Betabeat learned something this morning! Did you know that while the market for financial services startups may be in New York, and even though it feels like we’re swimming in bankers-turned-founders, most fintech startups have historically been on the West Coast or in Boston?
“The financial services market is here,” said Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the NYC Investment Fund, the private $100 million fund that, alongside Accenture, is sponsoring the financial technology incubator FinTech Innovation Lab. “The size of the tech sector that works with them is disproportionately small. So on a macro level we’re trying to build up the tech sector, on a micro level the program is actually about picking out of the best of breed of six fintech companies and helping accelerate their development.”
FinTech Innovation Lab is now opening its second round of applications with the goal of encouraging more fintech innovation in the financial services capital of the world. The incubator is not unlike the Y Combinator breed; but instead of Ron Conway, startups are visited by the likes of Jamie Dimon (CEO, JP Morgan Chase). Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures is also on the guest speaker list. Companies have the option to receive a $25,000 convertible note; they must, however, fork over “a small amount of warrant coverage, which will have a dollar cap” to the Fund and the supporting investment firms. The program starts in May and ends in July with a demo day for investors. Applicants need at least a working beta.
The program is supported by an impressive lineup of five VC firms and 12 banking institutions, from RRE Ventures to Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs to American Express.
Last year, the program funded six fintech companies out of 90 applicants: 3D modeling software Aqumin, financial data analysis software CB Insights, real-time data cruncher Hanweck Associates, consumer credit manager Syphr, payments platform Zipmark, and the most creative of the bunch, lenddo.com, “the first service to use online social networks and endorsements to calculate creditworthiness.”
This year, the Lab is looking for growth stage companies as well as early stage companies, Ms. Gotsch said. “The banks are interested in seeing broader range of companies,” she said. “And the program, based on last year’s experience, will be valuable even for those little-bit-later companies.”