Last Thursday was the annual Demo Day for Fintech Innovation Labs, a start-up incubator for financial technology startups (commonly shortened to “Fintech”). The lab is funded by prominent private equity investor Henry Kravis in partnership with Accenture and Kravis’ foundation, the Partnership Fund for New York City. Kravis told the Wall Street Journal that Fintech Innovation Labs is “a way to make sure the financial center stays [in New York] and a way to make sure financial institutions know about innovation.”
Fintech Innovation Lab is in its third year, and includes a 12-week mentorship program for select startups with promising technology and products to advance the financial industry. Companies who pass the competitive application process receive seed money and access to the industry’s elite. Many executives of financial companies take part in judging the fledgling group and offering advice and workshops during the program. Graduation is marked by Demo Day, which allows the startups to showcase their products to a room full of investors and prospective clients.
Six companies showcased their work on Thursday. Centripetal Networks is a network security firm with advanced applications and algorithms. Dashlane is a streamlined digital wallet and password manager. Inktank manages data using open source software and thus an innovator in reducing costs. Narrative Science uses artificial intelligence to analyze data. OpenFin produces software that makes it easier to use trading applications. Finally, Scrollmotion creates business applications for mobile devices. Investment in Fintech is expected to double to $2.5 billion this year, and these six companies, selected out of over 100 applicants, are bound to receive the bulk of it. The program has received support from Bank of America, JP Morgan, Capital One, Citigroup and other major international banks and private equity firms.
Henry Kravis is a huge supporter of education and innovation, and is the CEO and cofounder of Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts (KKR), a private equity firm that has acquired companies such as Safeway, Dollar General, Toys R Us and Duracell. He is an alumnus of Claremont McKenna College in New York and has made many contributions to the New York community to promote business and education. The Partnership Fun of New York City has been able to raise $110 million to promote economic development in the financial industry in New York.