BankTech Ventures

Finding & Funding Solutions for Community Banks with an Unparalleled Team

Why the Need for BankTech Ventures?

The Problem

Banking is facing fierce competition from all sides, including Big Tech, FinTech and challenger banks.

Veteran banks are working hard to remain competitive and deliver a positive customer experience, but are hindered by archaic legacy systems, lack of integration and antiquated processes.

As margins are compressing, the cost of operations and required investments in tech are rising.

Competitors are attracting talent which further inhibits bank innovation.

The Solution

Bank's expertise are safely holding deposits, transaction processing, credit allocation and regulatory compliance.

The Fund will focus on investing in and providing vetted tech solutions that enhance all of the above and more.

Banks can leverage these to develop new revenue streams, lower overhead costs, increase customer acquisition, and enhance the customer experience.

The Fund will provide investors with a tech network, strategic guidance and financial return.

The Opportunity

The banking industry is at a transformational crossroads; a select few banks will adapt and many will languish.

Those that adapt and learn to leverage their charter, combined with technology, will flourish.

Existing and emerging technology is changing the way banks derive revenue and make overall business decisions.

The Fund's mission is to serve community banks by identifying, vetting, de-risking, and commercializing key tech for the industry.

The Team

Unparalleled combination of industry experience and reach, bank technologists, and a motivation to help community banks succeed.

Partnership with The Venture Center, a tech accelerator focused on FinTech and BankTech that understands how to find promising tech companies and scale them.

Experience and infrastructure to source, test, incubate, and deploy promising technologies within GP banks, Partner banks, in order to support your bank's needs and future.

The Problem

An Evolving Industry

The financial services & banking industries are impacted by evolving macro & micro trends, including:

These changes are driving a growing digital divide between technology enabled banks, Fintechs and Big Tech. These companies are gaining market share by taking customers from traditional banks.

Boston Consulting Group…

“If [banks] are to survive, banks must start acting more like digital giants before digital giants… start acting like banks.”

JPM CEO Jamie Dimon…

When questioned about the threat posed by FinTechs… “Absolutely, we should be scared sh**less about that… We have to fight. We have to move quicker.”

The Solution

Prudent Investment
and Expansion in Tech


An entire redesign of many legacy processes, not just incremental changes. Banks need to focus on their core value streams and redesign them from the front to back, with full digitization. Clients expect their banking relationship to feel like every other technology platform they interact with, and banking is currently at least one, if not two, generations behind. The inconvenience created by legacy technology is becoming so large for customers, it is impacting their banking decision.


Banks, especially community banks, already have the trust of their clients and insight into customers’ wants and needs. The rapport is already there. Now banks need to meet customers where they are (on their phones and computers) to make banking as convenient and simple as possible, as well as drive revenue from other value streams (lending, payments, fraud coverage, and more).


BankTech Ventures


BankTech Ventures is a newly launched venture capital fund with the mission to invest in technology companies whose products serve community banks and their end-customers, ultimately helping drive banks’ competitiveness and growth in this evolving industry.

By leveraging BankTech Ventures’ strategic relationships within the banking and tech industries, the Fund will seek to build a portfolio of high-quality, committed tech companies, which investors can utilize for their own strategic and operational needs. As such, the Fund intends to provide its investors the opportunity to obtain significant Research and Development spend at a much cheaper cost than if undertaken in-house. And at all times, the Fund will aim to deliver a substantially de-risked and/or fully vetted vendor network, as well as strong yields to investors.

The Fund’s Sponsors and Investment Committee are comprised of veteran bankers and tech investors who have a keen eye on where both the financial and tech market are going, what constitutes a worthy vendor for community banks and the regulators, and how to support these tech companies to accelerate their own growth, thus driving yield back to investors in the Fund.

An Unparalleled Team

We believe our team comprising the Fund’s General Partner and the Investment Committee are truly unparalleled in their knowledge, experience, and network across the banking and tech industries. The team will be responsible for sourcing and vetting investment opportunities, maintaining financial yield for investors, and overseeing ongoing development of the Fund’s investments.

Aligned Incentives

As a team of community bankers, investment bankers, and tech investors ourselves, we want to see our limited partners and the greater banking industry thrive. We’re not in it just for financial yield. Your struggles and ambitions are the same as ours, as we’re living with these same challenges and concerns. Our mission is to make community banks as competitive, innovative, and successful as they can possibly be.

THE Team

Partnership With
The Venture Center & ICBA

The Venture Center

We believe BankTech Ventures is distinctive from other funds given our access to already well-vetted technology companies, all of which focus on serving the banking industry. In partnership with The Venture Center, an accelerator program that develops and drives growth of promising and proven tech companies, we expect the Fund to have invaluable access to potential deals. The Venture Center boasts:

  • Representation from every US regulatory agency
  • Representation from every major core provider
  • 87 Program Alumni (with a global reach) to date
  • >90% of accelerator program participants are still
  • active or have been acquired
  • Average capital raise (while in program) of $5.5MM
  • Hear pitches from >1,400 tech companies per year

Investment Methodology

Aligned closely to The Venture Center, BankTech Ventures will seek to have a strict investment methodology as we strive to ensure all portfolio deals are aligned in our mission to aid banks and provide financial yield. Our investment methodology is as follows:

  • Identify the most relevant problems for banks by assembling our investors/stakeholders and obtaining their input
  • Source solutions and potential investments by utilizing our network and beyond
  • Thorough due-diligence and evaluation of company profile, including but not limited to scalability, historical performance, IP, among other criteria
  • Once an equity investment is made in a company, continue support above and beyond initial investment by continually working to develop the company and encourage correspondance with fund stakeholders
Carey Ransom

Managing Director
BankTech Ventures

Carey is a technology entrepreneur and investor, and has started, grown and/or led 8 B2B and consumer companies in the last 25 years. He joins BTV as Managing Director after previously founding Operate, a SoCal-focused venture studio and fund, where they invested in 20 SaaS, fintech and data analytics companies. He has also invested in 20 of his own or angel-funded others’ ventures, with a current annualized return of 30%+ (unrealized).

Prior to Operate he was COO at Aspiration, the leading “consumer financial firm with a conscience;” CEO of RealPractice, a venture-backed SaaS company, which he sold to ReachLocal (RLOC); Chief Product & Innovation Officer of Experian Consumer Services; and founding CMO of Happy Money, a venture-backed consumer fintech company that innovated in lending and financial health.

Carey is also host of Operate Podcast, which features innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. He has an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, and B.A. in Economics from Indiana University. His real education, though, was growing up in a multi-generational retail family business.

Wayne Miller
Wayne Miller

Executive Director
The Venture Center

Wayne brings over four decades of experience in a variety of industries and leadership roles.  His combination of entrepreneurial achievement and his “Fortune 100” experience makes for an executive who is comfortable in start-up and mature business environments.  Before joining The Venture Center in 2017, Wayne spearheaded the growth and development of a dozen businesses including a private-equity-backed medical device manufacturer and two start-up technology companies in the healthcare and cybersecurity verticals and was COO of a $45 million transportation and logistics company. He also served as CEO of start-up internet advertising company, as Director of Business Development for Proxicom (PXCM), an Internet consulting and development company, and as the National Director of Business Development for the “big five” professional services firm Deloitte. Prior to Deloitte, Miller held sales leadership roles at the Hill-Rom company and taught entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland as an adjunct professor.

Under Miller’s leadership, The Venture Center has been recognized by globally renowned fintech industry leader, Finovate, as 2020’s Best Fintech Accelerator, and as Arkansas Business’ 2021 Non-Profit of the Year reflecting Miller’s passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Wayne currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas and Bethany Beach and enjoys serving on several boards and as an advisor to UALR’s business school. Wayne attended the University of Pittsburgh in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Charles Potts
Charles Potts


In this role at ICBA, Potts drives ICBA’s innovation, change management and financial technology strategies, working with ICBA leadership to develop impactful, value-added solutions that help community banks seize new market opportunities to meet customers’ evolving financial services’ needs.  Charles’ extensive financial services experience began in banking and financial service firms more than 35 years ago. Those experiences provided the background Potts needed to start, co-found or lead various Fintech start-ups including digital banking, mobile engagement, financial management and payments providers.

Charles had several successful exits including IPO’s, strategic investments, or acquisition via strategic acquirers. Most recently he worked at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) incubator at Georgia Tech, leading the Fintech practice where he mentored and coached startup founders.  Before that he helped start First Performance Global and served as executive managing director where he led global business and corporate development activities for the start-up card-control and fraud alert SaaS provider.  Potts also previously served as the turn-around CEO for NetClarity, a start-up in the University of Florida’s Business Incubation Hub.

Charles attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, holds a BBA from Georgia State University in Atlanta where he also did his graduate studies and attended the Graduate School of Banking at LSU.

Eric Sprink
Eric Sprink

President & CEO
Coastal Community Bank

Eric Sprink joined the bank in late 2006 as President and Chief Operating Officer and became Chief Executive Officer in 2010. During his tenure at the bank, Eric has seen the bank organically grow from less than $200 million in assets when Eric joined to more than $1.5 billion today in its Community Banking Division – CCB.  

Sprink began his banking career working for Security Pacific Bank while enrolled at Arizona State University. He assumed increasing levels of responsibility in the areas of retail operations, consumer and commercial lending and wealth management with Security Pacific Bank and its successor, Bank of America. He then moved to Centura Bank, where he held management positions in retail operations and corporate finance. After Centura Bank was acquired, he held senior management positions at Washington Trust Bank and Global Credit Union. Sprink is active in industry trade groups and is a director and past chairman of the Community Bankers of Washington. Eric is a frequent speaker and advocate for bank/Fintech partnerships. He has worked closely with a number of regulatory bodies as the banking industry evolves and faces disruption.  Active in community affairs, Eric is a past-chair of the Community Bankers of Washington and is involved with numerous local non-profits.

Eric received a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina.  

Carson Lappetito
Carson Lappetito

Sunwest Bank

Carson manages the day to day of Sunwest Bank, a $2.1 billion entrepreneurial business bank headquartered in Irvine, CA with operations across the Western US. He has led the technology transformation and organic growth of the bank over the last six years including the significant enhancement of the overall customer experience, development of full open-API capabilities for banking-as-a-service, the launch of its own “fintech products” on those rails, and top quartile efficiency based on an in-house buy and build technology strategy.

He also serves as President and Director of its parent company, H Bancorp. Prior forming H Bancorp, he served as Vice President of Hovde Private Equity Advisors where he was responsible for overseeing multiple portfolio companies, identifying investment opportunities and assisting portfolio companies with M&A, operational strategy, investment management and ALCO. Prior to H Bancorp, Mr. Lappetito was also assistant portfolio manager for Hovde Capital Advisors, a long/short hedge fund focused on investing in the financial services sector. Prior to Hovde, Mr. Lappetito has served on the boards of banking and technology companies as well as non-profit organizations.

Mr. Lappetito graduated from Bates College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Mandarin Chinese.

Steven Hovde
Steven Hovde

Chairman & CEO
Hovde Group

As Chairman and CEO of Hovde Group, Steve is responsible for overseeing the firm’s strategic growth initiatives, as well as playing a very active role in many of the firm’s key client relationships. In addition, Hovde plays an integral role in assisting the firm’s clients with their most important business transactions, be it issuing capital or pursuing M&A. In addition to being an investment banker, Hovde with his brother Eric, own a controlling interest in Sunwest Bank, headquartered in Irvine, CA, which has approximately $2.1 billion in assets and $212 million in equity. As bankers, they see all the issues that management and board members of banks wrestle with daily. Hovde is also on the board of directors of a $2.4 billion asset community bank in the Chicago area and an $2.0 billion asset size publicly traded bank in the Seattle area. He also serves as a trustee of several charitable foundations.

Before co-founding Hovde Group in 1987, Steve was Regional General Counsel and Vice President of a national commercial real estate development firm, Vantage Companies. Previous to that, Hovde served as an attorney specializing in real estate law with a 200-member law firm based in Chicago, Rudnick & Wolfe, which is today DLA Piper. Prior to that, Hovde practiced accounting in Chicago as a Certified Public Accountant with one of the former “Big Eight” public accounting firms, Touche Ross LLP, which is now Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Hovde graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Accounting, from the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He also earned his law degree, cum laude, at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

Daniel Schutte
Daniel Schutte

Managing Director
The Venture Center

Daniel Schutte leads as The Venture Center’s managing director of accelerator programs since 2018. Schutte has brought a breadth of experience to his role in connecting fintech startups with heavy hitters in the financial services industry. Schutte carefully balances his dual roles as a startup mentor and innovation collaborator, a skill mostly attributable to his own entrepreneurial experience.

He was the COO of a commercial printing operation for more than a decade before founding his first companies, the most successful in the music/entertainment space. He scaled an online music streaming platform to several million users. He most recently exited a boutique live-music booking agency out of Nashville, Tennessee before moving to Little Rock and joining The Venture Center. Long before COVID-19 pushed meetings to the Zoom platform, Schutte spent his days online, meeting Fintech companies founders from around the world to connect the most promising technologies with The Venture Center’s financial services clients. As those clients look to serve their customers better by integrating cutting-edge technologies, Schutte’s dedication and industry expertise have made him a trusted voice and advisor.

Schutte has a BA in Psychology from Cleveland State and MBA from USI.

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