Meet the Finalists: Innovation in Finance

This January, Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine hosted The Innovation Awards 2020, an inaugural event honoring local people and companies in 13 categories.

Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine teamed up to present The Innovation Awards 2020, a new program honoring companies and leaders—CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, and others—driving innovation in North Texas.

Here are the winners and finalists for Innovation in Finance.

W I N N E R

Alkami

2019 was Alkami’s 10th anniversary as a company, but for the fast-growing fintech this is just the beginning. CEO Mike Hansen has built an intentional workplace culture of Alkamists at the company’s Plano home base around the idea that “business innovation is very simply the focus of the human capacity to create or improve products, solutions, and business models.” He compares Alkami’s model to how water and the sun are essential to life—innovation is the source of all human change, improvement, and progress. The company’s cloud-based digital banking solutions are now being used by more than 130 financial institutions across the country, and its clients have more than 6 million registered users on the platform. Since its founding, Alkami has raised more than $225 million in capital and it has received some of the highest app store ratings in digital banking. —Alex Edwards

F I N A L I S T S

Comprehensive Finance

CFI goes by the motto “Fintech for Healthcare” as it works to help healthcare organizations with costs and the complex process of billing and collections. “At CFI, we use innovative ideas and technology to create a better future for patients and providers across the country,” Michael Brown, CEO of CFI, says. CFI’s cloud-based platform is working to transform payment processing for healthcare providers and provide patients with better access to healthcare. CFI ranks among 2019’s Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately-held companies with 68 percent growth and recently began a multi-year partnership with a leading financial services provider in healthcare, according to Brown. The company operates two additional business lines: Compassionate Finance, a customized payment plan provider to help make healthcare more affordable, and Abella, an account receivables solution for the seamless integration of payment processing into a client’s current payment system. —Lauren Hawkins

Gig Wage

Gig Wage is a payments platform working to make it simple and easy for businesses to pay independent contractors. The Dallas-based company provides a system for onboarding, direct deposits, payment tracking, 1099 compliance, and more through its platform. Companies can sign up for these features through monthly pricing, while its services are always free for contractors. Last year, Gig Wage signed a contract with a Fortune 10 company, released its API, and came out with new products under the direction of its founder and CEO Craig J. Lewis. And in 2018, Gig Wage received $1 million in funding from Revolutions Rise of the Rest seed fund. “The Gig Economy is the biggest macro shift in the workforce in over 100 years. All four generations are working in the Gig Economy; Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z,” Lewis said in a statement. —Lauren Hawkins

Zirtue

Through this Dallas-based FinTech startup’s AI-driven application, friends and family can manage their relationship-based lending complete with Automated Clearing House (ACH) network loan payments. Zirtue allows the borrower to set the loan’s amount and the lender defines the terms of repayment. After both parties agree, for a five percent fee, Zirtue will service the loan through the ACH. According to a statement, there are no other platforms that set up repayment terms like Zirtue does. “We are providing anyone who has ever loaned or borrowed money with an option to take the awkwardness out of the situation while building a stronger commitment for repayment,” Dennis Cail, Zirtue CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. Last year, Zirtue raised $1 million through a seed funding round. The startup also announced a partnership with AT&T in 2019, through which AT&T customers can pay their bills through the FinTech’s app. —Lauren Hawkins

E X P L O R E   M O R E

Click each link below to take a closer look at each finalist in all 13 categories.

CIO/CTO of the Year

Corporate Innovator of the Year

Startup Innovator of the Year

Innovation in Education

Innovation in Energy

Innovation in Finance

Innovation in Food and Beverage

Innovation in Healthcare

Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods

Innovation in Placemaking

Innovation in Retail

Innovation in Technology

Innovation Transportation

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