Have you ever snapped a picture of your paycheck to deposit it into your checking account via your bank's app? Or, have you done your taxes with H&R Block’s online system while in your pajamas? If you have, then you've used a product of one of the hottest industries boiling up in Kansas City right now - fintech. But, why Kansas City? And why now?
THE RISE OF FINTECH
Financial Technology, often shortened to FinTech or fintech, is the "new technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional brick & mortar financial methods in the delivery of personal financial services." So, that means any technology you use to manage your finances stems from the advances that people make in the fintech field. It also includes the elusive and complex blockchain and cryptocurrency. Which, if you go to any tech conference (or any conference really) as of late, it's always a hot topic of discussion.
According to Forbes, fintech companies in the United States raised $12.4 billion in 2018, a 43% increase over 2017 figures. 46% of consumers use only digital channels today for banking; this is an increase from the 27% share that was seen only four years ago.
Fintech is on the rise, and talent and entrepreneurs are needed now more than ever to support this rising and complex technology.
WHY KANSAS CITY IS BECOMING A FINTECH HUB
According to an article in Startland, Kansas City has perfect attributes that make it the easiest city in the world to start and build a fintech company. These attributes include: low cost of living, the high quality and low cost of talent, and the sheer number of financial institutions chartered in Kansas City.
Longstanding financial companies in Kansas City set a strong foundation that is giving rise to agile startups which are creating the next generation of fintech solutions. This environment is causing an increase in new fintech accelerator programs to cultivate and encourage businesses to develop and stay in Kansas City.
One example of this is an organization called Fountain City Fintech which has a 75-day accelerator program in which a fintech start-up will get a personalized curriculum centered on the individual company's goals. This program has proven successful in cultivating both successful fintech startups but also getting a commitment from them to set up shop and stay in the Kansas City area. In fact, five of the first six startups to graduate from the program announced that they're relocating their headquarters or at least a portion of their business to Kansas City. Another example the many local and regional financial institutions like Commerce Bank and NBKC that have also thrown themselves into the mix, offering hands-on training and mentoring to startups in Kansas City, with possibilities of future investment.
So we have the commitment from many financial companies in the Kansas City area, but as their needs continue to grow, many are looking to where can they find the much-needed thought leadership and talent to support their needs.
INVESTING IN TECH TALENT
Many engineers dream of a job in Silicon Valley but the reality of rising costs of living often make those dreams of building a successful life and career in that locale seem less and less likely.
Kansas City is embracing the fact that they are a booming technology city on the rise, and becoming more attractive without the heavy cost of the west coast. However, convincing highly-skilled people to consider Kansas City and take advantage of the rising new technology opportunities there is the tricky part.
This is where organizations like TeamKC come in. They are an initiative of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) with guidance from an advisory board of 30 of the area's top companies. Using tools such as the KC Career Network for trailing partners and the MyKC program are partnering with thousands of interns and recent college graduates to work for Kansas City companies that are needed in the fintech industry.
Peter Melomo, Yoh’s Vice President of Specialty Practices Sales and Technology, has seen a significant change in how these organizations and financial companies are partnering in becoming more adaptive to the ever-changing needs of their client. In the 30 plus years of Yoh’s experience in IT, Yoh has witnessed a large movement towards financial companies and fintech companies partnering to bring both thought leadership and a commitment to staying on the cutting edge of technology to meet the needs of the client. Due to this high demand, many companies are scrambling to find the necessary technical skill sets and backgrounds to meet their ever-increasing needs, and are looking to companies like Yoh to fill these gaps in the marketplace.
So, whether you are a Software Engineer looking for some great opportunities, or an entrepreneur looking to get your fintech company off the ground, Kansas City is often under the radar, but is quickly earning a spot among the top tech cities in the nation.
About the Co-Authors:
Cynthia Mason is the Market Director for Yoh Kansas City. She brings a successful track record and over 20 years of leadership in workforce solutions in sales and recruiting for Engineering, Telecommunications and the IT marketplace.
Michael Delaney is the Sr. Business Development Manager for Yoh in Kansas City. He brings over 25 years of experience in the Kansas City IT marketplace by working with customers in servicing their IT needs for solutions and contract staffing.