Nov 8, 2016

Why this Jacksonville company presenting at a Florida Venture Forum showcase could mean big news for the fintech industry

Via The Jacksonville Business Journal

A Jacksonville financial tech company is representing Northeast Florida as one of 14 companies selected for the VentureTech Showcase, hosted by Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida.

OnPay Solutions is a business-to-business payment automation service that streamlines accounts payable. The company is the only one in the area competing for one of two cash prizes — $100,000 for the winner and $50,000 for the first runner-up — at the Tampa Showcase today.

“We’re really proud,” said Jim Stallings, founder of PS27 Ventures, who is an investor and adviser to OnPay Solutions, which has graduated from the PS27 accelerator program. “We had a prep session for the forum the other night and they’re ready.” Neal Anderson, president and CEO of the company, and Julie Negrete-Anderson, chief operating officer, were unable to comment in time for publication as they were presenting at the showcase. 

VentureTech is an event that fits into the mission of Florida Venture Forum, said Kevin Burgoyne, president and CEO of the organization.

“The goal is to grow Florida companies,” he said. “In this case, there’s a double play for the companies: an opportunity for two companies to win actual cash awards through our partner in this event, Space Florida, and the chance to present to a room of potential funding sources.”

Although a partnership with Space Florida might seem unusual, Burgoyne said it’s a natural fit, and the third time they’ve done an event with the space organization.

“We’re two organizations with similar goals trying to foster a thriving innovation ecosystem in Florida,” he said. “We complement each other well. Space Florida has an interest in fostering a thriving ecosystem as it relates to space-related technology, either directly or indirectly. They’re looking for what could have applicability to areas in their purview.

But presenters will be judged on more than just that, Burgoyne said. The panel of judges will also be looking for potential to scale, quality of presentation and ability of the presenter to communicate the business operations of the company.

Out of more than 50 companies who applied, 14 were selected, and a winner will be announced at about 6 p.m.

Getting companies like the applicants access to venture capital is what Florida Venture Forum is all about, Burgoyne said.

“It’s a real opportunity for all applicants,” he said. “The companies selected by our committee of investors get a great stamp of approval. Even if a company is not selected, at the very least the company applying is getting their application reviewed by active investors and getting on the radar screens of active investors. They may not be selected for this particular conference, but the recognition that comes with applying can pay off down the road.”

As for OnePay, doing well at the Showcase is just another feather in the cap for Jacksovnille’s growing technology base, Sallings said.

“It proves that we’ve got great ideas out of our market, and great founders out of our market,” he said. “It prove the point that we’ve got a gore of a natural ingrown fintech base that is broadening. With big banks bringing their resources here, it proves that area is becoming a fintech center of competence. It puts Jacksonville on the map in the long-term, and shows that ideas come out of this market and we can serve other markets from here.”

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