On July 20, 2016, accelerator Startupbootcamp FinTech New York held its first Demo Day, at which 10 groups of financial technology entrepreneurs presented their innovations to an audience of more than 500 investors, industry experts and journalists.
Demo Day marked the culmination of a 13-week intensive mentorship program for the FinTech entrepreneurs. WilmerHale—the only law firm involved—joined Deutsche Bank, MasterCard, Rabobank, Santander, Thomson Reuters and Route 66 Ventures to sponsor the program, an offshoot of the global startup accelerator Startupbootcamp.
“It has been exciting to partner with Startupbootcamp FinTech's first New York accelerator program and work with the teams over the past 13 weeks,” says Partner David Gammell, co-chair of the firm's Emerging Company Practice. “The caliber of the entrepreneurs has been remarkable, and we look forward to continuing to follow the teams' progress beyond Demo Day.”
Gammell, his fellow Boston-based Partner Jeff Stein, and Washington DC-based Counsel Elijah Alper and Michael Blayney presented targeted workshops to the teams throughout the 13 weeks, providing insight on fundraising, blockchain and regulatory issues. New York-based Corporate Associates Jared Brenner, Killian Nolan and John Wagner also worked closely with the startups. Additionally, Blayney and New York-based Counsel Kaylan Sliney played a critical role in selecting the final 10 teams out of 20 finalists during Selection Days, the last phase of the rigorous application and evaluation process.
The WilmerHale participants were among more than 400 entrepreneurs, investors and corporate partners who counseled the 10 selected teams throughout the program. These teams also received $20,000 and four months of free office space at Grind, a New York startup hub located in Lower Manhattan.
The startups featured at Demo Day have developed technology with applications for wealth management, regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, contracts and capital markets. They included three companies—Factury, Fluent and Lawnmower—that offer blockchain platforms for loan verification and trading, global commerce, and asset investment, respectively. They also included Seal, which offers easy, smart contracts for individuals, and token, which has developed an identity-protected payment system.
As graduates of the FinTech program, the teams will continue to have access to Startupbootcamp's global network of mentors, investors and fellow entrepreneurs.
Two of the teams, Factury and token, will also continue to benefit from WilmerHale's counsel—they have signed on as clients through the firm's QuickLaunch program. “This program has provided a great opportunity to grow our visibility in New York's burgeoning FinTech startup market and build our brand among early-stage companies,” says Gammell.