Kansas City-based nbkc bank announced last week the six companies that comprise the first class of their fintech accelerator program Fountain City Fintech.
Fountain City Fintech is the first accelerator program run by a community bank that specifically focuses on partnerships with innovative startups looking to solve real-world problems and pain points. For example, addressing the savings crisis, banking the underbanked, assisting small businesses in accessing capital, and more.
“In order to meet the needs of today’s — and tomorrow’s — consumers in safely saving, moving, borrowing, and managing their money, nbkc’s strategy is to develop long-term partnerships with Fintechs,” said Eric Garretson, Chief Financial Officer and Fintech Strategy Leader at nbkc bank. “To that end, the accelerator will be a conduit to high potential startups looking to bring disruptive financial technology to market.”
Zach Anderson Pettet, Managing Director of Fountain City Fintech, said the three main criterion used to choose the final cohort during selection day (in which ten companies participated) were alignment with the bank’s strategic plan, social impact in terms of the success of the firm would have on solving financial problems faced by society, and quality of team.
“The humans building the businesses are of major importance to us,” said Pettet. “One, the quality of the team needs to meet a certain threshold for us to have real confidence in the company’s future. Two, it’s important that the founders’ hearts are in the right place––basically meaning we wanted them to be motivated by the social impact to society along with the monetary incentive of building a big business.”
The chosen participants will have access to a deep bench of advisors, investors, and subject matter experts as part of a program that will focus on executing the partnership between the bank and the Fintech company, in addition to programming centered around compliance and culture.
“We were blown out of the water by the inbound response,” said Pettet. “We were heartened to see applications from across 36 cities, 15 time zones, and six continents. We’re still working on Antarctica.”
Pettet said the response was so positive that nbkc ended up expanding the class from five to six due to the interest level from the founders.
2018 Fountain City Fintech class
Track, a San Francisco-based company that automates self-employment finances using machine learning to estimate and remit quarterly tax estimates to the IRS for the self-employed.
Destiny Wealth, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based mobile app that evaluates user’s current financial picture and creates a four-step plan for them to achieve financial security by retirement.
SavR, the only international company in the accelerator, which boosts personal savings by rounding up debit card transactions. The product has already gained traction in Australia and will be launching in the U.S. to help the average American with savings via automated round-ups.
Digs, a Chicago-based company that assists first-time homebuyers and renters to save for a down payment while providing educational content throughout the process.
Onward, a not-for-profit employer benefit program that promotes saving, responsible borrowing, and financial education. Unlike most savings plans or financial education programs, Onward is tailored to helping employees reach their immediate goals, and if an emergency does occur, instead of seeing their savings washed away or borrowing from a payday lender, eligible employees can access a low-interest loan based on their savings history.
NuMoola, a Philadelphia-based company that is the first kid-focused platform, connecting all aspects of financial engagement in one place in order to better educate today’s youth.
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