Have a question? Check out the information below for frequently asked questions.

Click the arrow next to the section title to see the full list of questions.


Go to:
  • General
  • Data Access Residency
  • Startup Eligibility
  • Data & Infrastructure Partners
  • Signature Events & Other Activities

What is Fintech Sandbox?

We were started in 2014 by a group of fintech entrepreneurs and investors in Boston who recognized that the high cost and inaccessibility of data posed a consistent challenge to fintech startups. Backed by some of the world’s leading financial institutions, data providers and venture capitalists, we are united in our goal to help fintech entrepreneurs build great products. Fintech Sandbox is organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, allowing us to serve as a connector across the ecosystem.

We provide a leg-up for entrepreneurs around the world by providing free access to critical data and resources in order to build their early-stage fintech products through our Data Access Residency.

Our goal is to be a place for entrepreneurs to learn, experiment, and participate in the broader fintech ecosystem.

Why is data access for startups even necessary?

Data is expensive. Often prohibitively so. The high cost and inaccessibility of data is a consistent roadblock for fintech startups and holds back innovation. In a startup world where other barriers to entry are lowering every day, we are on a mission to provide datasets to entrepreneurs for free.

Do you only focus on Boston?

We are proud to support entrepreneurs and fintech innovation globally! While we have strong roots in Boston, Fintech Sandbox has worked with startups from across Europe, Asia, Africa, and LatAm – in addition to those in Canada and the U.S.. More than 25% of our startup portfolio are internationally based.

Why is Fintech Sandbox set up as a nonprofit? How do you make money?

Fintech Sandbox became a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2017 so that we can focus on our mission of supporting entrepreneurs and building a fintech community. As a nonprofit, we’re in a unique position to be a connector and a friend to all in the fintech ecosystem, instead of being competitive to many of our partners.

Our primary revenue stream is corporate sponsorships. We are fortunate to be sponsored by some of the nation’s leading institutions – including Fidelity Investments, MassMutual, EY, Global Atlantic Partners, and more – who share this goal and are excited to further financial innovation. Learn more about our sponsors here.

How do I get involved?

If you are a startup, you can apply at any time. We review startup applications on a rolling basis and will talk with you 1:1 to ensure that your company can benefit from our program at this stage of your growth.

If you are a prospective corporate sponsor, infrastructure or data provider, or would like to become a general community member, please reach out anytime. Fintech Sandbox has always been an actively community-focused organization, so we look forward to your engagement.

What do you mean by fintech? My company doesn’t focus on traditional fintech or financial services – can we still apply?

We love all areas of fintech, insurtech, regtech, and financial services, or other technologies that could be relevant for the financial space. We also believe that financial technology has the power to solve global problems, and there is an important intersection between fintech and other industries.

Some examples include:

  • Banking
  • Credit and risk
  • Insurance
  • Regulatory and compliance
  • Enterprise solutions
  • Climate
  • Data infrastructure
  • Supply chain
  • Healthcare
  • Smart cities
  • And more!

Do I have to be based in the U.S. or Boston to apply?


We accept applicants from all around the world. As long as you meet our eligibility requirements, and we have the data sets and geographic coverage you need, you’re welcome to apply. Check out our data partner list to ensure we have the data provider you’re looking for. If you have questions about what specific data sets are available, feel free to contact us here.

While the Data Access Residency program itself is fully virtual, we do host in-person events throughout the year in the US and encourage startups to join when they are able.

How long does the application and interview process take?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and you can expect a response from us within one week after submitting your application. We set up an initial first-round interview to get to know your team and product, and then, based on that conversation, we set up a second-round including a product demo and follow-on Q&A with the wider team. The total interview process typically takes anywhere from 3 – 7 weeks, depending on our pipeline the time of year.

All interviews are conducted virtually.

Are you an incubator? Are you an accelerator?

Nope! We’re a Data Access Residency.

Fintech Sandbox is an enabler of startups, with a particular focus on removing the data access barrier to fintech innovation. Unlike a traditional accelerator or incubator program, there is no set curriculum or program timeline and we do not make a funding investment in your startup.

Fintech Sandbox actually partners with top accelerators and other fintech startup programs to refer our startups and to help fintech entrepreneurs continue to grow their companies.

If you are already part of another accelerator program, you can still apply to Fintech Sandbox and take advantage of both sets of benefits.

When does my residency begin? How long does the program last?

Your Data Access Residency begins as soon as you attend our Orientation. The Fintech Sandbox team will help you navigate which data partners are best for your product’s needs.

The average length of a startup being active in the Residency is 8-12 months. Your 6 months of data access period during residency in Fintech Sandbox starts the day you sign your first data contract with an individual data partner. You are welcome to work with more than one data provider and each individual data partner has a 6-month “clock” to access their datasets. Startups typically work with 1 – 5 data partners.

When do I receive access to data?

After being admitted to the Data Access Residency, the Fintech Sandbox team will connect you to the data partners as soon as you’ve decided which datasets you’d like to access. You will work with the data partner directly to get free access to the relevant dataset via the Fintech Sandbox program.

Turn-around time varies by data partner and is also dependent on the particular datasets you are requesting to access. However, most standard data offerings are available to access within 10 days after your agreement with the data partner.

Are you truly a sandbox? How do I receive access to the data?

Despite the name, Fintech Sandbox’s Data Access Residency is not a traditional sandbox environment as they’re known today. Instead, we have pre-negotiated agreements with our data partners on behalf of our startups for the data partners to offer up to six months of free access to their premium datasets.

How the data is delivered depends on the individual data provider. Many use APIs, some use FTP and other data files, and others use digital platforms. Once a startup is accepted into the program, we’ll work them to help them navigate which data partner and delivery method is best for their needs.

Do you take equity? How does Fintech Sandbox support itself?

No, we do not take any equity or any fees from our startups. Fintech Sandbox is a 501(c)3 non-profit with the singular goal of advancing fintech entrepreneurs working to build the next big thing.

We are fortunate to be sponsored by some of the nation’s leading financial institutions, data providers, software companies and investors who share this goal and are excited to help however they can. Learn more about our sponsors here.

Interested in supporting Fintech Sandbox and our mission? Connect with the team.

What happens after the 6 months of free data access ends?

You remain part of our community! Fintech Sandbox continues to add value to our alumni through access to our network, exposure and amplification to our community, events and speaking opportunities, and more.

I’d like to refer a startup to Fintech Sandbox. How do I connect them with you?

We have many community members, VCs, accelerators, alumni, and partners who regularly refer startups to Fintech Sandbox’s Data Access Residency. Our program is a great way to add value to a portfolio company, assist an early-stage founder in reaching their next milestone, or help extend a startup’s runway.

You can either send the startup the application form and have them list your name as their referral source, or feel free to contact us directly with the startup’s information.

My startup has already raised money. Can I still apply?

Absolutely! (And, because we do not dilute your ownership by taking equity, your investors will love you for it!). Just make sure you meet the other criteria. Typically, startups applying for Fintech Sandbox are anywhere from bootstrapped to Series A in their fundraising.

My startup is already generating revenue. Can I still apply?

Yes, as long as you are under $1 million in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).

The spirit of our program is to offer data to startups that need the data to get to market and would not otherwise be able to afford it. So while we do favor startups in the early stages of their growth, having some revenue does not make a company ineligible. Just make sure to tell us your story and how your company will use the data when you apply, and we will take that into consideration during the review and selection process.

I am already in an incubator and/or accelerator program. Can I still apply?

Yes, we view ourselves as complementary to traditional accelerator and startup programs. We have partnerships with a number of top accelerator programs, such as MassChallenge, RevTech Labs, NY Fintech Innovation Lab, and many others.

I am already receiving data from one of your data partners. Can I still get free access to that data?

Fintech Sandbox cannot override any existing commercial data agreements or licenses you already have with our data partners. Startups are able to access data for free from data partners they do not already have a contractual agreement with.

Can I use the free data from Fintech Sandbox for my paying customers?

One of our few restrictions is that, during the program, you cannot use free data from our partners to make money in a production setting. Our support is meant to help you build and test your service / product using real data. While non-paying beta users and proofs of concept are fine (and encouraged), once your product is ready for production you will need to work with the data providers directly to convert to paid access.

I need data that you do not currently offer. What can I do?

Please use the contact form on the site to describe your need, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Where can I get information about a specific service, data set or API?

Once your company is accepted into the program, you will have full access to each provider’s knowledge hub, including links, documents, and contact information. In the meantime, you can learn more about our current data partners and their available datasets.

I’d like to offer my data or resources to Fintech Sandbox startups. Who should I contact?

Thanks for offering! Please use the contact form to share more about your data or infrastructure offering, and the Fintech Sandbox team will follow-up with you.

What data and services do you have available?

We are constantly building out our data and service benefit offerings. You can get a sense for what we’re offering by visiting our Data Partners page.

What infrastructure support do you offer?

Our Infrastructure Partners provide our startups with top quality cloud hosting and other platform services. Amazon Web Services offers cloud hosting credits to our residents.

What is Boston Fintech Week?

Boston Fintech Week is an annual fall event that brings you speakers you won’t see anywhere else and the opportunity to make meaningful connections with the innovators, regulators, and investors building the future of financial services. It’s an inclusive conversation among thousands of industry leaders and emerging fintechs from around the world. Many of our Community Partners will also host events in Boston during this week.

What is Demo Day?

Demo Day is a chance to showcase the products and services select residents have developed during their recent Data Access Residencies. Commonly held in New York, but recently online, Demo Day is an opportunity to show your product or services to a world-wide audience of investors, entrepreneurs, media members, and people responsible for innovation at large financial services firms.

What is Mass Fintech Hub?

Mass Fintech Hub is a unique fintech collaborative focused on cultivating a robust ecosystem in Massachusetts. It is under the Fintech Sandbox umbrella. Learn more here.

How is Fintech Sandbox related to the Boston Fintech Meetup?

We share an incredible founder, Sarah Biller!  And you will often find the Fintech Sandbox team in attendance at Boston Fintech Meetup events.

By partnering with Fintech Sandbox, organizations are able to leverage access to the Boston Fintech Meetup community and events to share their own thought leadership and insights.

Check out the latest events from Boston Fintech Meetup here.

Not Finding Answers To Your Questions?

Get in touch with our team to learn more.


Join Us

Our community is built by startup founders, leading financial and technology institutions, data providers, investors, and more!

Become a Sponsor

Get In Touch

Apply as a Startup


Join Our Community