Merchant services and payment processing technology company Elavon, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, has opened a technology innovation lab called The Greenhouse in the heart of Atlanta. The fintech-focused lab will explore emerging technologies and how they might relate to solving problems in the payments industry.
Elizabeth Holmes, Elavon’s senior vice president of IT Strategy and Global Business Development, says the lab will look to find solutions for both Elavon’s clients and internal processes. Elavon is the 4th largest U.S. credit card processor and processes more than 3 billion transactions a year in 10 countries.
“There are no rules as to what we can work on, except that projects must fit within our model,” says Holmes. “For example, if someone comes to us and asks us to test out software, that does not qualify as a Greenhouse project. That is a solution, not a problem. When we start with a problem instead of the answer we are trying to validate, we are much more likely to find a better and more comprehensive solution.”
It will initially be staffed by a small group, including a lab manager and project coordinator. Individual teams made up of Elavon staff, interns, and partners will then each focus on specific projects and new technologies such as artificial intelligence/machine learning, user interaction, software developments, and more.
Given the importance Elavon is placing on interns, the placement of The Greenhouse — down the road from Georgia Tech — is strategic. Though it is not joining one of the almost-two dozen innovation centers sprinkled around Tech Square, its location in the Carriage Works Building slightly west of campus is still highly convenient to students.
“Being within walking distance of campus means that students can spend a few hours a day with us based on their class schedules and we can benefit from all of the various engineering disciplines at our fingertips,” says Holmes.
Partners of The Greenhouse include Midtown Consulting Group, Georgia Tech, Infosys, 352 Inc. and Tech Square.
“The programs surrounding innovation in Atlanta and within our technology community have been extremely valuable in helping us get started,” says Holmes.