LITTLE ROCK, Ark., July 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and FIS, a global financial services company based in Jacksonville, Florida, announced their renewed partnership for 2019 with the Venture Center FinTech Accelerator. Its focus is identifying and accelerating the development of early-stage financial technology ventures. The partnership began in 2016 with AEDC and FIS each covering a portion of funding for program costs.
“Arkansas has the tools in place to be a leader in entrepreneurism,” Hutchinson said. “Our goal is to have a micro-hub of technology companies in the state. Whether we talk about coding, blockchain or cybersecurity, Arkansans want to be innovators. We want to be on the cutting edge of this and continue investing in it.”
AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston said: “Small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy, and we cannot be successful without them. What’s more, the companies represented at this year’s Demo Day aren’t just any startups but innovators with creative ideas rooted in financial technology that are certain to be the companies we’ll be talking about in the future. Our partnership with the VC Fin Tech Accelerator will continue to help Arkansas lead the way in technology.”
The announcement was made Wednesday, July 18, during the Accelerator’s third annual “Demo Day,” when 10 startups presented their work and pitched ideas to some 450 potential investors, community leaders and representatives from financial institutions and other companies. The startups each received mentoring and training from FIS and the Venture Center over 12 weeks, as well as a $75,000 investment.
Those selected were: Arcanum of Athens, Georgia; Billion Group of London, England, and Warsaw, Poland; Bucket of Santa Ana, California, and Bentonville, Arkansas; Finvoice of San Francisco, California; Gas POS of Birmingham, Alabama; LexAlign of Austin, Texas; Pay Your Tuition Funds of Washington, D.C.; SONECT AG of Zurich, Switzerland; Upper Room Technology of Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Verikai of San Francisco.
More than 280 applicants from more than 45 countries applied for the program this year.
“FIS is excited to be a part of the accelerator for another year,” said FIS CEO Gary Norcross. “A half century ago, a small FinTech startup in Little Rock called Systematics eventually became FIS. We want to be able to pass on our experiences and knowledge to the next generation of FinTech companies.”
Participants of past VC FinTech Accelerator programs have raised approximately $39 million in combined capital, and several have entered into formal agreements with FIS. Four of the startups have established headquarters in Little Rock.
“What we’re doing with the Venture Center is having an enormous affect not only in Arkansas but around the country and even around the world,” said Wayne Miller, managing director of The Venture Center. “We’re fortunate to have partners such as Governor Hutchinson, AEDC and FIS who understand the need to grow technology companies in today’s economy.”