The Venture Center is partnering with the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) for a second itineration of the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator. The program is designed to partner early-stage fintech companies with community banks to focus on product development for the banks and accelerate the fintech companies’ growth.
Starting today, the accelerator will begin accepting applications from fintech startups and early-stage companies. The deadline for applications is September 30.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with ICBA to deliver next-generation innovation to match consumers’ evolving digital expectations,” Wayne Miller, the Venture Center Executive Director, said. “Community banks are the backbone of financial access for thousands of communities, and the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator enhances community bank customer relationships. We look forward to working with the ThinkTECH 2.0 Accelerator participants in Little Rock, the birthplace of fintech.”
The accelerator is a 12-week program that will provide the selected fintech companies with ICBA investments and mentorship. The program will be based at the Venture Center in Little Rock from January through March 2020.
Each company will receive a $75,000 seed investment and have the opportunity to engage one-on-one with more than 40 community banks. Arkansas banking leaders will work with the fintech companies to provide insights into the finance industry and help shape the companies and their product.
During the accelerator, the cohort will focus on a number of topics, from product development to pricing to regulations and compliance to marketing. Participants will conclude the program with a Demo Day where they will pitch their company/product.
ICBA and the Venture Center partnered for the first accelerator in 2019, bringing eight fintech startups to Little Rock from around the world. For the first accelerator, there 190 applications from the United States and 39 other countries.
The first accelerator has already produced notable successes. Invest Sou Sou, one of the accelerator companies, received the “Best of Show” award at Finovate Spring 2019, a conference focused on banking technology. Two of the accelerator participants – Tslar Software and CRiskCo – have announced they are collaborating. In addition, CRiskCo CEO Erez Saf says the company has doubled in size since the accelerator.
“We’ve had tremendous success cultivating community bank-fintech partnerships that marry high-tech, high-touch solutions to eliminate market-entry barriers and address community bank business needs,” ICBA Services Network Chief Operating Officer Kevin Tweddle said. “The second ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator marks the next phase in community banking’s innovation journey and positions our industry as leaders in fintech. We are excited to continue breaking through conventional banking limitations.”
ICBA also announced the selection committee members. The committee members will evaluate the applicants based on “need, relevance and potential for community banks,” according to an ICBA release.
Companies focused on deposit growth, marketing solutions, vendor management, mortgage solutions, data analytics, cybersecurity and social media are of particular interest to the ICBA selection committee. However, the program welcomes all startups and early-stage companies that provides a banking solution.
Apply for the 2020 ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator here.