CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte Managing Partner Jeff Hay and Corporate and Securities attorney Keith Marshall represented Womble Carlyle this week at the financial technology conference, Next Bank CLT. The event, hosted by Next Bank and sponsored by Oracle, cast a spotlight on the fintech industry and the continuing emergence of Charlotte as a fintech innovation hub. The event featured keynote speeches by Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations & Technology Officer of Bank of America, and Mark Harris, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures.
The event included QC FinTech’s Demo Day. QC FinTech is the Charlotte-based fintech accelerator created by Packard Place and sponsored by Womble Carlyle. Packard Place is a business incubator located in center city Charlotte and owned by Dan and Sara Roselli. Demo Day is the culmination of the accelerator program and consists of pitch presentations from QC FinTech’s current class of startups. Nearly 200 potential investors, financial industry professionals and community leaders attended the event.
This year’s QC FinTech class included 10 companies selected from almost 150 applicants, who took part in a 12-week intensive session. Over the last three months, the companies received mentoring and training from some of Charlotte’s biggest corporate leaders, including legal counsel from Marshall and Hay. Womble Carlyle partnered with QC FinTech earlier this year as the firm continues to grow its position in the fintech industry. Marshall spent much of the last three months on-site mentoring the accelerator’s startups, learning valuable lessons about the challenges of the fintech industry and building relationships with the founders and other mentors.
“Fintech isn’t just online banking or stock trades anymore,” Hay said. “These startups are challenging the financial industry in complex and profound ways. By helping them develop as a business, Womble Carlyle is getting first-hand experience with those innovators and their innovations. That insight is crucial for us if we’re going to help our financial institutional clients understand the markets and products they are working with.”
Roselli, a former marketing executive, co-founded Charlotte’s first startup incubator in 2012 and spotted the city’s potential as a fintech breeding ground. Two years later, he borrowed the city’s nickname – the Queen City – and launched the refocused program as QC FinTech. He believes the program’s growth is thanks in large part to the professionals who have volunteered to mentor the startups and provide free services.
“There are so many laws and regulations governing the financial industry that it can be overwhelming for a startup,” Roselli said. “I’ve seen founders spend time and money starting up a fintech company only to find out their business plan would essentially be illegal. Without really experienced legal counsel at your side, that’s an easy mistake to make. So having Keith and Jeff donate their expertise is just incredible.”
Womble Carlyle’s FinTech team consists of attorneys from its banking, IP, regulatory and transactional practice groups. The firm’s financial industry clients include Bank of America and BB&T and its fintech clients include NCR, Heartland, Zenmonics, and Clear Markets.