“We believe entrepreneurs can change the world” – Techstars.
Techstars Foundation has worked to make innovation and entrepreneurship more accessible and inclusive by investing in and accelerating nonprofits that deliver scalable impact for underestimated entrepreneurs.
Launch of Future of Finance Accelerator
In a recent development, Techstars has announced the launch of its Future of Finance Accelerator in partnership with Dutch bank ABN AMRO. This program claims to focus on exceptional entrepreneurs across all areas of fintech. In 2021, this program hopes to run in-person, dependent on COVID-19 conditions.
Laurens Hamerlinck, Innovation Partnerships Lead at ABN AMRO, says, “Developing the future of finance is a collaborative effort. Our program aims to provide a platform for founders to grow, partner up, and scale their business.”
Great response, despite the pandemic
Techstars opened the applications for its programme back in Q3 2020, while the pandemic was still raging on.
Kartik Varma, Managing Director of ABN AMRO & Techstars Future of Finance Accelerator, says, “if you’re wondering if the ABN AMRO & Techstars Future of Finance Accelerator is right for your fintech startup, the resounding answer is: “Ja natuurlijk!”.”
“We were overwhelmed with how much this partnership resonated with fintech entrepreneurs despite the pandemic. Hosting over 21 recruiting events across the world in 28 days, we were humbled by the enormous interest in our inaugural accelerator program with applications from over 50 countries. We are excited to welcome a diverse group of companies and founders from 20 countries and five continents, including 5 female founders and 2 female CEOs,” said Varma in a statement.
This year’s programme started on March 29th with a demo day scheduled for early July. Over the 3-month programme, the class will be meeting 100s of mentors, EIRs, global partners, sponsors, and alumni.
“Every startup that joins our programme is offered the same terms: we invest $20,000 in each company, and offer an optional $100,000 convertible note. In return for joining the programme and access to the Techstars network for life, we take 6% ordinary stock in each company. Techstars is the only accelerator programme that offers an equity back guarantee in the case you are not satisfied with our programme,” said Varma in a statement while announcing the opening of the applications for the programme.
Techstars was founded in 2006 by Brad Feld, David Brown, David Cohen, and Jared Polis. Techstars is an investment and innovation group that connects entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, and city governments to solve challenges across industries and geographies.
The foundation claims to have pioneered the accelerator program model in 2006.
Through the Techstars Worldwide Entrepreneur Network, founders and their teams connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners who will help their companies grow.
The foundation operates four divisions:
- Techstars Startup Programs – inspire, educate, and connect entrepreneurs
- TechstarsMentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs – supercharges success
- Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships – help brands create products and services
- Techstars Venture Capital Fund – invests in innovative and disruptive companies
According to Crunchbase, the accelerator’s portfolio includes more than 1,000 companies with a market capitalisation of $8.1B.
Sustainability, Digital Assets, Customer Experience
Techstars claims to be the world’s most active fintech investor. “We want to partner with entrepreneurs who share and believe in our ambition that financial services have a critical role to play in creating the world’s desired future,” says Varma.
He continues, “This year’s selection has focused on startups at the intersection of fintech with sustainability and digital assets that will redesign the financial sector and create a better future for consumers and businesses. We are privileged to bring this current class of fintech companies to Amsterdam to build upon the enduring Dutch history in fintech and to make a positive impact in the world that we hope will be equally long-lasting.”
Varma mentions that, during the time of the pandemic, Amsterdam still continues to influence the world of finance as it is the birthplace of many financial innovations. “The first IPO, first mutual fund, and the first fully-fledged stock market were all born here. The Dutch history of financial innovation serves as our inspiration as we combine the two powerful networks of Techstars and ABN AMRO Bank.”
And, without further adieu, below are the 10 startups that Techstars network welcomed to Amsterdam – they are listed by sector:
Cuantix is a cloud-based software that automates the impact measurement process, design, data collection, and reporting in an agile way. The company was founded in 2018 by Adriana Mata Fontcuberta, Javier Graterol, and Natalia George.
Geowox provides automated property valuations for mortgage lenders. The company claims to leverage high-quality open data and machine learning models to create fast, accurate valuations. It was founded in 2017 by Marco Giardina, Paul van Bommel, and Stefano Francavilla.
Raise Green (United States)
The company was founded in 2018 by Franz Hochstrasser. Raise Green is a climate-tech marketplace for local impact investing connecting capital with community needs. It offers people a platform to invest in clean energy and climate solution projects. The company aims to democratise renewable energy ownership, increase community resilience, and help facilitate the transition to a decarbonised future while creating new investment pathways accessible to everyone.
Valyuu provides people with a fair trade-in process to redeem unused product value and in the process reduce electronic waste.
Evercity is a blockchain platform to issue, manage, and monitor green and sustainable financial instruments. The startup aims to increase transparency, accountability, and liquidity of impact investment to accelerate finance into SDG-aligned projects and innovations needed to attain Sustainable Development Goals. The startup was founded in 2018 by Alexey Shadrin, Elizaveta Romanova, and Ivan Podmasko.
ReCheck is a product-oriented startup that builds solutions in the field of information security, legal tech, and digital sovereignty. Its aim is to equip organisations and consumers with the needed tools to share data in a secure way via decentralised platforms.
According to the company’s portal, it has help developers and startups to incorporate distributed ledger technologies in their products by providing tools to record, verify, track and sign data on blockchain. The startup was founded in 2016 by Emil Stoyanov and Emiliyan Enev.
Vinter is a data analytics business and a regulated crypto index provider building financial products that trade on stock exchanges, globally. It is approved and regulated by the European Securities and Markets Authority and the Swedish FSA. Vinter’s customers include custodians, exchanges, market makers, issuers, and fund managers. The company was founded in 2019 by Håkan Holmberg, Jacob Lindberg, and Marco Poblete.
XKey is an API providing safe, cloud-native custody as a service to help financial institutions secure crypto assets. Instead of using expensive, high-maintenance, monolithic systems, the startup provides access to a platform – the freedom to release new products in days, while lowering the total cost of ownership.
Financial institutions of all sizes – from startups to Tier 1 banks – use Xkey’s plug-and-play SaaS to scale safely by adding new assets to their portfolio on a hackproof, cryptographic security infrastructure. The startup was founded in 2020 by Chris des Fontaines, Clarisse Hagege, and Thibault de Saint-Sernin.
Facenote (United States)
Facenote provides biometric payments via facial recognition in a private, secure, and compliant way.
The startup allows any organization to transform their physical stores’ customer experience by enabling face recognition personalisation and customer service. Simply by providing a selfie, customers can opt-in to be recognised any time they enter the store, before they complete a purchase, providing them with personalised benefits by connecting with the store existing CRM and their previous purchases.
The startup was founded in 2017 by Eduardo Rivara, Kostya Kostyushko, and Mariano Costanzo.
Upside Saving (United Kingdom)
Upside Saving is an API for merchant-funded loyalty rewards, delivering frictionless cashback straight into a savings account.
In simple terms, it is an open banking based marketing platform that connects retailers to consumers through frictionless ‘upsides’ (cashback).
The company was founded in 2020 by Andries Smit, Kathryn Wright, Paul Russell, and Steve Fourie.