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By all accounts, Atlanta is a rising hub of fintech activity in the US. Recently named by Bank Innovation as a rising star, Atlanta ranks 7th in the US in number of fintech start-ups and 12th in overall start-ups.

But it’s not as if Atlanta is new to financial technology businesses. It is estimated that 70 percent of global payment transactions pass through companies headquartered in metro Atlanta.

So, what is Atlanta doing right to build itself into a global fintech hub? Here are five things that stand out.

  1. Branding the city “Transaction Alley”.

It’s hard to compete with well-established centers of financial technology innovation, such as Silicon Valley and New York City.

So, payment industry insiders came up with the nickname Transaction Alley because of the dominant role played by companies based the city and region. The nickname was catchy and stuck. (See What Cities Across America Can Learn From Atlanta’s Financial Tech Boom.)

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  1. Cultivate successful incubators and accelerators.

Atlanta has cultivated a nurturing environment for fintech start-ups. The Advance Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech is one of longest-running start-up incubators in country and boasts a 90 percent success rate of its graduates. ATDC doesn’t take equity in firms, but provides much-needed mentorship and assistance.

Additionally, Atlanta Tech Village is the fourth largest tech hub in the US and Switchyards in downtown Atlanta is home to over 300 start-ups.

  1. Build broad-based support for the fintech sector.

Companies outside the financial technology sector in Atlanta recognize the importance of the fintech sector and are providing mentorship and leadership support.

Earlier this year, Georgia Tech and 10 Atlanta companies launched Engage, a mentorship-driven accelerator program that will house nearly 50 start-ups. Partners including AT&T, Delta Airlines, UPS and Home Depot are funding the program and executives at those companies will mentor the program’s participants.

  1. Cultivating sector-specific talent.

Universities in the Atlanta region rank second in highest quality engineering programs in the US, according to a WalletHub study. But Atlanta is also growing fintech sector-specific talent. Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business is launching one of the first university fintech labs in the US.

  1. Creating a healthy fintech ecosystem

All the above factors are important for any fintech ecosystem to germinate start-ups. Scaling start-ups is typically harder and Atlanta has a healthy venture capital community for investment. Having such a well-established payments industry nearby also creates unique opportunities in Atlanta for partnerships that can drive revenue growth for fintechs and catalyze innovation for incumbents. (See How Atlanta Became a Fintech Hotbed.)

As banking and financial services leaders head to Atlanta next week for BAI Beacon 2017, there is much anticipation both for the event and for the opportunity to discover and learn from the what Atlanta has been doing right in fintech.

For information on BAI Beacon or to REGISTER, visit

 Jay Palter is a digital media strategist and principal of Jay Palter | Social Advisory.

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