Q: What types of “Fintech” companies are a good fit for this opportunity?
A: We are looking for innovative ideas that disrupt any aspect of the financial sector. So, while Fintech certainly includes anything related to payments, investments, banking, financial literacy, and crypto-currencies, we’re also open to tech innovation that might reach beyond those areas. So, if you provide innovation to the financial services industry, please reach out. If your innovation has a social impact intention too, we want to hear about it.
Q: What are the benefits of the program and what capital is available?
A: The primary goal is to better position regional Fintech ventures to raise capital from Ben Franklin and other investors as an outcome of this program. As a commitment to the curriculum, Ben Franklin will invest a minimum of $25,000 in each of the (2) startups chosen by their peers at the end of the program. Far beyond this, though, participants will have tremendous exposure to Ben Franklin and to other investors throughout the program, fostering relationships that may likely result in additional investment opportunities.
Q: What’s the application process?
A: We are accepting applications through March 10th. Finalists will be invited for an interview from which a complementary cohort will be selected, contingent on their ability to commit to the requirements of participation.
Q: Where does the Accelerator take place?
A: The three four-day intensive workshops will take place at Ben Franklin’s home in the Navy Yard: Building 100 Innovation Center (4800 S 13th Street).
Q: Why did Ben Franklin partner with Village Capital on this Accelerator?
A: Ben Franklin was attracted to Village Capitals peer-review methodology and robust network of investors. This program provides an opportunity for to leverage those resources on behalf of Philadelphia’s startup community. Learn more about Village Capital here.
Q: How does the “peer selection” process work?
A: A special component of the program is that the cohort members will use VilCap’s peer review process to assess each other, with an investor mindset, throughout the experience. At the end, the peer cohort will deem two companies winners each of a $25,000 Ben Franklin investment.
Q: Does the $25,000 investment signal that this program is for very young companies?
A: The $25,000 is a minimum guarantee, tied closely to the peer review methodology. Ben Franklin may choose to increase its investment in the two “winners” and may pursue investment in any/all of the participants.
Q: Does my company have to be located in the Philadelphia region to apply/participate?
A: No. However, Ben Franklin can only invest in companies that have a presence in the Philadelphia region. So, if your company is selected by the cohort for the $25,000 investment, you will have to establish a presence in the region in order to accept the investment.
Q: What’s expected from the companies that participate?
A: We expect that you will fully commit to and participate in the programming. Ideally, the same person/people participate in the various workshops and assignments. Again, our goal here is to best prepare you for investment. Investors, mentors, and potential customers will be heavily involved with the program, so your failure to be prepared and to follow through will likely be detrimental to your fundraising efforts. So, if you can’t commit to participation in the program, please don’t take a spot that might be useful for another company.
Q: What’s guaranteed and what’s not guaranteed?
A: Selected companies will take part in a world-class, award-winning program that has tremendous potential to benefit their company. Each company will be connected to a mentor, investor, or other experienced stakeholder who commits to being a source of guidance during the three months. Two participants are assured of a guaranteed minimum investment of $25,000 from Ben Franklin. We can’t guarantee that this program will result in any additional investments, but participants will be exposed to a tremendous network of decision makers from the finance industry. How the participants perform and how the investors determine what is a good investment is beyond our control. Having said that, everyone participating in this program is doing so with the intention of improving deal flow for Fintech ventures in the Philadelphia region.