By Charles Potts
What a difference a year makes.
Just look at the results of ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator. While the first cohort was a resounding success, we’ve built upon that strong foundation, with the help of our partner, The Venture Center, and further refined our approach to innovation.
Chosen by a selection committee of community bankers, these nine fintechs rose to the top of more than 180 applications. We homed in on these companies and their products because of the sweat equity that had been put in already; this time, our participants all had a level of maturity that really meant they were primed for product commercialization.
And then over the course of 12 weeks, they underwent an intense, no-holds-barred bootcamp that poked holes in their offerings. Community banks stepped up to show where there were challenges and to offer advice on how to augment their products to better address the realities of the market today.
In some ways, this is a revolutionary approach, but in others it sounds an awful lot like a typical product development journey with user testing. So, what differentiates the ThinkTECH Accelerator participants from the fintech world at large?
“There are so many fintech solutions available to community banks,” said Kathy Underwood, an Accelerator mentor and president and CEO of $470 million-asset Ledyard National Bank in Hanover, N.H. “It is often difficult to know where to start when searching for a solution. There is comfort in knowing that ICBA’s innovation team has met with the companies invited to participate in the Accelerator and feels comfortable with the concept and the value they bring to community banks.”
In short, the difference lies in the input, guidance and insights these companies receive from a distinguished network of industry leaders, including community bank executives. Our Accelerator companies have been vetted by industry experts and mentored by your peers and colleagues, so that the solutions you’ll preview at ICBA LIVE speak directly to your needs and those of your customers.
From lending and technology issues to growing your customer base, these companies address some of today’s most critical topics. And, they do it in a way that’s accessible, viable and effective for community banks.
2020 ThinkTECH Accelerator Cohort
Lending & Technology
- Finzly – delivers a bank operating system with a plug-and-play architecture for quick enablement of payments and specialty banking solutions
- Lendsmart AI - streamlines the homebuying process for all parties, offering an end-to-end digital experience
Customer Acquisition & Retention
- FI Works– provides smart software that dives into data to reveal the best targets for revenue and customer relationships
- Fintel Connect– supports acquisitions by helping community banks promote their businesses online in a results-based, cost-effective way
- Griffin Technologies – offers a location-based marketing and analytics solution and deepens existing relationships by supporting broad buyer decisioning
- Wallit –rewards savings behaviors through a local marketing program that delivers merchant-funded cash-back offers tied to community bank debit cards
Data Analytics & Fraud Mitigation
- FinScend – reduces bank costs associated with dispute processing and improves the customer dispute experience
- Fraud.net – performs real-time assessments of payments intermediaries to identify and halt anomalous flare-ups
- HEXANIKA – automates regulatory reporting, supports AML compliance, and enhances data readiness
“Community bankers, regulators and other fintechs participated in shaping these solutions, and they are offering innovative products that I know are going to provide value to my bank,” sums up Underwood.
But don’t take our word for it. Attend ICBA LIVE Sunday, March 8 at 12:30 p.m. for the ThinkTECH Showcase and learn how these companies can support your bank’s needs. We hope you’ll join us as we set the stage for what’s to come.
Charles Potts is ICBA senior vice president and chief innovation officer.