It’s hard to believe that Ynext Incubator Demo Day is this week—Thursday, May 12 starting at 3 p.m. After six months of intensive work honing their business acumen, expanding their technical chops and working hands-on with Yodlee transactional data, our cohort of seven companies is ready to pitch to investors. Before they take the stage, I thought I’d share a little about the road they’ve traveled through our series of three bootcamps. The companies participating in Ynext Incubator are in varying stages of development. Some already have a first round of investment and early customers. Others are still perfecting their products and starting to search for financing. They have two things in common, however:
- A killer concept for a disruptive product or service that has met the test for gaining entry into the program; and
- A desire to benefit from the mentorship and broad finance ecosystem that Ynext can provide.
The most immersive part of the Incubator is bootcamping. Held three times during the six-month incubator program, the bootcamps follow a very deliberate arc leading up to Demo Day, when companies present their products and their pitches to potential investors, partners and influencers.
Bootcamp #1: Setting the foundation
The first bootcamp is organized around the themes of connections and foundation building. This is where participants get the opportunity to share their business models with their peers and answer some basic but pointed questions. Is there a market for your product? What problem are you solving? What is your value proposition? Guest speakers cover such topics as the basics of “Branding for Startups,” “What to Look for in Investors,” “User Acquisition,” and “Finding Product/Market Fit.” Seasoned entrepreneurs share their journeys from startup to success.
Bootcamp #2: Broadening your entrepreneurship game
The second bootcamp gets into the nuts and bolts of running a startup. It covers topics the participants may not have thought too deeply about before – for example, what startups need to know about employment agreements; why and how to form an advisory board; or how design thinking can shape your product. It also covers topics that are both timely and critical to the FinTech space, such as cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. If these issues have been on the backburner for most of the class, they now have to be moved to the forefront and built into the business plan.
Bootcamp #3: Working toward your pitch
The final bootcamp gets even more tactical, covering topics like how to hire, customer support best practices, and management via metrics. It also features significant practice and coaching on best ways to pitch to prospective investors and partners. The goal is that, by the time they get to Demo Day, there’s no question that these companies, their stories and their products are ready for prime time. As part of the Ynext Launchpad, the Incubator’s sole mission is to provide the fuel that can launch your data-driven rocket into high-speed orbit, and bootcamps are one of the ways we do that. Like an actual bootcamp, you have to be good to get in and committed once you get there. And also like an actual bootcamp, Ynext bootcamps will turn raw recruits into lean, mean fintech machines.