FINTECH ACCELERATORS: An inside look at top banks' accelerator programs — how they work, what success looks like, and what it means for the future of financial services
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Accelerators are fixed-term and often cohort-based programs during which an incumbent company, like a financial institution (FI), offers its expertise and guidance to startups, such as fintechs, to help the startups develop their product as well as build their company overall.
While initially introduced by companies with a sole focus on running accelerator programs, banks have entered the fray as the need to introduce new digital financial services has increased.
By running accelerator programs, banks can benefit from the innovative solutions participating startups can bring to the table — something that’s more important than ever as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates digital transformation efforts. Additionally, they get insights into various digital trends to keep tabs on the changing industry. Meanwhile, startups are provided with mentoring and guidance to develop and enhance their products and solutions.
In The Fintech Accelerator Report, Insider Intelligence spoke with key figures within the accelerators of top banks — Wells Fargo, Barclays, and Citi — to find out more about how they run their respective programs. We detail how the accelerators provide guidance to help startups develop their solutions, and highlight notable alumni startups from each program to reveal insights on how both fintechs and banks benefit from their participation. Finally, we examine the possible effects of the coronavirus on each accelerator program, and how the banks can still ensure effective programs moving forward.
The companies mentioned in the report include: Alkymi, Ascent RegTech, Bank of England, Barclays, Citi, ChargeAfter, Coinbase, Cover, Cyberwrite, Flux, Kasisto, Lloyds of London, Roostify, Simudyne, Stripe, Techstars, Wells Fargo, Waffle, Y Combinator.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- This report highlights three accelerators from banks — Wells Fargo, Barclays, and Citi — that have successfully run their programs over a number of years.
- Wells Fargo’s accelerator stands out due to its virtual nature, meaning that participating startups don’t have to relocate to a Wells Fargo hub. Participants in the accelerator are chosen based on how they can help streamline the bank’s operations, and those that are accepted get access to mentorship and potential funding.
- Barclays launched its accelerator in partnership with Techstars and runs its program in New York and London. Once selected for the program, startups receive mentorship from Barclays and its partners, funding from the bank, and the potential opportunity to partner with the firm outside of the program.
- Citi’s accelerator was introduced in 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel, as part of the Citi Innovation Lab. Startups have to go through a process that includes pitch events to be accepted into the program, during which they receive mentorship and help raising funding.
In full, the report:
- Outlines the benefits of accelerator programs for banks and fintechs.
- Highlights three particular accelerator programs from top banks.
- Details what services banks provide participating startups up with to help develop their solutions.
- Spotlights some notable fintechs that have participated in the banks’ accelerators, and how they have benefited from the programs.
- Discusses how the coronavirus has affected the individual programs, and evaluates how banks have reacted to the pandemic.
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