More VC coming to financial technology, this time from Wilmington, NC-based, publicly traded Live Oak Bank (Live Oak Bancshares-Nasdaq: LOB). $10M has been set aside by the firm to pursue fintechs that can “solve problems”. Additionally, the bank would look to have the firms relocate to Wilmington and would like to provide incubator space for them. We find it interesting that not only large cities, but small- and medium-size cities are establishing fintech accelerators all over the US, too. It only shows us further evidence that the fintech phenomenon is here to stay.
(Cindy Taylor, Publisher)
“Wilmington’s Live Oak Bank is searching for fintech entrepreneurs. The company recently established a venture arm, Live Oak Ventures, and is “nowhere close” to using up the $10 million coffer its board has allocated for investments, CEO Chip Mahan told analysts on a recent earnings call.
“These are very small bets,” he said, adding that the goal is to solve problems – not just leverage opportunities from an economic standpoint.
Those bets – so far – include DefenseStorm and Finxact, for more than $4 million combined, says Live Oak Ventures President Neil Underwood. The goal, Underwood says, is to find companies, make investments, then bring those innovators to Wilmington, “incubating” them at Live Oak Bank. And that would require more office space, he says.
“Think industry veterans who have been there and solved the problem with real customers, real companies,” he explains in an interview late Monday, adding that Live Oak is particularly interested in open platforms and cloud-based operating systems.
“Technological change or innovation in the financial sector has been slow over the years, and this is really an attempt to change that,” CFO Brett Caines adds in an interview.
Live Oak is no stranger to innovation. It’s already seen success with tech firm nCino – a spinout initially developed to streamline its own customer and employee interactions within one bank operating system…”