By Brian Bauer
Managing Director, Fintech Accelerators
The Venture Center
“The Venture Center is a unique opportunity, their partnership with ICBA equates to only one thing for your business, Success. Over the past 3 years, no other investment Adlumin has made has enabled us to meet more potential customers than the 30+ banks the Venture Center brings to the table. That sound you hear right now is opportunity.”
– Robert Johnston, CEO and co-founder of Adlumin.
All startups need one thing above all – interaction (and opportunities) with customers. The reality is that startups need many things, but customer engagement is king when building a new technology solution. This is why entrepreneurship is hard…because you have to deliver on multiple things simultaneously – capital, customers, product, new hires, partnerships, and the list goes on and on.
When fintechs seek to serve financial institutions, their customers can be especially difficult to access. Bank decision makers are not the easiest group of people to land a meeting with to test a solution with, or to sell a product to, because they’re really engaged in operating their institutions. It can be difficult to break through, especially when you’re first starting out.
The good news is now you don’t have to do it alone. If you have a relevant solution for the nation’s more than 5,000 community banks, the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.0, powered by The Venture Center, is a team effort that has you covered. We are currently seeking solutions for marketing, mortgage origination and servicing, vendor management, deposit gathering, cyber security, data science, and other relevant categories for the 2020 accelerator program.
Startups solve problems. So what problem does the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator solve for startups?
We launched the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator to rapidly validate and shape solutions for the community bank market. The ONLY way to get this done is through engagement with people at the organizations our entrepreneurs hope to serve: banks. In addition, startups gain access to a rockstar network of The Venture Center fintech alumni, ICBA executives, and our fintech focused mentors.
The program is 12 weeks of rapid validation, shaping, and focus on sales growth. It starts with the 10 awesome startups and early stage company founders that co-locate for the duration of the program. We select the best of the best so our founders have the highest quality collaboration with awesome entrepreneurs.
Incredibly, we have 40+ community banks participating on-site during the program. The ICBA and The Venture Center have done the heavy lifting for you. We bring the banks to you so you can test your solution, value proposition, product features, and pricing. Along the way, our startup and early stage company founders move toward solution commercialization, hone their value propositions, and build relationships with some of the most influential people, organizations, and vendors in financial services.
Our subject matter experts are marketing firms, bank consultants, attorneys and other professionals in financial services. Our mentors hail from a community with 50 years of B2B fintech experience and our team at The Venture Center has worked with over 50 fintechs to date. The program is unique, as it is the only program in the world focused on delivering next-generation digital and technology solutions to the nearly 5,000 community banks in the US market.
And topping it all off is the opportunity to pitch at ICBA LIVE convention in front of hundreds of community banks – a unique opportunity to gain exposure that no other forum can offer.
ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator also helps you answer many strategic questions, like:
How do I sell my solution to banks?
Who are the best strategic partners in financial services?
What vendors in the industry are most effective?
How to drive sales forward to close?
What will make my solutions resonate with community bankers?
How do community banks make purchase decisions?
What do I need for vendor due diligence?
How do I structure a round of capital or position myself for my next round?
What does my solution need to be ready for market?
The ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator powered by The Venture Center has officially launched the application period for the 2020 program. Applications close September 30, and the Accelerator is scheduled to run January 6 – March 27, 2020. If you think you may have a relevant solution, or if you know a company who does, please encourage them to apply at venturecenter.co/icbathinktech.