Banking on N.C.'s Financial Tech Future
Ask millennial entrepreneur Ben Harrison his ideal location to launch and build a financial technology business, and his response might surprise you.
"The case for North Carolina and Charlotte is incredibly strong," said Ben, president of DealCloud, which provides some of the country's top banks, corporations and private equity firms with customized software to streamline mergers and acquisitions.
Ben co-founded DealCloud in Charlotte in 2010. The 29-year-old cited North Carolina's business-friendly climate, higher education system, centralized location, airports and quality of life as reasons behind DealCloud's ability to recruit and retain young and experienced talent that rivals any found in Silicon Valley or New York City.
"Local financial institutions such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are developing extremely complex software, so there's a vast pipeline of highly-trained tech employees," said Ben, an Asheville native and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate.
It doesn't hurt to have former Bank of America icons Hugh McColl and Marc Oken as DealCloud advisors, investors and mentors, something Ben believes to be another benefit unique to the region and state.
"Their generosity is indicative of how willing businesspeople in this area are to help each other, both professionally and personally. This isn't something you normally find in other cities. It's inspirational."
DealCloud, which has experienced annual triple-digit growth since its inception, plans to continue national and international expansion while maintaining its strong North Carolina roots, which serve as an inspiration for the company's success.
"I've spent a lot of time in places like New York City and Silicon Valley, and this region has so much to offer that others can't," said Ben. "People who come here love it, and they stay. You can't do any better than North Carolina."
Photo courtesy of T. Ortega Gaines, Charlotte Observer