Bill Clinton Meets with VC FinTech Cohort in Little Rock

May 16, 2016

5:00 pm

Moments before taking the stage to keynote the 10th graduating class of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, the former president met privately with the startup founders of the VC FinTech Accelerator, which kicked off Monday, May 16th in Little Rock.

Founders of early-stage FinTech companies from cities across the US and at least two foreign countries met with former President Bill Clinton for a few minutes before the commencement exercises began. President Clinton thanked the cohort for coming to Little Rock and told the group how happy he was to have the program happening in Little Rock.

“What you’re doing now is so important,” Clinton told the cohort. “Finding ways to democratize access to capital across the globe is vital.”

Clinton went on to share anecdotes from the founding of Systematics (a precursor to FIS, the corporate sponsor of the program) during his time as governor of Arkansas. He also chatted personably with founders from Lagos, Nigeria about the work that the Clinton Foundation has been doing in the country over the past several years.

Clinton then graciously posed for pictures with the VC FinTech cohort.

The Venture Center’s VC FinTech Accelerator is a collaboration with FIS, a global financial technology player. The program provides capital to ten companies in exchange for equity and requires the founders/leadership to relocate to Little Rock for 12­ weeks as part of an intense learning and go-­to-­market curriculum. Founders also gain access to FIS personnel from the executive level to subject matter expert. FIS has named this program their “sixth global innovation center,” and the only one to work with early stage financial technology startups.

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A self-proclaimed “Startup Nerd,” Steve Rice is the principle of SR Communications, a strategic communications and leadership consultancy. Steve also founded the Start Here Initiative, a community-led effort that seeks to close the gap that exists for women and minorities in access to capital in entrepreneurism. He routinely writes on inclusion, entrepreneurism, and leadership for local, regional and national publications.

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