BMO Harris Bank today announced a partnership with 1871, a technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem which is currently home to nearly 500 digital startups in downtown Chicago.
The program, called BMO Harris/1871 FinTech Partnership, will provide six selected startups with a three-month mentorship program with access to mentors; working space at 1871; and the potential opportunity to pilot their technology with BMO Harris Bank.
“Innovation is crucial for any business to succeed in today’s business environment,” said Alexandra Dousmanis-Curtis, Group Head, U.S. Retail and Business Banking, BMO Harris Bank. “We’re partnering with 1871 to present new enhancements to our industry with the opportunity to refine our capabilities for our current and prospective customers of tomorrow and beyond.”
Fintech companies from across the Chicago area are invited to apply before May 15 for one of the six placements.
“Chicago is a rich technology epicenter and 1871 has played a critical role in that transformation,” said Darrel Hackett, President, BMO Wealth Management U.S. “Our mentorship program with 1871 will enable us to forge a strong working environment for startups to take advantage of and explore new ideas that resonate in the financial services industry and ultimately with our customers.”
After three months, all of the six startups will present their product to a panel of judges consisting of bank executives for a chance to share in the total cash prize of $50,000.
“1871’s partnership with BMO Harris further enhances our offerings for FinTech startups in Chicago,” said 1871 CEO Howard Tullman. “We look forward to welcoming the mentors and the startups to our space, and are excited to see the results of the program.”
The news follows a trend of incumbent institutions fostering fintech startups as opposed to trying to crush them.