Last week was a key milestone for the entire Holt team. After several months searching far and wide for the most innovative fintech startups across the globe to join our accelerator program, we finally had our highly-anticipated ‘Selection Day!’ The 2 day event, held in the beautiful and fitting setting of L’Espace CDPQ, Montreal, welcomed 34 international startups who were chosen from the 400+ total applicants we received to pitch for our team of over 60 mentors.

We were thrilled that so many of our trusted partners, advisors and chosen startups joined us for the special event, particularly those that had travelled so far and were perhaps suffering from a little jetlag! It was incredible to bring all of these brilliant minds together for 2 days of impressive pitching, engaging conversation and networking with those that share a passion for fintech and the exciting buzz that is swirling at the moment in the community.

What did Selection Day entail?

Each fintech team was allocated a table for the session. The mentors were then divided into groups of 5/6 and spent just 13 minutes at each table hearing from the teams before moving onto the next startup to pitch — call it fintech speed-dating! With such a short time in which to impress, the competition was tough from the getgo!

Day 1 ended with a cocktail networking event organised by FinFusion, held on the stunning rooftop terrasse of the Place D’Armes Hotel, where drinks flowed and conversations continued after a successful first day.

Day 2 commenced bright and early to hear from the remaining 16 teams still left to pitch. It followed the same format as day 1 to ensure everyone was getting an equal opportunity to impress our panel of mentors, and it did not disappoint! By the end of the event, there was one clear conclusion… fintech innovation is not slowing down anytime soon!

Thoughts on the Event

Managing Partner, Jan Christopher Arp, was delighted with the event’s success, highlighting the ‘rich diversity’ present in terms of ‘geography, industry and technology.’

“Innovation knows no boundaries… everyone under that Selection Day roof was united through a common belief, a belief that a better society will emerge by engaging with the next generation fintech entrepreneurs.”

Fellow Managing Partner, Brendan Holt Dunn, was also impressed not only by the diversity of the 34 startups, but the incredible talent and innovation on display — “From over 400 applicants, to chose just 34 to be here at Selection Day was our first great challenge. To whittle that down to the final 10 will be an enormous undertaking! We’re witnessing a shift in the fintech industry with these exciting up and coming innovators — im extremely proud to be a part of it.”

From the fintech teams’ perspective, the event presented a unique spin on a pitch battle and provided the opportunity to meet with our mentors whose invaluable expertise will be helping the final 10 teams accelerate to success.

Christina Camacho of Ivy Lender, a business loans company based in Atlanta, USA, was in attendance during Selection Day hoping to impress. What attracted her to the Holt Accelerator? “The Artificial Intelligence Specialist,” she explained, and “the network that we will have access to that can help us achieve our capital stack goals.”

For David Potter, Co-Founder and CEO of CuruCredit, an automated credit score building app, the attraction to the Holt Accelerator was also influenced by the AI possibilities offered by the program — “The future of FinTech is evidently AI. Tapping into the wealth of FinTech resources, AI expertise and access into the network of venture funding is the precise direction that Curu is building into.” His thoughts on Selection Day? “After meeting with Brendan and Jan, then the advisors and participants of the program, selection day reinforced our commitment to the program and we are looking forward to the growth and future we could create together!”

The final 10 teams for the Holt Fintech Accelerator will be announced very shortly… watch this space!