Cary, NC – For entrepreneurs and new businesses, the chance to hone skills and get advice and connections is highly valuable. And one Cary native is getting that opportunity as one of 10 start-ups selected for an international program.
Brian Ley lived in Cary for much of his life before moving to Alabama and has been selected to join start-ups from Chapel Hill and New York City to London and Mexico City as part of a 12-week accelerator program known as the Global FinTech Accelerator. This program, put on by financial services company FIS and entrepreneur support organization The Venture Center, is meant to give these new companies an investment of both money and advice.
Ley’s startup Alpharank allows banks to map and track trends in data to better manage their finances.
“Whoever has the most data has the biggest advantage,” Ley said.
As Ley explains it, many banks had been using Facebook to track data. But after Facebook cut off much of that access, Ley stepped in.
“They might think Facebook is innovative but you have just as much data in your regular transactions,” Ley said. “And I think it’s better data.”
In addition to being selected for the Global FinTech Accelerator, Alpharank was also named Best in Show at financial technology conference Finovate in April 2017.
Research in the Triangle
While Alpharank itself is a new start-up, Ley said its roots come from other enterprises he tried. The original concepts come from other start-ups of Ley’s, such as a crowd-sourcing website called BidRocket and a tool to buy tickets to nightclubs called CoverCountdown, neither of which ended up being successful
With CoverCountdown, Ley said he and his mentors were not happy with the idea but found the algorithm developed for the business was promising.
“We considered taking the algorithm out of it and just using that,” Ley said. “We have been plugging along at this for a long time.”
Ley attended UNC-Chapel Hill and attributes his interest in technology and research to living in this area.
“Growing up in RTP, I had PhDs over for Thanksgiving,” he said.
And Ley’s father, David Ley, works as a professor of veterinary medicine at NC State University so Ley grew up around his father’s research on animals and the spread of disease.
“That environment is very conducive to research,” he said.
The accelerator runs for 12 weeks, ending Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of Brian Ley.