Meet Us at the Cutting Edge
By Daniel Schutte
Daniel Schutte is the Program Manager, Fintech Accelerators, at The Venture Center.
As Program Manager, my role is building The Venture Center’s fintech accelerator programs, of which ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator and ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.0 are part. I recently did the math, and I talk to about 500 fintech companies every year. I spend most of the day, every day, on the phone, and in zoom video conferences with fintech founders around the world. We meet to talk about their solutions, about their businesses, and what their next steps are. These meetings help us drill down the best companies to bring to our clients.
What we’re looking for in a fintech company is quite specific. We want companies who understand the banking industry and have the kind of technology that fits well with our partners’ roadmaps. With that understanding and some funding, success ultimately follows. The founders in our accelerator programs understand how things work with banks, and are doing more than building what they think is a better mousetrap. Instead, they are interested in working in the current eco-structure and enabling banks to serve their customers better.
We often hear that successful businesses are about people than anything else, and this will always be true. That’s why one part of our accelerator cohort is a bit outside a list of tangibles defining the candidates and companies we select. Also important is that certain”Je ne sais quoi.” We know our clients well, and we work to connect them with fintechs where the solutions are relevant, and the relationships have potential – because banking is all about relationships.
Through our accelerator programs, we work to ensure those relationships are as strong as they can be. In this second iteration of the program, we are further downstream in every aspect. We have had a more extended recruitment period, and we have had more time to build the actual accelerator. We have an incredible crop of applicants who know the value of the subject matter experts and the direct interaction with bankers. Our next cohort is already market-validated, so it’s an incredibly efficient way for bankers to innovate effectively. These things are enormous for the average community bank needing turnkey solutions and a way to bypass massive integrations.
For our next cohort, we’ll have a broad spectrum of companies. Banks will get to see the bleeding edge of technology and will be helping to shape innovation by providing much sought-after feedback to fintechs from around the world.
I’m not aware of another place where a bank can meet examine ten pre-vetted, high impact tech solutions in one day. The program we have built is all about solutions that move the banking industry forward. Any bank can be a part of that innovation by scheduling a visit to The Venture Center during the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.0 at www.venturecenter.co/bank. Spaces are limited, so make your appointment early.