FinTech Sandbox highlights data access and sustainable & inclusive finance as essential for the future of FinTech
By Edlyn Cardoza
FinTech Sandbox, a nonprofit that provides early-stage startups with free access to critical data and resources, experienced strong growth with its launch of Mass Fintech Hub, a public-private partnership dedicated to making the Commonwealth a leading FinTech hub that first launched in June 2021. In addition, the movement to adopt Sustainable and Inclusive Finance principles in financial services is evident as more FinTech Sandbox startups count this as an important aspect of their business models.
“In more ways, FinTech Sandbox is delivering on its core mission of bringing innovation to fintech and financial services by providing data access to startups,” said Kelly Fryer, Executive Director, FinTech Sandbox. “Our world-class events and programming are making an impact on the industry, particularly in the domain of Sustainable and Inclusive Finance as a rising number of fintech startups participating in FinTech Sandbox’s core Data Access Residency program include this as a priority. By expanding data access, not only can we improve the financial ecosystem, ultimately, we can help people gain agency in their financial lives and enable them to make healthier choices.”
As Sustainable and Inclusive Finance rises in awareness and interest, this is also reflected in FinTech Sandbox’s Data Access Residency program. Key statistics include:
- Over 60% of accepted startups make Sustainable & Inclusive Finance a priority
- The increasing focus on Sustainable & Inclusive Finance is changing the mix of business models with more startups targeting consumers directly to solve related issues: Accepted startups this year were 44% B2B, 40% B2C, and 16% B2B2C, compared to 78%, 18%, and 4% respectively in 2020.
- An increasing number of non-U.S. startups are interested in the Data Access Residency program: Over one-third of participating startups are international (36%), compared to 30% in 2020.
- Available data sets reflect emerging trends and use cases: Startups can now access Sustainalytics and Moody’s NewsEdge, which were both added in 2021.
The organization was also instrumental in the founding of Mass Fintech Hub, which is also an initiative under FinTech Sandbox. Co-chaired by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Mike Fanning, Head of MassMutual U.S., the Massachusetts Fintech Working Group established the Hub, a Massachusetts-based and -led initiative to strengthen the Commonwealth’s Fintech ecosystem and drive continued success and growth for the industry. During Boston FinTech Week, the organization hosted several new programs and over the summer, launched a Fintech Bootcamp for primarily Black and LatinX students from the Commonwealth. It has also more than doubled its membership from financial institutions, FinTechs and other stakeholders since June.
FinTech Sandbox promotes innovation in the financial sector by making data and infrastructure available to FinTech startups, at the point in their growth when access to this typically expensive data is most impactful. FinTech Sandbox startups, in return, collaborate with current and past residents, sharing learnings and advancements that benefit the ecosystem. Participating startups – more than 245 thus far – pay no fees and no equity is taken.
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