1871 and BMO Harris Bank selected Delshan, Hope Trust, Plinqit, Pocketnest and The Wealth Factory as the five participating companies in the WMN•FINtech program, which is a mentoring program for women-led financial technology startups.
Of the startups that applied to the program, 10 semifinalists were invited to partake in a selection day hosted by 1871 and BMO on May 20. Those chosen to attend were called to give a pitch and interview amongst a set of judges in hopes to become one of the five finalists accepted to the program.
“We were very excited to have the opportunity to meet so many female founders solving fintech problems,” Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871, said. “This program brings cutting-edge technology and products forward with undeniable energy and access, and we believe through this program all five participants will exceed their own expectations on growth and impact.”
“When the people leading companies, designing products and developing solutions represent a diverse population, better, more inclusive customer experiences result,” Ben Schack, head of digital partnerships for BMO Harris Bank, said, “The companies that applied for the WMN•FINtech program reinforced that idea, reflecting consideration of those with special needs, lower income consumers, the elderly and more. By offering our mentorship and support through the program, we hope to help the founders continue to succeed and inspire more women representation in the fintech sector.”
More details on the five selected companies can be found below:
Delshan is a go-to finance, employee safety and human resources partner based out of Chicago that improves and develops best practices through the implementation of automated operational procedures and employee workflow.
- Shayna Atkins – Founder and Senior Product Manager
- Delmar Johnson – President, Secretary and Assistant Treasurer
Working as a trustee or with third-party trustees and investment managers, Hope Trust enables families and professionals to provide holistic financial planning, case management and fiduciary services, such as managed distributions and government benefits navigation.
- Daria Placitella – Founder and CEO
- Amanda Lukof – Assistant General Counsel
Plinqit by HTMA is a brandable, mobile-first savings app platform. It’s patent-pending Build Skills pays users for engaging with content with the aim of creating higher user engagement for financial institutions and improved financial literacy for users with a reward. Plinqit was designed to help financial institutions connect with millenials. The app has helped users save more than $1 million since launching last year.
- Kathleen Craig – Founder and CEO
- Raquel Hart – Administration Manager
- Brooke McArthur – Business Development
Pocketnest, headquartered in Detroit, provides financial planning to GenX and millennials through a white label of its software to financial institutions like banks, credit unions, advisors and retirement plan sponsors. Under its own brand, a financial institution can take its customers through step by step guidance. Users end up with a customized to-do list consisting of actionable recommendations, education and tasks.
- Jessica Willis – Founder and CEO
- Chris Wascha – CTO
- Ashleigh Craven – CMO
The Wealth Factory designs WealthyLife Financial Literacy education technology games, curriculum and fintech products that walk users from birth to retirement in 12 interactive modules with the aim of exceeding the personal finance common core standards. Similar to Candy Crush, the company’s first app, CreditStacker, allows users to swap credit pieces to pay debt, achieve a higher credit score and learn from multiple choice questions. Named the best financial literacy company in the country by the White House, the Department of Education and JP Morgan Chase, The Wealth Factory’s app became the No. 1 education app in 14 countries on Apple, top five in 40 countries and has been inducted into the top 50 apps department at Google.
- Angel Rich – Founder and CEO
- Yusuf Henriques – Chief Strategy Officer
As previously reported, the program will feature:
- A three-month mentoring program with guidance from industry experts at BMO Harris Bank
- A four-month membership and working space at 1871, which is a private business incubator
- Curriculum focused on teaching enterprise sales cycles, vendor management, information security and risk and regulatory requirements
- The opportunity to pitch venture capital investors for feedback, mentoring, continued connections and/or funding
The selection day judges included:
- Rachael Feuerborn, VP of member experience at 1871
- Stephanie Miller, VP of corporate innovation at 1871
- Ben Schack, head of US digital partnerships at BMO Harris Bank
- Hugh McKee, head of BMO Partners
- Leslie Anderson, global head enterprise technology employee experience at BMO Financial Group
- Vlatka Puljic, director of strategic initiatives and the women in business initiative at BMO Harris Bank
- Brianna Elsass, managing director and head of digital at BMO Harris Bank
- Sean D’Esposito, vice president of personal and small business banking at BMO Harris Bank
- Sehr Saghir, managing director of intelligent process automation at BMO Harris Bank
- Brandie Rae Kadota, national director of strategic initiatives at BMO Harris Bank