FinTech Frontier is hoping to connect the dots between Cincinnati’s large financial institutions and FinTech startups around the country. With the goal of providing a space for financial entrepreneurs to find the tools they need to build, the Cintrifuse-backed catalyst is holding events every other week through the end of October.
The first, held Sept. 17, covered machine learning and artificial intelligence in the financial industry. The panel, moderated by Brian Brackeen, General Partner at Lightship Capital, zoomed in from around the country. The panel consisted of: Chris Zock, Managing Director of Sandbox Insurtech Fund; Jennifer Choo, Partner and Head of Investments at Portag3; Roger Park, EY Americas Innovation Leader; and TX Zhuo, General Partner of Fika Ventures.
Among the topics discussed, the panel spent some time on financial regulations, data, and AI. According to Park, it is crucial for startups to pay attention to regulations and regulators.
“Don’t ignore financial regulation and think it’s going to go away,” Park said, when it comes to financial technology. When a company starts growing and garners attention, you don’t want to find out what you’ve been doing is illegal.
Being a connector of big companies and startups, Cintrifuse is looking to help those in FinTech grow their fledgling businesses, while creating a symbiotic relationship. The panelists all chimed in on what startups can do to help fuel this relationship.
Choo explained that it’s important for startups to understand that they can learn something from a corporation. While corporations might move slowly, they have access to resources that are hard to come by at small businesses.
“Startups can help larger organizations by providing new solutions and opening up new distribution channels,” Zhuo said.
Cintrifuse CEO Pete Blackshaw opened and closed the panel. He noted that while Cincinnati has made large strides most venture capital is still being spent on the coasts, with the goal to get more money into the Midwest.
The next event for FinTech Frontier will be held on Oct. 1 and will cover Main Street Imagination. Midwest Activation will follow on Oct. 15. These events will culminate in a pitch competition with finalists competing on Oct. 29. There are $60,000 in prizes and, Blackshaw said, it shows that Cincinnati has “skin in the game.” The pitch competition is accepting applications through Oct. 15.