What will Commerce.Innovated provide?
Participants will be assigned dedicated subject matter experts from both SVB and Fiserv who will work with you on specific issues of your choice. Examples could include:
• Guidance on compliance and security considerations
• Evaluating new monetization or payment opportunities
• Shaping value proposition for key customers
• Developing a game plan for solution implementation
We may also connect you directly to a future partner or customer from a select number of existing SVB and Fiserv relationships to explore opportunities for potential commercial agreements. Both SVB and Fiserv have robust customer and partnership networks available for you to leverage.
Can you tell me more about what the program will entail?
• Onsite or virtual session with each startup to discuss strategy, solution, and road to series A and beyond
• Define and validate ‘projects’ for each startup
• Determine specific measure of success for program
• Mentors may be assigned to each company on a per project basis
• Officially launch project(s) work streams
• Weekly virtual sessions between each company and relevant internal / external contacts
• Ongoing office hours with core Commerce.Innovated team
• Educational sessions with key experts within the SVB and Fiserv communities paired with networking opportunities for current and previous class participants.
How long is the program and what’s our time commitment?
From acceptance into the program to graduation day is about four months. Over the course of these four months, we work with selected team members to develop a plan for strengthening your business. This will most often require some onsite meetings as well as multiple virtual meetings with mentors and a network of resources supporting your specific challenge areas.
Why is the focus so operational?
This is where we feel we can offer unique value to the startup ecosystem. It is something we do especially well and feel that a program with a strong operational focus is a natural next step for companies that are actively moving towards their next round of funding.
Are you competing with other incubators?
No. We complement these existing programs. Commerce.Innovated offers a natural step for startups looking to strengthen their operational functions as they bridge the gap from incubator to Series A and beyond.
How will you decide what companies are accepted into the program?
Selection will be based on the companies that best fit our ideal candidate profile.
How many companies will be accepted into the program??
We typically select up to six companies for each class.
What sorts of companies do you accept?
We’re looking for startups with innovative solutions in the commerce space. We have an intentionally broad view of what falls within “commerce”, so if you think our program would be helpful to your company, then apply.
We are looking for established, multi-functional teams. Ideally, you should have between 5-10 full-time employees.
You should have at least a minimal viable product or live/planned beta in market.
Just as important, you must have a clear path to revenue and your first paying customer should be locked in or being on-boarded shortly.
What happens after the program ends?
We’ll work with companies on an ongoing basis after you complete the program. The timeframe for this post-graduation phase may vary.
Who’s behind the program?
Commerce.Innovated is a partnership between SVB and Fiserv.
Where are you based?
SVB is headquartered in the Bay Area, with offices in locations across the globe. We strongly support a virtual work environment and remote collaboration. Fiserv is a worldwide company with offices around the globe. Your mentor could be based in any one of our many offices. As this program is primarily virtual, this shouldn’t prove to be an issue.
My startup has already taken some funding. Can we still apply?
Yes. This program is for startups that are actively raising or have recently raised their seed round or Series A.
Do we have to be US citizens?
No, as long as you ensure you can legally be in the US for the full duration of the program on your own. Commerce.Innovated does not sponsor visas.
Will you sign an NDA?
We won’t sign an NDA during the application process, but will require an NDA for all companies accepted into the program as well as a program participation agreement that will outline the detailed terms of our relationship.
Will selected companies’ solutions ever overlap with other participants? Will you select direct competitors?
It’s unlikely that this will occur in a given cycle, but that isn’t a guarantee. We’re looking for the startups that best fit our criteria, so there’s a possibility that there will be some overlap. We appreciate that this may be a concern for some companies, but rest assured, we won’t share any sensitive information.
We don’t really need money today. Does it still make sense to apply?
Yes. The goal of our program is to help companies that have already secured seed funding accelerate time to and maximize a series A round. If you have already raised a Series A, we can still work with you. If you don’t plan on raising a round in the next 18 months, it probably does not make sense to apply.
Do you make an upfront investment in selected companies?
No – however we do obtain the right to provide capital and invest in a future round of funding.
Does being accepted mean that Fiserv and/or SVB will participate in my Series A or B round?
Direct funding is not a part of our program. Instead, we require that selected companies provide both SVB and Fiserv with the right to invest in a future round of funding. Terms to be agreed upon should your company be selected as a participant.
Will you help me raise my next round of funding?
We will do our best to leverage our partner and investor network to make relevant introductions.
Can we participate without moving to your location?
Yes. In fact, our model is purposefully virtual. However, we do run some in-person events throughout the year on specific topics of interest to startups with involvement from SVB, Fiserv, and external guests.
When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall selection timeline?
Applications for Class 9 are now closed. Please come back in Fall / Winter 2019 as we begin interviews for the next class!
Application deadline – TBD
Interview day – TBD
Program Kick-off Events – TBD
What is the video for?
The video provides an optional opportunity to introduce the selection committee to your team and your solution. Many times, a video provides a unique medium to showcase your unique value that may not come across via text.
Where can I upload supplemental material to my application?
We prefer them as a URL.
SVB / Fiserv
What do SVB and Fiserv get out of this?
SVB and Fiserv want to support startups in the commerce, fintech, and payments space by providing clear value and building lasting relationships. SVB is an innovative bank that understands and supports the startup community in all phases of their development. This program will help Fiserv stay on the leading edge of payment and commerce innovation and expand the solutions offered to Fiserv’s broad client base.