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Fintech startup ICM to bring HQ to Wilmington

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Investor Cash Management (ICM), which launched a Delaware State University partnership in September, is bringing its headquarters and hundreds of jobs to Wilmington. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DSU

WILMINGTON – Financial services technology startup Investor Cash Management (ICM), which recently inked a partnership deal with Delaware State University, is investing upward of $15 million to build its new headquarters in Wilmington and bring 395 employees to the state.

On Monday morning, the startup was unanimously approved for more than $4.25 million in taxpayer-backed grants by the state’s investment board, the Council on Development Finance, to support the expansion.

The 3-year-old, currently Chicago-based company offers a new twist on banking and investing for consumers, which allows them to invest savings in mutual funds, government money markets and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) while also being able to draw on the money for day-to-day payments. Traditionally, the investment industry requires longer wait times to draw money between brokerage and cash accounts or it depends on riskier margin calculations.

Interest rates for ICM accounts range from 0.55% for a bank account to 1.61% for a long-duration investment account. In comparison, the average interest rate for a FDIC account today is 0.03% for a checking account and 0.06% for a savings account.

ICM enrollments are limited to wealth management or asset management firms, or partnered organizations, which makes the DSU partnership more exclusive. ICM partners include PIMCO, SEICU Member Benefits, NEA Member Benefits, Foundation 99, Wisdom Tree and more, but DSU is the first HBCU signed on with the fintech company.

Founded in 2018, ICM launched with $6 million raised from venture capital and board members like MBNA co-founder and former Mastercard chairman Lance Weaver and Morningstar founder and chairman Joe Mansueto. Now with 30 employees, the Chicago-based financial technology company recently closed out a $10 million Series B round of fundraising. In August, ICM announced a partnership with Visa – it’s the youngest company Visa has ever invested in – and added Ariel Investments Co-CEO and Chairman John Rogers Jr. to its board.

Fred Phillips | PHOTO COURTESY OF ICM

As it quickly approached a growth inflection point, it began looking for a future headquarters, said Fred Phillips, CEO of ICM. The firm looked at a number of sites in Chicago, Connecticut, Florida and Texas, but ultimately landed in Wilmington.

“We’re very happy and proud to be in Wilmington, where it’s the global payments capital of the world. We have a large number of partners who are here, we have easy accessibility to New York with a further advantage that we can then come home afterward. There’s abundant local talent in the city and the state, where it’s attractive for us to go in and recruit in a very competitive environment to build out our team,” Phillips explained.

ICM has leased space in 1201 N. Market St. to launch its local operations, but it is looking to buy future space in Delaware. | PHOTO COURTESY OF COSTAR GROUP/CBRE

ICM has signed a lease at 1201 N. Market St. in downtown Wilmington that lasts into 2023, but Phillips said the company would be looking into buying its own space and building it out as an office to its specifications after it expires. To support the data security and fit-out needs of its current space, the CDF approved $461,000 in capital expenditure grants.

ICM also expects to hire up to 395 people to work as technologists, front-end developers, back-end developers, user-experience developers and more to advance its application program interface (API). To support that job growth, the CDF approved more than $3.79 million in job performance grants.

Ranking among the hottest fintech industry startups, ICM is joining a Wilmington scene that has seen growing success for such startups. Just last week, near-prime credit lender Fair Square Financial was acquired by the online auto lending giant Ally in a $750 million deal. Marlette Funding, which operates the Best Egg consumer-lending platform, also expanded widely last year in Brandywine Hundred while others like Mercury Financial, which offers its own near-prime credit card, are growing at the Wilmington Riverfront.

“(ICM’s) selection, in our opinion, of Delaware as its future location would further expand our state’s reputation as not just a financial services hub, but also an ideal location for other emerging digital and financial technology companies, attracting new talent and investors needed to grow the industry and leveraging those considerable capabilities that are our city of Wilmington and the state already have,” Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of the state’s economic development agency, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, told the CDF on Monday.

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