Got a new technology to innovate the workings of Wall
If youre an entrepreneur hoping to target the
financial services sector with something new, get ready for
major challenges, like dealing with longer-than-average sales
cycles and knocking on a lot of doors. Without the proper
contacts or guidance on how to adapt your technology to the
Streets regulatory and structural requirements, a good
idea might never see the light of day.
Thats often the harsh reality, venture capitalists
say, for entrepreneurs trying to bring fresh ideas to the
financial technology arena.
Wall Street is famous for just wearing down these
entrepreneurs, says Steve Brotman, a managing partner
with Silicon Alley Venture Partners and an investor in the
sector. He says that many of the larger banks still prefer to
innovate from within. They tend to shun new technology from
smaller firms, and when they do seriously consider bringing in
new technology from outside the corporate firewall, the vetting
and assessment process can take forever.
The FinTech Innovation Lab aims to change all that. The
program, now in its second year, is overseen by Accenture and
the New York City Investment Fund, a fund backed by KKR
co-founder Henry Kravis and other business leaders to help grow
local jobs. The lab program, however, is more specific: It aims
to prepare financial technology start-ups for the often arduous
vetting and sales challenges ahead and speed up the process,
while also introducing them to potential venture capital
investors in the New York area.
One of the key goals of the program is to ensure that
if someone has a good idea for a new technology that can be
used by financial service firms, we help them to pursue that
idea in New York, as opposed to having to go to the West Coast
to raise money and realize their dreams, says Robert
Gach, global managing director of Accentures capital
markets practice. Start-ups that participate in the FinTech
Innovation Lab receive a $25,000 stipend.
But theres more than funding involved for firms in the
program. The lab provides mentoring by CTOs, CIOs and venture
capitalists who are active investors in financial technology
firms. The real value of the program is in the mentoring
part, says Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the New
York City Investment Fund.