In another new program for accelerating entrepreneurship, Citi Community Development, Village Capital and Florida International University on Thursday night kicked off a Miami Fintech Forum. About 15 financial technology startups were selected to participate in a yearlong program in which they will get help through education, mentorship and access to capital from the Small Business Development Center at FIU as well as experts from Citi and Village Capital. The Forum on Thursday included a pitching event, in which the companies took part in a full day of coaching and mentoring at Building.co, and in the evening 11 of the companies pitched to the crowd and were questioned by an expert judging panel.
Through votes of the audience and fellow entrepreneurs in their cohort, two teams were awarded $10,000 grants: DocuVital, a service to organize, automate and store vital information for end-of-life planning, pitched by CEO Joel Brown (pictured above), and VestMunity, opening the real estate investing market to everyday people through crowdfunding, pitched by founder Yemani Mason (pictured below). The other companies selected to pitch were: FlyScan, Gradvisor, MedXoom, Mosaic Money, OneCloud, Qbit Solutions, RNKR.io, Settleitsoft and Tip N’ Go.
Natalie Abatemarco, managing director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance, explained there would be more events and opportunities for these companies to raise capital because the partnership with Village Capital will open a lot of doors. The idea behind this venture is to reach out to the community with a strong anchor partner in FIU and level the playing field for entrepreneurs in underserved communities. Citi is also running programs in San Francisco and New York focusing on education technology and health-tech.
“We want to help businesses to scale and help get communities the resources they need in order to survive, to thrive and really revitalize,” she said.