Season two of ScratchWorks, a fintech competition with backing from Fidelity and the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, has named five semifinalists, including a teenager who received an invite to the 2017 Misk Global Forum from autocratic Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and rubbed shoulders with Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The five semifinalists announced today are cloud-based fixed-income marketplace BondNav, by 280 CapMarkets; Michael Kitces and Alan Moore’s fee-payment-processing platform AdvicePay; personalized, risk-based investment allocation platform ReAllocate; precious metals trading platform SolidusLink—and a virtual reality development company, Winston Matthews LLC.
Last year’s winners of the competition were automated investing platform InvestmentPOD and marketing technology company Snappy Kraken.
Of note, Winston Matthews LLC is led by video game developer Winston Matthews, the 15-year-old son of last year's winner InvestmentPOD's CEO and founder, Jacqueline Ko Matthews, and her husband, Dr. Peter Matthews, chief investment officer. Winston Matthews has raised $80,000 in angel funding for his company, according to a 2018 report in the Saudi Gazette. At that time, the stated focus was using the technology for educating children in need. He’s now focused on “providing financial institutions with a more efficient and immersive experience to interact, educate and attract more clients to their businesses,” according to the ScratchWorks’ semifinalist announcement.
ScratchWorks tried to attract more students to this year’s competition by opening up the submission deadline earlier in the fall and offering an early-bird discount.
Winston Matthews LLC will be competing with companies like AdvicePay, which recently landed Cetera as its first enterprise client and closed a crowdfunded round of seed capital worth $2 million in January, and 280 CapMarkets, which added corporate bonds, alongside munis, to BondNav in late 2018 and has aspirations of becoming “an advisor’s fixed income partner,” according to CEO Gurinder Ahluwalia.
Also competing are SolidusLink, a Swiss-based company led by Eliot Samuels. Its tool is “capable of integrating with any bank or custodian” to provide advisors, and institutional and individual investors, with access to “hold real gold as easily as stocks,” noted the ScratchWorks announcement. Rounding out the competition is ReAllocate, owned by commercial real estate crowdfunding company RealCrowd. The fintech is a turnkey platform built by co-founders Adam Hooper and Andy Norborg and designed to provide risk-based real estate investment allocations for registered investment advisors and high-net-worth investors.
The winner of the fintech competition will be announced at the Barron’s Independent Summit later this month.