By Kevin Tweddle
ICBA this week continued its innovation journey with the launch of the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.0. This is the sequel to ICBA’s successful partnership with The Venture Center and the state of Arkansas to support early-stage fintechs primed to help community banks create high-tech, high-touch customer experiences.
We’re looking to build on that momentum and follow in the footsteps of notable program alumni MK Decision, Teslar Software, and Invest Sou Sou to unearth the next crop of fintech breakouts, help solve today’s business challenges, and create future opportunities to meet consumers’ evolving digital needs.
Finalists will be chosen by our esteemed selection committee, composed of ICBA staff, leadership community bankers, and member community bank executives. Selected cohorts will receive an ICBA investment and participate in a rigorous 12-week bootcamp program at The Venture Center in Little Rock from January through March 2020 to further their innovation progress.
Perhaps the most important benefit, suggest program alumni, is the invaluable feedback received from key decisionmakers and industry influencers that helps these innovative trailblazers create targeted, innovative solutions tailored specifically for the community bank marketplace.
During ICBA’s ThinkTECH showcase at ICBA LIVE® 2020 in Orlando, innovators will have the opportunity to demo their solutions, with attending community bankers voting for the solution most relevant to their institutions via the Community Bankers’ Choice Award. A subsequent Venture Center Demo Day in Little Rock provides another preview into the finalists’ offerings, helping these companies secure key alliances as they prepare their products for prime time.
“We've come so far since we've started the ThinkTECH Accelerator and it’s largely because they literally put us in the room daily with bank CEOs,” said Fonta Gilliam, founder of Invest Sou Sou, which won Best of Show at this year’s FinovateSpring. “As an early-stage company, you rarely get that type of access.”
So fintechs, prepare your applications for submission before the nomination period (Aug. 12-Sept. 30) closes. Because partnerships like these, showcasing the power of community bank-fintech collaborations, don’t happen every day and are essential to creating improved customer banking experiences that signal the next evolution in banking.
For more information about the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator or to apply or nominate a fintech for entry into the program, visit www.icba.org/solutions/thinktech/accelerator.