Every year, tens of thousands of people from around the world descend on Austin for SXSW – a ten-day music, film, and interactive conference and festival. Having just launched a $3 million competition to support fintech entrepreneurs, we decided it was time to join the madness and host a fintech networking event, connect with others in our space, and learn from as many people doing interesting things as possible.
Our cocktail reception to promote the Financial Solutions Lab brought together a diverse group of fintech startups and other ecosystem players for tacos, cocktails, and conversation. We enjoyed connecting with a long list of attendees including the Financial Health Network network members JPMorgan Chase & Co., NetSpend, and US Bank; upstarts OnePAY, Payment Approved, and NextGenVest; and established fintech players Acorns, Simple Bank, Credit Karma, and Yodlee, among many others.
We also enjoyed other notable fintech events like SoFin’s fintech demos, Honest Dollar’s Launch Party, Yodlee Interactive’s Fintech Meetup, Core Innovations’ Vice and Virtue party, and UpGlobal and FinTEx Chicago’s FinTech Startup Showcase. It was crystal clear that fintech innovation is growing and these events highlighted that for us in a big way at SXSW.
While it sometimes felt otherwise, our SXSW experience wasn’t just about the parties and networking. We also attended a variety of interesting sessions, including:
Sex, Drugs, and Bitcoin: Vice vs Virtue Investing: Arjan Schutte from Core Innovation Capital and Cindy Gallop from Make Love Not Porn compared financial services for the poor with the online adult video industry, both of which have the opportunity to attain virtue on a path littered with vice.
Bitcoin at SXSW 2015: Impact on Developing World: Representatives from 500 Startups, 37coins, BitPago, and BitGive Foundation discussed how blockchain technology is already helping people and the role it can play in the future.
Running A Non-Profit Like A Start-Up!: Kate Courteau, head of nonprofits at Y Combinator, talked with three innovative nonprofits about lessons they’ve learned in trying to operate like a startup.
Social Good Hub: Several presenters, including our partner IDEO.org talked about innovation in social good, shared insights from the field, and even lead hands-on activities.
It was also exciting to see Acorns win the “New Economy” category at the SXSW Interactive Innovation competition, which showcases the best and latest advancements in digital technology and the connected world.
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If you’re a fintech entrepreneur, don’t forget that applications close April 7th.
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