The fintech industry has seen rapid growth over the last few years. Global investment in fintech increased more than twelvefold from US$930 million in 2008 to more than US$12 billion in 2014. London, one of the world’s leading fintech hubs, has 40% of its total workforce employed in financial and technology services.
Chicago’s long-lasting role as a global financial and trading center makes it the perfect location for the development of new financial technologies. The city is home to nearly one quarter of the world’s futures trading volume, 2X more than New York and more than all of the European exchanges combined. Chicago-based CME Group is the top derivatives exchange in the world, posting a volume of US$3.4 billion in 2014, the largest annual volume of all global exchanges.
In Chicago, the local fintech economy represents US$25.9 billion in gross regional product and over 123,000 people from 8,412 companies, according to World Business Chicago.
In 2014, 13 fintech companies in Chicago raised US$904 million in venture capital, claims Built in Chicago, with notable players that include Avant, a major American online lending platform for personal loans, Braintree, a payment startup that was acquired by eBay in 2013 for US$800 million, and Trading Technologies International, a company that builds software for professional derivatives traders.
There are also NextCapital, which provides a personal benchmarking tool to help clients track and manage their investments, Enova, a technology and data analytics driven online lending company operating in 6 countries, as well as M1 Finance, a solution that allows users to create their investment portfolio and manage their money conveniently.
Celebrating Chicago’s thriving fintech ecosystem
In light of Chicago’s thriving fintech industry and startup scene, the first annual Chicago Fintech Week will take place in April to allow the global fintech community to connect with Chicago’s fintech ecosystem.
Launched in 2014, Fintech Week started in London and is now being brought to Chicago. Fintech Week Chicago aims to get a diverse audience of Fortune 500, top tier venture capitalists, startups, government and the international community under the same roof.
It will consist of several events including networking sessions, keynotes, demos and conferences.
Fintech Week Chicago will begin on April 25 with the Blockchain Conference Chicago. The conference will focus on the latest developments and hottest trends in the blockchain area. This will include presentations and discussions about applications of blockchain in financial services, government, heathcare, and supply chain, among others.
The blockchain conference will be followed by the Fintech Disruptors Chicago Conference on April 26, Barchart’s Fintech Exchange event on April 27, and the Fintech Startup Weekend on April 28 – 30.
The Fintech Startup Weekend will provide the opportunity for startups to pitch their ventures in front of an audience made of Chicago’s top investors, thought-leaders and fintech entrepreneurs. The event will give them a chance to kickstart their fintech ideas and connect with some of the industry’s top influencers.
Confirmed speakers for Fintech Week Chicago include representatives and government officials from the State of Illinois, Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Fintech Worldwide Ltd., CME Group, BTCC, the Ethereum Foundation, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the Illinois Department of Commerce, Morningstar, and many more.
Featured image: Chicago skyline via Wikipedia.