The 2024 Fintech Innovation Lab Cohort Reveals the Fintechs Most Coveted by Large Banks & Insurance Firms

Deep learning models for financial firms that can better predict customer behavior; Generative AI solutions that help to ensure the safety and privacy of customer data; and technology that can quickly identify online fakes generated by AI and thus, help to protect banks and their customers from fraud;

These are among the cutting-edge capabilities offered by the fintech firms selected to participate in the 2024 Fintech Innovation Lab program.  The 12-week program is based in New York City, attracts participants from around the globe, and launched this month (April). 

The 10 fintech firms selected this year represent the types of fintech services and technologies that large financial, insurance and capital market firms currently covet, are interested in integrating into their operations, and want to see succeed.

“The cohort of firms selected present a very interesting window on what the priorities are for the financial services sector in 2024,” says Maria Gotsch co-founder of the Lab and president and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. 

She adds that, “This year, the participating firms are very strong in artificial intelligence and how to use AI in different ways, which is indicative of where the financial industry is at right now, whether it’s how to manage large language models best, reduce the cost of claim processing in insurance, or develop shields against deep fakes.”

Overseen and funded by Accenture, the global consulting firm, and the Partnership Fund for New York City, a civic organization founded by private equity pioneer, Henry Kravis, the Fintech Innovation Lab is an annual program in its 14th year that aims to help 10 fintech firms achieve various goals: 

  • Receive thoughtful and focused feedback about their product
  • Gain a better understanding of how to best serve the current needs of large, highly regulated financial firms
  • Participate in pertinent networking with top-level decision-makers
  • Ultimately, improve their pitch to venture capitalists and potential customers

“The program is not about raising funds but it is an opportunity for founders to come in, listen, and fine-tune their pitch and their value proposition,” says Steve Murphy, Accenture’s Financial Services industry solutions lead and executive sponsor of the FintechTech Innovation Lab.  He adds: “However, it (participation in the Lab) often leads to a good funding outcome, post program.”

Adds Gotsch:  “The purpose of the Fintech Lab is to help entrepreneurs with the perpetual challenge of trying to engage the right people and then sell their services to what are large, regulated financial institutions,”  This involves making sure they get to meet the right level of executives but also get feedback to fine-tune their product so that it solves relevant problems.  “The Lab addresses these two aspects of the challenge,” Gotsch said.

The criteria for participation is based on the current technology needs and industry challenges faced by 40 plus financial, insurance and capital market firms whose executives participate in the program.  These include representatives from AIG, Bank of America, Citi, Fidelity, JP Morgan and Prudential as well as representatives from venture capital firms that include Bain Capital, Canaan Partners and Oak HC/FT.

The program achieves this by inviting executives from large financial firms to discuss what themes or challenges are of most interest several months before the lab launches.  Closer to March, the pool of applicants – who numbered more than 250 seed and growth stage fintech firms this year – are then scored on relevance and winnowed down to no more than ten.

Included in this year’s list of participants are Hyperplane, a firm that offers a data intelligence platform that enables financial firms to develop predictive models and personalized experiences through large language models;  DynamoFL, a company that enables enterprises to embed privacy, security, and compliance into generative AI applications; and Reality Defender, a cybersecurity company that can detect false audio, video and texts that can be used by bad actors to defraud banking, insurance and government organizations.  

A full list of this year’s Fintech Lab participants can be found here

The Lab partners the fintech firms with senior-level executives from the participating institutions who will help them develop and enhance their technologies and business strategies through a series of one-on-one meetings, panel discussions, user-group sessions, and networking opportunities with top executives and technologists at the large firms.  There are also opportunities to network with fintech founders who are graduates of the program. 

Of course, there are also benefits for the large institutions participating.

According to Murphy, the fact that the lab curates a short list of startups that are most relevant to large firm interests is a great asset. “Rather than fielding one-off calls from a big pool of fintechs, they can focus on a curated list.  It’s so much more efficient,” he said.

They also appreciate that these are fintech firms “on the front edge” employing deep learning and generative AI, allowing large financial firms to continue to build their own knowledge as they aim to compete on the AI front.

Finally, participation in the program offers a civic benefit, said Murphy, as it contributes to the development of New York City as a hub for fintech and Insurtech firms. 

After 12 weeks, the program culminates in a Demo Day where the participating founders make their refined pitches before an audience of venture capitalists and corporate executives.  At this point, Murphy says, the fintech firms “have nailed their pitch, are up and running, and have a tailwind on fundraising.” 

He adds that “the magic moment of the lab process is when a connection is made and a click happens between one of the fintech firms and a financial services institution and the FSI says, we want to do a proof of concept with you.  It’s always a beautiful moment.”

To date, the Fintech Innovation Lab, founded in 2010, has assisted entrepreneurs from 270 fintech companies.  Program graduates have created more than 3,000 jobs and raised more than $2.7 billion in venture financing. Twenty-six of them have been acquired. More information about the program can be found here.

  • Katherine Heires

    Katherine Heires is a business & technology journalist and founder of MediaKat llc. As a freelance journalist, she covers a range of topics including the growing impact on business of AI and machine learning developments and trends related to fintech startups, embedded banking, open banking, behavioral finance, cybersecurity, and fraud prevention technology. Her reporting on financial and fintech topics has appeared in Businessweek Online, Institutional Investor, Risk Intelligence, Risk Management Magazine and Venture Capital Journal.