomon, Senior Vice President, Business & Job Development at KC EDC. “The team at nbkc has shown they’re willing to invest the time, effort and dollars in the community to make innovation happen.”
Solomon said the accelerator is a great addition to what LaunchKC is doing.
“LaunchKC is currently conducting its fourth annual grants competition for startup and early-stage tech businesses,” said Solomon. “Our candidate selection process will provide excellent candidates to maximize the impact and reach of the accelerator.”
Zach Anderson Pettet will serve as Managing Director for Fountain City Fintech’s inaugural class. Pettet has previous experience working with startups and specializing in product management and fintech.
“I’ve always had a big passion for financial technology and what it can do to change the world of finance [in favor of] average Americans,” said Pettet. “We really want to plant a flag in Kansas City around Kansas City as a fintech hub.”
Pettet was involved in the early work of establishing the accelerator with nbkc.
“We realized that a lot of these conversations we’re having with early-stage founders are similar both in terms of the kind of partnership they want and the struggles they’re having,” said Pettet. “We saw the chance to take all those conversations and put them in a pressure cooker. Maybe we could solve a lot of problems and headaches for early-stage fintech entrepreneurs just by standing up an accelerator.”
Pettet said his many roles within the accelerator will include recruiting and vetting the first class, developing the programming, managing the mentor pool and interfacing with venture capitalists.
“I’m in the process of building a team right now, but my role throughout will be a support mechanism for the entrepreneurs,” said Pettet. “[I’ll be doing] anything and everything to make sure the entrepreneurs get all they can out of the program.”
Pettet said Kansas City’s business history and resources perfectly position the city to host a program like Fountain City Fintech and solve real-world financial problems through technology.
“Kansas City’s been a fintech hub for longer than most people realize,” said Pettet. “The likes of H&R Block, BATS, and Zoloz have paved the way for an upcoming wave of financial technology innovation. With community Partners like LaunchKC, VC Partners like Plug and Play Ventures, and a stable of top-flight mentors from around the world, Fountain City Fintech is excited to play a pivotal role in that wave.”
To learn more, or to apply to Fountain City Fintech’s Accelerator, visit www.fountaincityfintech.com.
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.