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Technology is a driving force in almost every aspect of start-ups and entrepreneurs make the most of the opportunity. Vantage Ventures, for example, brings together a collaborative network of talent, mentors, industry partners and investors with the goal of building scalable companies. An initiative of West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Vantage Ventures provides space and partnerships to find teams, connect with customers and raise capital.

Vantage Ventures links students, researchers and community members, as well as entrepreneurs at different stages of their journeys with some of the world’s most impactful entrepreneurs and industry experts.

“West Virginia provides exciting opportunities for fintech innovators seeking to strengthen Main Street through the introduction and expansion of financial services capabilities, including lending, insurance and traditional banking,” said Sarah Biller, executive director of Vantage Ventures. “We are focused on creatively and responsibly utilizing fintech to tackle economic mobility, health care, energy, and other challenges that confront rural populations along the sustainable finance continuum.”

In fact, in June, DataRobot, the leader in Augmented Intelligence, announced that the company is opening an office in Vantage Ventures’ Morgantown headquarters. The initiative will bring more new jobs in technology to West Virginia as the company looks to hire software engineers and professional services and customer support specialists.

“The company’s decision to open an office in Morgantown is a testament to the progress West Virginia is making in becoming a Startup State. Companies, entrepreneurs, investors, academia and government officials are all working together to support transformative innovations in the state,” said John Chambers, former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, current founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures and a West Virginia native.

The financial and insurance industries are fully embracing the digital age via big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other new disruptive technologies. In response, West Virginia is positioning itself to be the natural home of this new breed of entrepreneurs and companies by providing a “sandbox” for them to innovate and grow. Powered by the state’s Mountaineer spirit, we can only imagine the opportunities yet to be explored and technology challenges still to be scaled.

(Editor’s Note: Those with a physical location in West Virginia who are interested in applying for fintech sandbox consideration can obtain more information by contacting the West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions at fintech@wvdob.org or 304-558-2294 to schedule a pre-application meeting.)

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