Nashville Entrepreneur Center Announces Nine Startups Selected to Join Tennessee’s Inaugural FinTech Accelerator

Founding Partners ABA and First Horizon Bank Help Drive FinTech Innovation

Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC), a non-profit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and local industry, today announced its first cohort members of Project FinTech, a statewide industry network and accelerator program.

“Thanks to the leadership and support of experienced entrepreneurs and industry leaders who stepped up to bring this program to life, our team is prepared to kickstart best-in-class programming,” said the NEC’s CEO, Sam Davidson. “It’s an exciting time to start and grow a FinTech company and the Nashville EC will serve a valuable role in helping this cohort grow and scale.”

Based in Nashville, Tenn., Project Fintech is a nine-month program that provides early-stage startups access to subject-matter experts, curriculum, mentorship and the benefit of community. The program will focus on fintech start-ups with a preference for Tennessee-based companies and an emphasis on the “banktech” sector defined as technology seeking to improve, automate, or scale the delivery or use of payments, deposits, loans, or relationships between retail or commercial banks and their customers.

Of the 40 applicants from across the country, nine companies were selected for their potential impact in Tennessee. The needs of these companies aligned with the state’s network of resources, and their perceived openness to mentorship and collaboration.

“We are so excited for the potential for building a community among the cohort itself, a group that includes mission-driven founders looking to grow financial prosperity in underrepresented communities,” said Maryn Cannon, program manager at NEC. “Many of these founders are second- and third-time entrepreneurs who have validated a need in their previous ventures and are bringing a new idea to market with a wealth of pre-existing connections.”

2023 Project Fintech Cohort:
Ampersand | Founder: Kelly Brown, WI
Grounded | Founders: Danae Vachata and Pete Chiccino, NY
Lendovative | Founders: Patrick True and Paul McCulloch, TN
Lumio Insight | Founder: Jeff Fink, VA
Nuestro Financial | Founder: Diego Eguiarte, TN
Parlay Protocol | Founders: Alex McLeod and Jay Long, VA
Plata | Founder: Miguel Alecio, NY
READYLIFE | Founder: Ashley Bell, CA
SpendCare | Founders: Perry Halman-Peguillan and David Young, TN

Through the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale program that expands industry networks throughout the state, Launch Tennessee and corporate partners work together to help Tennessee be the best place in America to start, grow and scale a FinTech company. A special thanks to Founding Partners American Bankers Association (ABA) and First Horizon Bank.

“Innovation is at the core of today’s banking industry, and this new partnership will ensure our members have the resources they need to meet their customers’ evolving expectations,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “Joining with innovators like the team at Project Fintech will give us a unique view into emerging trends and allow us to help shape the bank technology landscape going forward.”

ABA joins First Horizon Bank, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., as a founding partner.

“This first cohort represents an impressive combination of ideas and founders,” said Tyler Craft, Senior Vice President, Head of VirtualBank & Fintech at First Horizon. “Startups like these and others that expressed interest in the program validate our excitement about Project Fintech. As Tennessee’s largest bank, we look forward to how this effort benefits our entire industry and the marketplace in Tennessee.”

To learn more about Project FinTech and join this innovative network, visit or contact Maryn Cannon, program manager at Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

About Nashville Entrepreneur Center
Nashville EntrepreneurCenter (NEC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 2010 by business leaders who wanted to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and to celebrate the spirit and tenacity of the entrepreneurial community. The NEC serves as Nashville’s center for entrepreneurship, supporting visionaries—from every background, in any industry, and at all phases—by connecting them to critical resources and championing their desire to change the world. Learn more about the NEC by following us @entrecenter on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at


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