The search for new financial technology solutions is heating up as the FinTech Innovation Lab for New York City launches its 2020 call for applicants, and the CFTC holds its second annual Fintech Forward conference this week.
In its 10th year, the innovation lab of the Partnership Fund for New York City and Accenture is accepting applications to bring together new school fintech solution providers with senior executives at “the largest financial and insurance institutions for deep mentorship and feedback” for a 12-week laboratory environment.
The lab targets “early- and growth-stage fintech companies” that need to speed up product and business development via “in-depth collaboration with top financial services and venture capital firms.” The lab has the support of 43 major institutions.
Over the past decade, the lab has helped 69 technology companies work with CEOs, CTOs and chief information officers from more than 40 financial and insurance institutions, and provided access to venture capitalists and technology luminaries.
The graduates of the lab program “have created more than 1,100 jobs and raised more than $1 billion in venture financing after participating in the program; seven participants have been acquired,” according to the lab.
The applications for the 2020 class are available via the www.fintechinnovationlabnyc.com website and are due by Monday, Dec. 2, officials say. Applicants can attend an information session on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
For 2020, the lab has established five focus areas for financial institutions:
- Cloud: Including cloud management, migration and security;
- Data: Alternative data sources to improve underwriting analytics, and tools for data management, governance, privacy and visualization;
- Digitization: Automating and scaling internal processes to drive operational and engineering efficiencies;
- Engagement: Tools focused on clients, employees or agents, including for customer acquisition and experience, product customization, predictive analytics and talent development;
- And Security: Solutions focused on cyber, risk and identity management, and fraud.
The focus areas emerged after a survey of chief technology and chief information officers at partner financial services organizations, officials say.
Feedback from senior executives at financial institutions also encouraged lab officials to seek companies “leveraging innovative technologies — including artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, mobile and robotic process automation” that would result in end-to-end solutions for the five major focus areas.
For insurance partners helping the lab, the key focus areas are automation, collaboration, data, and risk.
The competitive process encompasses fintech and insurtech CTOs and other senior technology executives “from the 43 participating financial institutions” that will pick companies to participate in the 2020 Lab that launches in April 2020.
“In recent years, financial institutions have favored more-mature companies, with average capital raised for the 2019 Lab companies exceeding $13 million,” officials say. “Applicants must have at least a working beta version of their technology that is ready to be tested for either the institutional or retail market.”
When the Lab is underway, fintech entrepreneurs will meet with senior-level bank, insurance and wealth management executives to help them “develop and refine” technologies and business strategies via panel discussions, user-group sessions and networking opportunities, according to lab officials.
The process builds to Demo Day in June 2020 “where participants will present to an audience of venture capitalists and financial industry executives at an event hosted at the Bank of America Tower at Bryant Park,” officials say.
“We have increasingly seen international companies participate in the Lab as a way to enter the U.S. market and build partnerships with New York financial institutions. In addition, post-Series A and B companies have found the Lab to be a helpful platform for collaborating with banks and insurance companies and receiving feedback on new use cases to accelerate business development efforts and ultimately product adoption,” says Sunny Parikh, director of the FinTech Innovation Lab New York, in a prepared statement.
A case in point is London-based company, Cutover, for whom “breaking into the U.S. was critical for our continued growth,” says Ky Nichol, CEO of Cutover, in a prepared statement. “The Lab helped us make the meaningful connections we needed to grow here and now we are scaling and hiring people in New York.”
Some of the other lab participants are Digital Asset Holdings, a provider of distributed ledger technology-based solutions; Enigma, which says it transforms disparate data into “applicable intelligence;” and Pymetrics, which reports that it “applies proven neuroscience games and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to reinvent the way companies attract and retain talent.”
Taking a different approach, the CFTC is holding its second annual Fintech Forward conference at the regulator’s headquarters in Washington, DC on October 24, to bring together “innovators, regulators, market participants, and the general public to discuss the latest in fintech developments and the impact of these emerging technologies on markets and customers,” officials say.
This agenda for the event, “Fintech Forward 2019: Exploring the Unwritten Future,” will include: opening remarks from CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert; a fireside chat with Commissioner Dan Berkovitz and former CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen; remarks by Commissioner Rostin Behnam on the future of fintech regulation; and another fireside chat with Commissioner Dawn Stump and Melissa Netram, the new Director of LabCFTC, officials add.
The panels discussions will focus on artificial intelligence in the 21st century marketplace, digitization and custody, big data and cloud computing, and global perspectives on fintech issues.
There will also be a “Meet the Regulators” exhibit throughout the day, to allow attendees to speak with regulators about “their respective jurisdictions, innovation engagement initiatives, and other fintech topics.” There will be representatives from the CFTC, CFPB, FINRA, FBI, NASAA, NFA and SEC.
The LabCFTC initiative, now in its third year, will lead the conference with support from the Office of Customer Education and Outreach, officials say. The full program will be livestreamed on CFTC.gov.