Innovation Blog

MassChallenge FinTech 2023 Partner Challenges: Come Solve With Us

MassChallenge FinTech combines the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to advance scalable digital solutions by fostering collaborations between our corporate partners and startups. By bringing FinTech’s most promising startups together with the financial sector’s strongest brands, we create opportunities to innovate and solve some of the industry’s most pressing challenges. 

In 2022, MassChallenge FinTech and our industry-leading partners are dedicated, more than ever, to accelerating the pace of innovation—but we need your help.

MassChallenge is seeking groundbreaking startups to join us in our efforts to advance the financial sector in digitalization, DeFi, ESG, and blockchain technology, Web3 solutions, and more. If you are a startup founder looking to disrupt the status quo and make meaningful change, join our global network to collaboratively solve financial challenges.


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Columbia Threadneedle | IBM | KPMG | MassMutual | Putnam Investments | State Street

Ameriprise Financial and Columbia Threadneedle Investments are excited to be partnering with MassChallenge FinTech for the fourth consecutive year. Ameriprise Financial is a leading diversified financial services firm that advises, manages, and protects over $1.2 trillion in assets under management and administration for more than 2 million clients through over 10,000 financial advisors. Ameriprise’s Global Asset Management business, Columbia Threadneedle, manages nearly $600 billion in asset under management for retail and institutional clients and operates in 19 countries.

Ameriprise and Columbia Threadneedle have a passion for delivering advice and investment results to meet our clients’ evolving needs and are united by our culture that values integrity always, collaboration, excellence in all we do, and respect for the individuals and communities in which we live and work.


Innovation is vital for the continued success and growth of our business. The financial services industry is being transformed by increased regulation, greater demand for transparency, and the digitization of the sales process and customer experience-these forces present us with both challenges and opportunities. Our broad range of capabilities and solutions are designed to meet the evolving needs of our clients and we are committed to making innovative uses of technology and data to ensure can provide best-in-class products and services.


Data Management for Improved Customer Engagement and Investment Processes  

  • Create datasets, analytics, and capabilities to better serve advisors, clients, and prospects by building and strengthening relationships, increasing engagement, and providing more timely and relevant insights and information to lower the cost of acquiring new business and more effectively cross sell.  
  • Enable custom client reporting on client portals with real time data – we are looking to provide including a digital portal for RIESG, OCIO, and other offerings and other products 
  • Leverage analytics and behavioral science data to inform segment outreach through personalized journeys  
  • Leverage emerging technologies to build a high quality, repeatable process to efficiently capture, clean and structure alternative data for use in the investment process. 

New Customer Acquisition and Customer Experience through Digitalization 

By leveraging data, find new ways to reach our advisors, clients, and prospects digitally to drive more customized and meaningful interactions through digital journeys that drive new client acquisition and sales and enhancing overall user experience (e.g., compliant chat/video with client /advisor staff where business could be completed) while lowering the costs and capturing more data of our platform. 

New Technologies for Regulatory, Legal and Compliance Solutions

Utilize new technologies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of important oversight functions for regulatory, fraud prevention, and other purposes that supports our commitment to protect client assets, enhance our compliance oversight, and meet our evolving supervision and oversight responsibilities. Ameriprise and Columbia Threadneedle seek FinTech firms with enterprise ready data architecture and analytics to analyze and assess staff and / or client behavior, communications, and content across the firm to both generate meaningful, real-time reports and alerts.  Examples of use cases include analytics can predict compliance failures, ‘smart’ risk alerts that flag potentially fraudulent activity for clients, and advisor facing dashboards with top regulatory risks or sales practices for the advisor along with a comparison to peers’ data.

ESG and Data Collection

Leverage data collection and analytics capabilities to support our research process by enhancing our proprietary Responsible Investment RI ratings and ESG materiality and financial stewardship metrics. Leverage new ESG thought leadership and capabilities to meet the rising demand from investors, advisors and clients. Ensure regulatory compliance in responsible investing and ESG impact measurement. Focus on the data collection and sources of data collected for ESG/RI calculations purpose. In addition, look for solutions that can address data inconsistencies and data validations   

Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology 

Leverage distributed ledger technologies to modernize information management, distribution, and security. Deliver improved client experience and reduced operational overhead through DLT. We seek to leverage distributed ledger technologies to track, manage, and optimize client data and reporting.  Ameriprise clearing broker-dealer may be able to leverage certain distributed ledger technology to improve efficiency and/or enhance reporting (e.g., performance reporting for advisor managed accounts).


Our goal is to partner with the right FinTech companies to improve upon our already robust efforts to modernize, digitize and support our growth over the next decade and beyond. Startups will have the opportunity to work across lines of business and functional areas at Ameriprise and Columbia Threadneedle.

Ideally, we will work collaboratively to create a well-designed proof of concept based on your firm’s strengths. To the extent you need help broadening your use cases, we can provide insights and guidance while collaborating on the proof of concept.

Our experience, passion to innovate, client focus, and strong desire to co-learn make us an ideal partner for start-ups seeking new use cases and insights into our industry. Our leadership team and business line heads can offer you guidance and support as you work on our challenge, as well as valuable experience interacting with a global financial leader.

IBM Cloud for Financial Services is a platform that offers a unique value proposition to our partners and clients in regulated industries. IBM developed a framework of industry-specific controls with analysis on regulations across multiple industries and geographies. Adoption of this framework can reduce risk and time to market and accelerate innovation across the ecosystem. Our goal is to achieve network effects by making it faster and easier for our Financial Services customers/prospects to innovate with the world’s greatest selection of fintech ecosystem partners.


IBM Cloud Ecosystem is excited by the interest and commitment of the startup community to solving fintech challenges globally. We believe technology is key to the success of financial institutions now and into the future. Technology helps to shape the client experience and enables continuous product innovation that organizations need to remain competitive. That’s why we believe we can mutually benefit by partnering through MassChallenge with later-stage startups to solve specific challenges – turning thought-leading visions and disruptive technologies into game changing successes. 



The rapid innovation in the payments space represents a great opportunity for startup engagement. We have focused on global trade finance, payments as a service and wealth management in response to customer demand. There are many more opportunities with the introduction of new rails and challenges with faster, alternative and cross border payments.

Digital asset infrastructure

We see opportunities with tokenization and regulations and breaking down barriers to adoption. Multiparty compute is becoming critical to custodial and non-custodial approaches to digital asset management and assisting financial institutions with digital asset custody is an emerging area of interest to our IBM Cloud Hyper Protect team.


The Cloud is critical infrastructure to Web3 workloads, IBM Cloud has the most open and secure cloud, and as the web3 market grows, Multi Cloud and hardware diversification will be a critical metric of decentralization. We want to work with web3 companies in order to provide the most secure workloads, support decentralization through multi and hybrid cloud, and spearhead institutional adoption of web3 with the existing and emerging financial institutions we work with across the world.

Decentralized Finance

Blockchain and smart technologies are enabling distributed and decentralized markets, with financial applications as early use cases. This category of technology will be transformational for the financial services industry in the long-term and we want to help our clients to embrace this change, quantify the opportunities and support their journeys.

Data Management

The industry is flooded with data that is disjointed, redundant, unclear and at times not easily accessible. Effective centralized data management providing a unified picture of customers’ needs is important to better serving them. 


IBM, as a technology company, strongly values open innovation and embraces change and new ways of doing things. Our strategy is to be the catalyst that accelerates innovation in the financial services industry. To accomplish this, we will pair fintechs with technology and financial industry expert mentors to help bring innovative solutions to market and to scale by investing in each stage of the go-to-market process from co-create and promote, to co-sell.

Our intention through MassChallenge Fintech is to provide a simple and clear way to easily engage with IBM and provide partners with the tools and resources they need to successfully build client-ready, innovative solutions that leverage IBM Cloud for Financial Services platform.  Through this collaboration, fintechs will work with controls built into this platform that automate security and compliance to reduce risk and speed innovation for our partners and clients. Fintechs that partner with us will gain access to deep, trusted relationships IBM has with the world’s largest financial institutions and our sales network, IBM Consulting, as well as/as part of our systems integrator partner ecosystem – all with global reach.

Let’s create something that changes everything!

KPMG is one of the world’s leading professional services firms – with over 236,000 people working in global member firms around the world, we help large enterprise organizations across industries address some of their biggest challenges. We are very active in the Financial Services space with clients in Banking, Insurance and Asset Management, who come to us for Advisory, Tax and Audit services. Our people share a sense of purpose in the work we do, a passion for supporting our communities, and a commitment to inclusion and diversity.


We are excited to be part of this creative and vibrant community! We started collaborating with MassChallenge in 2019 and have had a great experience. We look forward to working with startups to bring new perspectives and innovative ideas to our clients. 


Banking and Insurance

KPMG supports many of the world’s largest insurance companies and banks as they undergo digital transformation. We’re always looking for new, innovative companies in these sectors to help clients achieve their growth goals, specifically in credit and insurance underwriting as well as the insurance claims process.


ESG is at the heart of everything we do at KPMG and through our IMPACT team, we help clients transform their businesses. We’re looking forward to hearing from startups addressing problems across the ESG spectrum. Specifically, we’re looking to hear from startups with perspectives on the circular economy and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Web3 and Metaverse

We’re excited about the next evolution of the internet! We’ve already made significant investments in Web3/metaverse and are supporting clients as they navigate this topic (learn more here). Is your company tackling financial, accounting, or tax challenges in this space? We’re interested in learning how we can work together to bring innovative Web3 and Metaverse solutions to financial services clients.

Data Lineage

KPMG often supports clients as they retire legacy systems, streamline data processes or integrate acquired entities. These clients look to KPMG to help source, review, and align data to allow for efficient aggregation or agreement across multiple sources. We’re looking forward to hearing about technology accelerators that would enhance our ability to evaluate multiple systems, data tables and elements to find commonalities and discrepancies.


We are eager to share our expertise and resources to support startups and, as one of the leading professional services firms with a global footprint, we are well-positioned to help startups as they drive scale and achieve outsized impact. We look forward to working alongside startups to help clients solve some of their most complex, pressing challenges!

At MassMutual, our unwavering focus is – and will continue to be – helping people secure their future and protect the ones they love. We’re a mutual company, which means we’re owned by our policyowners – so everything we do is focused on our customers. We provide holistic financial solutions, guidance and education in the way our customers want to engage with us, on their terms – whether in person, online, at the workplace or over the phone. We offer a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, protection products, retirement, and investment solutions to help people achieve their financial goals.


As a Founding Partner of the MassChallenge FinTech program, we understand that startups are the hub of innovation. We need new ideas and innovation in the financial services industry, and we believe that by creating a platform through MassChallenge’s FinTech program we will help build industry and startup collaboration.


Financial Planning & Education

Financial planning & education is more important than ever, considering many middle-income Americans see life insurance as a top financial need but do not prioritize purchasing this to protect themselves; and, underrepresented populations are even less likely to be able to focus on this important commitment. While there are many different financial planning tools in the market, a significant gap continues to exist with financial literacy and understanding of personal financial wellness. Many people don’t understand the financial benefits of insurance and protection solutions due to the lack of immediate tangible value. With increasingly volatile socioeconomic conditions, it’s critical to provide accessible and easy to understand financial tools, especially as lifetime needs evolve. How can we help deliver this education in a more effective manner that empowers individuals to purchase life insurance and other financial products?

Data Management

The industry is flooded with data that is disjointed, redundant, unclear and at times not easily accessible. Effective centralized data management providing a unified picture of customers’ needs is important to better serving them. Having the ability to easily access clear and accurate data to make business decisions, such as for underwriting policies, claims adjudication or new sales opportunities is key to fixing this issue. Additionally, having an efficient way to harness customer data and preserve privacy (including VOC) to personalize the customer experience will allow for a “human-centered design” approach that helps identify insights and enables customers to act.

Digital Enablement & Customer Centricity

Many Americans do not have the financial confidence to purchase life insurance fully online without guidance from an advisor. Without this human interaction, options and complexity can lead to hesitancy and fear, making digital sales challenging and expensive. A “digital plus human” hybrid model is a strong way to serve the mass market. Some companies have explored remote advisors and online financial coaching, but none have cracked the code yet with a successful hybrid experience for life insurance. 
Workflow Efficiencies & Administration

The 100-year-old industry wide problem of firms spending millions of dollars on antiquated technology persists even in 2022. There are legacy systems which are not integrated, as well as complicated and redundant business processes which create inefficiencies. Firms have embarked on high-stakes transformations to modernize and undertaken complex planning approaches to determine the right business model to serve their clients. How do we promote the use of efficient technology and systems internally to drive operational excellence while also ensuring affordable products and services externally? 

AI & Real-Time Intelligence

We live in a “point and click” environment, and many facets of our daily lives are impacted by AI & real-time intelligence. Whether you are a customer or provider, having the ability to obtain real-time, actionable intelligence allows for better and more timely decision making.  Additionally, AI & real-time intelligence can help with governance by identifying and eliminating biases upfront that are unethical. How can we leverage AI & real-time intelligence to help with decision making, building trust and obtaining insights on important topics like ESG & carbon management?


MassMutual is an excellent partner for startups – we are passionate about innovation, have significant knowledgeable resources available and are committed to help startups grow. Our track record over the past four years with the MassChallenge FinTech and HealthTech programs led to more than 45% of our partnerships turning into engagements. Together, let’s make Boston the leading FinTech ecosystem to help address our industry’s challenges during this critical period.

Putnam Investments is a $200 billion global asset manager serving individuals, institutions, and retirement plan sponsors, providing investment services across a range of equity, fixed income, global asset allocation, alternative, and sustainable strategies. The firm distributes its services largely through financial intermediaries and strategic alliances worldwide. Driven by a commitment to our clients, Putnam has been embracing change and practicing an active, research-intensive approach to investing ever since we launched our first fund in 1937.


Our heritage is one reason why we are thrilled to be in the fourth year of our founding partnership with the MassChallenge Fintech program.  Technology is clearly driving – and re-shaping – the future of all financial services. Tech not only defines client interaction and influence; it enables continuous product and process innovation that keeps companies flexible and competitive. That’s why we believe we can mutually benefit by partnering through MassChallenge with new startups to solve specific challenges – turning thought-leading visions into practical realities.


Blockchain Technology for Trust, Transparency and Traceability

Create operational efficiencies in the core processes for investment management operations using blockchain technology. We are seeking to deploy products that have innovative use of blockchain technology to provide trust, transparency, and traceability. We will consider solutions in the multi-party confirmation, transfer of trade and settlement information, and/or any operational procedure that can now be automated and verified such that they drive greater efficiencies in our business. 

Blockchain Based Solutions for Investment Management Capabilities

Improve front office capabilities by deploying blockchain based solutions to enhance our investment management capabilities. Solutions will add to our capabilities by gaining access to new sources of liquidity, new ways of trading, or get better access to information such as research. 

Machine Learning for Investment Management Process Automation

Automate investment management processes via Machine Learning (AI) algorithms such as stable diffusion. Enable Putnam to capture more value through the use of ML and AI that can help our investment professionals.


At Putnam, we hope to see FinTech partnerships evolve to enable all of us to succeed by applying tech to deliver clearly better results for our clients. We really are in this together. We welcome your unique talents and look forward to navigating the digital frontier — together. 


Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

Using AI/ML to sift through social media on crypto news for effective social intelligence — this is to address crypto finance where there is a lot of noise on social media discord channels and effective way to extract signals.

The idea is to be able to aggregate/organize and analyze massive number of linked transactions in blockchain. The core focus is to connect dots and find patterns between various blockchain constructs such as wallets, and assets and transactions. With this ability use technologies like graph and neutral net’s ability to visualize the patterns and graph connectivity that occurs in a blockchain network. 

We are also looking to use robotics or AI/ML based document processes to automate trade capture process and then feed the data via APIs to a system which can register the trade and is backed by a DLT — A precursor the Syndicated Loan PoC.

Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology   

Use of DLT as a subledger to provide a framework for enterprise integration with existing General Ledgers ( GL) — this is an issue as we embark on tokenizing existing assets, but still maintain and coexist with existing accounting systems. 

The idea is to adopt Blockchain and DLT based ledger and co-exists with existing GLs’. This will include understanding of data structures of the Blockchain systems and the GL systems, which can be RDBMS or Mainframe systems. The project will include a Blockchain on a transaction system (can be public or created for Hackathon) and use of various cloud integration technologies to create integration into simulated back-office system, which can be RDBMS system. 

Multi Data Set Correlation     

We are looking to leverage blockchain/DLT to store SDN (specially designated nationals) & other sanctions list. Record verifications & violations of the sanctions list against each transaction. Generate reports to be shared with regulatory agencies or grant them access to the node with APIs.   

We are also looking for an ESG scoring framework – we could include an ESG score to the borrower’s project, that would allow lenders to invest on projects that are aligned with specific ESG frameworks. From this we could pave the way and create/provide a common ESG framework aiming to assign an ESG score to companies and projects and make it available also to third parties. These scores would be available and accessible to anyone looking for genuine, standardized, and up-to-date information.

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