(Charlotte, NC) October 28, 2021 — To continue on the story from last week, the 1st phase of the Meta Lab, the ‘Meta Lab Startup Challenge’ will now begin officially accepting applications. MassChallenge has now launched applications and challenges from some of Charlotte’s top companies to fintech and healthtech startups around the world. If you are a startup interested in accelerating the growth of your business and partnering with world class organizations such as Atrium Health, Barings and Truist, visit the following link to learn more and apply.
“The Meta Lab Startup Challenge powered by MassChallenge combines the power of innovation and entrepreneurship by fostering collaborations between corporate partners and startups,” says MassChallenge CEO Siobhan Dullea. “This competition can put innovative technology startups in front of three world class organizations to help them solve their most pressing challenges.”
As part of this announcement to recruit the top startups from around the world to do business in, and potentially expand to, the Charlotte market, the Carolina Fintech Hub (CFH) is excited to announce three additional capabilities that will enhance the ability of the Meta Lab to achieve material outcomes.
First, in an effort to alleviate the traditional regulatory headwinds impeding partnerships between startups and potential customers, CFH is excited to announce that North Carolina just signed in to law the new sandbox bill aimed at making the state more agile and adept at piloting emerging technologies with startup companies.
“This bill would keep North Carolina as a regional and national leader for business by encouraging companies with innovative finance and insurance products to test them right here in North Carolina,” said Jordan Roberts, government affairs associate for the John Locke Foundation. “The sandbox approach ensures the right balance of consumer choice and protection.”
CFH Founder Tariq Bokhari adds “the Carolina Fintech Hub has championed this effort for several years now, and found like-minded partners like the NC Blockchain Initiative, because we strongly believe being the most entrepreneurial and nimble of the 50 states will position us as global leaders in technology and innovation.”
“Even when you look at just one dimension of what the Sandbox will enable us to be more innovative in – Blockchain – you can see the power and competitive advantage NC now has in attracting and growing companies from around the world,” said Dan Spuller, Co-Chair of the North Carolina Blockchain Initiative.
Second, these exciting new initiatives are just the beginning in a series of announcements to come regarding innovation advancements in the Meta Lab’s Data Science and Research University capabilities. Many of the startups that will be considering applying for this opportunity will be drawn to the potential of expanding their own analytics capabilities.
“As the first school of data science in the Carolinas, we are uniquely positioned to join this exploratory mission with the Meta Lab,” said Doug Hague, Executive Director of the School of Data Science at UNC Charlotte. “As the top innovations in fintech and healthtech from around the world start to pour into Charlotte, we look forward to investigating ways our students and faculty can serve as data science and privacy advisors to the portfolio companies. This would allow these start-ups to benefit from our expertise while providing our students real-work experience in helping companies progress toward their goals.”
“As Charlotte’s HBCU, Johnson C. Smith University is committed to facilitating innovation in the Charlotte region, and we look forward to exploring opportunities with the Carolina Fintech Hub’s Meta Lab,” said Terik Tidwell, Executive Director, Smith Tech-Innovation Center. “The Meta Lab will provide growing opportunities that can engage our applied research and analytic capabilities to further economic growth in the state.”
Third, access to capital and the ability to seamlessly integrate different technologies are crucial factors for startups around the world that are considering what strategic opportunities to pursue versus ignore. CFH member Live Oak Bank, and their Wilmington partners Canapi Ventures and Apiture, add both of those critical tools into the broader toolbelt of the Meta Lab.
“Deploying capital to relevant, exciting, and mission-driven ventures is what Canapi is all about,” said Neil Underwood, Co-Founder of Canapi Ventures. “Joining this effort from Wilmington, and making it truly a state-wide effort, adds to our excitement about the potential of the Meta Lab.”
“Continuous innovation is critical for financial institutions and central to Apiture’s industry leading digital banking solutions,” said Chris Babcock, CEO of Apiture. “We look forward to the Meta Lab providing us with a front row seat to next generation products and the opportunity to evaluate future partnerships.”
About Carolina Fintech Hub
The Carolina Fintech Hub was formed in late 2017 with the mission of fostering a collaboration between the world’s leading financial services firms and innovative Fintech startups. By providing resources and support for Fintechs of all types, at all points along the innovation pipeline and through focused efforts to attract and retain Fintech talent, Carolina Fintech Hub is fueling the future of Fintech in the Carolinas. Learn more at carolinafintechhub.org.
MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,900 MassChallenge alumni have raised $8.6B in funding, generated $3.6B in revenue, and created more than 186,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at masschallenge.org.
About The North Carolina Blockchain Initiative
The North Carolina Blockchain Initiative was originally formed in 2019 by Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest to help advance the unique attributes and use-cases of blockchain technology, virtual assets, smart contracts and digital tokens in the state. North Carolina has been a leader in innovation and the initiative is intended to ensure the state
About UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of nearly 30,500 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives.
About Johnson C. Smith University
Rooted in legacy and tradition, Johnson C. Smith University endeavors to provide a multicultural and transformative experience, which educates, prepares and graduates a diverse group of talented and highly motivated students who can communicate effectively, think critically and learn independently as well as collaboratively. Further, JCSU cultivates an inclusive environment in which students are equipped to be global citizens who develop a compelling sense of social and civic responsibility for leadership and service.
About Live Oak Bank
Live Oak Bank, a subsidiary of Live Oak Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: LOB), is a digitally focused, FDIC-insured bank serving customers across the country. Live Oak puts a groundbreaking spin on service and technology to redefine banking. Our products help customers buy, build and expand their business, and high-yield savings and CD products to grow their hard-earned money. To learn more, visit www.liveoakbank.com.
About Canapi Ventures
Canapi Ventures is a venture capital firm investing in early to growth-stage fintech companies. Our partners have been at the forefront of financial services innovation as operators, investors, bankers, advisors, and regulators. Our venture capital model connects high-quality fintech companies to our extensive network of banks and strategic partners. Canapi Ventures is advised by CenterHarbor Advisors and Canapi Advisors, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Live Oak Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: LOB). For more information, visit www.canapi.com.
Apiture is a leading provider of digital banking solutions. Apiture provides financial institutions with the integrations, capabilities and resources that banks and credit unions have not had access to in the past. Offering two differentiated digital experience platforms, Apiture Xpress and Apiture Open, Apiture develops innovative solutions that can be used by financial institutions of any size. Apiture serves hundreds of financial institutions in the United States market. The company is headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, with offices in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.apiture.com.