After working with Franklin Templeton for over 20 years Rick Frisbie found himself drawn to the classic Silicon Valley startup environment. So, he helped launch RobustWealth, which aimed to help wealth managers with their clients, and sold it a year and a half later.
He was hooked. But more importantly, he hooked others.
He caught the attention of Maissan Almaskati, the chair of FinTech Consortium Middle East, who noted Frisbie’s ability to select promising FinTech startups. Right after selling RobustWealth to Principal Investments Inc., Almaskati began working with Frisbie to launch Silicon FinTech Bay, a financial technology consortium, in downtown Redwood City.
This month, they are opening the doors to a co-working style space a stone’s throw away from the Fox Theatre and the San Mateo County History Museum. Additionally, Frisbie said “the buzz of activity” in this area sells itself, referencing the opening of the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative nearby.
Startups can apply to join the financial technology venture acceleration program which opens startups to additional resources, including mentoring programs and access to corporations and the global market.
FinTech refers to financial technology, specifically, how technology can be developed to benefit advancements in the financial world. For example, fintech can range from companies like Credit Karma, which offers free credit scores and insights to users, to companies like Avant, which provides online personal loans.
FinTech Bay’s mission is to operate “a full fintech ecosystem where we incubate startups,” Frisbie said. “We try to curate startups that our strategic partners, the corporations, are interested in and the types of technology that they’re interested in. It’s geared towards what the corporations want, in terms of their own aspirational technology solutions,” Frisbie added.
The corporate partners can also place employees in the space to accelerate their own projects. The corporate partners include Franklin Templeton, Fujitsu Laboratories of America, DBM Cloud Systems, Flagstar Bank and Principal Financial Group. While they are just getting started with the FinTech Bay, Franklin Templeton is busy establishing relationships with incubators across the United States to link to the growing fintech ecosystem, said Joe Boerio, senior vice president, chief technology officer, investment management data science, fintech and rapid development for Franklin Templeton.
“Thoughtful innovation is at the core of our DNA. Fintech is an enabler and accelerator for innovation. We are actively engaged with fintech incubators and accelerators to uncover the best opportunities, as we seek to improve outcomes for our investors and position our firm for future growth,” Boerio said.
The space includes 40 desks and four offices, which can be rented by the startups. The cost to rent a desk in the space ranges from $400 to $800 per month, while offices are $1,200 per month.
FinTech Bay currently has consortiums in Bahrain and Singapore which will work with the Redwood City location to further develop projects and tap into the global market.
Founder Gerben Visser said, “Our partnership networks and platforms are uniquely positioned to advance and contribute to the future-proofing of the financial industry. We have achieved our success by being dedicated to fintech, and are thrilled to open our next Bay in the very heart of Silicon Valley.”
Frisbie hopes that by 2020, Silicon FinTech Bay will have a thriving, vibrant site that is operating at full capacity. Frisbie imagines that in the afternoon there will be sessions on mentorship when FinTech Bay will bring in subject matter experts. Additionally, Frisbie wants to host events in the space that will be open to the community.