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August 01, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Nine companies selected to participate in “Project FinTech”

The inaugural cohort includes three companies from the Nashville area with the others coming from out-of-state.

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC), a non-profit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and local industry, has announced the nine companies that will comprise the inaugural cohort of “Project FinTech,” its industry network and accelerator program.

The announcement comes one day after we posted this article that noted the American Bankers Association had joined First Horizon Bank as founding sponsors of the nine-month program that provides early stage start-ups with access to subject matter experts, curriculum, mentorship, and the benefit of community. The program will focus on fintech start-ups with a preference for Tennessee-based companies – there are three in Cohort 1 – and an emphasis on the “banktech” sector defined as technology seeking to improve, automate, or scale the delivery or use of payments, deposits, loans, or relationships between retail or commercial banks and their customers.

“Thanks to the leadership and support of experienced entrepreneurs and industry leaders who stepped up to bring this program to life, our team is prepared to kickstart best-in-class programming,” said Sam Davidson, the NEC’s newly named Chief Executive Officer. “It’s an exciting time to start and grow a FinTech company and the Nashville EC will serve a valuable role in helping this cohort grow and scale.”

According to the announcement, the program received 40 applications from across the country with nine companies selected for their potential impact in Tennessee. The needs of these companies aligned with the state’s network of resources, and their perceived openness to mentorship and collaboration.

“We are so excited for the potential for building a community among the cohort itself, a group that includes mission-driven founders looking to grow financial prosperity in underrepresented communities,” said Maryn Cannon, Program Manager at NEC. “Many of these founders are second- and third-time entrepreneurs who have validated a need in their previous ventures and are bringing a new idea to market with a wealth of pre-existing connections.”

The three Tennessee participants are:

Participants are:

  • Lendovative, founded by Patrick True and Paul McCulloch, and located in Brentwood;
  • Nuestro Financial, founded by Diego Eguiarte from Nashville; and
  • SpendCare, based in Franklin whose founders are Perry Halman-Peguillan and David Young.

The other companies are: (1) Ampersand from Wisconsin; (2) Grounded from New York; (3) Lumio Insight from Virginia; (4) Parlay Protocol, also from Virginia; (5) Plata from New York; and READYLIFE from California.

The program is partially funded through a grant to Launch Tennessee through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s “Build to Scale” program that expands industry networks throughout the state. Corporate partners work together to help Tennessee be the best place in America to start, grow and scale a FinTech company.


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