Connecticut is increasingly being seen as THE place to set up fintech startups. Dedicated state support, financial incentives and a network of venture capitalists are just some of the factors that are drawing scores of fintech and other tech startups to Connecticut.
Out of the many fintech startups that call Connecticut home, we’ve handpicked three that have benefited from the favorable environment for innovation in the state.
1. Continuity Control
This New Haven–based company was founded by a group of banking, technology and compliance experts in 2008. Continuity Control serves community banks and finance companies with an on-demand platform for compliance management.
This unified system automates the entire regulatory cycle, right from managing regulatory updates, policies and procedures to compliance strategy and planning. The system’s advanced software helps community financial institutions quickly adapt to regulatory change, while reducing their workload and streamlining complex compliance processes.
Continuity Control has even created the Banking Compliance Index, which tracks the total regulatory cost of the banking industry. This index has even been picked up for distribution by the Wall Street Journal.
Moreover, Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for growing Connecticut businesses through innovative financing tools and assistance, has rallied much support for this fintech startup.
Following a seed investment of $500,000 in 2009, CI made a number of follow-on investments, including $250,000 each in 2010 and 2011, $1 million in 2012 and $500,000 in 2013. In 2014, Continuity Control went on to further raise $10 million in growth funding—doubling the $5 million funding that it originally sought!
“Continuity Control weathered the challenges in the banking industry, and emerged to achieve significant revenue and client growth, thanks to strong leadership, innovative products and a sound business strategy,” said Claire Leonardi, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of CI. “This is the sort of young company that Governor Malloy is eager to cultivate and grow here in Connecticut. We are delighted to help Continuity Control advance to the next stage.”
According to Senator Toni N. Harp (D-New Haven), “Connecticut must continue investing in companies like Continuity Control, which generate promising new technological advances, because these firms will play a lead role in a vibrant, 21st-century economy.”
Blockchain is not going anywhere! This constantly evolving technology that powers bitcoin has the whole fintech industry buzzing.
Fintech startups in Connecticut, too, are pushing innovation in the blockchain space. Tierion in Hartford, for example, has taken the application of the core blockchain technology to a whole new level.
This blockchain startup has developed an open standard called Chainpoint for anchoring data to the blockchain. Once data is written to the blockchain, it becomes part of a global permanent record that cannot be altered or erased. As a result, blockchain receipts can be used to independently verify the integrity and authenticity of any file, data or business process.
Tierion has now emerged as a leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm for anyone who wants to collect data and secure records using blockchain. This cutting-edge technology not only benefits banking and financial services, but also insurance, healthcare and government services.
In 2015, Tierion teamed up with the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC), a nonprofit organization that works to encourage and support technology innovation in the state. With this partnership, CTC and Tierion planned to run a trial on finding government survey data using blockchain technology. Speaking of the partnership, CTC’s President and CEO Bruce Carlson said, “We like being on the cutting edge of what’s going on, and we feel like this could lead to more projects.”
“We are excited to see the Tierion team leveraging the core innovation of blockchain technology to secure data and ensure it cannot be tampered with,” said Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group.
3. SmartPay Solutions
Based out of Southington, SmartPay Solutions has emerged as a leading provider of pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation solutions for payroll companies, insurance agents and insurance companies. At the center of the SmartPay network is the company’s cloud-based transaction processing software.
In 2013, this startup raked in $1.25 million in a Series A funding round. Connecticut Innovations (CI) and Tennant Capital Partners made an investment of $500,000 each in this round.
CI’s Chief Executive Officer Claire Leonardi stated, “The SmartPay team’s deep experience in the insurance and financial services industries provides it with the insights and connections the company needs to be a strong contender in the multi-billion-dollar workers’ compensation insurance market. And its partnerships with some of the nation’s largest insurance carriers, right here in Connecticut, also give it an important leg up.”
In 2014, the same investors made follow-on investments in the company, helping it raise an additional $1.4 million in funding.
David Wurzer, Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of CI, said, “This investment will help the company scale its operations and network, and allow more agents, payroll providers and insurance carriers to take advantage of cloud-based software that streamlines processes and expedites transactions.”
In conjunction with the funding round, the company also announced the appointments of Stephen Holcomb as Chief Executive Officer, and Robert Conerly as Chief Financial Officer. Before joining SmartPay Solutions, Holcomb served as Chief Executive Officer of ClearCycle Corporation, and as president of Trumbull Services.
Robert Conerly previously held executive roles at startups and early-stage companies. Prior to joining SmartPay Solutions, he served as Chief Financial Officer at Melinta Therapeutics and, before that, at Pharmion Corporation.
SmartPay continues to lead the industry with its revolutionary pay-as-you-go platform.
In addition to these three startups, many others have greatly benefited from the financial and technical assistance provided by the state and its affiliated bodies.
Moreover, a pool of talented workers, strategic location and a high quality of life are slowly, but surely, establishing Connecticut as the go-to place for fintech startups.
Are you ready to see your fintech startup thrive in Connecticut? Are you ready to launch in the “Silicon Valley of the Northeast”?