By Kevin Tweddle
Two fintechs walk into an Accelerator and… collaborate? For ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator alumni Teslar Software and CRiskCo, the answer was “Yes.” Company executives said the feedback received over the course of the bootcamp, during which they honed their offerings and product pitches, sparked discussions about how to integrate their offerings to support broader adoption and create a more seamless user experience.
“Through the ThinkTECH Accelerator we met several impressive fintech companies that would provide complementary services to our platform and enhance the value we deliver to community banks,” said Joe Ehrhardt, CEO of 3E , a provider of automated workflow and portfolio management tools that help community financial institutions thrive.
“If we can identify partnership opportunities to offer a service and provide value quickly to community banks, we will go for it,” added Erez Saf, CEO at credit risk analysis and management platform provider CRiskCo.
This big-picture view and focus on continuous product improvement is why early-stage fintechs and startups vie for a coveted spot in the Accelerator program.
“The Accelerator was a real game-changing opportunity for our company,” said Saf. “We were able to speak to community banks on a personal level and get to know how to solve their challenges.”
Ehrhardt also touted the benefit gained by connecting with and receiving valuable feedback from banking leaders about the company’s platform and how it could help address market needs. “This helped us to develop some exciting new capabilities that we are looking forward to launching later in the year,” he said.
Company growth is another consistent outcome of the Accelerator program, with cohort participants expanding offices, hiring staff, moving their headquarters to accommodate new markets, and, most importantly, gaining new clients.
“Since the Accelerator, we have scheduled more than 100 conversations with community bankers across the country,” said Ehrhardt.
Saf shares a similar experience, attributing CRiskCo’s upward trajectory directly to the Accelerator. “We’ve doubled our size from the time we entered the cohort” and are “growing fast as we scale up to provide services to current and potential customers,” he said.
As ICBA prepares to launch its ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.0, we’re looking forward to helping to bring new community bank solutions, like those offered by last year’s participants, to market.
So, bankers, please reach out to learn more about how you can participate in our next Accelerator experience. And fintechs, stay tuned for more information about how you can secure your spot for this can’t-miss experience.
But don’t just take my word for it.
“My advice for fintechs considering the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator? First, apply. Second, apply. Third, apply and make sure your application is perfect,” Saf said. “This is the biggest opportunity in the market.”
Kevin Tweddle is chief operating officer of the ICBA Services Network.