(Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Business Journal)
(Charlotte, NC) October 13, 2021 — Every healthy innovation ecosystem develops a bridge to connect entrepreneurs and startups with potential clients. This symbiotic relationship is essential because it affords the innovators confidence to take risks and build new products and technologies, while simultaneously providing established corporations instant access to the latest emerging trends.
In Charlotte, we are taking that model one step further.
The Meta Lab is a daring, forward-thinking collaboration among our city’s leaders in fintech and healthtech to cultivate a world-leading ecosystem for innovation and collaboration. Here’s how it works:
Carolina Fintech Hub (CFH) is partnering with MassChallenge (MC) to launch the first stage of this initiative. Born out of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, MC is a globally known organization uniquely adept at working with corporate clients to understand innovation needs and then identify and recruit the top startups and emerging companies in those fields globally to do business.
“Over the last 5 years Charlotte has become known as a global fintech destination, and the Meta Lab is the next chapter in that story of inspiring growth,” says Tariq Bokhari, founder of the Carolina Fintech Hub. “It’s hard to focus in on any one aspect to describe why the Meta Lab will be such a game-changer for Charlotte, from uniting 2 of our major industries at the intersection of health and wealth, to taking a new approach to achieving diversity and inclusion outcomes. I’m most excited about this being a first-of-its-kind approach to recruiting fintech and healthtech companies and jobs to the Carolinas.”
“One of the most important milestones for a startup is landing their first enterprise customer, especially in regulated industries like finance and healthcare,” says MassChallenge CEO Siobhan Dullea. “Meanwhile, corporate leaders are learning that the fastest way to solve big challenges is to partner with a startup. These corporate-startup collaborations are a win-win. MassChallenge is excited to bring our proven methodology to this competition to foster new economic growth.”
So, why is it called “The Meta Lab”?
We are glad you asked. For those of you familiar with epistemology, you’re aware that “meta” refers to something self-referential or “about itself”. Applied to this context, we collectively have created a “lab for labs”—an opportunity for several different innovations to occur simultaneously within a setting designed to be a catalyst for innovation.
“As a way of advancing our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities, Truist is committed to creating opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs and founders who are building the breakthrough financial experiences of tomorrow,” said Scott Zimmer, Innovation and Experience Design Officer at Truist. “We’re proud to partner with MassChallenge and programs like the Meta Lab in Charlotte, which will play an important role in helping these innovators thrive.”
“Barings’ future success depends on our unique ability to adapt to rapid changes among clients, data and technology,” said Mike Freno, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Barings. “Collaborating with The Meta Lab will serve as a catalyst to bring innovative ideas to help us further our goal to deliver global and local insights to our clients.”
Once identified, these startups will have an opportunity to collaborate directly with CFH anchor partners, as well as have opportunities to gain strategic insights and their share of an equity-free ‘innovation prize pool’ made possible by EY, Movement Mortgage, and LendingTree. Later phases of the Meta Lab include further opportunities for business development, pilots, capital investments, and in some cases even acquisition.
“Innovation has been at the core of everything we do at Movement Mortgage since we started in 13 years ago,” says Casey Crawford, founder of Movement Mortgage. “We saw the opportunity in joining the Meta Lab to drive innovation internally, while making a positive impact on the community we love so much.”
“The thing that makes the Meta Lab so unique is that it truly covers almost all of the things we know entrepreneurs focus on the most,” says Doug Lebda, founder of LendingTree. “This will serve as a pipeline for the best startups, as well as a way to conduct diligence and testing to ensure that their product is ready for prime time, and then provide the underlying marketplace where they can ‘fail fast’, learn, pivot, adapt, and take their business to the next level in half the time it would take on their own, all while placing an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.”
“We made a commitment to advancing innovation in our region when we built the EY Wavespace” says Brad Wallace, partner at EY. “As a member of the Board of Directors for CFH, I’m thrilled to be driving yet another brand-new initiative created here locally in Charlotte that will help build new technologies and products that will change the future of our world.”
Applications open October 20 and close November 10, 2021, at 12PM EST. Entrepreneurs can apply from anywhere in the world. Winning applications will be selected based on their potential for impact in the Challenge areas for each of the participating sponsors.
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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.
Barings is a $382+ billion* global investment manager sourcing differentiated opportunities and building long-term portfolios across public and private fixed income, real estate, and specialist equity markets. With investment professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the firm, a subsidiary of MassMutual, aims to serve its clients, communities and employees, and is committed to sustainable practices and responsible investment. Learn more at www.barings.com.
*Assets under management as of June 30, 2021
Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Formed by the historic merger of equals of BB&T and SunTrust, Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank with total assets of $522 billion as of June 30, 2021. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.
About Movement Mortgage
Movement Mortgage exists to love and value people by leading a Movement of Change in its industry, corporate culture and communities. Funding approximately $30 billion in residential mortgages annually, Movement is the sixth-largest retail mortgage lender in the U.S. Movement is best known for its innovative mortgage process and referable experience, which begins with Upfront Underwriting and a seven-day loan processing goal. The company employs more than 4,000 people, has more than 650 branches in the U.S. and is licensed in 50 states. After funding its balance sheet and investing in future growth, Movement’s profits are paid to its primary shareholder, the nonprofit Movement Foundation. To date, Movement Foundation has received more than $260 million of Movement profit to invest in schools, affordable housing, communities and global outreach. For more information, visit www.movement.com.
EY exists to build a better working world, helping create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.
EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.
LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) is the nation’s leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search, and can choose the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student loans, insurance, credit cards and more. Through the LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. LendingTree proactively compares consumers’ credit accounts against offers on our network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. In short, LendingTree’s purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life’s meaningful moments through choice, education and support. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of LendingTree, Inc. For more information, go to www.lendingtree.com, dial 800-555-TREE, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree