For those in the finance industry and hasn’t been using digital technology in its maximum capacity by only clicking the Buy/Sell button, analysing the charts, sending emails, pitching the two cent in social media, this is what startup accelerator is: a startup accelerator is a program for speeding up the objective of a startup(a business designed to grow big, fast). There are many accelerators out there like Y Combinator, Kauffman Foundation, TechStars and so forth.
What does an accelerator do?
Traditionally, an accelerator provides mentoring, seed investment usually coming from investment/VC/angel partners so that startups can start working on their concept to become a product and eventually bring that product to the market or get acquired by a bigger company.
The ‘Acceleration’ Process
Here’s the fun part of the accelerator program. Would-be entrepreneurs will get the chance to pitch their ideas to a group of investors/angels/VCs, investors get to pick the best ones, entrepreneurs will build a team to develop their minimum viable product. Normally, this process takes place in an event called ‘startup weekends’ where participants pitch in their ideas, have their ideas voted by fellow participants, those who got selected can build their teams and work on their ideas and build it as a minimum viable product over the weekend and do a demo on the final day (which is Sunday), MVPs or minimum viable products are selected on the demo day will receive seed funding so the startup can work full time on the project until the product reaches commercial maturity(maybe).
What makes StockHack different?
Unlike Y Combinator, Techstars or other accelerators which doesn’t really give much emphasis on the industry an entrepreneur is working on, StockHack will be focusing mainly on financial technologies, developing innovative ideas around the problems and challenges facing the financial and capital markets today, it will not be a hackathon for building utilities/wrappers of what we already have and what we already know(although that might help for a start) or something uninteresting or nerdy-cool. One thing is certain, the financial industry, the equities/securities market in particular is not running out of problems to solve, problems and challenges can range from regulatory, procedural, transactional etc. For local small investors alone, procedural issues such as personal appearances can be solved by the use of telepresence technologies (Please, please Google “telepresence” it is going to be a huge market). Transactional issues can include AI (artificial intelligence) advisers that works like Siri. Other opportunities (problems waiting to be solved) are only limited by the entrepreneurs’ imagination.
At StockHack, the goal is to identify a problem related to financial technology (stocks, mutual funds etc.), come up with a solution to a certain, problem develop the idea (product, market, price plan, risks etc.), build the minimum viable product, pitch the business plan, get funded and launch. Sounds exciting but the failure rate of a startup is really huge, and for that a startup, specially for some who are developing for financial technology, can not afford to start small, this is a “Go Big or Go Home” game.