About the Accelerator
Applications Close - February 5, 2017
Selection Notification by March 31, 2017
Program Dates - May 8 - July 28, 2017
Demo Day - July 26, 2017
The program officially launches on May 8. However, as soon as your company is selected for the Accelerator, we will help you work out all the logistics, expectations and commitments to make the transition to Little Rock as easy as possible.
Evaluation & Acceptance
Applicants being advanced through the evaluation process will be asked for additional information and documentation beyond the initial application. We will schedule founders for a series of video interviews that will consist of founder presentations, demos as well as Q & A.
Our video interviews are conducted through video conference. Applicants are advised to be ready at least 5 minutes early for their interview session due to the volume of applicants and the limited amount of time to conduct the interviews.
Intense. Aggressive. Focused. The VC FinTech Accelerator's 12-week rigorous on-site program is designed to accelerate the growth of early stage FinTech startups through detailed business development; compliance, regulatory, security and risk management guidance; technology development and specialized financial services content. In addition, we will work with portfolio companies to build a solid, investable model to support founders in seeking additional funding. Concurrent with our curriculum, we have routing and by-appointment attendance by our mentors and subject matter experts to help your business grow.
The curriculum begins upon acceptance to the Accelerator. Participants will complete some deliverables and required reading prior to the program that will be due before the program start date. On day one - we hit the ground running to accelerate your growth.
The Accelerator teams have access to all of The Venture Center's partners (legal, accounting, technology, marketing, etc.) as well as access to great data science and analytics and market research resources from our partners at the University of Arkansas and state-of-the-art, data visualization resources at the UALR Emerging Analytics Center.
The Accelerator encourages all entrepreneurs who are poised to disrupt the financial technology space to apply. In addition to working with early stage companies in Core Banking, Payments, Mobile, Compliance, Wearables, Wallets, Back Office, and Fraud & Security, we’re interested in supporting and potentially partnering with startups leveraging emerging technologies like cognitive computing, neural networks, IoT, and enterprise blockchain innovation in financial services.
Portfolio companies will receive a $50,000 initial investment. In addition, the companies are eligible to pitch for up to $100,000-300,000 additional investment for selected winner(s) at the end of the program. The Venture Center will also leverage its network of investors
As the birthplace of early FinTech innovators like Systematics, Arkansas Systems, ABC Financial, Stephens Inc., Mainstream Technologies, and Acxiom and the home of the only FinTech Accelerator powered by the world’s largest financial technology company, Central Arkansas is the place for startups seeking to disrupt the FinTech space. Period.
2016 Weekly Overview
Week One: VC FinTech Launch
During the first week of the Accelerator, the portfolio company founders arrived in Little Rock and met privately with FIS CEO, Gary Norcross. The meeting with Mr. Norcross was followed by a press conference and welcome mixer at the Venture Center. Gary Norcross, CEO of FIS; Lt. Governor Tim Griffin; Mayor Mark Stodola as well as business and community leaders welcomed the founders to Little Rock. The mixer was followed with by an exclusive Founder's Dinner sponsored by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce at the prestigious Capitol Hotel in downtown Little Rock. A special surprise meeting with former President Bill Clinton the weekend before the Accelerator kickoff added to the stellar first week.
Week Two: A Focus on Finance
This week, the founders got down to business with presentations from local business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thursday evening, the founders gathered for a special Founder's Dinner at local favorite Lost 40 Brewing.
Week Three: All About Connections
Founders connected to industry experts from FIS as well as former employees from predecessor Systematics at an authentic Southern shrimp boil Founder's Dinner at the home of Venture Center mentor, Alese Stroud and her husband, Doug. On Friday, the founders journeyed to Northwest Arkansas for a private meeting with regional investors. The founders also spent time with Doug McMillon, the CEO of Wal-Mart.
Week Four: Key Industry Connections
Week four was focused on revenue and business building. The Founders met with Lynn Roche, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at FIS. They also met with officials from the Bank of England (Arkansas), Centennial Bank, and IBERIABANK.
Week Five: Selling to Financial Institutions
Week five was comprised of meetings with several key FIS executives, including Tere Brun (EVP - Community Banking and Product Management), Peter Connors (General Manager, FIS), John Gordon (EVP - Large Financial Institutions), Zeynep Fredrick (EVP - North America Lending), and Mike Whitacre (SVP - Global Financial Institutions). The founders also had meetings with local business experts like Shelly Loftin, CMO of Bear State Bank; Rush Harding of Crews & Associates; as well as Larry Middleton and Brad Eichler of Stephens, Inc. The week was punctuated by an exclusive Founders' Dinner hosted executives of Bear State Bank at Table 28.
Week Six: Marketing and Payments
Week six is the half-way point. The founders focused on marketing, and gained key insights into the global, digital and mobile payments markets via meetings with key FIS executives including Mike Florax (VP - Direct Banking), Serena Smith (Head of International Payments), and Doug Brown (SVP - Mobile). It wasn't all work and no play for the VC FinTech founders. They concluded the week with a lake day and casual Founders' Dinner hosted by VC FinTech executive Collins Andrews and his wife at their home on Lake Hamilton.
Week Seven: A Focus on Regulation
Week seven was punctuated by a visit from Rep. French Hill (AR) who visited with the founders about regulations, public policy. In addition, he shared his insight and expertise from his experience as a businessman. The rest of the week focused on key meetings with executive teams from Simmons Bank and Arvest Bank. The week wrapped up with a visit from Mike Sharkey, CTO of Signature Bank in NYC and Scott Ford of Westrock Coffee and Westrock Asset Management Group.
Week Eight: Sales, Sales, Sales
Week eight was the point where the founders really began to pour "fuel on the flames" as they accelerate the business success. Following the 4th of July holiday, the founders went to the Capitol Tuesday morning for a private roundtable discussion with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. On Wednesday, Gary Norcross--the CEO of the FIS--returned to Little Rock for a follow up meeting with the founders. He then spent nearly three hours doing one-on-one meetings with each of the founders. The week wrapped with private tour of the Presidential residence atop the Clinton Center and a tour of the Library and Museum. This was followed by a casual Founders' dinner at Dizzy's hosted by the AEDC.