University of Utah Receives $65M Commitment for Fintech Center

The Stena Foundation and founders Steve and Jana Smith are committing $65 million over 10 years to fund and support student fintech ventures through a new center.
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  • The center will give an annual 10-student cohort access to venture capital, courses, tools and tech, and global education programs.
  • The venture fund will invest $1 million into 10 or more student-led fintech companies each year.
  • John and Maria Price donated $50 million a few weeks ago toward the University of Utah's college of engineering.

The University of Utah (the U) is starting 2023 on a fundraising roll with the announcement of a new major gift that will establish a center for financial technology.

The Stena Foundation along with its founders Steve and Jana Smith are donating $65 million over the next 10 years to create and support the Stena Center for Financial Technology, the university announced this week.

The announcement follows news that John and Maria Price had donated $50 million to help build a new $190 million computing and engineering hub.

"The Stena Center for Financial Technology provides the ability to accelerate and incubate important advances in financial technology innovation and businesses that will continue to propel the fintech industry forward and cement Utah as a center of excellence," University of Utah President Taylor Randall said in the announcement.

"This world-class center will leverage our unparalleled research and education with resources that provide critical hands-on experiences for students."

The center will collaborate with the university's business school, college of engineering, college of law, and president's office. The U will also begin offering undergraduate and master's degrees in fintech.

A cohort of 10 students each year will have access to the incubator "fintechXstudio," mentors, technology solutions partners, curated courses, prototyping tools and tech, venture capital funds, and global education programs.

The venture fund will invest $1 million in 10 or more student-led fintech companies each year and reinvest earnings into the center.

"The Stena Center will blend Utah's broad fintech industry experience with U students' energy and creativity," said Ryan Christiansen, the center's executive director.

"This unique partnership will connect financial technology leaders' workforce skills and experience with students' passion and ideas — accelerating innovation to place Utah at the forefront of global fintech excellence."