World Business Chicago recently hosted its first FinTech Exchange at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s University Technology Park. Chicago’s economic development agency added financial technology to its sixth priority industry this year.
The idea is to draw on the strength of Chicago’s traditional financial institutions and trading experts to attract new businesses across the FinTech spectrum. “If you bring both worlds together, magic will happen,” said WBC President and CEO Michael Fassnacht.
For IIT, Igor Cialenco announced that the university is adding a Masters in Financial Technology to its curriculum, another vote for FinTech in the city. Cialenco serves as Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies of the Department of Applied Mathematics.
Representing the City of Chicago, Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar moderated a panel focusing on the current state of Chicago’s FinTech business environment. Panelists agreed that with investment in FinTech down from last year and the digital asset industry working to regain trust, due diligence is a significant focus in all parts of the industry.
Continuing to bring the full spectrum of FinTech firms, old and new, together remains the challenge. “The cities that do best to attract FinTech business are those where the local government is supportive of you as innovators and are welcoming you to their city,” said Rumi Morales, partner at Outlier Ventures. The WBC event is a good start for the city in a long economic development race.