In this race for high-performing, high-tech talent, our employers can choose one of two mindsets: abundance or scarcity. One company taking a major stance of abundance is First National Bank.

Recently, leaders from within the nation’s largest privately held bank approached our team with a question: how do we ripen the fintech community? They had a hunch, based on the ethos that all boats rise, that if more startups formed around financial services that the bank would, in turn, benefit from a broadened talent pool.

In 2017, there were more than 32,500 employees working for 1,765 companies within the financial services and insurance industries in our metro region. And, as of 2017, we estimate there are less than ten active fintech startups in the region. The most notable of those being D3 Banking, LeverageRX, and PaymentSpring.

In many startup communities, it is easy to draw clear lines between industry clusters and the number of new companies created within that industry. Our region hasn’t yet been able to draw those lines.

Earlier this month, we launched Fintech Fellows Initiative, with preliminary funding coming from First National Bank. This intentional effort intends to generate new startups within the financial services industry.

As part of the Fintech Fellows Initiative, The Startup Collaborative will reveal several financial services market opportunities for great founders to build companies around. These opportunities have been validated through customer discovery with hundreds of potential users motivated to find a solution. To see the full Market Insights Report click here. 

Fintech Fellows will work with The Startup Collaborative, using the pre-seed fund’s outcome-based methodology for deeper customer discovery, early prototyping and business modeling to ultimately create a software-as-a-service startup.

Fintech Fellows will be given access to customer lists, market insights and customer discovery interview transcripts. They will also have one-on-one time with financial service subject-matter-experts and curated potential customers.

Fintech Fellows can earn $10,000 to $80,000 to accelerate their company’s growth based on outcomes met.

This funding comes at a time when early venture capital dollars into the region are at one of the lowest points in the past 10 years. Ironically, venture capital viable startups are on the rise, specifically in Omaha. That will be the next challenge The Startup Collaborative takes on.