Learning from Accelerator Programs - A framework to analyse the success of FinTech Accelerator Programs for traditional banks
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In this study the factors which determine the success of accelerator programs (APs) for banks are analysed. The financial market is a rapidly changing market with many new entrants. Banks risk losing market share, customer relationships and revenues to disruptive financial technology (FinTech) start-ups, because they are stuck in rigid business models. To avoid disruption, learn from and work with these innovative start-ups and become more innovative, banks are participating in APs. APs are programs where a selected group of start-ups can fine-tune their businesses and prepare for investment in about 100 days. APs are considered successful for a bank when (I) by participating in APs new knowledge can be produced by start-ups and (II) the bank is able to integrate this knowledge into their main business. This study provides new scientific insights into the effect of different factors on learning and integration of new knowledge from APs by banks. To analyse and investigate the factors which determine the success of APs, a conceptual framework is developed based on several scientific theories. This framework includes factors that are important for knowledge development during APs and the implementation of this knowledge into the bank. This study focusses on traditional banks in the Netherlands that participate in FinTech APs. The different propositions contained in the conceptual model are evaluated by using qualitative interviews with employees of these banks, AP directors, start-up founders and an expert. Afterwards, a focus group is organised to explore certain aspects of knowledge integration in further details. The results show what factors influence the success of APs. In the AP phase, two factors have influence on the successful knowledge production of start-ups, namely (I) that it is important to use both team and product criteria to select start-ups for an AP, and (II) banks should become actively involved as mentor during the AP. The analysis of the implementation phase indicates that the knowledge of start-ups is exclusively externally integrated by banks, because of the (I) large cognitive distance between the knowledge of the bank and the start-up, and (II) the high resistance against changing routines and the influence of regulations. The external organisation of knowledge integration leads to a decreased integration of knowledge into the main business of a bank in comparison with internally integration, thereby leading to less successfully learning from APs. The managerial implications of these results for banks are further elaborated in this study.