A half-dozen companies from outside Kansas City earned spots among the first cohort of Fountain City FinTech, said Zach Pettet, hopeful the metro could attract the firms to stay or build long-term partnerships.
“There’s a good chance that a number of firms will be putting down roots and creating jobs in Kansas City. We don’t know what the full scope of that will look like yet, but we’re excited that one of our companies is [already] working with a local team to build their software product,” said Pettet, managing director of the nbkc bank-based accelerator, which is a first for a a community bank. “And additional to that, one in the cohort [Savr] is moving to Kansas City from Australia and making Kansas City their American HQ. More to come, but we’re quite excited about what it could mean for the city.”
The accelerator runs Oct. 1 to Dec. 14 at nbkc’s newly designed office space, with the cohort focusing on solving real-world issues like “banking the underbanked,” as well as company culture and the inner mechanics of the finance firms, according to a press release.
Starting the FinTech-focused accelerator seemed like a natural step for the bank and its goal to develop lasting partnerships with FinTech firms, it said.
“In order to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s consumers in safely saving, moving, borrowing, and managing their money, nbkc’s strategy is to develop long-term partnerships with FinTechs,” said Eric Garretson, chief financial officer at nbkc bank. “To that end, the accelerator will be a conduit to high potential startups looking to bring disruptive financial technology to market.”
The cohort includes the following companies:
- Track — a San Francisco-based company that automates self-employment finances using machine learning to estimate and remit quarterly tax estimates to the IRS for the self-employed.
- Destiny Wealth — a Tulsa-based mobile app that evaluates user’s current financial picture and creates a four-step plan for them to achieve financial security by retirement.
- SavR — the only international company in the accelerator, which boosts personal savings by rounding up debit card transactions. The product has already gained traction in Australia and will be launching in the U.S. to help the average American with savings via automated round-ups.
- Digs — a Chicago-based company that assists first-time homebuyers and renters to save for a down payment while providing educational content throughout the process.
- Onward — a not-for-profit employer benefit program that promotes saving, responsible borrowing, and financial education. Unlike most savings plans or financial education programs, Onward is tailored to helping employees reach their immediate goals, and If an emergency does occur, instead of seeing their savings washed away or borrowing from a payday lender, eligible employees can access a low-interest loan based on their savings history.
- NuMoola — a Philadelphia-based company and the first kid-focused platform, connecting all aspects of financial engagement in one place in order to better educate today’s youth.