Seattle is home to a handful of fintech companies, notably money transfer startup Remitly, but it isn’t known as a fintech hub. And the city has venture capitalists writing checks for millions of dollars each year, but few focus on fintech.
“Finding the right people to invest or mentor you is difficult in the best of circumstances,” said Nate Derby, CEO and chief data scientist for Stakana Analytics, a marketing analytics company for credit unions and community banks.
So what’s a Seattle fintech founder to do when operating in an environment that’s less than the best? Build targeted networks through multiple organizations, Derby said, in order to get the mentoring and access that you need.
Three years ago, Derby, who is gay, joined StartOut, a nonprofit that helps LGBTQ entrepreneurs make connections and get access to resources. Contacts he made through the national group led Derby to pitching his startup to funders in the Bay Area and Boston.
But while he’s a gay entrepreneur, he’s not running a business targeting the gay community, so he looked for additional support elsewhere. He participated in the Founder Cohort Program with the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) where he met other founders doing similar work in analytics and met useful mentors. The program “changed his life,” Derby said.
Now he’s hoping to access resources that are…