By Allard Luchsinger, Managing Director Techstars Amsterdam
The Future of Finance program, a partnership of ABN AMRO and Techstars, is where unstoppable founders from Europe go to accelerate their early-stage fintech startups. 2022 was a brutal year for the tech industry, and particularly for the fintech sector. But often it’s during these dark periods when the most impactful companies are born. Now more than ever founders have the opportunity to build the new architecture for the financial industry in the digital age. The Amsterdam-based Future of Finance Accelerator is where ABN AMRO and Techstars have partnered up to support founders in achieving their vision of a modern, sustainable, and digital financial system.
In 2021, the inaugural ABN AMRO +Techstars Future of Finance accelerator launched. Covid unfortunately didn’t allow for an in-person program. In September 2022, after the Covid restrictions had been lifted, 10 carefully selected early-stage European fintech companies joined us in Amsterdam for three months of acceleration. These founders faced a wild market. Many prominent late-stage fintechs lost up to 80% of their market value and investors were reconsidering their strategies. Despite all this, these unstoppable founders continued to build their companies. After completing the program, and thanks to exposure to many of the European early-stage fintech investors, founders manage to raise funding rounds, two companies are piloting with ABN AMRO, and more are in conversation. All of them have been put in the strongest possible position to make their goal of building world-changing businesses come true. The program received the highest possible satisfaction score from our founders.* This is what the founder/ CEO of Flowpay, one of the participants in last year’s program said about the experience “The first question when applying for Techstars was, is it going to be worth it? After the first week I knew it was the right move! The incredible Techstars team and support from ABN AMRO really helped me accelerate my business not only during the program but even after it. Especially leveraging the network of mentors and invaluable connections to the Fintech VC ecosystem."
Today’s early-stage fintech market is still very challenging including funding activity that’s retreated to levels last seen a decade ago. We’re deep into a down cycle, which means it’s the right time to begin building your business. When the cycle swings up, founders who have started building now can be in the market with a product, a team, and early traction. This is where The Future of Finance program is invaluable.
We accelerate the path to early customer success and traction. We support our founders to be investor ready and introduce them to the best fintech VCs in Europe. With our program team, our group of experienced fintech operators and investors who form our mentor base, and with the full support of ABN AMRO, we help participating companies to make 1.5 years of progress in a three-month period.
We will select 10 to 12 early-stage European fintech companies to join the 2023 cohort. Similar to the previous program, we’re interested in all unstoppable fintech founders with a specific interest in the space where fintech meets sustainability and where fintech meets digital assets. This year we also have a special focus on founders building fintech companies that utilize the power of generative artificial intelligence. This new age of AI will change the world as we know it and Fintech founders have woken up to this new reality. ABN AMRO and Techstars have strong backgrounds in the field of financial services/ fintech and AI. We’re looking forward to working with founders who are taking on this new challenge.
The 2023 Future of Finance Accelerator will be an in-person program in Amsterdam. It will run from September 11 to December 7. Applications are now open. Companies can apply until May 10. Every startup that joins our program 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 program and access to the Techstars network for life, the Accelerator takes 6% ordinary stock in each company.
If this sounds interesting to you and your co-founders, come meet us!
We will be hosting in-person events in Amsterdam, London, Berlin, and Paris where you have not only the chance to meet with the program team and ABN AMRO but also will get the chance to meet with top-tier European fintech investors. We’ll also be hosting several virtual events. Check this page regularly for the updated schedule. Furthermore, you can always book 1:1 Office Hours with the program team. Request your 1:1 meeting here.
If you feel ready to apply, please start your application here and we look forward to reviewing it.
*Immediately after the program ends, all participants were asked to fill in a Net Promoter Score (NPS) customer satisfaction survey. This much used customer satisfaction measure asks the question “Would you recommend this program to a friend” Participants can give a score of 1-10. People giving a 9 or 10 are considered Promoters. The founders gave us an NPS of 100, the highest possible score. All surveyed participants completed the survey (100% response rate).