With billions of dollars pouring into their coffers, financial technology companies are increasingly using sponsorship to build their brands, engage employees and demonstrate their technology in action.

Venture capitalists, private equity firms and other companies have poured more than $50 billion into roughly 2,500 fintech companies over the past six years, according to a recent report by Accenture.

The category includes both established and upstart companies, all united by the common goal of using technology to disrupt how consumers and businesses store, save, borrow, invest, move, spend and protect money.

Categories include electronic payment (Paypal, Square, etc.), personal finance (Betterment, Credit Karma, etc.), lending (Lending Club, Guaranteed Rate, etc.), trading (TruMid Financial, MarketAxess, etc.), health insurance (Oscar Health) and money transfer (Circle, TransferWise, etc.).

As a broad category comprised of multiple subcategories, fintechs use sponsorship to accomplish a multitude of objectives:

  • Build name recognition
  • Engage employees/prospective employees
  • Demonstrate community involvement
  • Demonstrate technology in action
  • Engage customers/prospects

Fintech Case Study: National Funding
The private lender of small business loans kicked off its sponsorship push in late ‘15 with title of San Diego’s Holiday Bowl. National Funding billed the sponsorship as the first college bowl game sponsored by a financial technology firm.

Dave Gilbert, National Funding founder and CEO, credits the one-off sponsorship to a “breakthrough year” at the 17-year-old company.

“It felt like the right time to give back to our community and make a bold statement in our industry. The Holiday Bowl creates a surge of local economic activity and we wanted to be part of this important movement.” 

The sponsorship also had a personal connection.

“I graduated from USC and the two teams playing in the bowl were USC and Wisconsin, so I suppose there was a personal element in the decision, as well.”

While college loyalty played a key role in the sponsorship, the company credits the partnership with driving business and marketing goals. That includes a spike in web site traffic, a surge in social media mentions and new sales.

Based on that success, the company has expanded its sponsorship portfolio with two other properties located near its San Diego headquarters: the NFL San Diego Chargers and MLB San Diego Padres.

The partnerships include designation as “small business lending partner,” rights to team trademarks and on-site branding.

National Funding also sponsors University of Southern California athletics and will sponsor the fan zone at the 2016 Holiday Bowl.