ICBA Press Release Banner 2020

Community Bank-Fintech Event Spurs Collaborative Innovation in the New Year

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 6, 2021) — The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), in partnership with The Venture Center and the state of Arkansas, today announced its third annual ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator cohort during a virtual kickoff event.

"When community banks pair with promising fintechs the result is a formula for success that benefits local customers and communities,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. "This rang true during the COVID-19 pandemic when previous ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator cohort showed up with community bank-focused tech solutions that helped community banks continue in their role as financial first responders through the Paycheck Protection Program when their communities needed it most.  I look forward to working with this new cohort and continuing our members’ innovation journey so they can continue to help their customers and communities in times of both challenge and opportunity.”

ICBA and The Venture Center chose the 2021 cohort from hundreds of applicants following a rigorous selection process. Company-focused products cover a range of offerings including cybersecurity, lending, customer engagement and financial literacy. Participants completed a five-week incubator prior to the start of an intense virtual 12-week bootcamp.

Throughout the program, ICBA executives, along with community bank executives and a distinguished network of industry leaders will provide mentorship and critical feedback designed to help these promising fintechs tailor their solutions for the community bank marketplace.

The 2021 ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator cohort includes:

  • Agent.IQ in San Francisco, Calif., digital customer engagement
  • Artis in Atlanta, Ga., embedded lending at the point of sale
  • Beauceron Security in New Brunswick, Canada, cybersecurity training
  • Finosec in Alpharetta, Ga., cyber preparedness and governance
  • Harness in Tampa, Fla., card-linked fundraising
  • Hurdlr in Washington, D.C., 1099 economy tools
  • Shastic in Berkeley, Calif., automated loan origination
  • UPSWOT in Charlotte, N.C., App data aggregation for small businesses insights
  • Zogo Finance in Durham, N.C., financial wellness education
  • Z Suite Technologies in Burlington, Mass., digital escrow tools

“Arkansas is the birthplace of fintech, and the state continues to birth fintech projects that are both down-to-earth and world changing,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “This year’s slate of companies keeps the tradition alive, and by the time these entrepreneurs finish this intense 12-week ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator bootcamp at The Venture Center, they will be helping community banks flourish and further cementing Arkansas’s reputation as the home of cutting-edge technologies.”

“The ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator continues to serve a critical role in successful collaborations between community banks and fintech companies during the most challenging economic environment of our lives," The Venture Center Executive Director Wayne Miller said. "The digital transformation is rapidly gaining speed, and community banks are effectively meeting those challenges and opportunities thanks to ICBA’s focus on community bank-enabling technology. The Venture Center’s role in nurturing an environment to advance community banks and their customers is an honor, particularly at a time when technology is critical to providing financial and physical safety.”

For more information about the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, visit the ICBA website.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, over $4.4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.

About The Venture Center

The Venture Center’s immersive accelerator programs are designed to accelerate the growth of early-to-late-stage companies and help validate their solutions for real-world problems. Our methodology provides a unique opportunity to connect with community bank executives, receive seed investment, and learn from a comprehensive curriculum aiding in strategically addressing go-to-market, business, and finance challenges. Learn more at www.venturecenter.co. Follow The Venture Center on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@VentureCenter), and Instagram.