Milwaukee-area students take first place in national FIS innovation competition – Milwaukee Business Journal

Three college students originally from the Milwaukee area — including one who’s currently studying at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee — took first place in an innovation competition held by financial technology firm FIS this summer.
FIS (NYSE: FIS) announced the winners Dec. 16. The company has headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida, but has more than 3,000 Milwaukee-area employees.
The annual FIS InnovateIN48 competition is designed to spur creative new technologies in payments, banking and investing. This year, the inaugural InnovateIN48 Student Edition tasked participants from 19 universities across the country with creating digital solutions to improve financial inclusion among underserved communities.
The winners were UW-Milwaukee finance and computer science student Reid Pezewski, University of Chicago statistics and computer science student Quinn Thompson and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater computer science student Nelson Cowan.
The trio, who have been friends since high school, decided to team up after hearing about the competition through a connection Thompson had to FIS, Pezewski said. Their winning idea was a social media app that would educate users on investment topics like bonds, options and cryptocurrency. The working name is NQR Finances, Pezewski said.
As their prize, the group was connected with the University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Venture Lab to receive weekly virtual mentoring for two months from the lab’s entrepreneurs-in-residence, Pezewski said.
Additionally, the winning students earned priority interviews for internships or full-time employment with FIS. Pezewski applied for summer FIS internships in financial analysis and technology business consulting, and is also applying to internships at Baird and Northwestern Mutual, he said.
“FIS isn’t just a destination for innovation – it’s a destination for innovators,” FIS global chief technology and digital officer Sangy Vatsa said in a statement. “It’s been exciting to see all the creativity and passion from employees and students.”
Pezewski and Thompson attended high school at University School of Milwaukee and Cowan went to Marquette University High School.
Moving forward, the NQR Finances group is exploring the possibility of building a startup around their idea, Pezewski said. They’re currently participating in the La Macchia New Venture Business Plan Competition at UWM.
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