A group of banks, investors and technology experts announced today their search for the "nation's top financial technology innovators" who will participate in the FinTech Innovation Lab. Six entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in a 12-week lab program that will begin in May 2011. Qualified applicants must have at least a working alpha version of their technology, ready for testing for the institutional or retail market.

Those companies selected will be provided with work space, partial funding for expenses, and mentorship from the participating financial firms. These include Bank of America, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley.

According to the press release, the banking and securities and investment sectors in North America alone will spend over $14 billion on external software in 2011, and the U.S. financial services industry employs nearly 233,000 technology workers, including approximately 25,000 in New York City. The Lab describes this as "an enormous market and pool of talent that can be leveraged to ensure that New York is the center of the growing high tech sector of the financial services industry."

"We're looking for entrepreneurs who have innovative technology solutions that address the needs of the financial services industry, including technologies from other sectors that can be redirected to financial services," says Maria Gotsch, President & CEO of the New York City Investment Fund. "Our goal is to identify the best of the next generation of financial technology entrepreneurs and to give them access to and feedback from potential customers and funders."

The program will be run by the New York City Investment Fund, Accenture, and the economic development arm of the non-profit Partnership for New York City. The Lab is taking applications through January 2011.