Financial tech firms tout products following ThinkTech Accelerator program

by Steve Brawner ([email protected]) 216 views 

Eleven financial technology companies showed off their products Wednesday (April 20) for Demo Day, the culmination of the 16-week Independent Community Bankers of America ThinkTech Accelerator program hosted by The Venture Center in Little Rock.

This was the fourth year for the program, which helps established companies improve their products and businesses. The participants undergo a four-week incubator program followed by a 12-week immersive program where they meet with bankers one-on-one to discuss their products and receive feedback. This year, 127 banks participated.

In a typical year, companies would have representatives in Arkansas for the entire program, which also would bring community bankers to Arkansas. This year they were here physically for one week, and the rest of the program occurred virtually because of the pandemic. Last year’s program was entirely virtual.

The 2022 cohort was chosen from among hundreds of applicants by a selection committee that included about 30 bankers.

In its four-year history, Thinktech has graduated 37 companies, 94% of them still active. In his opening remarks at Demo Day, Venture Center Executive Director Wayne Miller said “dozens and dozens of meaningful deals” have been struck between cohorts and member banks. All of this year’s participants are based in the U.S. and Canada, but the Venture Center’s programs serve companies based around the world.

Two alumni members have been Arkansas-based: Springdale-based Teslar Software, a member of the 2019 class; and Little Rock-based FI Works, a 2020 participant.

On Demo Day, the 11 companies provided roughly seven-minute presentations to a virtual audience of community bankers and others, with audience members asked near the end of the presentations if they wanted more information.

The 2022 cohort includes the following companies:

– Accrue Technologies, which helps businesses and consumers open accounts. The company recently was acquired by Franklin, Tennessee-based Core 10.
– Chimney, whose easy-to-use financial calculators can be embedded in banks’ websites to help customers use their lending, saving and other services. The company is based in Brooklyn, New York.
– KlariVis, which organizes a bank’s customer data. The company is based in Roanoke, Virginia.
– LemonadeLXP, which provides a digital engagement platform for new customer onboarding.
– Quilo, which provides a mobile platform for loans and is based in Lakeside, Montana.
– Senso, which proactively engages borrowers before they make their next home purchase or refinance. The company is based in Toronto.
– Sequretek, which protects banks against cybercrime. It’s based in Woodbridge, New Jersey.
– DocFox, a workflow automation tool for business account opening. It’s based in Miami.
– Unifimoney, a digital wealth management tool based in San Francisco.
– Vero Technologies, which helps community banks offer inventory financing for auto dealers and others. It is based in Brooklyn.
– Wealthstack, a veteran-owned company based in Austin, Tex., that helps banks offer digital retirement plans for their employees, along with more than 100 retirement and educational videos.

KlariVis was named the cohort’s “MVP” for its collaborative approach and its potential to address community bankers’ challenges and opportunities. Quilo won the 2022 Banker’s Choice Award at the Independent Community Bankers of America’s annual convention in March.

In KlariVis’s presentation, Gill Hundley, chief risk officer, said as a bank risk officer, she received 10-15 static reports emailed daily, or she had to locate information in storage.

KlariVis solves that problem. It is an enterprise dashboard and analytics platform that saves bankers hours of time going through spreadsheets. It automates daily extract files from the bank’s core system and other systems and presents information to bankers.

Ashley Fiore, chief business intelligence officer, displayed the reports generated by KlariVis. One bank’s information showed its total deposits and month-over-month and year-over-year changes. It tracked top depositors as well as average balances per customer and the number of accounts. Another chart showed the month-to-date deposit composition change, providing insight into why this particular bank had a $29 million decrease in deposits. Another chart provided analytics for each branch.

Numerous screens showed other types of information, including detailed information about the bank’s loan portfolio. Another page provided information for monthly board reports.

The Independent Community Bankers of America represents nearly 5,000 community banks that between them have $5.9 trillion in assets, $4.9 trillion in deposits and more than $3.5 trillion in loans. Community banks make up 99% of all banks, employ nearly 700,000 Americans, and are the only physical presence in a third of U.S. counties, according to the ICBA’s website.