FinTech Demo Day: What's that all about?

FinTech Demo Day: What's that all about?

20-Nov-2014 by NektariosLiolios

Wow, a week since the Startupbootcamp FinTech DemoDay and it still feels like a dream: you work towards a grand goal for 10 months and then it is over in a matter of hours. Or is it?
People have been asking: Are you happy? How did it go? Was it a success? Very different questions. Please allow me to take a moment to look back on my quest for these answers…

When Carsten, Markus and myself set out to create a new FinTech accelerator in London we did this for very specific reasons: we wanted bring the Startupbootcamp model into the FinTech world (working with multiple relevant industry partners, driven by the aim to help entrepreneurs succeed), we looked to attract the best startups from around the world and from a very broad definition of FinTech and to create an innovation program that understands the financial industry as much as the startup world. At the same time we felt the need for somebody who is the voice of the FinTech entrepreneur in the debate around the evolution of the financial industry.

So we had to do a few things differently: we looked at the way we attract startups, our approach to engaging and managing our mentor community and how we execute the program. And in the spirit of being a startup ourselves, we experimented with many things with Demo Day possibly being the most daring of our experiments.

If Demo Day is meant to be the moment where investors and startups get to talk then we have to facilitate that conversation, move away from the pitches on stage and create an environment that is more immediate, less intimidating and with the right level of intimacy (yes, we do like alliterations). So we introduced our startups briefly on stage and then they all had to pitch multiple times in their own ‘pods’ in front of smaller audiences of 25-30 attendees. The pitch was follow by a Q&A and it was wonderful to see how interactive the pitch sessions were.
Granted, the acoustics were more challenging than anticipated and we will do better next year. The feedback from both startups and investors was overall very positive and this is what matters most:

And here are our superstars:
Now let’s revisit the original questions:

Am I happy? I got to work with ten fantastic businesses run by amazing people! Supported by the wonderful mentors who dedicated their time and expertise, our brilliant entrepreneurs- and executives-in-residence and the best Startupbootcamp team I could have wished for. So yes, I am.

Was it a success? We had more than 600 people attending and the energy in the room was unbelievable. The teams made tons of connections with potential investors and customers and this is what it’s all about after all. But let’s not forget: there are currently 21 projects in progress between the ten startups and our partners: MasterCard, Rabobank, Lloyds, Intesa Sanpaolo, arvato financial, MJ Hudson, Cognito, Route66 Ventures and SBT Venture Capital.
Success is also facilitating the links between financial institutions who understand how to work with startups and the importance of engaging with them in a way the benefits both sides!

Watch the FinTech Demo Day pictures here

It has been quite a ride, time to recharge the batteries (for a bit). Thank you to everybody for being our family. We shall see you very soon, either in London for 2015 or wherever we crop up next 🙂

-Nektarios Liolios, Co-founder Startupbootcamp FinTech