Community Banks Flock to ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator as Program Reaches Peak Capacity

May 30, 2023

They say, "success begets success" and in the case of the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program this timeless belief holds true. Before we even hit the halfway point on our fifth accelerator program, which kicked off on April 24, we found out that we’d reached capacity for both in-person and virtual bank visits.

This incredible momentum demonstrates why we doubled down on our commitment to the ThinkTECH program by bringing the Accelerator in-house, expanding our innovation programming, and focusing on deposit centric and real-time payments solutions for our first accelerator of 2023.

Community bankers have responded and that’s what makes everything we do worth it. So, I wanted to provide a brief update on where we are and how that’s driving our path forward.

Program Refinements for 2023

ThinkTECH 2023 Kickoff Event

ThinkTECH 2023 Kickoff

The recent updates to our program have resulted in a compacted timeline (10 vs 16 weeks) and a slimmed down cohort hyper-focused to address today’s most pressing business concerns. We wanted to squeeze out every drop of learning possible, so we're following a rigorous agenda and introducing bankers in residence and subject matter experts to kick off each week, following up with a debrief that encapsulates feedback for the cohort as they fine tune their offerings and pitch.

During our recent kickoff, ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey and ICBA Chairman Derek Williams joined a contingent of local bankers, and leaders from alumni companies to welcome our newest cohort and offer sage advice on how to maximize this experience. Subsequent weeks have touched on due diligence, pricing considerations, sales strategies for CEOs, and strategic partnerships.

As our fintechs participants are discovering, this accelerator is really just the beginning. Many of our alumni solidify the continuation of their ICBA affiliation—transitioning into corporate members, and in some cases, Preferred Service Providers to build upon those critical relationships formed during the program.

Crossing the Halfway Point

ThinkTECH Kickoff with ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey

ThinkTECH 2023 Kickoff

We’ll soon hit another milestone when we welcome regulators June 1 from the Federal Reserve, CFPB, OCC, and FDIC to share their perspectives on the state of community bank regulation from their unique vantage point. This hands-on approach to collaboration is pivotal to moving the needle forward in our ongoing quest to balance compliance considerations against innovation advancements that ultimately benefit customers.

This week focuses on compliance while weeks seven through nine will cover funding, marketing and public relations, and culture and human resources, respectively, before we enter graduation week and gear up for the highly anticipated Demo Day on June 28.

This provides a prime opportunity to see the progression of these companies and to vote on the offering most valuable in helping to solve community bank business challenges and opportunities. The event will also be livestreamed for those who can’t attend in-person, so your whole team can participate.

In the meantime, I’ll be hitting the road and bringing the cohort with me for two special state association engagements. So, you don’t have to wait until Demo Day for your next opportunity to convene with our cohort. Check out our playlist to learn more about this year’s cohort and read weekly recaps from innovation team members for additional insights.

Because success, once tasted, feeds our thirst for results, we continue to seek out ways to maintain engagement and enhance the program’s benefits. If you’ve already scheduled a visit, please share your feedback. And if you want to be included in future communications about our next accelerator later this year, drop us a line. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Wayne Miller is senior vice president innovation programs for the Independent Community Bankers of America.