BMO Harris Bank and 1871 recently announced the five participating companies selected to join their 2021 WMN•FINtech Program. WMN•FINtech is a fintech industry program for women-founded and -led startups. It is the latest evolution of the BMO Harris / 1871 Innovation Program.
Above all, WMN•FINtech helps to bridge the gender gap in the startup and tech community. It also aims to give more entrepreneurs from women-founded startups the opportunity to bring innovative technologies and products forward. It was launched in 2020 and is now returning for its second year.
Participating women-founded startups
The following five women-led companies were invited to participate in the 2021 cohort of WMN•FINtech:
Arena Pay (Fairfax, Va.)
Arena Pay helps small and medium sized businesses actively manage accounts payable, optimize payment timing and pay business expenses. The Arena Platform syncs to accounting software to categorize payments in real time. Arena Pay enables active cash flow optimization and Arena CFO provides a full suite of CFO services to US businesses.
- Heather Tuason, Founder & CEO
Caribou (Boca Raton, Fla.)
Healthcare is the biggest expense in retirement and the number one reason for bankruptcy. It is presently the top financial concern for Americans. Despite this, financial advisors are not equipped to incorporate healthcare into their financial planning process. Caribou is a healthcare planning and navigation solution chiefly for financial advisors. It allows them to differentiate themselves, build deeper client relationships and be better life planners.
- Christine Simone, Co-founder
HomeZada (El Dorado Hills, Calif.)
HomeZada is a digital home management platform that empowers homeowners. It helps them manage, maintain, protect, improve and differentiate their home for sale during the entire homeownership journey. It is a proven mainstream platform that combines multiple apps, content and data to manage their largest financial asset and biggest expense. HomeZada is also a solution that assists businesses and organizations that service homeowners in industries like insurance, mortgage, real estate, home building and more to retain and engage their existing customers and gain net new customers.
- Elizabeth Dodson, Cofounder
Indie Tech is an exciting new startup that is set to radically improve the way large enterprise clients and external consultants work together. Recognizing the myriad of issues that both clients and consultants face every day in trying to successfully complete projects through third-party sources, Indie Tech has embarked on a bold and ambitious plan to overhaul the flawed process by developing an AI-driven SaaS consulting management system.
- Sophia Stone, Founder & CEO
Trustate (Tampa, Fla.)
Losing a loved one is certainly hard. However, the administrative work that comes along with it shouldn’t be. Trustate is an end-to-end estate administration service. It uses “tech + touch” to help people quickly and efficiently settle the estate of a deceased loved one. In addition to full estate settlement services, Trustate’s digital products include “estate prep” tools. These tools guide families in the creation, management and organization of their estate.
- Leah Del Percio, Founder & CEO
- Tara Faquir, Cofounder & COO
Helping women-founded startups thrive
“We are proud to join our longtime partner BMO Harris Bank to welcome the members of the second cohort of WMN•FINtech,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “These five women-led startups are leading the way toward building the future of the financial sector, and through the WMN•FINtech Program we seek to provide the resources, mentorship and industry insight they need to thrive.”
“We are delighted to shine a light on these fintechs and their founders and to help support and learn from them as they grow,” said Hugh McKee, head of BMO Partners, BMO Financial Group. “They have all found innovative ways to solve important financial challenges with technology, delivering value for users and helping them make real financial progress. All of us at BMO look forward to following their successes during the WMN•FINtech Program year and beyond.”
About WMN•FINtech‘s quest to help women-founded startups
WMN•FINtech is designed for startups that create services or solutions for the financial sector, offer insights and advice to customers or help identify customer needs. Eligible startups have a woman founder or co-founder and are based in the U.S. WMN•FINtech provides selected startups with:
- A three-month program with guidance from industry experts at BMO, including an executive champion who will offer leadership guidance
- A four-month membership and working space at 1871, the number one private business incubator in the worldi
- Curriculum focused on enterprise sales cycles, vendor management, information security and risk and regulatory requirements
- The opportunity to pitch venture capital investors for feedback, mentoring, continued connections and/or funding
1871 is Chicago’s technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support early stage, growth scalers and innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups, ~300 growth stage companies, and ~1,500 members, and is supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,000 jobs, and have raised more than $1.65 billion in follow-on capital.
About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 500 branches and fee-free access to over 40,000 ATMs across the United States. BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the United States. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, visit the company fact sheet. Accounts are subject to approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a highly diversified financial services provider with total assets of CDN$973 billion as of Jan. 31, 2021.
i UBI Global, World Rankings Report, 2019-2020, https://resources.ubi-global.com/hubfs/Publications/Rankings/UBI%20Global%20-%20Rankings%201920%20v2.pdf.