Financial Services and FinTech in Charlotte
Charlotte may be better known for its banks, but the Queen City is also becoming a regional hub for technology and big data. Noting a surge in the technology talent pool, research firm CBRE just named Charlotte one of the top momentum markets for technology sector growth (2015). In fact, the tech sector grew by 28 percent between 2010 and 2013, outpacing Raleigh-Durham and even major tech-savvy cities including California’s Silicon Valley.
Charlotte’s concentration of diverse industries creates a unique environment for the analytics and technology fields. Here, small organizations interact with large businesses, transforming the way companies use information and connect with consumers.
Firms that provide financial technology services have easily found success in Charlotte because of the strong presence of the financial services sector. Many of these firms are home-grown Charlotte companies. AvidXChange, which offers automated bill payment solutions, was created out of founders Michael Praeger and David Miller’s basement. The company now employs more than 320 people and recently moved into its new 200,000 square foot headquarters space.
LendingTree Inc., an online loan marketplace, established its headquarters in Charlotte in 1998 and has since grown to 200 employees.
Charlotte’s FinTech Incubators
A key factor in Charlotte’s technology sector’s success has been the community support available to early-stage entrepreneurs. A variety of business incubators provide financial, business development and mentorship opportunities. Two of these incubators cater to financial technology startups:
- RevTech Labs targets high-tech industries wishing to gain resources to reach a funding stage.
- QC FinTech pairs promising financial tech startups with high profile contacts and mentors throughout Charlotte Chamber.
- PayCLT is a network of payments professionals who meet to foster innovation in payments and position Charlotte as a leader in payment technology.
Several other Charlotte accelerator programs that offer support to tech startups:
- QCF Impact 3 targets entrepreneurs with a social mission
- QCF ImpactU is a 10-week “boot camp” for undergraduates with promising business ideas.
- City Startup Labs is geared towards African American men wishing to launch their own ventures.
- Ventureprise, housed in UNC Charlotte’s Research Institute, offers early stage business resources, expertise, and workspace
“I firmly believe that Charlotte can be an analytics hub for the region, even for the U.S. We have a lot going for us here — the biggest thing is the different types of industries collaborating to better leverage analytic capabilities.” ~ Michael Dulin, M.D., Ph.D., chief clinical officer of outcomes and research, Carolinas HealthCare System