Frequently Asked Questions
When are applications open and other key dates?
Applications Open - September 20, 2017 thru February 9, 2018
Applicants will be notified of selection by March 31, 2018
The program runs from April 30 thru July 20, 2018; Demo Day - July 18, 2018
How long is the accelerator?
The program lasts 12 weeks and is held on-site in Little Rock, Arkansas. The program officially launches in May; however, as soon as your company is selected for the accelerator, we will help you work out all the logistics, expectations and commitments to make the transition to Little Rock as easy as possible.
Does acceptance secure a financial investment?
Portfolio companies will receive an initial $75,000 investment from The Venture Center and FIS. In addition, companies may be eligible for up to $100,000-$300,000 additional investment at the end of the program. The Venture Center will also leverage its network to provide the cohort access to other potential investors.
How are teams selected?
Applicants that are advanced through the evaluation process will be asked for additional information and documentation beyond the initial application. We will schedule founders for a series of video interviews that will consist of founder presentations, demos + Q & A.
Our video interviews are conducted through video conference. Due to the volume of applicants and the limited amount of time to conduct the interviews, applicants are advised to be ready at least five minutes early for their interview session.
The accelerator encourages all entrepreneurs who are poised to disrupt the financial technology space to apply. In addition to working with early-stage companies in Core Banking, Payments, Mobile, Compliance, Wearables, Wallets, Back Office, and Fraud & Security, we’re interested in supporting and potentially partnering with startups leveraging emerging technologies like cognitive computing, neural networks, IoT and enterprise blockchain innovation in financial services.
Do I have to move to Little Rock?
Accepted companies must locate to Little Rock for the duration of the 12-week program. After the program, what you do is up to you. We hope you'll come for the accelerator and decide to stay. Little Rock is a great place!
Can I bring my family?
Certainly! Housing accommodations are up to founders to arrange and there are plenty of options to choose from. We plan several events throughout the program that are family-friendly.
Can VC FinTech help me sign a partnership with FIS or other Financial institutions through the accelerator? C-Suite executives from FIS and several other financial institutions regularly visit during the program to learn about your company and provide coaching and mentorship. We can't guarantee a partnership, but you can be assured you will have the opportunity and exposure to decision makers within FIS and other financial institutions to make it happen - the rest is up to you.
What does your curriculum cover?
Our curriculum covers everything from marketing to executive development. You may know your tech, but we will help you refine and validate your model. We will give you access to veteran entrepreneurs and industry experts to prepare your company to increase sales, grow, and seek investment for scaling. Our curriculum is designed to accelerate growth through detailed business development; compliance, regulatory, security and risk management guidance; technology development and specialized financial services content. In addition, we will work with portfolio companies to build a solid, investable model to support founders in seeking additional funding. Concurrent with our curriculum, we have by-appointment sessions with our mentors and subject matter experts to help your business grow.
The curriculum begins upon acceptance to the accelerator. Participants will complete some deliverables and required reading prior to the program that will be due before the program start date. On day one, we hit the ground running to accelerate your growth.
But we don't stop after Demo Day—we will to stay connected to you and help cultivate your company's success. Learn more.
What types of businesses does the VC FinTech Accelerator serve?
The VC FinTech Accelerator is designed to accelerate the growth of early-stage financial technology ventures. We are looking for innovative, creative and technology-focused FinTech businesses and are open to companies across the full spectrum of the financial technology space, including companies that are innovating in core banking services, wealth management, wearables, wallets, back office, compliance, payments and other areas of the financial services industry. Companies leveraging emerging technologies in IoT, cognitive computing, enterprise blockchain, and neural networks should also apply.
Where do your mentors come from and what value do they provide?
Mentors from both FIS and from The Venture Center's Mentorship Network are heavily involved. FIS has committed to providing key persons from their organization to assist our FinTech Accelerator startup companies. Some mentors from the FIS organization will be selected after the VC FinTech cohort is chosen in order to provide a tailored experience.
The Venture Center's Mentorship Network is comprised of four types of mentors: Executive Leaders, Domain Leaders, Industry Leaders, and Capital/Funding Leaders.
Executive Leader– The seasoned and successful business leader, whether a CEO, growing startup founder or small business owner, all bring valuable leadership experiences to the entrepreneur.
Domain Leader – Skilled professionals who provide guidance regarding a specific subject matter. They provide valuable expertise in areas like: intellectual property development, financial and operational strategy, technology development and sales and presentation skill development.
Industry Leader – Recognized industry leaders provide assistance navigating the complexities and connections within areas such as advertising technology, communications, financial services, government, healthcare and retail.
Capital Leader – Raising capital or selling a company is as much an art form as a science.
The accelerator teams have access to all of The Venture Center's partners (legal, accounting, technology, marketing, etc.) as well as access to great data science and analytics and market research resources from our partners at the University of Arkansas and state-of-the-art, data visualization resources at the UALR Emerging Analytics Center.