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Innovation: FinTech Accelerator Program

We like to consider ourselves pioneers. No, no, not the Oregon Trail kind. The making-major-advancements-in-technology-on-an-international-level kind. Little Rock is home to companies big and small alike known for their innovation in various sectors. Do Stephens Inc., Acxiom or Dillard’s ring a bell? One local program is changing the game when it comes to financial technology: The VC FinTech Accelerator.

Tell me about the VC FinTech Accelerator.

Powered through The Venture Center and FIS, the world's largest global provider dedicated to banking and payments technologies, the program emboldens and trains 10 financial tech startups over the course of 12 weeks. Through an extensive network of people, programs and resources, the Accelerator helps early stage companies refine their business models to create a product that is market-ready and ultimately connect to potential customers and investors.

What do these startups do throughout the program?

In 2018, VC FinTech Accelerator participants were hand-picked from 281 applicants across 47 countries by the Accelerator team, founders, advisors and board of directors. Once selected, they make a home in Little Rock for the next three months where they’re led through a specialized curriculum focusing on cutting costs, driving customer engagement and increasing revenue. Industry experts on the Accelerator’s team of advisors lead the startups and their founders by mentorship and coaching. The companies selected receive a $75,000 initial investment to support efforts throughout the program and beyond.

Then what happens?

Top performers of the program could earn up to $300,000 in follow up investments and an invitation to join the FIS HiPo Network. But, what all 12 weeks really lead up to is Demo Day. At the end of the program, each CEO from the 10 Accelerator startups gives a 10-minute investor presentation, providing attendees a glimpse into the future of financial services technology and the innovative solutions they have developed. Spoiler: The average capital raise of a VC FinTech Portfolio company is $1.25 million.

What the companies choose to do after the 12 weeks is entirely up to them. Some stay local, some go international, but they’ll always have the skills they learn, the connections they made and more from right here in Little Rock.

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