The Founders Arena WealthTech Accelerator—a 10-week program in Arlington aimed at early- to growth-stage startup entrepreneurs—will be offered beginning September 4. Its key goals are connecting participants with potential customers and investors while supporting “the creation of innovative products that banks and wealth management companies can use to better serve their clients.”
The accelerator is launching through a partnership led by the city of Arlington, First Rate, Inc.—an Arlington-based fintech and services provider to the wealth management industry—and other sponsors including SEI and the Founders Arena.
“The Founders Arena WealthTech Accelerator is on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed,” Pamela Cytron, president of The Founders Arena, said in a statement.
‘Actively involving the local community’
“Equally as important is helping the community succeed,” Cytron added. “We intend to go beyond the role of a traditional accelerator by actively involving the local community here in Arlington. We ‘re grateful for the strong partnership of the city of Arlington and our strategic partners, and look forward to welcoming the first cohort of startups in September.”
Applications for the program are open through July 15 through The Founders Arena website. The accelerator’s first participants will be announced later in the summer.
While taking part in the program, participating startups will have access to”networking, funding, training, and mentorship from the program’s executive ambassadors—a network of industry experts with decades of experience building companies in the financial services sector,” the city of Arlington said.
Meeting at First Rate campus in North Arlington
The accelerator will feature a combination of remote and in-person programming and will be headquartered out of the new First Rate campus on Ascension Boulevard in North Arlington.
The Arlington Economic Development Corporation recently approved a three-year performance grant of up to $1.5 million for First Rate, which recently completed nearly $1 million in campus renovations. The facility—which offers 17,650-square-feet of co-working space for lease—will play host to the accelerator’s participants throughout the program.
‘A first of its kind not only for Arlington but globally’
Broderick Green, executive director of the Arlington EDC, called the accelerator “a first of its kind not only for Arlington but globally.”
“Our strategic plan highlights the need for more support for entrepreneurs, and we feel this sends a strong message to the community that Arlington wants to help grow innovative companies right in our own backyard,” Green said in a statement.
$550K grant from the Arlington EDC to help fuel 2 cohorts a year
With an annual performance grant of $500,000 from the Arlington EDC, First Rate will sponsor at least two cohorts through The Founders Arena WealthTech Accelerator annually, the city of Arlington said. Under the conditions of the grant, First Rate will retain its 72 existing jobs in Arlington and create a minimum of 14 new jobs by next April.
The accelerator also plans to host technical assistance workshops, student hackathons, and networking events. It will collaborate with local school districts, Tarrant County Community College, and UT Arlington to create financial technology programs for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students.
The accelerator “is expected to attract hundreds of global executives to Arlington annually,” the city said, with the execs lending their expertise to the startups and participating in community programming.
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