Five innovative women-led startups pitch new technologies & products at BMO & 1871’s third annual WMNfintech Program
- BMO & 1871’s WMNfintech is North America’s largest fintech industry program for women-founded and women-led startups
- More than 15 percent of women fintech founders across North America have participated in WMNfintech
BMO Financial Group and 1871 today named the five companies presenting at its 2022 WMNfintech Program, after an immersive 4-week educational programming known as PYROS and fintech amplified learning workshops delivered by BMO leaders. WMNfintech is North America’s largest nonprofit fintech industry program for women-founded and women-led startups. The program is designed to bridge the gender gap in the startup and tech community by giving more women entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring innovative technologies and products forward.
Since launching, women-led fintechs in the program have raised more than $29M in capital and created over 170 jobs. Additionally, over 15 percent of all women fintech founders in North America have come through BMO’s doors since 2018 and become a valuable part of our ecosystem. This year, the following five women-led companies were chosen to participate in the 2022 cohort of WMNfintech:
Sign-Speak (New York, NY)
Sign-Speak is a real-time AI Sign Language recognition software that allows for sign language to be translated into English and vice versa, enabling businesses everywhere to communicate with their Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients and employees more effectively.
- Yamillet Payano, CEO and Co-Founder
Xeni (New York, NY)
Xeni solves the massive problem of payments in the travel industry with a Web 3 native accounting system that includes onramp and offramp for payment and settlement to lower payment and settlement costs, reduces fraud and chargebacks, and simplifies accounting and accounts reconciliation.
- Rachel Obenshain, President
Debtle (Sheboygan, WI)
Debtle is a cloud-based software that automates, improves, and simplifies the negotiation and settlement of overdue invoices through a safe and consumer-friendly platform.
- Stephanie Hoskins, Co-Founder
Second Keys (Memphis, TN)
Second Keys is a real estate software company built by property managers for property managers. It has all the standard features of a property management platform: accounting; rent collection; maintenance tracking and proprietary AI-powered maintenance; and an expense and ROI predictor.
- Amber Hayes, CEO
Grounded Technologies helps banks grow. They are a middleware layer that provides regulated balance sheet growth through core deposits and loans as well as low-code, no code customizable banking products.
- Danae Vachata, Founder and CEO
“We’re thrilled to join our longtime partner BMO Financial Group in welcoming the members of our third cohort of WMNfintech, who will pitch their impressive technologies and products,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “These five women-led startups are building extraordinary businesses that will shape the future of the financial sector, and we’re proud to provide the resources, mentorship, and support they need to thrive.”
“The WMNfintechProgram is an incredible opportunity for these women-led fintechs to gain well-deserved exposure with our business leaders and ecosystem partners. It’s a chance to showcase how their technology and products are solving crucial financial challenges,” said Andrew Harrison, Head, U.S. Digital Partnerships, BMO Financial Group. “This year’s cohort have all discovered innovative ways to deliver value for our commercial clients and help them run their business easier. BMO is thrilled to support and contribute to the continued success of these exceptional women-founded and women-led startups as we finish the program’s third year.”
This week’s events begin with a Founder’s Roundtable today, a dinner with program leadership on Wednesday, August 17, and the opportunity to showcase their insights to BMO executives and ecosystem partners on Thursday, August 18.
WMNfintech strongly aligns with BMO’s commitment for an inclusive society and work to eliminate barriers to inclusion. It represents another example of BMO’s Digital First strategy, focused on building a digitally-enabled, future-ready bank that drives progress for its customers, unlocks the power of its people and delivers loyalty, growth and efficiency.
BMO is committed to supporting the advancement of women both within the bank and beyond, including through:
- $1.2 million in funding to SheEO – a not-for-profit company which offers financial support to businesses led by women and non-binary people. BMO’s financial commitment will allow SheEO to fund all 2021 venture applicant companies.
- BMO EMpower – a series of long-term commitments to advance inclusive economic recovery in the United States, pledging $5 billion over the next five years to address key barriers faced by minority businesses, communities and families.
1871 is Chicago’s technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support early stage, growth scalers and innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups, ~300 growth stage companies, and ~1,500 members, and is supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,000 jobs, and have raised more than $1.65 billion in follow-on capital.