In my previous blog post on silicon cape, I explained that as the Innotribe Startup Challenge 2015 application stage draws to a close on 22 February, I am explaining to a lot of startups from round the world, who Innotribe is, and why I feel they should get involved, essentially pitching our value proposition.
One of the key elements to our approach is the coaching we offer to all of our startups who make it through to the regional showcases, and the final at Sibos, so I am using that 10 step process, to talk you through the Innotribe value process.
In Part 1, I walked you through the Introduction, The Problem you are solving, and your solution
Now I am going to continue on the pitch process we coach our startups through to continue to explain why I think Innotribe is a unique opportunity for any fintech startup looking to connect with the financial industry
4. Market Size:
This piece of the pitch is where you get to explain to an investor what you understand to be your market, and you explain how you plan to go about capturing a part of this.
After following the coaching process, this is where the Venture Capitalist coaches we have come into play, as this bit of the pitch is really for them. The Innotribe startup challenge audience is made up of bankers, VC’s technology company representatives, but if you are looking for funding, this is your chance to grab their attention. A typical VC will see at least 5 pitches in a day, all looking for different levels of funding. You need to be realistic here, as there is a good chance they will already understand your market size, but showing that you understand what your market size is, shows you have done your homework, and you are worth listening to.
The global scale of fintech innovation is truly staggering, current estimates put the total number of companies working on fintech innovation at close to 5000. If you add into this all the banks, and financial services companies who are doing fintech innovation in-house the number is a multiple of this.
There is also a huge amount of funding in this space, in 2013 it was estimated by Accenture that over $3 Billion Dollars was invested in Fintech, in 2014, that figure had doubled to $6.8 Billion dollars. Compare this to 2008 where only $600 Million was invested here, the fintech market is booming.
The Innotribe Startup Challenge is a great way to stand out among this crowd. As we focus on early stage, and relatively unknown growth stage companies, the startup challenge is a place where the fintech giants of tomorrow can be found. Our Alumni include the likes of Currency Cloud, Transferwise, Digital Shadows to name a few, and in 2014 we saw over $50 Million USD being invested in our own Alumni, with over $70 Million USD in 2015 already!
5. Business Model (including traction):
Whether you are an on-premise software platform, cloud-based platform as a service, or a combination of the two, your business model is crucial. Whether you go for a freemium model, licensing, volume use, advertising, you offer your service for free as you are monetising transactions, or a combination of these. This is the time to explain how you plan to make money.
A lot of startups are created out of frustration at not being able to do something, the phrase, we looked at the marketplace to find a solution for our problem, and one didn’t exist, so we created one, is something I heard time and time again during the regional showcases.
Once you have solved your problem, you realize that other people probably have the same issue, so you decide to offer this to other people. Taking some time here to think through your business model before taking this leap will put you in great shape.
If you don’t know how to create a business model there are a number of online resources that can help, and there is also a whole ecosystem set up to help you on this. In the UK Innotribe sponsor, Level39 have a monthly office hour’s programme where you can connect to mentors 1:1 to work this and many other aspects of your business through, and there are many more organisations like this all around the world. Finally you could look at Startup accelerator programmes from the likes of Accenture, and Startup Bootcamp, who are there to help your business grow exponentially in the space of a 3-month programme.
The cost to enter the Innotribe Startup challenge is an investment of time, not money, or equity in your company.
We estimate it takes 2 hours to apply to join the challenge, and if you are selected for a regional showcase, all we ask is that you can cover your expenses to attend the event. We are able to offer this service thanks to the support of our sponsors whose sponsorship payments cover the cost of the programme. We do not seek an equity stake from your participation, we do not charge entry fees to attend the showcases, and we do not charge a fee to come and pitch to our audience.
Since we launched the Startup Challenge in 2011, we have seen over 800 startups through the programme, and have coached over 150 of them. Each year we welcome 60 new companies into our alumni network, and help to connect them with the financial services industry through the challenge, and other activities we do through the year.
6. Proprietary Tech/Expertise
This is the time for you to talk about your special sauce, what makes you a better bet to solve this problem than the next team? Also known as the why couldn’t Google / Facebook / Apple / Microsoft do what you are doing (delete as appropriate). This is a question you would encounter during any pitch for investment, so you need to have a good answer.
We are not expecting you to dig deep into your propriety technology in a pitch, or to bring your lead data scientist who has PhD in mathematics, who designed your learning AI engine, which processes over 2 Million transactions a second, but you do need to explain that you have this. Focus on some eye grabbing headline numbers, and facts. Explain that you are the company who has solved this problem. If someone is interested in your solution, give him or her a reason to come to you; instead of thinking this is something they could do.
What makes the Innotribe Startup Challenge unique is the fact that this is run by SWIFT. SWIFT is a co-operative organisation that is owned by over 10,000 of the worlds leading financial services institutions, this gives us a unique opportunity to act as a bridge between what is happening at the edges of the fintech ecosystem, and the heart of the financial services community.
On one hand, the Startup Challenge is run to give a platform for Fintech start-ups to come and share what they are doing, to seek investment, customers, clients, or even partners. But it is also run for the benefit of SWIFT and our member institutions. We run Innotribe to create a place for the financial community to come together, to find out what is happening on the edges of our ecosystem, and to learn and understand from this.
There are a huge number of Startup competitions out there, but the Startup Challenge is the only one run in this way. As such it is just one piece of our strategy, which can be broken down into 3 key pillars, discovery, information and stimulation, and eventually execution.
Finally, we always tell people to end on an ask, not on a thank you, as this is how you build engagement with your audience, and explains why you are there. This could be asking for customers, investment, or partners, however here I am going to end on 2 asks.
1. I hope that you found this useful and informative, and gave you a sneak peek into our coaching, and hope you will join me for part 3, where I will walk through, Competition, Marketing plan and finally introducing you to the team behind Innotribe.
2. If you are a fintech startup, who is looking for exposure, coaching, and networking then I would encourage you to apply to our 2015 challenge. Entries are open till Midnight on 22nd February, you can find more information, and the application forms by clicking below