Connect with participants by joining our Slack Channel!

316 People Registered

159 People Attended

20 Judges & Mentors

$5K Cash Prizes

$80K in legal services

16 Teams

1 Company Raised Capital From Investors

2 Companies were Formed, Gained Customers, and Hired Employees.

About Us


Detroit Fintech Challenge

The Detroit Fintech Challenge is a competition that unites key players in the Fintech ecosystem to generate enduring solutions to the biggest challenges and major concerns in the financial, payments, banking, and insurance sectors. Through the Fintech Challenge Pitch Competition, early-stage companies will be given a theme/ challenge statement category. Finalists from each "challenge statement category" will be asked to present their concept as a part of the Fintech Challenge Pitch Competition during the Detroit Fintech Challenge weekend.

Anyone who is active in Private Banking, Insurance, Investment and Asset Management, Payment Solutions, Gaming Services and Ecosystems, Digital Money, Blockchains, Real Estate, Government and City Solutions, Autonomous Vehicles and Transportation, IoT, Fraud or Cyber Security, Data and Credit Analytics, AI and Machine Learning, and Law and Policy experts are welcome to participate and compete!

Who Should Attend

You should attend if you have programming or design experience, project management skills, have an interest in financial, payments, insurance, banking, engineering, software or hardware development, or are interested in making a difference for others in your community.

Anyone who is active in Private Banking, Insurance, Investment and Asset Management, Payment Solutions, Gaming Services and Ecosystems, Digital Money, Blockchains, Real Estate, Government and City Solutions, Autonomous Vehicles and Transportation, IoT, Fraud or Cyber Security, Data and Credit Analytics, AI and Machine Learning, and Law and Policy experts, are welcome to participate and compete!

Challenge Statements

The Challenge Statements are the guiding force of the Detroit Fintech Challenge. Each and every participating team will choose one or more challenge statements to create their projects. Each statement addresses a broad area of concern as well as a few possible entry points for a technical solution. Teams’ effectiveness in creating a viable solution in the challenge they have chosen will be essential to their success in the competition.


Cashless Payments & Micro Transactions
Tools that enable merchants and customers to make payments in new ways. Easier payment processing will show immense potential particularly engaging and activating underserved and underbanked populations. Cash is still king in the micropayment market. Tools that enable cashless payments for the smallest of transactions.

Applications of blockchain to a variety of FI problems - distributed ledger, cross-border payments, smart contracts, etc.

Wealth Tech
Solutions that enable the provision of wealth management / investment services in new ways for both the retail investors (i.e. robo advisors, tools for self-directed clientele), and the institutional side of brokerages (registered investment advisors).

AI/ML and Data / Credit Analytics
Tools to enable analysis of large data sets, often unstructured. Customer-focused uses: credit scoring, insurance, and client-facing chatbots. Operations-focused uses: capital optimization, model risk management and market impact analysis; trading and portfolio management in financial markets; and uses of AI and machine learning by financial institutions for regulatory compliance (RegTech) or by public authorities for supervision (SupTech).

Applying blockchain and cryptocurrencies for gaming services and ecosystems as part of city solutions.

Fraud, Cyber Security and Biometrics
IT security solutions against cyber-attacks as well as biometric access solution. What solutions can we create using cyber security for the rising data breaches? IT security solutions against cyber-attacks as well as biometric access solution. Within the autonomous vehicle space, in vehicle tools for mobility and social transactions, and data privacy.

Credit Lending & Micro Loans
While the traditional financial institutions are turning their backs to small businesses, other financing options are opening up. We look at tools that change how we borrow and lend.

GM Financial Challenge Statement

The Problem
With the rise of the internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, and the shared economy, there has been a significant increase of mobility alternative for consumers. An individual who wants to get from point A to B has an ever increasing range of alternatives available – the traditional loan, lease, subscription, car sharing, etc – and making the right choice is not always easy. There is a lack of information regarding the true total cost of the mobility option that is relevant to the context of the person’s mobility needs, and is readily available and understandable.

The Challenge
Create a mobile application to help consumers easily and intuitively make decisions on financing mobility needs. The application should be user-friendly, attractive, and should inform customers on implications of alternatives (e.g. lease, loans, subscriptions, others), including Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Sarah Myrand :

First Independence Bank Challenge Statements

1. How can we have Consumer and/or Commercial customers apply for a loan by electronically filling out an application and securely upload all documents that are required? (ID, Tax Returns, etc.)

2. Then how can we move the process along to the proper team with quick results back to the customer or request for more information?

3. How can we build a better relationship with our commercial customers with using technology to collect financials and insurance documents that are due during the life of the loan?

4. How can we work better with Insurance companies to receive insurance policies electronically and not have to call an agent when one is required?

Sarah Myrand :

Bankjoy Developer Portal

To access Bankjoy APIs visit Password: Bankjoy!!

Developers requiring any technical support with the API may reach out to:
For all other questions and inquiries please contact Sarah Myrand :

Ways to Get Involved

Sponsor & Partner
We are seeking industry leaders and organizations who are enthusiastic about innovation and getting involved in the start-up and entrepreneur ecosystem. As a sponsor and/or partner, you are given the opportunity to curate challenge statements, along with access to a pool of talented designers, developers, and entrepreneurs to work on your specific challenges, needed solutions, and general technology interests. Sponsors and partners get to speak, mentor, judge, curate challenge statements, and receive global brand recognition throughout the event. With your help we can bolster the capacity of the Fintech Challenge program to cultivate and launch powerful new solutions across a variety of impact spaces. Increase your organization’s visibility in the emerging fintech innovation sector and drive solutions to your most profound and interesting financial, payment, insurance or banking challenges by funding a prize. View the sponsorship packages here.

Are you a startup? Do you have a great idea? Do you work for a large organization and see an opportunity to create a technology or solution? Are you a coder, developer, or designer? Come participate, or attend an event to see what we are all about! You can join an innovation team or form your own team (no more than 5 team members) that will seek to create solutions to selected Detroit Fintech challenge topics and thereby compete for prizes to be extended at the Fintech Challenge in Detroit on August 3rd 2019. There will be numerous opportunities to recruit new talent, both in-person and through a web platform, therefore your organization can enter the competition with partial teams (with or without internal technical skills) or as a team with expertise in financial, banking, payments, or insurance industries and succeed in the competition. Join the competition here.

Are you a finance or industry expert? Business/entrepreneurial representative or technology enthusiast? Corporate executive or IT Professional? Policy or regulatory expert? Attorney or Banker? Passionate about working with new ideas and startups? We are seeking mentors to work with the challenge teams.

Augment the Fintech Challenge process with your organization’s experience and expertise. Influence and empower the projects of competing teams by answering questions, providing context, and making suggestions. Create an opportunity for your organization to drive the creation of tools that advance its mission while simultaneously enabling competing teams to succeed. (Note: coaches will not be "assigned" to any specific team and therefore will be able to provide whatever amount of time during April - July that they desire). We are looking for coaches who simply want to contribute and help make this a success! Participants may have a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines (engineers, financial enthusiasts, techies and coders, designers, business strategists, scientists, researchers, data specialists, students and more). If you are interested in being a mentor at the Detroit Fintech Challenge, please complete the Mentor Participation Form.

Are you an investor, financial advisor, representative of an incubator/accelerator, corporate executive, or subject matter expert? Detroit Fintech Challenge is seeking judges to come participate and select our winners. Judging spots are limited (sponsors are given first choice) and time commitment will only be required during the Fintech Challenge product demos and pitch competition on August 3rd. If you are interested in participating as judge for DFC, please complete the Judge Participation form.

Manage a Team
Enter a five-person team in the Detroit Fintech Challenge. Integrate the competition into your organization’s workflow as a development process or team building activity. Numerous opportunities to recruit new talent, both in-person and through a web platform, means that your organization can even enter partial teams or teams with expertise in Finance, Insurance, Payments, or Banking, but few technical skills and still succeed in the competition. If you are interested in managing a team at the Detroit Fintech Challenge, please contact Kyyba Innovations:

Contribute Data
Contribute to the curated Fintech Challenge and Data Library that is tied to the key issues or identified “challenge statements”. Add to a unique collection of Data Sets drawn from organizations like yours and empower hundreds of dedicated developers to create technologies that will further the mission of positive impact on the fintech industry. If you are interested in contributing data to the Detroit Fintech Challenge, please contact Kyyba Innovations:

Benefits & Prizes

Benefits of DFC
Through the FinTech Challenge Pitch Competition, early-stage companies will have the opportunity to gain pivotal exposure to stakeholders, market leaders, and influencers in the finance, banking and insurance services market. Each application will be reviewed by members of the Fintech Challenge Review Committee to ensure teams meet the stated eligibility guidelines. Finalists from each "challenge statement category" will be asked to present their concept as a part of the Detroit Fintech Challenge Pitch Competition on August 3, 2019. Finalists will receive real-time and written feedback from industry expert judges, who will contribute valuable fintech industry insights, ideas, and experiences. Additionally, cash and non-cash prizes will be awarded to the top teams.

$15K in Cash Prizes provided by Techtown and William Davidson Foundation:
1st Place: $7,500
2nd Place: $5,000
3rd Place: $2,500

Fintech Consortium and Detroit Fintech Bay will provide the top 3 winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley for a 1-week residency at Silicon Fintech Bay, where they will work with a team to develop and refine their concept, and then present to a group of Venture Capitalists.

Eligible winner could be awarded up to a $50,000 equity investment from Kyyba Innovations **Companies are eligible, provided that they meet the criteria set forth by Kyyba Innovations, pass a due diligence process, and are a registered business entity.

The winning company will be offered an agreement from Kyyba Innovations based on the stage of the company and where they are in the product development cycle. This is simply an offer, and the company is not obligated to accept this offer. Typical agreements from Kyyba Innovations come in the form of a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) or a convertible note, but this is for companies who fit the following terms and criteria:

  • Key founders and at least one full-time employee in Michigan
  • Minimum Viable Product created
  • Tech-enabled or high-tech component
  • For-profit LLC, C Corp, or S Corp
  • Identified scalable path
  • Demonstrated progress against business model

Varnum LLP will award MiSpringboard grants ($5,000 in legal services) to the 6 Finalists selected to participate in the Detroit Fintech Challenge Pitch Competition. In order to qualify, finalists must be existing Michigan teams. Learn more here.


Are you Eligible?
In order to apply and be considered for the FinTech Challenge & Pitch Competition applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Participants should be a legally established and licensed business.
  • Teams don't have to be incorporated to participate or be selected as a winner by the judges on August 3rd, but in order to receive a financial award, the funds will only be administered and issued to an existing Michigan LLC.
  • Companies should have been founded no earlier than August 1, 2017, in other words, they are 2-years old or younger.
  • Teams should only submit 1 product or concept to the FinTech Challenge event.
  • Founders of the applying company must retain some portion of ownership in the company.
  • Applying companies must not have raised over $2.5 million from combined funding sources, including grants, debt, and equity financing.
  • Product or concept must respond to at least one of the FinTech Challenge Statements.


  • Everyone must register for the August 3rd challenge day event.
  • People interested in participating have until June 30th to submit their team participation form located here. Mentors must complete the mentor form.
  • The Detroit Fintech Challenge is open to everyone! Students, recent graduates, as well as the general public. Fintech professionals, technologists, designers, project managers, coders, developers, lawyers and bankers, we need you! Anyone who wants to contribute to the fintech movement is welcome to join the challenge, whatever be their field of expertise.
  • The purpose of this Detroit Fintech Challenge is to create practical applications (new software and hardware) for a population related to various internal and external financial industry challenges.
  • Companies based inside and outside of Michigan are welcome to apply. This includes Canada and other international teams. As long as companies are willing to build their businesses in Michigan they can qualify.
  • Chosen solutions must address one of the SEVEN noted "challenge statement categories" for DFC. Additional and more specific "sponsored challenge statements" may be created by corporate partners and sponsors over the coming weeks and if a solution addresses a specific "sponsored challenge statement" there may be increased likelihood for adoption, testing and/or ongoing co-development with a financial "customer" or partner.
  • Ongoing work with sponsors or partners beyond DFC, terms and conditions relative to sharing of IP, revenue, co-development, etc. will need to be worked out directly between the DFC team and the sponsoring organization.
  • Team pitches should be no longer than 5 minutes. Templates and criteria can be found on the "Resources & Templates" page.
  • Participants will also need to sign a participant agreement form, which can also be found on the "Resources & Templates" page.
  • Team and participants should attend both of the meetup events on May 16th and June 12th. In between meetups, teams and participants can communicate via the DFC Slack channel .
  • On August 3rd, up to 20 teams will complete a round of 3 minute product demos with judges. Afterwards, up to 6 finalists will be announced for the final pitch competition where teams are given 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes Q & A with a panel of judges.
  • Be respectful of other hackers, mentors, volunteers and judges, in person and through social media.
  • And the most important rule of all … HAVE FUN!

Teams & Target Profiles

Teams can be from 2-5 people. Teams made up of at least the following are recommended:

  • 1 or more developers
  • 1 regulator expert
  • Financial, Banking, Insurance (health & auto), or Payment professionals
  • Business/entrepreneurial representatives
  • Others, e.g. You can come as a team to the event, or network with other participants and form teams during the meetups leading up to the event.

Developers, designers Web/mobile, digital designers, coders, programmers, finance experts, IT professionals, policy experts, technology enthusiasts, makers, creative minds, etc.

Three Categories:
Those listed above and students in STEM fields.

Bankers, people in financial, insurance or payment businesses, business students.

Lawyers, bankers and students in those fields.

Resources & Templates

Schedule & Timeline

Date Activity
4/25/19 Public Data Portals Open and Challenge Statements Released - Registration Opens.
5/16/19 Official Detroit Fintech Challenge Kick-Off + Information Session (Thursday 5-8pm) @ Industry Innovation Center
6/12/19 Second Fintech Detroit Information and Mentor Session (Wednesday 5pm-8pm) @ Grand Circus    
6/30/19 Team Registration Closes
7/19/19 Pitch Workshop for Teams – Practice your pitch with experts!
8/3/19 Detroit Fintech Challenge & Pitch Competition at TechTown!    



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