FinTech
07 September 2021

MassChallenge FinTech 2022 Partner Challenges: Come Solve With Us

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MassChallenge FinTech combines the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to advance scalable digital solutions by fostering collaborations between our corporate partners and startups. By bringing FinTech’s most promising startups together with the financial sector’s strongest brands, we create opportunities to innovate and solve some of the industry’s most pressing challenges. This year our partners are focused on customer experience, ESG, DeFi, advisor tools, and more.

In 2022, MassChallenge FinTech and our industry-leading partners are dedicated, more than ever, to accelerating the pace of innovation—but we need your help.

MassChallenge is seeking groundbreaking startups to join us in our efforts to advance the financial sector in digitalization, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, financial wellness, and more. If you are a startup founder looking to disrupt the status quo and make meaningful change, join our global network to collaboratively solve financial challenges.

2022 MassChallenge FinTech Partner Challenge Statements

(click to go to their challenge)

Citizens Bank | City of Boston | Columbia Threadneedle | KPMG | Manulife | MassMutual | Putnam Investments

 

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As the thirteenth largest retail bank in the United States, Citizens Bank delivers a broad range of financial services and products to over five million individuals, companies, not for profits, and institutions. 

We serve our customers through our Consumer Bank (households and businesses up to $25 million annual revenue) and our Commercial Bank (larger corporations and institutions). 

WHY WE’VE PARTNERED WITH MASSCHALLENGE FINTECH

Our partnership with MassChallenge FinTech is an important part of our enterprise-wide strategy of quickly and efficiently providing access to capabilities that customers need.  Citizens Bank has a mindset of continuous improvement, and partnering with FinTech players allows the bank to deliver greater value with speed and agility.    

OUR CHALLENGES   

Website Security

Citizens Bank would like to give customers peace of mind knowing that the website they are using is a secure and legitimate Citizens property. The bank would like to look at solutions beyond SSL Certificates and Trust Seals in order to provide a more user-friendly, transparent guarantee of site legitimacy. A solution to this challenge would add another layer of site validation, allowing customers to feel secure in using our sites and could decrease abandonment rate for prospecting customers.It would also make it more difficult for a fraud service to emerge and deceive customers, ultimately providing customers and potential customers a better user experience.

Wealth Management

Citizens Bank would like to deepen and broaden our relationships with our wealth management clients. The bank aims to deliver insights on client wealth management needs and potential best solutions in a coordinated and complimentary way to both advisor and customer in their preferred channel (right message to the appropriate advisor/client, in the right channel/media, at the right time). 

Deepening relationships and enhancing customer insights will help the bank to better understand customer needs and thereby offer the optimal solutions to help our customers achieve their financial goals. 

Technological Advancement

Citizens Bank continually strives to use technological advancements to keep our wealth advisors and customers connected and informed. A solution would provide an innovative way for wealth advisors and customers to digitally communicate and share relevant information, as well as improve the advisor experience of submitting transactions and requests on behalf of our customers. Making advisor/customer communication and request submission as efficient and seamless as possible will save time and effort, leading to an enhanced user experience and allow Citizens Bank to best help our wealth customers. 

Cloud Management and Migration Capabilities

Citizens Bank is focused on advancing its cloud management and migration capabilities. The bank aims to increase speed to production through automating configuration and deployment. If addressed, this would drastically cut down on lead time and manual processes as well as increase speed to market to enable cloud services for production use. 

Blockchain Technology

Citizens Bank would like to increase our institutional understanding and technical fluency around blockchain technology. The bank would like to pursue experimentation with purely internal use cases, for example streamlining expenses charged between business lines, in preparation for any potential wider consortium or public network participation. Experimentation will enable the organization to respond quickly to new opportunities and support decisions on scaling high-priority use cases.

HOW WE HELP STARTUPS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES

By building close relationships with our partners, we help provide startups with a platform to tackle unique and pressing business problems and an opportunity to bring their solutions to the forefront. 

 

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The City of Boston’s Office Economic Development pushes forward initiatives focusing on sustainable community and economic development, while fostering inclusion and equity for all Bostonians.

WHY WE’VE PARTNERED WITH MASSCHALLENGE FINTECH

Mayor Janey has made supplier diversity one of her signature issues. The city is committed to reducing barriers to entry for M/WBE firms, increasing the number of diverse businesses utilized as subcontractors, and helping them climb the ladder to become contractors themselves. We want to make it as easy as possible to do business with the city.

OUR CHALLENGES

City Buying Plan

We are looking for help improving the next version of the Boston city buying plan. We challenge you with finding a better process to collect, aggregate, and present this data. What would you, as a business owner, find useful? What business intelligence can we gather from visitors to the site? We are focused on creating virtuous cycles of communication between the city and business. Help us do it.

Work and Payment Lag Time

One challenge we face is the lag time between work and payment. From the time a subcontractor puts cash on the barrel, it can be 3-6 months for the work to be performed, the prime contractor to be paid, and the prime to pay the sub. Although an established firm has access to the commercial credit market, a small and growing business doesn’t have that same access. Boston has a AAA credit rating, and can be counted on to pay our bills, which should help to create a safe lending environment.

HOW WE HELP STARTUPS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES

The City is looking for locally engaged startups interested in finding innovative solutions for some of the City’s biggest challenges that directly impacts its residents and has lasting positive effects for future generations. Since the City has many wide-spread projects and deeply integrated touchpoints, the City can be a great resource for information and contacts for startups working on solutions to these issues. We will partner to help you develop solutions that are relevant to the City, and commercially viable with future private-sector partners. We can also leverage our network of public and private sector leaders to help you get expert insight as you continue to scale your business.

 

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Ameriprise Financial and Columbia Threadneedle Investments are excited to be partnering with MassChallenge FinTech for the fourth consecutive year. Ameriprise Financial is a leading diversified financial services firm that advises, manages, and protects over $1.2 trillion in assets under management and administration for more than 2 million clients through over 10,000 financial advisors. Ameriprise’s Global Asset Management business, Columbia Threadneedle, manages nearly $600 billion in asset under management for retail and institutional clients and operates in 17 countries.

Ameriprise and Columbia Threadneedle have a passion for delivering advice and investment results to meet our clients’ evolving needs and are united by our culture that values integrity always, collaboration, excellence in all we do, and respect for the individuals and communities in which we live and work.

WHY WE’VE PARTNERED WITH MASSCHALLENGE FINTECH

Innovation is vital for the continued success and growth of our business. The financial services industry is being transformed by increased regulation, greater demand for transparency, and the digitization of the sales process and customer experience-these forces present us with both challenges and opportunities. Our broad range of capabilities and solutions are designed to meet the evolving needs of our clients and we are committed to making innovative uses of technology and data to ensure can provide best-in-class products and services.

OUR CHALLENGES

We believe collaborating with the FinTech community through MassChallenge FinTech will provide us with fresh perspectives on how we do business and will challenge our organization to think outside of the box. We seek to partner with Fintechs to utilize new technologies to drive better business insights in six broad areas: wealth management, investments, distribution, service and operations, regulatory oversight, and consumer banking.

Enhance Product and Services Distribution and Marketing

Enhance the way we distribute and market our products and services by reaching clients, financial advisors and firms with the right solution and the right message, at the right time, by leveraging data, new distribution channels, or new approaches.

Harness Analytics and Data to Better Serve Advisors, Clients, and Prospects

Create datasets, analytics, and capabilities to better serve advisors, clients, and prospects by building and strengthening relationships, increasing engagement, and providing more timely and relevant insights and information to lower the cost of new business and more effectively cross sell.

Innovatively Collect and Store Unstructured Data to Drive Better Business Insights

Enhance the way we distribute and market our products and services. We want to reach clients, financial advisors and firms with the right solution and the right message, at the right time, by leveraging data, new distribution channels or new approaches.

Increase Engagement Through Digitizing and Personalizing the Client and Advisor Experience

Find innovative, efficient, and effective new ways to reach our advisors, clients, and prospects digitally to drive more customized and meaningful interactions through digital journeys that drive new client acquisition and sales and enhancing overall user experience while lowering the costs and capturing more data of our platform.

Modernizing Regulatory Monitoring & Alerting Capability

Utilize new technologies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of important oversight functions for regulatory, fraud prevention, and other purposes that supports our commitment to protect client assets, enhance our compliance oversight, and meet our evolving supervision and oversight responsibilities.

Utilize Intelligent Automation to Increase Efficiency, Reduce Risk, and Access New Revenue Opportunities

Seek technology partners that can work with our Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence to support and augment our existing efforts to automate ‘knowledge work’ by combining robotic process automation (RPA) with capabilities such as optical character recognition (OCR), natural language processing (NLP), machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Deliver Differentiated Solutions for Clients

Help clients achieve their goals by creating customized solutions that meet their evolving needs. We want to make use of innovative applications that will help us develop and implement more effective financial decisions, and help financial advisors work better with their clients.

HOW WE HELP STARTUPS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES

Our goal is to partner with the right FinTech companies to improve upon our already robust efforts to modernize, digitize and support our growth over the next decade and beyond. Startups will have the opportunity to work across lines of business and functional areas at Ameriprise and Columbia Threadneedle.

Ideally, we will work collaboratively to create a well-designed proof of concept based on your firm’s strengths. To the extent you need help broadening your use cases, we can provide insights and guidance while collaborating on the proof of concept.

Our experience, passion to innovate, client focus, and strong desire to co-learn make us an ideal partner for start-ups seeking new use cases and insights into our industry. Our leadership team and business line heads can offer you guidance and support as you work on our challenge, as well as valuable experience interacting with a global financial leader.

 

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KPMG is one of the world’s leading professional services firms – with over 34,000 partners and professionals in the US, we help large enterprise organizations across industries address some of their biggest challenges. We are very active in the Financial Services space with major clients in Banking, Insurance and Asset Management, who come to us for Advisory, Tax and Audit services. Our people share a sense of purpose in the work we do, a passion for supporting our communities, and a commitment to inclusion and diversity.

WHY WE’VE PARTNERED WITH MASSCHALLENGE FINTECH

We are excited to be part of this creative and vibrant community! We started collaborating with MassChallenge in 2019. We have had a great experience, including as a sponsor of the early-stage program’s Enterprise Technology Track, which focuses on early stage companies building enterprise technology and service platforms.

By collaborating with MassChallenge FinTech, we look forward to working with startups to bring new perspectives and innovative ideas to our clients across Financial Services and other sectors.

OUR CHALLENGES

We have highlighted four challenge areas where we are excited to work with companies that bring innovative ideas and new solutions:

Managing Financial, Technology, and Operational Risk

We help companies adopt new technologies and embrace innovation, while also identifying and mitigating risks. Bringing quality solutions to help manage risk is a key component of our brand as ‘trusted advisors’. We are eager to work with companies that are forging the next generation of enterprise risk technology, assurance technology and/or RegTech.

This challenge is not limited to a specific area and we are interested in hearing from a range of companies tacking these challenges from different angles. For example, credit loss risk is one specific area of interest. A key factor in minimizing credit losses is recognizing when a customer's risk of default increases, which can run in parallel with fraud prevention. Ideally, we hope to work with companies with a customizable model that can accommodate country-specific risks and regulations.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Blockchain and smart contract technologies are enabling distributed and decentralized markets, with financial applications as early use cases. We see DeFi as transformational for the financial services industry in the long-term and want our clients to understand both the implications and opportunities. We are looking to work with organizations and individuals developing innovative, decentralized financial services applications.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

ESG has become a c-suite topic for many of our clients and a top priority for KPMG. Companies are increasingly looking for guidance on sustainable investments, creating sustainable supply chains, reducing greenhouse gas emissions / decarbonization, identifying infrastructure and operational risk based on natural disasters, etc. We are looking to work with innovative startups with perspectives on helping enterprise organizations identify and capitalize on ESG opportunities, as well as manage ESG risk (financial, operational, and reputational).

Open Banking

Open banking generally refers to providing third parties with access and interoperability to consumer data, with consent. Open banking is a global phenomenon, with regulatory and market initiatives driving access to accounts in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Bahrain, Nigeria and, of course, Europe. The UK is considered a world leader with the most mature standards and number of third parties. We consider open banking as an opportunity that presents both defensive and offensive business options, in banking and, over time, in other industries and are eager to work with companies innovating in the open banking space.

AgTech

AgTech is a new way of understanding agriculture, integrating technological advances to maximize production while minimizing the environmental footprint. There is the opportunity to generate solutions specially focused on financial inclusion, containing financial education and technical training to help farmers understand how to use tools to streamline processes. Given our client base in Agriculture across Mexico and Latin America, we are eager to identify new solutions to address their financial needs.

HOW WE HELP STARTUPS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES

We view this as an opportunity to form an equal working relationship. We are eager to share our expertise and resources to support startups and, as one of the world’s leading professional services firms with a truly global footprint, we are well-positioned to help startups drive scale and achieve outsized impact. We look forward to working alongside startups to help our clients solve some of their most complex, pressing challenges!

 

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Manulife is a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. Since 1887, we have provided financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups, and institutions. We operate primarily as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife globally, including in Canada, Asia and Europe. At the end of 2020, we had more than 37,000 employees, over 118,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 30 million customers.

OUR CHALLENGES

We are proud to be the founding partner of MassChallenge FinTech and are looking forward to building on the learnings and successes of MCFT21 in this year’s program. This year, our themes for partnering with startups include:

Advisor engagement and enablement, including innovative tools and technologies to improve engagement and service experience for advisors, enable them to build personalized relationships and provide better service and experience to the end customers and their families.

Digitization and automation of back-office processes and customer interactions for greater operational efficiencies, including eliminating paper and digitizing intake.

Innovative behavioral solutions with financial as well as health and wellness applications that drive target outcomes across health and wealth.

HOW WE HELP STARTUPS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES

We have experience incubating digital-first solutions and a track record of partnering with startups to develop new solutions and digitize existing businesses. Partnering with us offers access to business and technology leaders, and a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on millions of customers. We look forward to working with innovators who think big and match our passion for doing the right thing for our customers!

 

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At MassMutual, our unwavering focus is – and will continue to be – helping people secure their future and protect the ones they love. We’re a mutual company, which means we’re owned by our policyowners – so everything we do is focused on our customers. We provide holistic financial solutions, guidance and education in the way our customers want to engage with us, on their terms – whether in person, online, at the workplace or over the phone. We offer a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, protection products, retirement, and investment solutions to help people achieve their financial goals.

WHY WE’VE PARTNERED WITH MASSCHALLENGE FINTECH

Startups are the hub of innovation. We need new ideas and innovation in the financial services industry, and we believe that by creating a platform through MassChallenge’s FinTech program we will help build industry and startup collaboration.

OUR CHALLENGES

Digital Enablement & Customer Centricity

Over the last two years, the pandemic illustrated how important is to be digitally enabled and changed the way industries and consumers interact. We are on a mission to be a fully digitally enabled company and are looking to make the digital journey for our customers the best in the industry. This will allow us to create a unified experience and understand our clients’ needs. Our objective is to serve our customers on their terms, whenever, wherever and however.

Workflow Efficiencies & Administration

This is the 100-year-old industry wide problem with firms spending millions of dollars on antiquated technology. There are legacy systems which are not integrated, as well as complicated and redundant business processes which create inefficiencies. How do we promote “straight through processing”?

Data Management

The industry is flooded with data that is disjointed, redundant, unclear and at times not easily accessible. Effective centralized data management providing a unified picture of customers’ needs is important to better serving them. Having the ability to easily access clear and accurate data to make business decisions, such as for underwriting policies, claims adjudication or new sales opportunities will help address some of the other challenges listed.

AI & Real-Time Intelligence

We live in a “Point and Click” environment and many facets of our daily lives are forever changed by AI & real-time intelligence. Whether you are a customer or servicing customers, having the ability to obtain real-time, actionable intelligence allows for better and timely decision making. How can we leverage AI and other real-time intelligence capabilities to aide in offering the right products & services at the right time and enable better decision making?

Financial Planning & Education

Inclusive financial planning & education continues to be extremely important. While there are many different financial planning tools in the market, a significant gap continues to exist with financial literacy and understanding of personal financial wellness. Many people don’t understand the financial benefits of insurance and protection solutions due to the lack of immediate tangible value. With increasingly volatile socioeconomic conditions, its more important now than ever to provide accessible and easy to understand financial planning and education, especially as lifetime needs evolve.

HOW WE HELP STARTUPS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES

MassMutual is an excellent partner for startups because we are passionate about innovation, have many resources available and are committed to help startups grow. Our track record over the past three years with MassChallenge programs has been excellent with over 40% of our partnerships turning into engagements. Together, let’s make Boston the leading FinTech ecosystem for innovation and help solve our industry’s challenges.

Live Mutual - Stand by you | Live Mutual - Dreams | Live Mutual - Legacy

 

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Putnam Investments Putnam Investments is a $200 billion global asset manager serving individuals, institutions, and retirement plan sponsors, providing investment services across a range of equity, fixed income, global asset allocation, alternative, and sustainable strategies. The firm distributes its services largely through financial intermediaries and strategic alliances worldwide. Driven by a commitment to our clients, Putnam has been embracing change and practicing an active, research-intensive approach to investing ever since we launched our first fund in 1937.

WHY WE’VE PARTNERED WITH MASSCHALLENGE FINTECH

Our heritage is one reason why we are thrilled to be in the third year of our founding partnership with the MassChallenge Fintech program.  Technology is clearly driving – and re-shaping – the future of all financial services. Tech not only defines client interaction and influence; it enables continuous product and process innovation that keeps companies flexible and competitive. That’s why we believe we can mutually benefit by partnering through MassChallenge with new startups to solve specific challenges – turning thought-leading visions into practical realities.

OUR CHALLENGES

We are seeking a FinTech platform that can enable us to proscriptively analyze and measure public company supply chains. The ideal startup would have access to the necessary datasets or a technique to acquire such data.

Specifically, Putnam is interested in leveraging insights from this platform to further analyze diversity in supply chains as a part of our focus on the social analysis in our ESG funds. In addition, insights in supply chain risk as it pertains to multi-sourcing, fair treatment of workers, and mitigation of cyber risks would be a benefit.

HOW WE’LL HELP STARTUPS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES

At Putnam, we hope to see FinTech partnerships evolve to enable all of us to succeed by applying tech to deliver clearly better results for our clients.  We really are in this together. We welcome your unique talents and look forward to navigating the digital frontier -- together. 

Don’t forget! Applications are due on October 7, 2021 at 12pm EDT!

Hear directly from our corporate partners and alumni at the MassChallenge 2022 Verticals Launch on September 9, 4:00 - 5:20pm EDT.

 

Mission

Our mission is to equip bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change.