Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in November 2016.
Small business accelerators are becoming crucial drivers of the US economy. Estimates suggest that 700 accelerators are now operating across the country and the need for accelerators continues to grow. Why are they becoming so popular? Because startups often need the resources – such as capital, equipment, and expertise – that these organization provide to stay afloat in a competitive marketplace. November’s Developer Tracker features an interview with Joe Munk, program manager at the Portland State University Startup Accelerator in Oregon to discuss accelerators, the benefits they offer, and his predictions for the future.
“We only have one lab, so there are always at least four or five companies working down there, kind of overlapping,” Munk says. “In fact, I think that the real benefit of being part of an accelerator is just the fact that you can bounce ideas off your neighbors or successful companies we work with in the space.” He says that the opportunities for collaboration and learning that accelerators offer are among their key benefits.
At Portland State’s accelerator, and at many similar organizations around the country, firms have access to a host of resources they might not otherwise. Munk explains that he and his team provide companies with rapid prototyping facilities that include high-priced technology like 3D printers and laser cutters. This allows startups to use state-of-the-art technology without huge expenditures and keep pace with larger, better funded competitors.
Startups in the accelerator can also meet with CEOs and investment firms to learn what made them successful, ask for advice, and possibly secure investments. “Accelerators provide a lot of mentoring,” Munk says. “We bring in experts on various topics and do office hours, where they can sit in an office with our companies and answer their questions. We also give them access to capital by facilitating connections to venture capital funds and local angel investors.”
While Munk emphasizes the practical knowledge that can be gained from meeting with investors and successful companies, he notes that the biggest resource that the 30-plus businesses and 200 employees have at the accelerator is access to one another. He predicts that the influence of accelerators will continue to grow as software and other technology become even more important parts of the economy. “It’s starting to come to the forefront,” he says. “I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Here’s a snapshot of other notable developer-focused news items:
- Mobile payments are a “daily activity” for many Chinese consumers, according to new research from Strategy Analytics. Seventy-five percent of mobile payment users report that they spend via a mobile wallet every day.
- Meterfeeder recently debuted a new app that allows drivers to pay parking meters via their smartphones. The app can also be paired with other components, including a ticket printer, to allow parking officers to enforce limits and fines.
- Electronics manufacturer LG and Paymentwall recently partnered to bring payments to the company’s line of smart TV apps. The move, which will allow smart TV app developers to accept payments directly from the television, is designed to help developers monetize their products and sell to a wider audience.
- Online lending startup Affirm recently raised $100 million in debt from financial services provider Morgan Stanley. The startup, founded by PayPal cofounder Max Levchin, recently tripled the number of loans it issued in the past year and now holds hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of loans.