Nationwide firms, investors and financial executives gathered to hear 19 area fintech companies pitch at the second annual Southeast Fintech Venture Conference.
The all-day event, held Nov. 14 at Barings headquarters, drew attendance from QED Investors, TTV Capital and Real Ventures, representing interest from Alexandria, Atlanta and Quebec.
Brian Pope, managing director of Barings, Dan Roselli, managing director of the Southeast Fintech Venture Conference, and Paul Tyma, CTO of LendingTree, opened the morning before launching into Pitch Party I.
Those pitching at the conference recognized the impact this conference has on relationship-building for them. Amicus Co-Founder, Cor Hoekstra, pitched the $5MM company in the first round.
“These events are pivotal in the Charlotte community, solidifying Charlotte as a place to start and grow a business,” Hoekstra explained. “The event gives companies rapid access to key decision makers they need to build a product. As a Charlotte resident, not native, it’s exciting to see things like this happening in 2018.”
Johnson Cook, President of Greenlight Financial Technology, added to this idea at the Fireside Chat after Pitch Party I. Cook noted that the best investors are focused on every way a product can’t work, so founders should continue relationships even if they feel initial pushback. Cook said that Greenlight’s “first meeting didn’t always feel good,” and yet those meetings turned out to be with their best investors.
Cook’s 3 final tips: remember closing deals is the law of numbers, take random meetings and give your company time to build.
At the conference, investors noted the energy surrounding Charlotte as a fintech leader. Sam Teden, of Frontier Capital and the Conference Advisory Board, offered words of support.
“As one of the lead sponsors at this event for the past two years, we’re firm believers that a rising tide raises all boats. It’s important for everyone to pull their weight and put Charlotte on the map as the leader it is.”
Paul Grim, General Partner of SunBridge Partners, agreed. “For years, Charlotte has been behind the scenes. It’s only now that Charlotte is emerging, bringing out broader, deeper, more diverse sets of companies with the people we always knew were here.”
While one founder praised the conference as an opportunity for pre-seed to enterprise companies to generate leads, the conference supported all-stages as a panel of all-stage investors, including VentureSouth, Rise of the Rest and Frontier Capital took place after Pitch Party II.
The conference concluded with Demo Day, the final opportunity for the Queen City Fintech Class 9 to deliver pitches after completing their 11-week accelerator, where three of the six companies announced their app go-live.
Feedback about the event was encouraging. Stephen Walker of Artist Capital applauded the Brella App and event size for networking ease. Other remarks highlighted the good concentration of companies, the ease of scheduling 1on1s in advance and the quality of local speakers.