5 Economic Sweet Spots for Tech and Finance Professionals
As the fintech industry continues to grow, several cities have emerged as hot spots for startups and the professionals that come with them.
For those who don’t know, fintech is an emerging sector of the financial services industry. It includes any technological innovation in finance. While the two worlds are fundamentally different, companies like Cardinal Financial are constantly working to bring them together. It’s all about creating better ways of completing typically inconvenient financial tasks. From cashing checks to buying a house, almost any financial task can be handled digitally these days. Fintech is the present and future of finance, and these cities are the “sweet spots” for up-and-comers looking to make waves in the promising sector.
We all know about the innovation hubs Silicon Valley and New York City, but here are some emerging fintech communities that are looking to become just as strong—and easier on the pockets.
As one of the largest financial centers in the U.S., it makes sense that Charlotte would be on the list of emerging fintech hot spots. Home to the headquarters of financial titans like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, Charlotte is ripe with banking talent. And tech gurus are starting to take note. Incubator initiatives such as Queen City Fintech and the Carolina Fintech Hub are working to foster local fintech startups and push Charlotte’s fintech ecosystem into the global spotlight. All while companies such as LendingTree and AvidXChange have begun to make names for themselves on national and international levels. Considering the Queen City’s status as a financial capital, it shouldn’t be long before Charlotte’s fintech scene reaches similar heights.
Over the past couple of decades, Atlanta has become the de facto capital of the south. So it’s expected that a city that was already a hub for international business would be one of the leaders of the emerging fintech sector. Home to the world’s busiest airport, there’s potential for Atlanta to make waves with its developing fintech scene. Programs such as Fintech Atlanta have lofty goals of making Atlanta the fintech capital of the world, and so far, the ambition seems to be paying off. Barry McCarthy, chairman of Fintech Atlanta, estimates that 70% of all transactions on a global scale pass through companies with headquarters in Metro Atlanta. Payment processing leaders such as WorldPay, First Data, and TSYS are leading the way in Atlanta’s fintech scene, and with the University of Georgia recently approving a fintech degree program, don’t look for innovation to stop coming out of the Peach State anytime soon.
Home to the University of Texas, Austin is a hip college town that’s loaded with fintech talent. Famous for its official unofficial motto “Keep Austin Weird,” Austin may not seem like the traditional banker’s paradise. But several startups have been drawn to Austin’s eclectic culture and choose to call the city home. Startups like Able and Honest Dollar have taken off locally and are starting to make waves on a national scale, with the latter recently being acquired by Goldman Sachs to bolster their Investment Management Division. Austin has a young and diverse talent pool to pull from and a unique culture. And its entrepreneurial spirit ensures that we’ll be hearing its name brought up in innovation conversations for years to come.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Miami? Warm weather? Beautiful beaches? Celebrities? Well, get ready to add fintech to that list. The South Florida city is quickly becoming a fintech hot spot. Miami is home to a very diverse population. And many Miami startups offer solutions for specific demographics who may be underserved by larger financial players. For example, Waleteros is a banking app that’s designed specifically to serve underbanked Hispanic-American customers. YellowPepper offers solutions for both banks and retailers to better serve Latin-American communities and just landed a $12.5 million investment round from Visa. In a city with as much international flair as Miami, it’s important to think globally. And that’s exactly what Miami startups are doing.
Home to First National Bank of Omaha, the nation’s largest privately held bank, Omaha has combined a thriving banking scene with a rich, research-driven talent pool stemming from the University of Nebraska to become one of the most promising fintech hot spots in the country. Omaha has seen a number of its startups grow successfully and move on to bigger and better things. Omaha startup SmartyPig was bought by Q2, and Zillow recently acquired the Lincoln company Mortech. There are no signs of slowing down in the Omaha fintech scene either with companies like D3 Technology and Hip Pocket becoming household names in the Nebraska finance realm. Long known as “The Gateway to the West,” a new nickname is starting to ring bells across the midwest: “Silicon Prairie.”
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