Over the past few months, we have been fortunate to be one of just 15 selected startups participating in the Fintech Innovation Lab London accelerator programme, run by Accenture. Now heading towards its fifth year, the 12-week mentorship programme brings together young fintech companies with senior IT executives from 16 of the world’s leading banks.
At Cutover, we are a B2B platform with use cases in IT and business operations, with banks as our primary customers. Prior to our involvement in the Fintech Innovation Lab London accelerator, we had decided to develop the Cutover platform via very close working with a single bank initially, before then widening out, to ensure that we were building an industry standard solution.
With the accelerator’s introduction of new banks and new teams, we are now excited to be planning PoCs and undergoing information security reviews with three of these banks, as well as continuing engagement with a wider interested set.
We are very thankful for the great progress and lessons that the programme has provided and, at the close of the programme, we wanted to share our experience for the benefit of future participants and for those considering applying.
1. Wider but narrower
The programme sees you engage with 16 major banks, which is an incredible opportunity. However, naturally, it’s impossible during the programme to form an in-depth relationship with all of these banks. You have to consider their time available and initially go for the areas of the banks with maximum pull and interest for your solution. This pull is found in more than just good conversations; it’s also in finding a viable route to using your software. Maintaining all of the relationships offered through this superb opportunity is critical in the long term; we would suggest focusing on your top three opportunities during the programme itself to develop traction.
2. Corporate interactions
Everyone in a bank is incredibly busy delivering their targets amidst increasing regulation and technology change. Ensure that you plan meetings appropriately, turn up on time and always be courteous.
3. Own the problem
There are many internal hurdles in getting your software in use in a bank. Wherever you can, always take up the legwork and any issues in connecting people to help remove the burden on your sponsors.
4. Hunt the value and learn
The programme offers a superb channel to 16 banks. Rather than a focusing on how much of your solution you can sell, treat the collaborative nature of each interaction as an opportunity to learn from these banks, as well as to hunt the value that you can offer. Always ensure that the dialogue is not just about selling a deal.
5. Useful industry perspective
The programme offers an opportunity like no other to gain the perspective of many banks on the problem space you are tackling. Go in with the right questions and good preparation to enable you to exit with a great data set. You will receive mentoring from the banks and Accenture; these mentors can guide you to the best sources of perspective and insight, which is extremely valuable in developing your product and business.
6. Points of contact
The banks offer up Chaperone points of contact, who are your gateways to each bank. It’s good to ensure these people are briefed and know exactly what you are looking for from the programme.
We would very much recommend the Fintech Innovation Lab London accelerator programme. It’s a fantastic experience which provides the opportunity to develop long-term relationships and sources of guidance that are very valuable. There are not many better ways to get almost all of the key players in our industry to focus on your solution, as well as give you huge amounts of perspective and insight, all of which is vital for delivering value in your approach to the market.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the banks for supporting this fantastic programme, as well as the Accenture team for facilitating an excellent experience.
CEO at Cutover