FinTech Innovation Lab: December 19th deadline

For the past two springs, a great program has run in NYC called the FinTech Innovation Lab. It's an accelerator program of a different sort. They accept a half dozen innovative financial technology companies into a twelve week program where the companies get direct access to top executives in the leading financial services companies in NYC. This program is all about validating your product or service with top customers. I have talked to entrepreneurs who have been through this program and I have heard universally that the access was incredible and the feedback was invaluable.

You don't have to be two entrepreneurs in a loft to be a good candidate for this program. You can be a two or three year old startup with a large team. What's important is the need for product market validation. If you have started a fintech company and have built a product or service and want direct access to the top customers in the market, this program may be for you.

If you want to apply for next summer, please do it before December 19th, when applications close. More details are here.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    FinTech on fb – “You must log in to see this page”

    1. fredwilson

      i prefer the open webhttp://www.fintechinnovatio…

      1. jason wright

        I thought so.I’ve always thought that ‘web’ was the wrong word. Webs are made by big fat spiders waiting patiently to ensnare and devour the unsuspecting.

        1. fredwilson

          then facebook is a web

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            that is a direct dart on the face of it.

          2. jason wright

            a punch on the nose

          3. jason wright

            exactly. zucking the life out of we’re looking for a populist antonym of ‘web’. ‘open’ is the idea, but it’s not a great name.

          4. fredwilson


          5. jason wright

            trademark issues.

          6. fredwilson


          7. Carl Rahn Griffith


          8. Donna Brewington White

            Go big or go home. OCEAN! Kinda rhymes with open.

          9. JamesHRH

            FB is a hole. But it is a really useful hole. Everyone you ever meet you can throw into the hole and know that they are never getting out. If you need to find them, you know where they are – in the hole.

          10. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Years ago I thought of it as nothing more than a Rolodex.My opinion hasn’t changed.

          11. JamesHRH

            RD on that – its a lot more than that.But you can not blow it off as BS. It is an awesome Rolodex, managed by a high tech 3P, with some other features that may or may not be of interest to you.I am not a Zuck fanboy, but I respect his insight on the idea & drive to make it happen.

          12. Carl Rahn Griffith

            But, what is it exactly that has ‘happened’ – and to what benefit and to whom? Apart from the IPO inner-circle.In our industry we seem all too keen to laud something as ‘amazing’ when in reality it is just pretty ordinary.

          13. JamesHRH

            Again respectfully disagree (RD).I have an idea that’s been adopted by 1 out of every 7 people on the planet.That idea led to a service that is used, every day, by 1 out of 14 people on the planet.I had the idea 8 years ago.That is the definition of extra-ordinary.

          14. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Sheep mentality. Nothing more.

          15. kidmercury

            siding with carl in this beef. fb is impressive in some ways — how they’ve grown the developer community is innovative, and i think their interface is great. but is this worth $60 billion (company’s current valuation)? i log in to facebook every day, use it fairly routinely, from mobile as well (and i reside in a big city), and i’ve never clicked on an ad. moreover, even though i use it every day, if it disappeared tomorrow, i wouldn’t miss it that much — a minor inconvenience because i’m not doing anything important on there anyway. perhaps even a blessing as i’d much rather interact with my friends on google+.

          16. LE

            Entertainment in general is kinda shiny ball and both facebook and twitter are entertainment at the core.That is why almost all tv shows will run their course over a certain number of seasons. There are exceptions but the cast of characters gets boring after a while and people will then turn to a new form of entertainment.In TV, there is a constant stream of competition vying to make new and interesting product. So people have not tired of tv and the product keeps “improving” (same with movies).On facebook, even the most dedicated stalker will tire eventually from the people he is stalking and find a new diversion. It’s not like he is going to find a new interesting batch of people to stalk.

          17. Carl Rahn Griffith

            This is where I believe Facebook and Twitter differ, enormously…Twitter ushered in a whole new communications medium – and how often does that come along? It will be here a long, long time and the commitment to the 140 is key to its longevity.Facebook? Nothing new in the slightest.And it’s about as mobile as a fridge.

          18. fredwilson

            I live a full and rewarding online life largely without FB. Its not hard to do

          19. Dale Allyn

            Fred, that comment should be on a poster, a t-shirt, a bill board…

          20. fredwilson

            that’s great

          21. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Oh what a tangled web we weave…

        2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          Have you ever played with the spider-web…I did once for an hour … (I am talking about the real spider web not wwww-web)…Touch one part of the web the guy/gal sitting at the center immediately turns to that direction…I have read that they sense the direction by the tensil-strength difference of the each string … that is what is used in our technology world in data routing.But i have never understood how they sensed heat. I was throwing small small stick, leaf , paper he never attacked … i just spilled my cigarette ash he immediately ran to the spot…. then only i knew they sense the heat as well.Then i played with him/her by heating up things and putting on the web… a good one-hour spent on the web :-);

          1. jason wright

            how do birds navigate?

          2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            donno … will read.Read about how they share the load of flying … but the amazing thing is that from which Harvard they got educated!!!


            Bird maps?

          4. ShanaC

            they have small amounts of iron in their brains to act as a compass?

          5. JamesHRH

            Heat transmission on a spider web makes sense – #carnivore.


          I’ve always called it the world-wide-web of deceit. I knew what it would become. That’s not to say it has to be that, just it’s a great opportunity for it.

          1. JamesHRH

            Its a mirror, not a fun house mirror.The biggest downfall of the web is that it reflects society.

        4. JamesHRH

          Cyber space was the original. Networks begot net. Net begot web – likely because people got addicted / ‘stuck’ on it……like a spider.So, web is the natural evolution and a good name.

          1. jason wright

            didn’t the cern crew come up with ‘web’?the spider web analogy doesn’t work for me when i think about openness and the even distribution of choice and access. fb is a web, apple is a web, but neither are open.

          2. LE

            “web” has to do with the connections between documents.The use of “www” is abitrary. Could have called it “fred” (and still can). Used to point to a specific machine or resource. Originally it was bad form to leave off the “www” but it is now pretty much status quo.We get calls from people and ask them “what is your domain name”.They start by saying “w” (pause) “w” (pause) “w” (pause) and then give the domain name. This is fully understandable. But the pause is so annoying.


        We’ll get you on a GSXR1000 sooner or later. Oh… You said open web, I thought you said open road.

  2. Donna Brewington White

    I’d like to think that those “top executives in the leading financial services companies in NYC” are also enriched by exposure to those “half dozen innovative financial technology companies.” Seems like there would be a lot of value in that as well. Of course, I’m biased.

    1. jason wright

      it’s pure altruism

      1. Mark Chou

        Call it enlightened self-interest. πŸ™‚

    2. fredwilson

      yes. this is very much a win/win

  3. awaldstein

    A b2b dream honestly.Being in an open forum with the customers that make or break your market is an aspiration come true.With more and more the money trail shifting b2b as a model, I could see other industries doing this possibly.

    1. fredwilson

      the same people behind fintech innovation lab have created the Digital Health Acceleratorhttp://digitalhealthacceler…i’ve encouraged them to also create the Big Data Accelerator since NYC is a hub for big data companies

      1. awaldstein

        I just like this whole approach.What’s the model for the organizers?

        1. fredwilson

          economic development in NYC am on their board of directors

          1. awaldstein

            Thanks…What a great activity!HInt….get some fiber run to my building please πŸ˜‰

          2. fredwilson

            i suggested the following to City Hall last week1) crowdsource a broadband map of NYC using self reporting via with something list this tool build and publish a google maps of broadband speeds for all five boroughs 3) open the underlying database via data APIs so that all the real estate listing services can have a real time field in their databases that shows broadband speeds available in the buildings4) make landlords compete in the open market for rents and sales with their broadband speeds as part of the equationwhat do you think?

          3. jason wright

            isn’t 4G going to take care of this?

          4. awaldstein

            I believe two things as core change agents for the future:-the biggest changes in the most unruly infrastructures have to start at the street level. -more and more people are working all/part of their time at home and in shared part time sandboxes. This will spike and become more true.Both of these play to your ideas.I like them. 1-3 are clear. #4 is not 100% clear to me but if this is saying that full disclosure of broadband as a ‘spec’, this is a powerful tool on the commercial side.I took the speed test.BTW–if this movement/org needs a volunteer advisor that I would add value to. I’m interested. Believe in this one.

          5. JimHirshfield

            I like

          6. William Mougayar

            Great idea. The whole world is moving to an open crowd based laboratory.Β Those with the data don’t have the solution, but those with a solution need the data.Β So, when you put these pieces together, great things can happen.Β 

          7. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            The pity is that in most cases the 2-pieces never talk to each other…. A little pictorial representation of the same attached πŸ™‚

          8. William Mougayar

            yes, and in these cases, it’s more than just 2 pieces. It could be several pieces of the puzzle.

          9. JLM

            .The issue of broadband speeds as an element of the real estate offering is on the cutting edge of thinking.This is a building utility in much the same way that once upon a time a building could only offer the local LATA for the last mile of service. In the day, that was the local Bell company.When you built a high rise office building, you had Bell run a trunk from bottom to top and had a telephone closet on each floor to which every tenant connected.Then when deregulation came, you could put in a switch and buy long distance in bulk and re-sell it to the tenants thereby creating a profit center. In some instances a very profitable endeavor.Now with everyone being able to arrange for their own service for both Internet and VOIP, it is a contest as to what service is available AT the building.Can you get fiber optic cable or not? Can you really get a T1?Once you are connected, then the service provider can tinker with your individual speed. As an example, at my home in Austin I use Grande Communications and I can directly choose from 65MBS to 110MBS at fairly reasonable prices.For businesses, it will not just be the speed, it will be whether the bandwidth is big enough to operate at that speed.This comes full circle to the first methodology by which long distance phone service was originally discounted — time of day usage. All that bandwidth and speed harnessed and lying idle all night long?Huge opportunity..

          10. JamesHRH

            Love it.

          11. ShanaC

            why don’t landlords do that already with broadband? That seems so obvious

          12. fredwilson

            Because their buildings have poor broadband infrastructure for the most part

          13. takingpitches

            Wow – pfnyc is doing more innovative work than I had imagined.In addition to the customer validation spaces for entrepreneurs, there is a prize based project in biotech, and talent elevation work with those in the hard sciences who might need some business help.I also noticed that the fund has some investment in shape ways.I am flipping back and forth between commenting on your and Albert’s blog and I say it again for the third time in 3 weeks but it is interesting how the topics are synergistic.

          14. Mark Chou

            In conjunction with the New York eHealth Collaborative, we’ve also recently launched the New York Digital Health Accelerator, which connects digital health companies to the SHIN-NY network as well as 22 healthcare providers and up to $300K in funding.


            Oh my Fred, you’re on boards of every shape and size. How do you ever actually complete anything?!

          16. JamesHRH

            He’s 50x more productive that the average bear?

          17. fredwilson

            good question. i ask myself that every day. sometimes many times a day.

          18. Donna Brewington White

            Who is this “null” to whom/which you are responding?

      2. JamesHRH

        Replicating across verticals is a great idea. My favorite part of a book called Startup (its about Go Computing) is when John Doerr basically creates a multi-industry FinTech style progrma for the company.The results turn into an RFP for AllState & the RFP turns into a decision for the CEO (which he totally blows).Unbelievable to see an inflection point in print.The FinTech folks should call these programs Inflection.

      3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        These are both terrific programs that rely on NY’s strength. It is a real puzzle and shame that my home city of Toronto doesn’t have this type of focus.


        What we need is an education accelerator! I think everyone in this country should be able to log in and take classes from grade school level to masters level for free!.Education helps people be better people. Arrrgh!

      5. JLM

        .These organizations are the equivalent of the medieval “guilds” which made the link between the craftsmen and the marketplace.The marketplace drove the development of the guilds by validating their products and the development of the particular skill.The guilds encouraged and advanced the intellectual property of their craft, set standards of performance and found new markets for their products.The guilds were originally secret and then as they blossomed actually were responsible for the founding of schools of higher education.Shows that everything has a historic shadow..

        1. JamesHRH


        2. Donna Brewington White

          Fascinating analogy. Right, you are the one who keeps reminding the next generation that they didn’t invent sex. Does “connectedness” come up on your StrengthsFinder profile (seeing the relationship between things)?

      6. ShanaC

        the digital health accelerator is a great idea. More MedTech! Honestly, costs are up because labor is being used for silly things, like insurance coding (stupid)

    2. Donna Brewington White

      “aspiration come true” — I like that.Been noticing the b2b shift — which of course leads to other shifts. Interesting.

      1. awaldstein

        Follow the money is an age old drive.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          It does probably boil down to this, doesn’t it. But I have to wonder if there aren’t also other economic factors involved — cyclical perhaps — that cause this shift.

          1. awaldstein

            When funding evaporates people get a crisper idea of where the money comes from.Who supports the social interactions that your children have on Facebook? I bet its the F1000!I don’t however think this laser focus on monetization, especially when early, is a good thing. Perpetuates old models too much I think.

      2. ShanaC

        part of it is that there are lots of industries where home internet stuff is better than work. By many factors.EG: construction – still lots of fax machines

    3. Mark Chou

      Yes, that is the point precisely. Erin Griffith from Pando hit the nail on the head in her post-Demo Day coverage. To quote BillGuard’s Yaron Samid:”‘In three months we became a financial technology company. Before that we were a consumer company trying to build an online security system,’ Samir told the audience. ‘Our mentors took us through puberty in three months and we now know how to work with a bank,’ he said.”

  4. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    That is like shooting 2-birds with a single arrow … if your product is good the users themselves will lock you on to the finance pool…validation + Series-A done..

  5. jason wright

    I read an article yesterday that touched on a new social phenomenon. In certain twentysomething social circles it’s becoming fashionable to avoid use of the internet and web.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Good lord! What are they doing, reading books?

      1. jason wright


        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Indeed. That’d never catch on, surely?



    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      I have seen them in 1997 … Amish county near Philly πŸ™‚

    3. awaldstein

      A social circle without the web connecting them.OK..then how do they find each other?

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        Visual.@awaldstein:disqus you forgot there were societies even before the wires were invented :-)I think @jasonpwright:disqus is just kidding.

        1. awaldstein

          There have always been segments of society that reject the future in favor of using the past as a blueprint for tomorrow.Quaint!–just kidding ;))


          I’m seeing the same thing happening. People are into working from home and getting out to be social. The reverse was true in the past, where people went to work then after work lounged around at home socializing on the computer.

          1. awaldstein


      2. jason wright

        at the wine shopthe tasting eveningthe bottle bank…

        1. awaldstein

          Smoke signals. Drum beats. Town criers. Sandwich boards. Barkers. Notes in school.People stopped eating their neighbors after they leaned to communicate.You think that the web generation invented marketing and communications ;))


            Weren’t you the one who was recently saying that you’re switching to more direct connection with customers? I thought you posted that somewhere. I emailed to inquire but you didn’t respond.

          2. awaldstein

            How are these connected and contradictory?Pounding on doors to close vendors then connecting them on the web? We’ve been doing that for decades except the Intranet was the web in that case.Don’t mean to be curt but at the street level where we work to build value and businesses, everything is a hybrid, everything is about communications and all is kinda grey. Statements are great guidelines, judgement is what channels instinct.Don’t remember an email. Sorry about that. Please resend to [email protected] and I’ll certainly respond.


            “Pounding on doors…”.Now you’re talkin’ my language. Get out and hit ’em where they ain’t.

          4. ShanaC

            no, but I think messaging started to turn into a science with the advent of the web. Not completely, but enough to make things interesting

          5. LE

            Wanted to pass along that I was in a wine store the other day and they had a new machine that dispenses wine for testing by the glass. You apparently buy a card in advance and can access the machine and test whatever they have in it that week. They have 4 wines per machine. I have a picture of it if you haven’t seen it but I’m assuming that you already know about this. They were pretty excited (like in “The Postman Always rings twice” how the immigrant kept saying “neon neon” when he got a new neon sign for his place.)

          6. awaldstein

            Thanks for thinking of me.Yup, know these machines. Not a fan. They were big in wine bars in LA about 4-5 years ago.Never understood why anyone thought they would work. Have no indication that they have actually.My uncle during the depression was in the garment business and designed a women’s raincoat that had zip in legs. Spent (and lost) a good part of his money on this.Equally a bad idea.

          7. LE

            In a suburban setting you would think the potential liability issues of a wine store having to police and make sure people aren’t drinking to much would be an issue. They might have that covered of course only dispensing so much wine per time period. Or even age issues. The machine is in the front when you walk in. There is no guard at the door (this is not a Duane Reade in NYC).I will circle back after they run this for a few months. I’m always curious about business ideas and the thinking of, what I like to call, “mr owner guy” and how they make decisions.I totally freaked the manager out when I snapped a picture of it. I diffused his panic by asking him to suggest a good Riesling.

          8. JamesHRH

            & sex too @JLM:disqus


            I remember that post.

          10. JLM

            .You have to wonder when God the Father was story boarding sex for the Holy Ghost if He ever thought about how much mischief that would ultimately cause.And you think God doesn’t exist or have a wicked sense of humor?.



    4. kidmercury

      in those circles, is it also fashionable to be uneducated and poor?

      1. jason wright

        the other end of the spectrum – fb in reverse

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Maybe they are just liberated.


        With the cost of education today, I think you mean it’s also fashionable to be educated into being poor.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          See this (latest) episode of the Keiser Report re: education loans/debt black hole and delta to earnings…

      4. JamesHRH

        Cool / fashionable is the natural survival reaction to being in that situation.#chicken/egg

      5. Cam MacRae

        Ah yes! The intellectual rigour of begging Harry Styles for a retweet!With the exception of tiny little oases like Fred’s place the web is fuelled by rage, lies, groupthink and ego. Fuck that.

    5. JimHirshfield

      link or it didn’t happen.

      1. jason wright

        link to the article?I’ll look for it, but I read a lot of stuff every day.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          I believe it.I’d be happy to never use the internet ever again. It’s being touted as the latest and greatest elixir – until whatever the next one is comes along.I used to regularly take an internet sabbatical – was a great detox and sure put the ‘net in perspective; it’s not bread/water/shelter in the hierarchy of one’s needs – another sabbatical is long overdue but all job/etc postings are online nowadays so I ironically find myself spending more and more time online.It’s not healthy.

          1. jason wright

            post of the day

          2. JLM

            .All things in careful measure..

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Even whisky? πŸ˜‰

          4. JLM

            .Especially whiskey..

          5. Carl Rahn Griffith

            I shall tell my father-in-law this Christmas…

          6. pointsnfigures

            but not bourbon


            Or stogies.

          8. JLM

            .I only became a practicing adult when I gave up smoking cigars in the hammock while looking up at the sky.What a guilty pleasure.When your little ones see you doing that you are just increasing the hours that you will burn in Hell for setting such a wickedly bad example.Then you have the specter of cancer and all the health issues (annual physical tom’w so feeling particularly sanctimonious).But hell I used to love a good cigar and I could get Cubans. I love the smell of a good cigar.It reminds me of a better time, maybe..

          9. JamesHRH

            ‘Everything in moderation’ – Mom.’Including moderation.’ – extremely hung over 20 yo Me.


            When I was 20 yo. I would party ’til 2am then be at the gym by 6am for a good morning workout. I could bench press 400lbs in those days. Gee… That’s a long time ago!

          11. ShanaC

            i can’t do that πŸ™

          12. Carl Rahn Griffith

            You sound like HAL, Shana πŸ˜‰


            “It’s not healthy.”.I agree, jobs aren’t healthy. I think that’s why people are working more from home these days.

          14. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol. No jobs/demand is even less healthy.’Working from home’ is, recall, often a euphemism for ‘Sh*t, now what!?’


            “Sh*t, now what!?”.That’s an expression mostly used by entrepreneurs.

          16. Carl Rahn Griffith

            I am a failed entrepreneur so nowadays I just say “Sh*t!?” – no need for the rest πŸ˜‰

          17. Donna Brewington White

            Carl — you are cracking me up today. I want whatever you had for breakfast. There is ALWAYS a “now what.” ALWAYS. Whether you are looking for it or not.

          18. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol, thanks Donna!Breakfast was (as it was today, now being in winter mode) – Marmite on toast, lots of black coffee, cranberry juice and a giant vitamin C tablet :-)Now what? Indeed!Hope all is well with you – cheers!

          19. Wavelengths

            I’ve got me some Marmite in the cupboard. That sounds good!

          20. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Go for it!Vegemite is even better, personally, but we’re out of it at the moment – so, Marmite it is!

          21. ShanaC

            better food at home too

          22. Carl Rahn Griffith

            You should see our cupboard :-/


        Umm.. What if the article was on paper?.Oh wait… I get it. You’re saying everything is on the net. lol Cool, good one.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Lol. Exactly.

    6. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Interesting. I can see that gaining momentum. In many ways the web is just another legacy player. It’s not the start and end of life, just an optional component – and one that some of us think is more important than it actually is.If you look at many of the web/mobile habits around currently, they are of little or no value and pretty absurd. That’s not sustainable.


      Yes, I think it’s not limited to twenty somethings. A vast majority of people are beginning to see the internet as a tool or a TV and are realising that it’s not the social equivalent to meeting in person.

    8. ShanaC

      where is this article. And yes, I believe it. It is one of the reasons I prefer vacations far from the internet

      1. jason wright

        yes, a retreat, far from the madding crowd.

    9. JLM

      .Wouldn’t that require the surgical removal of smartphones from their clammy little hands?.

    10. CJ

      Imagine if you will that someone gave you complete access to all of the accumulated knowledge of the free world in the palm of your hand. And instead of using it to better yourself you just tossed it all in the trash. That’s what that sounds like to me. Completely and totally insane, irrational, and stupid. Damn hipsters.

      1. LE

        “it’s becoming fashionable to avoid use of the internet and web.””Damn hipsters.”Apparently hipsters don’t need any porn.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        “Damn hipsters.” ha! My teenage son bashes hipsters all the time. Does no one like hipsters other than hipsters?

        1. CJ

          If you’ve ever watched SouthPark it’s like the episode when Cartman starts exterminating Hippies. I always think of that when I think of hipsters. They need to be purged from the Earth! Or at least from the between the joists in your house. lolhttp://www.southparkstudios…

  6. AlexBangash

    Thank you for sharing. One of the biggest source of engaged users for institutional investors–those managing $ billion dollars or more–is Trusted Insight. http://www.thetrustedinsight.comTrusted Insight is like a github (or stackexchange) for LP’s, with over 40,000 engaging monthly, 80% cohort retention with 50% of those with 20+ interactions.For those Fintech startups looking to tap into this data, we have1) Two API’s https://www.thetrustedinsig…one for search and one for profiles2) We are also sponsoring a Fintech Hackathon in NYC Startup Weeked would urge promising developer to transform the world of finance, where is ample room for disruption.

  7. JimHirshfield

    I like this idea of bring the sides together.In related news, some of the fintech start-ups I’ve seen are disruptive and aim to displace or take business away from the large incumbents. I don’t think they’ll be attending this program as they want to stay off the radar.

    1. ShanaC

      why, they could pull a sumo move, (partner then push away)

      1. pointsnfigures

        So many times I have seen the big kahunas in finance push a product to development-a company and capitalists spend resources to get it out there-once launched, they crush it as fast as they can via regulation or their old boy network.

      2. JimHirshfield

        depends on the business/model

    2. Mark Chou

      Jim, you have a valid point. As far as why one would WANT to participate in the program, I think Erin Griffith from Pando hit the nail on the head in her coverage of the Lab’s Demo Day this summer:

      1. JimHirshfield


  8. AlexBangash

    Do they take equity in return for $25K? Is it is like StartX or Y Combinator? It doesn’t say. Also who are the people behind. That is the most important factor.

    1. Mark Chou

      That would be me (Partnership for New York City Fund). Our primary goal, whether through our fund or through the Lab, is economic development and job creation in NYC, though like any fund we also seek a financial return.The $25K is structured as a convertible note and is available at your option but not mandatory. This touches on the point regarding company stage – the FinTech Innovation Lab is focused much less on funding and “incubation” and much more on helping you to access potential customers and partners.

  9. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Isn’t the (traditional) financial services sector as a vertical/group of mentors somewhat out-of-synch with where the economy/society/technology is and is heading? Would be great if luminaries from other industries/verticals could do a similar sort of thing.New World Order/Event Horizon.


      Doesn’t every entrepreneur develop a prototype or mockup and *validate it before* investing time and money to build a working version?

    2. ShanaC

      maybe – finance is stil the lifeblood for doing stuff, and money definitely needs more innovation

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        But can they be objective enough to recognise the radical innovation that is required?

        1. ShanaC

          i keep hoping. I have vested interests in that happening

      2. pointsnfigures

        I wrote about this at my blog-but will toss it out here. In 1999 I always thought that there would be increasing regulation that caused capital to flee from one country to another. I figured the EU would over regulate, and capital would come to the US because the US wouldn’t be stupid enough to over regulate. I was wrong. Instead, in response to the financial melt down of 1998 (LCTM), 2001 (Sarbox) and 2008 (Mortgages) we wound up with Dodd-Frank; everyone over regulated. What is just starting to happen is that public markets are seeing an exodus of capital. That capital is searching for private markets. Given where I think world wide financial regulation goes in the next ten years, along with worldwide limping economies-the smart capital will go into private networks seeking higher rates of return with less friction.

        1. ShanaC

          don’t private networks have friction (aka finding the network)

          1. pointsnfigures

            They do, but the friction is less than government regulation which will exact a very high cost. Those costs will be passed on to customers in terms of commission, or in fees, or minimum balance hikes, or in ways you don’t realize, like less transparent or deep bid ask spreads.

    3. kidmercury

      agreed. they’ll never come up with any meaningful innovation because the best innovations will commoditize their existence and threaten the legal structure they lobby so dearly for.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        It’s like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. Everything is fine ‘just as it is’ – but we know it isn’t.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Christmas means carnage — to a turkey. (Hopefully you’ve seen Babe.)

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Love Babe!

      2. pointsnfigures

        depends on a lot of things. there are certain clubs that are so regulated and dominated innovation can’t break through. For example the trading of muni bonds. totally non transparent and controlled through tiered distribution networks so entities make money up and down the value chain.

        1. kidmercury

          yes. i think a legal-oriented fund designed to help startups break down and/or circumvent legislative barriers to entry might be useful in creating innovation.

          1. Mark Chou

            One of the ways the program has actually been trying to reduce frictions is to help the startups navigate the regulatory/procurement/technology architecture hurdles that they often face when trying to engage with large, regulated financial institutions. You can see some of the topics discussed during the program here: http://www.fintechinnovatio

        2. ShanaC


          1. pointsnfigures

            there is no crime in making money, as long as you are being transparent and competitive about it. That’s the problem in the financial markets today……and players extract consumer surplus in places you wouldn’t happy about. Like the taxpayers wallet when it comes to muni bonds.

  10. Luke Chamberlin

    The irony of financial services technology is that the biggest innovation of the past 10 years is to physically move your server closer to the exchanges.

    1. pointsnfigures

      The funny thing about that is that the fixed costs of operating in HFT have gone up, not down. More and more of them are losing money.

    2. kidmercury



        #piece out.This is geting to be just like woodstock.


          oops… #peace out.Pass the pie.

        2. Carl Rahn Griffith

          I prefer Snoopy.

    3. takingpitches

      and there is the paul volcker line that the only financial service innovation over the last 20 years that has improved society is the ATM.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        The ATM goes back about 40 years not 20.

        1. LE

          iirc though 20 years ago you couldn’t get money from a bank in one state when you were in another state by atm or make a deposit.

    4. Shyam Subramanyan

      Maybe the real innovation is building an alternative to Nasdaq and NYSE.


    Awesome!.”…all about validating your product or service with top customers…”.Shouldn’t they have done that *before* building the product?

  12. pointsnfigures

    in many cases, the mentors just want to see what’s coming so they can call their cronies and choke off innovation before it happens!


      Wow! That’s a negative view. I bet it happens though.

      1. pointsnfigures

        I have been around them long enough to become a cynic. Have the bruises to prove it. Some innovation is so pervasive they are powerless to do anything about it. One of the most tacit examples of this was in 1972 when the IMM was created and forex trading went from a club to an open source open outcry system. Banks fought it and lost, until around 1994 when they were able to exert control again.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          And look how well they’ve done ‘being in control’ …QED.

    2. kidmercury


    3. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Innovation scares the crap out of incumbents.

    4. takingpitches

      if you put stock in clay christensen’s theory of disruption, the truly disruptive stuff will not get accepted into the program, because the incumbents will brush it aside as toys

      1. kidmercury

        unless they’ve read clay’s book on how incumbents can set up funds designed specifically to focus on opportunities the mother organization has no incentive to tackle! but very unlikely here.

        1. takingpitches

          ha – very true!

      2. Mark Chou

        Yes, I won’t argue with you there. If your goal is to completely disintermediate the banks, it’s less likely you’ll get selected. But if one of your potential partners or customers is a bank, it makes a lot more sense.

        1. takingpitches

          yes, and definitely very valuable for a startup who is a potential partner

    5. jason wright


    6. Donna Brewington White

      Why do you say this?

    7. Mark Chou

      Just to push back a bit here — Cris Conde, one of the Entrepreneurs Network mentors from this past year (who will continue to mentor going forward) joined the board of two of the class of 2012 companies, one as executive chairman.If you’re referring to the bank mentoring, I’ll just let the stats speak for themselves — 125+ meetings and 20+ POCs deployed and pending as of the close of the program.Now, I understand if any of you are skeptical that banks would ever try and foster innovation and help startups out, but if you’re interested in speaking with one of the alums of the program, just tweet me (@markdchou) and I’ll see what I can do.Full disclosure: I’m an associate at the Partnership for New York City Fund and program manager for the Lab.

      1. JLM

        .Well played.There is nothing like actual on the ground experience.How dare you actually know what you are talking about, my good man.Well played..

      2. howardlindzon

        i will take you up on that.

      3. Dave Pinsen

        To second Mark, there were a couple of entrepreneur alumni at the info session for the FinTech Innovation Lab Monday night, and they both spoke extremely highly of the mentoring and access they received during the program. And one of those entrepreneurs was a founder of the company whose board Cris Conde joined.

    8. howardlindzon

      i love your skepticissm…wrt financial industry its well placed….

  13. Elia Freedman

    I’m all for entrepreneurship and programs to help entrepreneurs, but why such a long wait between application and program? Shouldn’t the entire program (from application to demo day) should be less than six months, not waiting six months before the program even starts? Most of the applicants should have figured out they have no business opportunity before the summer even gets here.


      How long have you been an entrepreneur? Things outside your own startup move at a snail’s pace. The only things that go fast are what you can control inside your startup!.I’ve sent emails to VCs years ago and I’m still waiting for a response.

      1. Elia Freedman

        16 years. I understand what you are saying but validation has to happen fairly quickly. I was validating a new product idea within a month of the idea. Within three months we were making go/no go decisions based on the feedback we were getting from people and limited beta testers. It has taken a long time to bring the product to market, partly because we are a going concern that had other work to do and no funding, but we moved fairly quickly in the early days to decide whether the idea was worth pursuing or not.

  14. Shyam Subramanyan

    Apart from (which is a silicon valley company), has there really been any innovative Fintech companies, especially from the New York area that has touched consumers? Online brokerages does not really count…

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I remember doing some work with Electronic Joint Ventures in NYC in the 90s – as I recall Goldman’s was a lead member – the aspirations were bold but I don’t recall much coming from it in a truly innovative sense.

    2. kidmercury

      why doesn’t online brokerage count?in any event, now it’s pretty common to be able to deposit a check via a smartphone app. i believe the big banks acquired and/or contracted companies that could be classified as fintech to enable this innovation.

      1. Shyam Subramanyan

        You made my point. We STILL have checks.

      2. Shyam Subramanyan

        Online brokerage don’t count because they’re literally from the 90’s or some would say even earlier. I should have qualified my earlier statement as “in the last decade…”

  15. Shyam Subramanyan

    For those curious about startups in Fintech – here’s a list of about 70 of them from @Tradestreaming blog – http://www.tradestreaming.c

  16. jason wright

    Disqus needs to innovate. I get confused about what is written in reply to what in these post threads. the order of the replies gets a bit too random as more people write their own reply to the same initial comment or other reply.It would be good if one could hover over a reply and then see the earlier comment/ reply it is addressing light up in neon.

  17. Paul Sanwald

    Fred, thanks for this post; we are going to apply for this. Thanks especially for adding that you don’t have to be 2 people in a loft to apply, because that’s what I initially figured, but taking a closer look, this really seems like something my company could benefit from greatly. thanks!

  18. fredwilson

    That’s excellent. A real reference folks.

  19. Richard

    like your product. You are just scratching the surface with your technology.

  20. Yaron Samid

    Thanks Rich. Would love to hear what you mean specifically.

  21. Richard

    Why dont we go for a coffee, the next time im in NY?