Fintech and Fort Lewis College Power Durango’s Growth
Along Colorado’s western slope, the combination of a growing financial tech (fintech) sector and top-notch engineering talent coming out of Fort Lewis College has Durango well positioned for the future.
Mercury Payment Systems – a leader in credit card processing and payments – long had been at the center of everything Durango tech, and that’s continued since Vantiv acquired them in 2014. What’s sprouted is an intriguing mix of fintech that often can be traced back to Vantiv/Mercury. Upstarts like Obsidian and Monetary are building out a presence that’s quickly making headlines.
And much like the close-knit community they rely on, they’re out to help small- and medium-sized businesses with their products.
Monetary serves small- and medium-sized companies with payment process and marketing software, while Obsidian sets up debit cards that are geared specifically for supporting local businesses as they reap rewards. However, that’s not to say Durango isn’t making its mark elsewhere.
GitPrime provides metrics around software developer productivity that helps keep projects moving, increases efficiency (20 percent on average) and aides with internal communication. They were a part of the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator in California, are a recipient of a Colorado Advanced Industries Grant, have more than 300 client companies and are at about 18 employees right now.
What’s feeding all these companies? One of Colorado’s hidden academic gems, Fort Lewis College.
Perched above downtown Durango, the liberal arts school has been a talent pipeline for the region, boasting some of the country’s best professors and creating unique opportunities for students in the world of physics and engineering. After halting its computer science degree a few years ago, the school has created a computer engineering program to stay on top of the evolving tech industry.
Students from different programs will collaborate on projects as they will when they leave college. Thanks to a brand new building for geosciences, physics and engineering, they can do it in the most advanced classrooms and with the best technology. Whether it’s $500K worth of laser equipment or a space debris-tracking observatory run as a partnership with the Air Force, students are leaving school prepared.
With so much beginning to grow in Durango, it’s unlikely they’ll leave.