Following the success of both its Mass Fintech Hub, and its virtual Boston FinTech Week, the nonprofit FinTech Sandbox reports significant company growth.
The sandbox, which provides early-stage startups with free access to critical data and resources, launched its Mass Fintech Hub in Jue 2021. The Hub is a public-private partnership that shares the ambition of making the Commonwealth a leading fintech hub. The initiative pioneers Sustainable and Inclusive Finance, principles, which are quickly becoming a major aspect in many emerging business models.
“In more ways, FinTech Sandbox is delivering on its core mission of bringing innovation to fintech and financial services by providing data access to startups,” comments FinTech Sandbox’s Executive Director Kelly Fryer.
“Our world-class events and programming are making an impact on the industry, particularly in the domain of Sustainable and Inclusive Finance as a rising number of fintech startups participating in FinTech Sandbox’s core Data Access Residency programme include this as a priority.
“By expanding data access, not only can we improve the financial ecosystem, ultimately, we can help people gain agency in their financial lives and enable them to make healthier choices.”
Boston FinTech Week
Under the theme “Financial Services for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere,” the fourth-annual Boston FinTech Week was held virtually between 28 September and 1 October. The four-day programme had a primary focus on Sustainable and Inclusive Finance, as well as the myriad of emerging technologies that continue to shape the financial services of today.
Despite the fact that, unlike previous Boston FinTech Weeks, this year’s event had to be held virtually to adhere to Covid-19 restrictions, the event retained its usual high number of attendees. The digital format of the event, which was live-streamed throughout the entirety of the four-day programme, did mean however that many more were able to access its resourses.
The 3,700 registrations to the event were up 16 per cent from 2019 (the last time the event was held), and up 38 per cent in attendees, which counted 2,100 this year.
Attendees came from over 57 countries and represented the full spectrum of the financial services industry, including financial institutions, fintech startups, service providers, academics, VC firms and various government representatives.
Amongst the many headliners of the event were Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker, founder and CEO of the SME financing platform Propel Jimmy Chen, Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Abby Johnson, and Mike Massaro, the CEO of payments company Flywire.
Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, and Silvio Micali, founder of Algorand and professor at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory also took to the stage.
Sustainable and Inclusive Finance is Gaining Influence in Fintech
As Sustainable and Inclusive Finance rises in awareness and interest, this is also reflected in FinTech Sandbox’s Data Access Residency programme, which has reported how over 60 per cent of accepted startups have made the initiative a priority in their business models.
Accepted startups this year were 44 per cent B2B, 40 per cent B2C, and 16 per cent B2B2C, compared to 78 per cent, 18 per cent, and 4 per cent respectively in 2020.
This refined focus towards ethical practices in the industry has resulted in an increasing number of startups targeting consumers directly to solve related issues and has meant that the relationship between businesses and their customers has never been closer.
The Data Access Residency programme has drawn interest from overseas too, with a six per cent increase in international participation from 2020; from 30 to 36 per cent respectively. Available data sets from the programme reflect an ongoing trend of emerging use cases. Startups can now access features such as Sustainalytics and Moody’s NewsEdge, both of which were added this year.
Mass Fintech Hub Launches and Delivers New Fintech Programming
The Massachusetts Fintech Working Group was instrumental in the founding of Mass Fintech Hub, an initiative also under FinTech Sandbox.
Co-chaired by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Mike Fanning, Head of MassMutual US, the group helped to establish the Hub, with aims to strengthen the Commonwealth’s fintech ecosystem and drive continued success and growth for the industry.
During Boston FinTech Week, the Massachusetts Fintech Working Group hosted several new programmes and over the summer, launched a Fintech Bootcamp for primarily Black and LatinX students from the Commonwealth.
It has also more than doubled its membership from financial institutions, fintechs and other stakeholders since June.
FinTech Sandbox promotes innovation in the financial sector by making crucial data and infrastructure available to fintech startups, at the point in their growth when access to this typically expensive data is most impactful.
FinTech Sandbox startups, in return, collaborate with current and past residents, sharing learnings and advancements that benefit the ecosystem. Participating startups – more than 245 thus far – incur no fees and no loss to equity.