MassChallenge and Carolina Fintech Hub Partner to Launch the Meta Lab Startup Challenge

The Meta Lab Startup Challenge, the first competition for the partnership, offers winning startups up to $30,000 in equity-free cash, prizes, and reimbursement, and the opportunity to directly connect with Carolina Fintech Hub’s anchor partners and executives from Barings and Truist.  

(Boston, MA) October 20, 2021 — MassChallenge, the global network for innovators, and Carolina Fintech Hub a leader for FinTech talent, innovation, and outreach across the Carolinas, partner together to launch a new competition, The Meta Lab Startup Challenge. Entrepreneurs interested in the competition can apply through November 10, 2021. Learn more here. 

The Meta Lab, a forward-thinking collaboration among the Carolina’s leaders in fintech and healthtech, cultivates a world-leading ecosystem for innovation and collaboration. As part of the inaugural Meta Lab Startup Challenge, winning startups will receive up to $30,000 in equity-free cash, prizes, and reimbursement; access to CFH anchor partners; and a pitch session with executives from either Barings and Truist.

Together, MassChallenge and Carolina FinTech Hub will launch the first competition by leveraging MassChallenge’s global reach and unique process to identify uncommon startups with groundbreaking solutions. As a recognized global innovation leader, MassChallenge supports entrepreneurs by offering equal access to the resources and relationship needed to disrupt the status quo and create meaningful change. Through sector-specific efforts, MassChallenge connects corporate organizations to top talent and solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges. 

“One of the most important milestones for a startup is landing their first enterprise customer, especially in regulated industries like finance and healthcare,” says MassChallenge CEO Siobhan Dullea. “Meanwhile, corporate leaders are learning that the fastest way to solve big challenges is to partner with a startup. These corporate-startup collaborations are a win-win. MassChallenge is excited to bring our proven methodology to this competition to foster new economic growth.”

“Over the last 5 years Charlotte has become known as a global fintech destination, and the Meta Lab is the next chapter in that story of inspiring growth,” says Tariq Bokhari, founder of the Carolina Fintech Hub. “It’s hard to focus in on any one aspect to describe why the Meta Lab will be such a game-changer for Charlotte, from uniting 2 of our major industries at the intersection of health and wealth, to taking a new approach to achieving diversity and inclusion outcomes. I’m most excited about this being a first-of-its-kind approach to recruiting fintech and healthtech companies and jobs to the Carolinas.” 

The Metalab Startup Challenge builds on industry momentum to advance regional innovation through startup matchmaking with leading institutions Barings and Truist.

Once identified, startups invited to participate in The Meta Lab Startup Challenge will have an opportunity to collaborate directly with CFH anchor partners, as well as have opportunities to gain strategic insights and their share of an equity-free ‘innovation prize pool’ made possible by EY, Movement Mortgage, and LendingTree. Later phases of the Meta Lab include further opportunities for business development, pilots, capital investments, and in some cases even acquisition. 

“As a way of advancing our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities, Truist is committed to creating opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs and founders who are building the breakthrough financial experiences of tomorrow,” said Scott Zimmer, Innovation and Experience Design Officer at Truist. “We’re proud to partner with MassChallenge and programs like the Meta Lab in Charlotte, which will play an important role in helping these innovators thrive.”

Barings’ future success depends on our unique ability to adapt to rapid changes among clients, data and technology,” said Mike Freno, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Barings. “Collaborating with The Meta Lab will serve as a catalyst to bring innovative ideas to help us further our goal to deliver global and local insights to our clients.”

Entrepreneurs with digital health and finance solutions can apply from anywhere in the world. Winning applications will be selected based on their potential for impact in the Challenge areas for each of the participating sponsors. 

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About MassChallenge 

MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,900 MassChallenge alumni have raised $8.6B in funding, generated $3.6B in revenue, and created more than 186,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at   

About Carolina Fintech Hub 

The Carolina Fintech Hub was formed in late 2017 with the mission of fostering a collaboration between the world’s leading financial services firms and innovative Fintech startups. By providing resources and support for Fintechs of all types, at all points along the innovation pipeline and through focused efforts to attract and retain Fintech talent, Carolina Fintech Hub is fueling the future of Fintech in the Carolinas. Learn more at

About Barings 

Barings is a $387+ billion* global investment manager sourcing differentiated opportunities and building long-term portfolios across public and private fixed income, real estate, and specialist equity markets. With investment professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the firm, a subsidiary of MassMutual, aims to serve its clients, communities and employees, and is committed to sustainable practices and responsible investment. Learn more at

*Assets under management as of September 30, 2021

About Truist

Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Formed by the historic merger of equals of BB&T and SunTrust, Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank with total assets of $522 billion as of June 30, 2021. Truist Bank, Member FDIC.  Learn more at