New $38M FinTech center to be built at UD STAR Campus

NEWARK – The University of Delaware announced Thursday, Nov. 21, that it will partner with Discover Bank and Delaware Technology Park to build a new center for financial services technology, or so-called fintech, at its STAR Campus.

The six-story, 100,000-square-foot building on UD’s Science Technology and Advanced Research Campus located off Route 896 on the former Chrysler plant site will bring together academic, business and governmental segments of the financial world.

The $38 million project will be funded via a below-market-interest-rate loan by Discover Bank to DTP, the owner of the building. UD will lease space in the building.

Photo c/o University of Delaware

It is anticipated to open in 2021 with potential plans and programs to include a cybersecurity leadership center that would link the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics’s cybersecurity management with the College of Engineering’s cybersecurity engineering and technology, a space for human-machine learning and social media data analysis and a multimedia studio.

Delaware, corporate home to many of the nation’s largest banks, has become a hub for the fintech sector, and UD now aims to train graduates to step into careers located in the state. Global investment in fintech-related companies rose from $18.9 billion in 2013 to $111.8 billion in 2018, according to a recent report by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

In announcing the project, UD President Dennis Assanis said in a statement that UD “is a national leader in finance, technology and entrepreneurship, so combining our expertise and resources in these complementary fields will yield exciting opportunities for our students and faculty with meaningful impact on society.”

Gov. John Carney, touting the public-private partnership backing the project, said in a statement that it will create a “pipeline of skilled local talent, support our entrepreneurs, build on our strength in financial technology, and strengthen our economy over the long term.”

The new center will house spaces for startups to develop and grow, managed by Delaware Technology Park; access to business development resources and technical assistance; and labs and centers associated within UD’s College of Engineering and Lerner College.

UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships will also relocate its offices from the Delaware Technology Park’s Innovation Way location. 

Photo c/o University of Delaware

Delaware’s Small Business Development Center will be located nearby to assist OEIP’s Spin In program. This program connects UD undergrad students with community entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to give them an inside look at business innovation and a chance to apply what they’re learning in real-life situations.

In conjunction with the new center, Discover Bank is also exploring ways to partner with UD on research related to its fintech needs, including cyber-related technologies, and consumer data analytics, applications and behaviors. A national nonprofit focused on improving the financial health of communities, has partnered with Discover Bank to work with UD, DTP, entrepreneurs and the community on the utilization and testing of financial technologies to improve consumer financial health.

“Discover Bank is dedicated to building stronger communities, which is why we’ve championed this project with the Delaware Technology Park and the University of Delaware to expand economic opportunities, create jobs in financial services and fintech, and promote financial health for underserved populations,” Discover Bank President James J. Roszkowski said in a statement. “The development at STAR helps us realize our vision of creating brighter financial futures for consumers as well as creating new opportunities for the business community.”

By Jacob Owens

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