The Venture Centre, an Arkansas-based technology start-up accelerator, has signed a deal to collaborate with FIS on the creation of a FinTech Accelerator in the state. The collaboration will see the two parties deliver a 15-week intensive and highly selective programme to help bring viable FinTech start-ups from conception to sustainable accelerated growth. The creation of the centre will boost the state’s presence in innovation and entrepreneurship by attracting start-ups, while helping FIS gain access to start-ups and their talent in their initial development.
Global FinTech investment has seen considerable growth of late, tripling from $4.05 billion in 2013 to $12.2 billion in 2014, research by Accenture shows. This growth in FinTech investment can pose both threats and opportunities to banks, who, according to the consulting firm, should adapt quickly and develop a business culture to avoid losing out.
The Venture Centre, a programme to accelerate the growth of technology based start-ups, was established in the US state of Arkansas in 2014, and is situated in its capital, Little Rock. The organisation was set up in reaction to the state ranking relatively poorly in the 2013 Fast Company study of states, when it ranked #37 based on innovation and #45 on entrepreneurship. The Centre, created by a group of entrepreneurs and leaders within the business community, has a pro-business approach to entrepreneurism. It aims to connect powerful ideas to viability, creating jobs and boosting the knowledge-based economy in Arkansas. The Centre has, in its first year, created 53 new jobs in Central Arkansas on the back of $1.5 million in collections for viable initiatives.
The collaboration between The Venture Centre and FIS will see the creation of a FinTech Accelerator in the state. The initiative involves a 15-week intensive programme developed to accelerate the growth of early stage financial technology ventures. The programme will be highly selective, admitting up to 10 FinTech start-ups that seek to shake up the status quo in the financial services sector. The programme has a developed curriculum, with the aim of providing a model environment in which new entrants are able to plan strategically, address business and finance challenges, and meet with the rigorous mentorship from successful industry experts from FIS and the broader financial services community.
The choice for Arkansas, with strategic offices in the city, provides FIS access to a wide range of talent in the fast moving FinTech 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,” says Gary Norcross, FIS President and CEO. “We’re excited to partner with The Venture Centre on this initiative and to further establish Little Rock and Central Arkansas as a desirable location to start and grow a business.”
Lee Watson, President and CEO of The Venture Centre adds: “FIS has been a key player in the financial services space not only in Central Arkansas, but around the world. The Venture Centre is proud to partner with FIS on this initiative, which provides FinTech start-ups 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.”