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8 Ways to Make Your FinTech Startup Stand Out from the Crowd

FinTech is having a moment; there’s no doubt about that.

In 2016, FinTech deals reached $24 billion worldwide, InsurTech investments reached over $1 billion, and there were 650 FinTech deals in the US. More corporate venture arms dabbled in FinTech investments last year, and eight out of ten regional and community banks are collaborating with financial startups.

Other players are getting involved as well: the White House held a FinTech Summit last year, and governments around the world are creating policy “sandboxes” to facilitate financial innovation. Even retailers like Walmart are getting in on the action.

All of this activity provides a great opportunity for FinTech entrepreneurs, but it also makes it difficult to stand out: the competition for investment, strategic partners and customers is fierce.

This year, Village Capital and PayPal are leading an ecosystem of partners to scale and support a group of FinTech and InsurTech ventures. In addition to making two $100,000 investments, the program will provide access to a diverse group of investors, industry experts and entrepreneurs that can help a venture stand out.

Below are some of the perspectives you’ll get from our network, along with hands-on engagement committed to helping to improve your business. To get started, submit your company for consideration by our March 24th deadline, and learn more here.

“FinTech startups should come to investors with a data-driven perspective on why someone should invest. They shouldn’t say ‘We’re perfect for you because you invest in fintech.’ Rather, they should talk about many touch points, including other CEOs who vouched for the quality of the investor. They should also state specifically what they want other than money; almost no one does this or has given thought to it.”

— Arjan Schutte, Managing Director at Core Innovation Capital and Village Capital FinTech Advisory Board Chair

“Particularly for early-stage companies, do not raise money at such a high valuation that you price yourself out of raising your next round. Chasing the highest valuation now will achieve less short-term dilution, but may limit the company’s ability to raise money in the next round.”

— Peter Sanborn, Director, Global Corporate Development at PayPal and Village Capital Fintech Advisory Board

“Consumer facing FinTech startups should focus on cohort curves and cohort analysis. Only about one-fourth of the companies that should be obsessed with the cohort view of their business are actually looking through a cohort-lens.”

— Caribou Honig, Founding Partner at QED Ventures

“As a FinTech startup, you should be willing to change the market. The FinTech market is moving at a frantic pace. With regulation constantly changing and barriers to entry getting higher, listening to the market is more important than ever.”

— Clarence Bethea, CEO at Upsie and Village Capital portfolio company

“If your business is about selling to banks or regulated institutions, front-load security and regulatory hires, or at least be upfront about your plan. That should save you substantial time in the early phases of your sales cycle.”

— Manuel Silva, Partner at SanTander InnoVentures

“Become a time capitalist. Your greatest resource and asset is not tech, team or cash. It’s your time. Audit your time and use it judiciously, as though it’s your most limited and precious asset (because it is).”

— Doug Speight, CEO of Cathedral Leasing and Village Capital alumnus

“With the number of startups chasing the large market opportunity in fintech and insurtech, it’s easy to get lost in the noise of many companies with similar value propositions vying for competitive advantage. While everyone can make up a “here’s why we’re different” pitch, the most convincing way to show this is to demonstrate that you know your customer base better than anyone else, and are relentlessly motivated to solve their problems better than competitors can. If you have been part of the customer base and experienced the pain points of what you’re trying to solve yourself, even better.”

— Victoria Fram, Village Capital Co-Founder and Managing Director at VilCap Investments, LLC

“When I started, I wish I had known how long it really takes to build a great business (7–10 years vs. my initial expectation of 2–5 years). I also know how much opportunity there is once you reach a certain size threshold; it’s no longer about ‘if’ you’re going to make it, but ‘how big’.”

— Manu Smadja, CEO of MPower Financing and Village Capital Portfolio Company

Learn more here and apply today for a chance to join this summer’s Village Capital FinTech investment program, for more great advice and connections to make your company stand out from the crowd.

Ross Baird is CEO of Village Capital, which finds, trains and invests in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems. Hallie Noble is Manager of Village Capital’s US FinTech practice. Learn more on our website and read our insights on Medium.

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