In 2018 Cutover graduated from the Fintech Innovation Lab in New York, an accelerator run by the Partnership Fund for New York and Accenture. We spoke to our CEO Ky Nichol about his experience participating in the lab and what he learned.
What made you decide that the Fintech Innovation Lab New York was right for Cutover?
We took part in the London 2016 Fintech Innovation Lab as a startup, which was an amazing period of growth for us helped by the accelerator. Now that our company and product have matured and we are growing our presence in the US, it felt like the perfect opportunity to work with the New York lab to engage with the scale of US Financial Services institutions, validate product fit with their needs and incorporate these needs into our product roadmap.
What were the biggest benefits of participating in the lab? What has Cutover accomplished, learned or refined?
In our sessions with senior execs from the lab’s mentor banks and insurance companies, we got to hear their immediate reactions to the product. This gave us the kind of instant, honest feedback that we wouldn’t get in a normal sales session. This helped us improve not only the product itself but also our pitch. We also got great advice to show the product early as it makes the value proposition come alive.
We also performed three successful evaluation exercises with major banks with positive feedback and have more scheduled. It would have taken much longer to get these evaluations in place without the access that the accelerator gave us.
How did being part of the FIL in New York as a scale up differ from the London one as a startup?
On the London accelerator, the focus for us was on building and refining the initial product. This time, we were entering with a mature company and an established product already in operation in five global banks.
Our aims this time were very different and it was a great opportunity to grow our product and business even further and gain insights and feedback from US Financial Services Institutions. Collaborating with senior execs helped us hone in on the further value we can offer that really resonates with them, such as how we help Financial Services organizations save $15m per £500m spent on change, avoid negative newspaper headlines and work with regulators by providing an audit trail.
What were the most important lessons or pieces of advice you can share from the lab mentors?
One of the greatest tenets of the lab and a piece of advice we received from one of the mentors was “learn to listen”. Sessions with senior execs in Financial Services institutions go best when there is a dialogue rather than a one-way pitch. Leaving time to listen to the senior execs allowed us to get their great feedback and insights on the platform and the problems it can solve for them.
How has the lab helped grow Cutover’s presence in the US? How do you think being a lab alumnus will help in the future?
Over the course of the Lab, we’ve formed a great set of relationships with some major banks and insurers and founded our US operations in New York. We met our initial goal of validating our current and strategic target use cases and value proposition with US Financial Services institutions, but the lab gave us so much more than we expected.
Going forward, we’ll be developing our roadmap as informed by our experiences on the Lab. Our focus for the near future will be on expanding our Financial Services clients on the US, expanding the product into wider use cases and expanding our talent.
A big thank you to the Fintech Innovation Lab New York team including Maria Gotch, Sunny Parikh, Jennifer Mongiori and others. It was also very good to work with David Treat, John Cusano and Dominic Paolino from the Accenture team facilitating the lab.
An incredible thank you also to the FIL NY entrepreneurs in residence Cris Conde, Andy Brown, Jonah Crane, Phil Fasano and David Mordecai for their fantastic advice and support throughout the accelerator.