Financial Technology

New fintech center launched at University of Utah – @theU

Randall continued, “We provide exceptional foundations in education, humanities, science, social and health sciences. The chance to put your ideas and knowledge to work in the real world, is the next step.”

Center initiatives will launch with an incubator—the fintechXstudio—and venture capital funds will be made available to qualifying student founders working in the field of financial technology. With six research-focused labs, industry-sponsored projects, an innovation hub and student-focused investment funds, the center aims to unite education and industry to accelerate financial innovation and inclusion in Utah and beyond. The center will be led by executive director Ryan Christiansen.

“The Stena Foundation is delighted to partner with the University of Utah and other leading financial technology organizations in the creation of the Stena Center for Financial Technology,” said Steve Smith, chairman of the Stena Foundation. “This progressive center, in alignment with its strategic partners, will build on the success of the fintech community in Utah and will become a major hub for ongoing financial technology innovation and real economic impact.”

Smith is the former chairman, CEO and co-founder of Finicity, and a founding member and current co-chair of the Financial Data Exchange (FDX). He and his wife Jana founded the Salt Lake City-based Stena Foundation as a way to strengthen economic prosperity through the fundamental building blocks of increased financial inclusion and access to quality education.

The fintechXstudio will start with an annual cohort of 10 student entrepreneurs and businesses working on financial technology innovation. Students will have access to expert faculty, office space, industry mentors, technology solutions partners, curated courses, prototyping tools and technology, venture capital and the university’s global education programs. Each year, the venture fund will invest a total of at least $1million in 10 or more student-led fintech companies. A large portion of the carry earnings from those investments will be reinvested into the center.

“The Stena Center will blend Utah’s broad fintech industry experience with U students’ energy and creativity,” said Ryan Christiansen, executive director. “This unique partnership will connect financial technology leaders’ workforce skills and experience with students’ passion and ideas—accelerating innovation to place Utah at the forefront of global fintech excellence.”

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