ThinkTECH Accelerator: Purposeful Development

ThinkTECH Accelerator

By Kevin Tweddle

As we welcomed in the new decade, ICBA signaled its ongoing commitment to community banking innovation with the launch of our second ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program.

Building off the success of the previous year, we solicited community bank feedback to uncover solutions that address community bank pain points and opportunities in growing areas of demand. What follows is a brief overview of the five areas cited by our members — data analytics, marketing, lending, fraud, and financial management — and noteworthy developments that informed our selection process for this year’s cohort.

Five Emerging Trends

  • Data & analytics (and related artificial intelligence and machine learning) are starting to become cost-effective at a scale that enables community bankers to use their data—and pair it with outside sources—for better customer analysis.
  • Marketing solutions have also advanced, creating more opportunities for targeting based on geography, customer preferences, behaviors, and other relevant factors, and for improved sales pipeline management.
  • Technology and a customer-centric design also creates a more frictionless customer experience for digital loan applications, quick decisioning, and efficient back office processes.
  • Anti-fraud solutions are drawing together data points to improve how banks collaborate to stop bad actors.
  • Last, but not least, financial management solutions are becoming an expected value-add that, with innovative fintech solutions, community banks can offer up cost-effectively to help banks grow while improving the financial lives of their customers.

I’m proud to say that this cohort represents an array of providers and solutions focused on these areas. And with the input and guidance from ICBA, The Venture Center, industry stakeholders, and of course community bankers, they have the potential to be game changers for our industry.

That’s the beauty of this program and its collaborative nature: providing community banks with the opportunity to participate to help shape the solutions of tomorrow.

“Community bankers during the course of their normal business operations are in the mode of vendor due diligence, where things are usually 'yes' or 'no' when it comes to evaluating new solutions,” said Brian Bauer, managing director at The Venture Center. “But when they come to the Accelerator, they’re able to look at it through a different lens, asking themselves what’s possible with this solution. They get to have that discussion and actually contribute to the development of the product, which creates a stronger, more viable offering.”

ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.0 Topics and Corresponding Cohort Participants

Data Analytics

Hexanika – Cloud-based, machine learning platform to uncover insights, automate regulatory reporting, comply with AML regulations, or enhance data readiness.

Finscend - AI/machine learning-driven predictive scoring engine for solving credit and debit card disputes.


Fintel Connect - Affiliate marketing company that helps community banks grow their digital acquisition of new customers.

Griffin Technologies - Location-based marketing and analytics solution that provides banks both geo- messaging and competitive analytics.

Finzly - Bank operating system to modernize customer and employee digital user experience, expediting time to market for new products.

FI Works - Bank sales and marketing software solution to help grow revenue and customer relationships.


Lendsmart - AI-driven, digital lending platform coupled with a home buying marketplace that can underwrite a borrower within 10 minutes.

Fraud Solutions - Solution that leverages collective intelligence, AI/machine learning, and real-time analytics to combat fraud.

Financial Management

Wallit - Application built to drive customer engagement while rewarding savings

We’ll be following these companies and their product evolution over the course of the 12-week Accelerator bootcamp, and sharing more about the trends in each of these categories and how community banks can benefit from these emerging fintech solutions going forward.

We’re just over a week into 2020, and already, we’ve launched an aggressive innovation agenda—and this is just the beginning. With a score sheet like this, there really are no limits on what we’ll be able to accomplish.

Kevin Tweddle is senior executive vice president for Community Bank Solutions for ICBA Services Network.