Case Study

Integration into the Innovation Community: How Columbia Threadneedle Investments Partnered with MassChallenge FinTech

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Columbia Threadneedle Investments optimized their inaugural partnership with MassChallenge FinTech by supporting a thriving innovation ecosystem and positioning the firm to deliver new cutting-edge technologies and approaches to their employees and customers.

The Goals

One of the foundations of Columbia Threadneedle’s culture is collaboration, where experts challenge and debate their best ideas to make better decisions for their clients. This includes constantly harnessing the power of innovation, both internally and externally.

Upon learning about the MassChallenge FinTech program, Columbia Threadneedle recognized an opportunity to access cutting edge technology and entrepreneurial ideas that could advance their internal development and thinking.

In addition, Columbia Threadneedle could help foster and expand the FinTech ecosystem in Boston, which thrives on relationships.

The Partnership

Before the program began, Columbia Threadneedle assembled about two dozen of their senior leaders to identify the biggest business challenges that could be addressed by partnering with FinTechs.

With thoughtful goals identified in advance, Columbia Threadneedle optimized their involvement by remaining closely involved with each partner throughout each step of the program in the first half of 2019. Perhaps more importantly, they included a broad range of representatives from different departments to participate in each stage of the program.

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Though Columbia Threadneedle is headquartered in Boston, their parent company Ameriprise is based in Minneapolis. The two companies partnered with MassChallenge by assembling stakeholders and representatives from across numerous teams to participate in the online judging, startup matchmaking, and eventually the six-month sprint with the selected FinTech partners.

The teams were divided into different working groups to establish goals, design the proof of concepts, and execute the plan across the six-month timeline.

The Success

After key stakeholders met with 12 selected FinTech startups over two days late last year, Columbia Threadneedle identified two different FinTechs with novel approaches and technologies that matched with their previously identified goals. – is an Intelligent Process Automation software product that simplifies risk and compliance workflows in the financial services industry. Coalesce learns directly from business users without any programming, so the Compliance team can spend more time on the issues that matter and less time sorting through data to find the issues.


ForwardLane – an AI-powered API platform to empower financial professionals in wealth management, asset distribution and commercial banking by surfacing news and research with leading NLP for Finance that is personalized and highly relevant for clients.


The fast-paced entrepreneurial spirit of the program created a sense of urgency and drive to advance a working relationship with the selected startups. Two POCs were accomplished in an expedited time frame.

In addition to their new relationships with two emerging FinTech solutions, Columbia Threadneedle enhanced relationships and broke down barriers across the organization. Team members were exposed to new technologies and collaborated with different parts of the organization. From a broader perspective, the organization was also able to grow and strengthen the Boston FinTech ecosystem as facilitators of innovation and collaboration.

“Collaboration with the FinTech community through MassChallenge provides fresh perspectives on how we do business and how we can further innovate and evolve our uses of technology and data, which is vital for the success and growth of our business.” – Jay Leopold, Head, N.A. Investment Risk at Columbia Threadneedle


Columbia Threadneedle Investments is a leading global asset manager that provides a broad range of investment strategies and solutions for individual, institutional and corporate clients around the world. With more than 2,000 people, including over 450 investment professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia, we manage $468 billion of assets across developed and emerging market equities, fixed income, asset allocation solutions and alternatives.

Columbia Threadneedle Investments is the global asset management group of Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE: AMP).