BMO Harris Bank announced a partnership with 1871 – a leading technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem which is currently home to nearly 500 high-growth digital startups in the Merchandise Mart – that will provide a select group of FinTech startups the opportunity to participate in a three-month mentorship program.
The program, called BMO Harris/1871 FinTech Partnership, will provide six selected startups with:
A three-month mentorship program with access to mentors and resources from BMO Harris Bank;
A working space at 1871, a 140,000 square-foot pure innovation space; and
The potential opportunity to pilot their technology with BMO Harris Bank.
"Innovation is crucial for any business to succeed in today's business environment," said Alexandra Dousmanis-Curtis, Group Head, U.S. Retail and Business Banking, BMO Harris Bank. "We're partnering with 1871 to present new enhancements to our industry with the opportunity to refine our capabilities for our current and prospective customers of tomorrow and beyond."
Fintech companies from across the Chicagoland area are invited to apply before May 15 for one of the six placements. After three months, all of the six startups will present their product to a panel of judges consisting of bank executives for a chance to share in the total cash prize of $50,000. The winners may also be given the opportunity to pilot their product with BMO Harris at the conclusion of the mentorship program.
BMO Harris Bank remains focused on building upon its strong digital foundation, and user experience continues to be a top priority. Recent launches – including Mobile Cash, which allows consumers to withdraw money from an ATM using their smartphone; People Pay, a peer-to-peer money transfer service for mobile app users, and digital wallets for select BMO Harris Bank credit and debit cards – reflect the bank's commitment to offering customers more intuitive digital experiences that allow them to bank in ways that suit their individual preferences.
"Chicago is a rich technology epicenter and 1871 has played a critical role in that transformation," said Darrel Hackett, President, BMO Wealth Management U.S. "Our mentorship program with 1871 will enable us to forge a strong working environment for startups to take advantage of and explore new ideas that resonate in the financial services industry and ultimately with our customers."
"1871's partnership with BMO Harris further enhances our offerings for FinTech startups in Chicago," said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. "We look forward to welcoming the mentors and the startups to our space, and are excited to see the results of the program. The partnership is yet another example of 1871 connecting entrepreneurs to large corporations to accelerate innovation."