Another Bank is Launching a FinTech Accelerator
Ever since the idea of FinTech came on the scene, many have presumed that these firms were the mortal enemies of traditional banks. Yet time and time again we’ve seen numerous banks embracing financial technologies and the startups working on them to great success. Specifically some have even created programs to help grow young companies and invest in them along the way. For example it was nearly two years ago that big bank JPMorgan Chase announced they were starting such a program and now a much smaller bank, NBKC, has announced their own FinTech accelerator plans.
As Startland reports, the Kansas City bank is inviting early-stage FinTechs from around the world to their upcoming Fountain City Fintech Accelerator program, which comes through a partnership with LaunchKC. NBKC will soon be opening up the application process, with a program start date set for October 1st of this year. Five companies will be selected to participate in the 75-day accelerator, with each receiving at least $50,000 in funding in exchange for a 2% to 4% equity stake.
If Kansas City, Missouri isn’t one of the locales that comes to mind when you think of a FinTech startup haven, the accelerator’s leader Zach Anderson Pettet suggests it should be. He told Startland, “Kansas City’s been a FinTech hub for longer than most people realize. The likes of H&R Block, BATS, and ZOLOZ have paved the way for an upcoming wave of financial technology innovation.” Pettet also spoke to what this latest program will be able to accomplish, saying “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. We’re perfectly positioned to accelerate entrepreneurs’ efforts to solve real-world financial problems through technology.” Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City’s Senior Vice President of business and job development, Drew Solomon, echoed Pettet’s sentiments, saying “LaunchKC is thrilled to partner with NBKC bank to start Fountain City Fintech, adding another great resource for entrepreneurs and expanding the city’s efforts to become the most entrepreneurial city in America.”
According to their Fountain City FinTech Accelerator site, those companies that participate in the program will have “established a partnership with NBKC and gained the knowledge, capital, and confidence to scale their post-product business with a vast supporting network of mentors and partners.” In other words, like other bank-backed accelerators before it, the program could be a win-win for both NBKC and the blooming FinTechs that earn a spot. Overall this development just shows the strong trend of institutions — of all sizes — learning not to fear FinTech but to partner with those that will lead the way into the future. Needless to say this accelerator and its participants will certainly be worth watching.