The fall program, which kicked off in August, is the organization’s fourth cohort since launching in 2020. As a subsidiary of Central Bank of Kansas City (CBKC), Falls Fintech is currently the only bank-sponsored business accelerator program designed to bring early-stage fintech companies to market.
“Many Falls Fintech startups are developing exciting financial products that leverage new technologies to solve financial challenges, particularly those experienced by underserved consumers which carries on the mission of Central Payments and CBKC as a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution),” said Nikkee Rhody, Falls Fintech’s co-founder and managing director.
“The really unique thing I would call out about this cohort is that these companies are a bit further along, which translates to a quicker market launch,” commented Rhody.
“This cohort also expands our international reach with two companies from India and Russia that are working to expand their business into the United States market. It’s been great introducing them to the Sioux Falls community during their time here.”
The participating companies include:
- FirstRoot: FirstRoot is a Benefit Corp that supports schools using participatory budgeting, a democratic process in which students are given real money to collaboratively invest in their school. As the students decide how to invest the money, they learn important lessons about financial literacy, design thinking and civics.
- Leagueswype: Leagueswype is a digital payment platform that serves as the trusted one-stop digital wallet where sports bettors can manage all of their payment activity across all service providers within one single and secure application. A safe and secure way to get them playing the games they love more quickly and paid faster when they win.
- TruCard: TruCard is an asset-backed digital currency platform.
- Kiddie Kredit: Kiddie Kredit is a financial literacy tool that teaches kids about credit by incentivizing productivity and good behavior. The premise of the app is that the better a child performs their duties/activities, the better their score. This is done by creating a “kredit” score that parallels traditional FICO scoring models.
- Greetty: The Greetty app allows users to create and send unique video messages along with a customized virtual prepaid card as a useful and exciting way to attach money to a virtual congratulations.
You can learn more about each of the participants in Episode 4 of Fintech Brews & News.
Fintech Brews & News launched in July 2021 and recently released its fourth episode.
Hosted by Rhody and her Falls Fintech co-founder, Trent Sorbe, the show offers a behind-the-scenes look at the industry, including the unique ways that Central Payments bridges the gap between banking, startups and the fintech industry.
“Our first episode is titled, “How We Got Here,” and we talk about Central Bank of Kansas City, why Central Payments was created and where we’ve come from, and then we talk about our Open*CP API platform, and the genesis of Falls Fintech. It’s been a really interesting journey that has all the pieces to set us up for long term success in our field.”
The podcast will also feature interviews with various industry guests, including cohort participants and speakers.
While hosting, Rhody and Sorbe enjoy a different local brew during each episode—sometimes coffee, and sometimes a craft beer.
You can tune into the podcast on YouTube for both video and audio, or on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
Recognition for Falls Fintech
Founded in 2019, Falls Fintech has been growing at a steady pace and recently received noteworthy recognition.
The program was named a finalist for a Finovate Award in the category of Best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator. The award is given to an accelerator or incubator that consistently nurtures quality fintech companies and helps them on their journey. Factors included in the nomination include how the alumni roster has performed in the market, as well as testimonials from innovators who have participated in the program.
“It’s an honor to be included in the Finovate finalist list among some of the long-standing programs that we modeled ours after, including Mastercard Start Path and Financial Solutions Lab. We are incredibly proud to have received this recognition just two short years after launching the Falls Fintech program,” Rhody said.