Founders Arena Spotlight: Lumiant
By Office of Communications
Posted on December 06, 2023, December 06, 2023

Mark Akeroyd, Head of Product at Lumiant

The Founders Arena, born from a partnership between the City of Arlington, Arlington Economic Development Corporation and First Rate, Inc., is an innovative WealthTech Accelerator designed to meet the needs of startup tech entrepreneurs. 

The 10-week intensive gives participants access to networking, funding, training and mentorship. Participating startups have created innovative products that banks and wealth management companies across the world can use to better serve their clients. The Founders Arena, headquartered at the new First Rate, Inc. campus in North Arlington, aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship while actively engaging the local community through workshops, seminars, hackathons and networking events. 

The inaugural WealthTech Combine took place on Oct. 10-11, 2023. Members of the first Founders Arena cohort spent two days networking with industry experts, honing their business pitches and attending sessions on topics from artificial intelligence to the current state of wealth management and everything in-between. Learn more about each member of the inaugural cohort through the Arlington Economic Development Corporation’s “Founders Arena Spotlight” series.  

Name of Founder and Company
Mark Akeroyd, Head of Product and Heather Holmes, Chief Evangelist at Lumiant
Sydney, Australia

What makes your product unique?
MA: The wealth management industry has fallen down a path of commoditized, product-led solutions. What they’ve left behind is the client: what’s happening, changing and what’s most important to them. Investments are part of that, but what about their values, family, legacy? The advice industry is trying to figure that out, but it’s really hard. There’s a perfect storm of people looking for those scalable client experiences that put the client at the heart. Enter us. 

We provide advisors with a series of tools and exercises that help them define their client’s values, well-being and goals, then engage in the co-creation of their best life. All of that broader stuff that advisors are good at, but they really struggle to articulate as part of a plan. Another industry stigma we’re trying to get rid of is that client experiences are geared toward the financial-minded spouse. We’ve done it in a way that puts the non-financial spouse at the heart of it, making it accessible and understandable. We engage, empower and use their voice too. 

We are leveraged in research of eight dimensions of well-being. Financial is one, but there are seven other dimensions and we help clients understand that. When you understand health and what’s most important, then we link in wealth. And because we do it in such an empowering way, we like to think it makes the client more wise and empowered to make choices backed by their advisors’ expertise when they’re out in the wilderness without their advisor. 

What encouraged you to apply to the Accelerator?
HH: I’ve known some of the [Founders Arena] players from another program they do in the banking sector. There are a lot of places out there trying to do stuff like this, but very few who do it well and in a way that’s actually meaningful for the Founders and value added for the businesses. For me, it was a no brainer – then I educated the rest of the team about what a value-added experience this would be because these guys know what they’re doing. The important thing about it is it’s from entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, and it’s all focused on growth. That’s really special. 

Also, the model is the first I’ve heard of anyone doing in the U.S. and I hope it becomes the standard. It’s shared opportunity, shared risk. If we grow our business through introductions made through this program, that has a direct tie to equity in our companies that Arlington or the program will get. Everyone is aligned in wanting to see the companies who participate grow. I think that’s a much nicer approach than anything else out there. 

What’s the best part about the program?
MA: The exposure to these firms and the feedback around our message gives you a really nice dose of reality coupled with empowerment of your own purpose. You have to have this sort of bravado. But that can be at the cost of a dose of reality, especially when you’re getting ghosted with no feedback. You get the uplift of “Here’s the part of your story that makes the most sense, but here’s where you’re spinning your tires.” You can then change it and go “that felt good.” Plus, the people that are here are customers – big customers.

How has working with the Founders Arena helped you achieve your goals?
HH: Our goals are to grow and to grow quickly. Having a really tight feedback loop with people who want to see you win helps collapse that time. That’s what we want and what we’re experiencing already. We’ve already tightened our pitch quite a bit in a month – imagine what the next couple of months look like. It’s helping us get to where we need to go faster. 

What’s next?
MA: We want to expand our footprint here in the U.S. – we’re an Australian company that launched in the U.S. not long ago. We see the U.S. market as a big opportunity. 

Heather Holmes, Chief Evangelist

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