By Tony Davis
Startupbootcamp (SBC) is a global accelerator program that works with early stage companies through an intense 14 week program of development, learning and engagement. But unlike other accelerators, SBC’s programs are industry-focused, bringing together a network of relevant mentors, partners and investors to provide specific guidance and nuance that comes from domain experience.
DiUS is proud to once again be partnering with Startupbootcamp and working with the founders, partners and SBC team throughout the three-month virtual program. Over the past three years we’ve also been involved in the energy and sports/eventtech programs. We provide training and mentorship to the startup cohorts across topics such as design thinking, systems architecture, hardware design, testing and manufacture and artificial intelligence. The SBC FinTech 2020 Accelerator Program kicked off on 14th September and culminates with Demo Day on 10th December.
For three months, the SBC mentor and partner ecosystem will be an extension of the startup’s executive team. With a ultimate focus on achieving better product/market fit, the program covers:
- Supporting commercial outcomes, business development, partnerships, channels and customers.
- Building relationships and interest with investors.
- Offering operational improvements such as marketing, technology, product development and financial management.
The FinTech sector has grown tremendously over the past five years, and is also extremely fast moving with new themes emerging. With payments and neo banks now well established, the major themes in this year’s program were health and wellbeing, RegTech, InsurTech, back office, claims and risk, data management and corporate social responsibility.
The field of contenders is global. The process begins with a list of 500+ early stage companies that are screened, interviewed and assessed over several months to arrive at a shortlist of 20 startups that are invited to present on Selection Days.
As the DiUS Intrapreneur in Residence for the SBC FinTech 2020 Accelerator Program, I joined the team in the week leading up to Selection Days. I really enjoyed meeting the founders of each company, hearing their elevator pitches and engaging in discussions around their Business Model Canvas.
Selections Days were run over three sessions across two days. Unlike in previous years, everything happened virtually. I wondered how it was going to work and in fact, it worked really well. Each founder was given 20 minutes to pitch their business, show their wares and engage with the audience of mentors, stakeholders, partners and investors. Essentially, they got one minute for the pitch and 19 minutes to discuss their business, team, history, their ‘why’, the business model, competitors, and their customers (i.e. interrogation).
As you might expect, some were better than others, but it wasn’t necessarily the polish of the pitch that sorts the wheat from the chaff. Key factors that the selection committee considered in their choices and recommendations for the finalists, included:
- Product-market fit, differentiation, positioning and market potential.
- Business model: articulated, scalable with ideas about go-to-market.
- Customers: knowing the customer and their motivations, growth potential of the market, product and the team.
- Potential for program partners to do a pilot or a PoC with the startup.
But ultimately, as with all SBC programs, it’s all about the team. We all know that a team that wants to learn and is open to feedback is going to get the most out of the program, the partners and the mentors.
Congratulations to all of the teams who made it into the SBC FinTech 2020 Accelerator Program and best of luck to the startups who didn’t make the cut this time around. I’ve always had a strong interest in the startup sector, both personally and through engaging with the startups that DiUS works with as well as those we have launched — Datarock, Pactflow, Powersensor. So I am very much looking forward to working with the founders over the next few months, together with the other DiUS team members involved in the program, getting to know their businesses and hopefully, having an impact, suggesting improvements, and sharing some insights along the way.
If you’re interested in talking to us about our work with startups or the Startupbootcamp FinTech 2020 Accelerator Program, please get in touch.
Meet the startups
From the 20 companies that presented on Selection Days, seven were selected for the SBC FinTech 2020 Accelerator Program. The startups that made the cut are:
Australian entrepreneur, Lucas Weatherill, is a former Quantitative Analyst who is building a B2B2C business that services financial advisors. The core product is a planning calculator that provides personalised recommendations based on factors including income and tax arrangements, risk tolerance/risk propensity, family situation, personality profile, current lifestyle choices and future lifestyle preferences. Delivered as a white-label SaaS offering, the OnTrack calculator helps advisors create a financial plan that is individually tailored to each client, without being tied to specific products. With a strong focus on user experience and entry level subscription at $10 p.a. per user, OnTrack has already run successful trials with several Australian-based wealth management and retail advice customers.
A RegTech business out of Europe, the Harpocrates founding team of Jascha, Jan and Martin are firmly focused on helping their clients manage compliance around data privacy. GDPR, a game changer in data privacy in Europe, has spread its tentacles to become the global standard for data privacy. Harpocrates is applying natural language processing and AI to provide a set of automation tools that help product managers, compliance officers and marketing teams meet and manage their compliance regulations, both locally and in foreign jurisdictions.
Another RegTech out of Europe (is there a theme brewing?), RegRadar founders Patrick Reido and Tal Yampolsky are building a notification service that keeps clients up to date with the latest developments in regulations and regulatory changes. The platform uses machine learning to scan the market and provide tailored results for each user’s selected categories and jurisdictions. Based on a freemium subscription model, they are taking a self-service approach with a strong focus on user engagement and onboarding. The team has recently run a successful trial with one of the big four consulting firms and is looking to expand through strategic partnerships and optimisation of the acquisition-conversion funnel.
The B2B2C customer data platform provides Rewards-as-a-Service: cashback for shoppers, and consumer data and intelligence for clients. Co-Founder David Anderson brings deep experience from the digital marketing and MarTech domains, going to market with a new value proposition for retailers, brands and clubs. A key point of difference to other customer data platforms is their approach to collecting data directly from users, rather than via merchants. Their technology platform is deployed via a set of public and private APIs that integrate into customer client applications and websites, giving them the potential to scale very quickly. Plastiq has run trials with the Melbourne Storm and Manly Sea Eagles and is driven by a vision to iron out the customer last-click attribution mess.
A US-based team led by a Founder who is driven by a vision where asset managers and institutions are making investment decisions based on Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) data and insights. The Mark Labs team comprises a diverse range of subject matter experts, analysts and modellers across the Environmental, Social, Governance and sustainability domains. They seek to combine machine learning algorithms with subject matter expertise to establish frameworks and scorecards that quantify the sustainability and social impact of large investments. Mark Labs is currently working on a proof of concept with an American asset manager with $250B assets under management and are also in discussions with the United Nations regarding the economic impact of investments towards refugees. I would expect this service will attract interest from a few of the Australian superannuation funds.
Founded out of Germany, massUp is an online insurance solution for property and casualty (P&C) insurers. With a focus on small items, gadgets and handheld devices, the massUp team is providing an end-to-end white label solution at a low cost that enables P&C insurers to build products with profitable margins. They have established a strategic partnership with Willis Towers Watson, who used the massUp platform to roll out products for clients in Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Paroma Indilo and Kaleb Wilson created Datacy to be a data marketplace that enables consumers to collect, manage and sell their online activity data. Using a transparent network of platforms and applications, online behaviour and activity data is legally sourced from consumers who can sell it directly to businesses through the marketplace. Datacy has signed up 7,000 users, collecting 340,000 data points across 80 parameters on every user, every day. Consumers receive up to 85% of the fee paid by the client to use that data. The Datacy team is focused on delivering a scalable platform that enables the transparent and ethical trade of consumer data.