Discover and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago have announced that Discover will sponsor a $25,000 prize as part of the 2019-20 Edward L. Kaplan ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC).
The financial prize will be awarded to one fintech startup that is a finalist of the NVC, a year-long, intensive business launch competition. The NVC is a top university accelerator program in the country that provides early-stage ventures access to funding, mentorship, networking and education.
The funding is part of Discover’s commitment to supporting Chicago entrepreneurs and partnering with organizations that embrace technology to improve the banking and payments experience for customers. Over the next several months, Discover employees also will mentor University of Chicago students and alumni who create fintech startups that compete in the NVC.
“Fintech companies bring innovation and generate transformative ideas, and we are increasingly working with these companies to design products and services that provide a faster, seamless and secure experience for our customers,” said Carlos Minetti, president of consumer banking at Discover. “Supporting the New Venture Challenge is another way we continue to invest in the Chicago business community and the next generation of fintech leaders so we can collectively move our industry forward.”
Minetti, an MBA graduate of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, announced the prize at a panel for University of Chicago students and alumni for a discussion on how to build a fintech venture and the importance of partnerships to innovate and scale in financial services on November 20.
To date, the NVC has accelerated more than 330 startups that have raised more than $1 billion in capital and achieved more than $7.5 billion in mergers and investor returns. The competition culminates June 4, 2020 at the Innovation Showcase, where the $25,000 prize will be awarded.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to partner with industry leaders like Discover in supporting the next stage of fintech growth within UChicago’s leading entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said E.J. Reedy, senior director at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
About The Polsky Center
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation drives the creation of new businesses and partnerships at the University of Chicago and across the world. As the leading expert in venture creation and the dedicated resource for UChicago’s global community, the Polsky Center advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and accelerates the path to market for groundbreaking ideas. Through education, resources, and programs, the Polsky Center commercializes discoveries, partners with companies, and attracts venture capital. By igniting a spirit of innovation and fostering connections that extend across the University, city, region and world, the Polsky Center enables more ideas to have a meaningful impact on society. Learn more at polsky.uchicago.edu.