Valentina Isakina, managing director of financial services, JobsOhio
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In November, Fintech71, a nonprofit fintech accelerator supported by leading financial and nonfinancial companies, completed its inaugural program. The accelerator was launched in Ohio this year. It marks a major push forward in putting Ohio on the map as a major player in the fintech industry.

In September, Fintech71 announced its inaugural cohort of 10 startup companies, some from Ohio and others from as far away as Ireland, Israel and Portugal. The program recently concluded. Each member in the 10-week program received:

  • $100,000 in exchange for flexible, stage-appropriate equity stake
  • Six months of free office space in downtown Columbus
  • Introductions to potential clients and stakeholders across Ohio
  • Access to over 100 world-class leaders and mentors

These companies are forging new paths and changing the way businesses, banks, organizations and people transact. Before the conclusion of the program, we had the opportunity to conduct question-and-answer stories with nine of the 10 companies (one was a stealth company). We took an in-depth look at the first startups participating in Fintech71, delving into their companies, their missions, the accelerator, fintech trends and how Ohio is truly a great place for innovative fintech and financial service companies.

What we found is that Ohio is full of surprises and that Fintech71 is unlike any other accelerator. While other accelerators usually offer mentorship with one financial institution, the companies were drawn to Fintech71 offering connections with multiple institutions. Not only did this provide them insight into the industry, it also gave them the chance to initiate potential partnerships.

The companies found value in the number of Fortune 500 and 1000 financial companies in Ohio, including insurance companies. Plus, Ohio is in close proximity to other U.S. financial hubs (e.g. Atlanta and New York City). If a company establishes a base in Ohio, it can reach the market, its other offices and its customers faster and easier than it originally thought. And Ohio seems like a viable option to many of them, not only for the major industry players, but also for the abundance of financial services and tech talent.

Throughout the program, the startups wowed, and there was an amazing energy among both the startups and the leading financial institutions. Now, there’s a considerable increase in awareness about what Ohio can accomplish as a fintech leader.

But, I will let the startups speak for themselves. To read what they have to say about Ohio’s role in the fintech revolution and how they’re playing a role, see the sidebar for the first Q&A piece. We invite you to revisit this page in January or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to see them as they are released.

Interested in learning more about fintech, Fintech71 and financial services in Ohio? We invite you to visit our financial services page.

Fintech71 Opens Brilliant Minds
Every company in the Fintech71 cohort is dedicated to changing the world through fintech. Over the 10 weeks, they worked toward this goal in fun, energizing office spaces with messages like this to encourage ideas.