Fintech71: Where Financial Leadership Meets Industry Innovation

Ohio is a catalyst to never before seen industry collaboration
Andrew Deye, Senior Director, JobsOhio
December 21, 2017

Fintech71 was not only an excellent opportunity for innovative startups to learn from industry leaders, it was also an excellent opportunity for industry leaders to learn from startups.

The program received support from national, industry-leading financial institutions and insurance companies that got involved in the program through mentorship and other means. This includes leaders such as Huntington National Bank, KeyBank, Progressive Insurance, Grange Insurance, CardinalCommerce, Visa, Fifth Third Bank, Mastercard, PNC Bank, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, First Federal Lakewood and Safelite Group.

Eager to share expert insights and do business with fintech innovators, the industry leaders found the program just as rewarding as the cohort did. JobsOhio’s board of directors held its public meeting at Fintech71 on Dec. 18, 2017. The meeting included a presentation from Cheryl Lebens, Vice President, Chief Risk & Strategy Officer of Grange Insurance, and Adrian Becker, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Steady, about the power of collaboration between the traditional and startup companies.

Lebens emphasized that Grange Insurance’s involvement was one of the biggest shakers of the company’s year. Lebens also noted that Grange Insurance intends to innovate to help shape its future, choosing to disrupt itself rather than be disrupted.

Grange Insurance saw that Fintech71 was the right fit for a chance to evolve, strongly identifying with mutual interests in promoting Ohio and furthering financial services. The company hoped that its participation would grow jobs, build relationships and help gain insight around accelerators and startups. Lebens said the the benefits of participating in Fintech71 exceeded expectations.

Prior to Grange Insurance’s engagement in Fintech71, some of the company’s leadership doubted the benefits. Throughout the program, Grange Insurance’s key leaders were exposed to the evolving ecosystem. The company’s board of directors had exposure to Grange Insurance’s passion and dedication to fintech advancements in Ohio. Now, these skeptics see the value. Grange Insurance expects this to spark major changes in company operations and the speed at which it innovates. Grange Insurance has committed to not only continuing its support of Fintech71, but also to increasing its investment.

Ten startups from across the globe were selected to participate in the inaugural cohort in Ohio. Fintech71 showed the world what Ohio offers to the fintech industry.

The concentration of financial and insurance institutions and their willingness to be involved with the program was one of the biggest draws for the startups.

Yvan De Munck, the head of U.S. business development at James, one of the chosen startups, is one of the believers. 

“There are a lot of benefits, including travelling to places around Ohio,” De Munck said. “Having the opportunity to speak with major companies is also a big help.”

JobsOhio is proud of its support for Fintech71 and of its role in bringing industry leaders together with fintech pioneers to influence change in a rapidly evolving industry. 

In other words: Fintech71’s value is priceless.