The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is staying in business in Arkansas.
ICBA has renewed its commitment to the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program, which is hosted by the Venture Center, for an additional three years. The accelerator is part of ICBA’s “comprehensive mission-driven innovation strategy for the highly-complex and evolving markets in which community banks operate.”
The accelerator was launched in 2018 and has been renewed through 2024.
“Because of its highly collaborative nature and direct access to community banking expertise, the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator has developed a reputation within the fintech community as one of the best for entrepreneurs looking to enter the community banking industry,” ICBA Senior Executive Vice President of Community Bank Solutions Kevin Tweddle said in a statement. “This three- year commitment to the program cements ICBA’s mission to create and promote an environment where community banks flourish.”
“Congratulations to the ICBA and The Venture Center on their long-term partnership through the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, bringing the most innovative technologies to community banks across America. While this partnership impacts neighborhoods from coast to coast, community banks make more than 50 percent of all small business loans and 80 percent of agricultural loans which is especially meaningful for Arkansans. We look forward to welcoming more innovators to Arkansas, the birthplace of fintech, for years to come,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.
Through the ICBA ThinkTech Accelerator, fintech companies from around the globe are invited to Arkansas to take part in a rigorous 12-week program designed to accelerate the companies’ progress – providing them with access to capital, mentorship, connections to industry partners and more.
Headquartered at the Venture Center’s offices in the Little Rock Tech Park, the cohorts receive feedback from community bankers and one-on-one time to help refine their products and approaches.
The inaugural ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator was held in early 2019 with 10 companies participating in the 12-week program. Approximately 190 applications from 40 countries were submitted for the first iteration of the program. The first cohort of companies included Adlumin, Agora, Botdoc, CRiskCo, Gerald, KapitalWise, MK Decision, Sou Sou, Teslar by 3E and Vetter.
The second program, ICBA ThinkTECH 2.0, was held in 2020 with nine companies. These companies included Finscend, Fintel Connect, Finzly, FI Works, Fraud.net, Griffin Technologies, Hexanika, Lendsmart, and Wallit.
“After two highly successful accelerator programs in partnership with the ICBA and with support from The State of Arkansas, The Venture Center is honored to continue playing an important role in bringing relevant fintech solutions to our nation’s community banks through 2024,” The Venture Center Executive Director Wayne Miller said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to continue our partnership with ICBA, and to help lead three more years of fintech innovation through the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program.”
The ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator was the Venture Center’s second accelerator. The FIS Fintech Accelerator was the first accelerator the Venture Center hosted and is entering its fifth year.