Presented by Intuit
Join Intuit for a conversation to explore how artificial intelligence-driven solutions can power prosperity during their upcoming Demo Day on March 24, 2022. It’s time to get inspired for the future of AI!
The North American AI industry’s rapid growth trajectory was supercharged by the pandemic to become a massive and quickly evolving market. This year it’s projected to hit about $25 billion U.S., and have a direct impact on almost every industry vertical. It’s also the key to powering prosperity across North America, says David Marquis, vice president and Canada country manager at Intuit. But small businesses, which are the backbone of a thriving economy, don’t have the same access to these tools or the resources and knowledge sets needed to leverage them effectively — and that gap needs to be addressed.
“A disproportionate level of GDP comes from these smaller businesses, and when they thrive, our economy thrives, both in the U.S. and Canada,” Marquis says. “We have to enable AI-powered small businesses to serve their customers better with access to data-driven decisions and industry innovation.”
Whether they’re specifically AI-focused or integrating AI into their business processes, AI gives startups and entrepreneurs powerful new ways to connect with customers, understand what they want, and provide the services and benefits they’re looking for — which is how these companies succeed.
“We’ve been on this journey at Intuit as an AI-driven expert platform for more than 15 years,” Marquis says. “But as we think about the broader ecosystem, we ask, how can we engage with it beyond our own four walls and find ways to help entrepreneurs and small businesses accelerate the deployment of AI at velocity, and with a customer-driven purpose?”
That’s where programs like the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator and the Intuit Ventures corporate fund come in, empowering entrepreneurs and startups, investing directly in their success. Last year, the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator was launched to support promising startups who could help small businesses and Canadians thrive in the wake of the pandemic. This year’s startup cohort was selected based on their ability to leverage artificial intelligence to create solutions that help consumers and small businesses overcome financial challenges.
“There’s no shortage of challenges for startups during their early stages of growth, and so that’s what we’re focused on with the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator,” Marquis explains. “What we’re trying to do for these startups is connect them with the knowledge, the resources, the tools, and the processes to thrive in this space.”
How the 2021 Accelerator cohort is tapping into AI innovation
The seven early-stage startups enrolled in this year’s Intuit Prosperity Accelerator share Intuit’s mission to power prosperity for small businesses and consumers by building AI-driven products that tackle their customers’ biggest challenges — such as unlocking smart financial decisions, accessing expert advice, and delivering automated, efficient processes.
“Some of the magic we’ve seen from our startup accelerators is when you find a mission that aligns, you unlock the secret to innovating, collaborating, and building community,” Marquis says. “Know what your mission is. Be clear on it. Find others that align to it.”
The program helps participants find their purpose by introducing participants to Intuit’s Design for Delight methodology. It’s grounded in Customer-Driven Innovation and uses “customer empathy,” or interviews with customers, to inform ways the company will deliver meaningful, differentiated value for customers.
For example, one cohort member, Bankuish, is using AI to give gig workers and freelancers a way to access banking services that they normally wouldn’t be able to tap into. Through the accelerator, the startup is developing ways to integrate AI capability deeper into the platform in order to tailor the experience for a complex and rapidly expanding customer base.
Another participating startup, Beam.city, is developing an advertising automation platform that helps small businesses optimize their digital advertising performance. Small businesses don’t have the same access to online advertising ecosystems, or the knowledge to leverage them effectively. Beam.city has built industry knowledge into an algorithm that simplifies the experience for small businesses and guides them in where to best allocate marketing dollars.
Throughout the five-month program, not only are startups coached in applying Intuit’s Design for Delight (D4D) methodology, what Marquis calls the company’s secret sauce, but they’re each given access to Intuit’s D4D experts — called Innovation Catalysts (ICs). They also work with Intuit’s other in-house experts in AI engineering, product development, and marketing, who support the cohort throughout the program. Intuit’s program partner, Highline Beta, provides the startups with advice on angel and venture capital fundraising, and the program culminates in a demo day, where the participants present their companies and solutions to potential investors.
The (artificially) intelligent future of small businesses
AI adoption still varies significantly across industries. Financial services and the tech industry have been enthusiastic converts, and to help meet demand, there are a growing number of emerging enterprise solutions that can help companies build out their own best-in-class AI models.
But there’s so much more potential for AI, Marquis says. In the health industry, AI doesn’t just offer business results, but can have a dramatic impact on social well-being. The oil and gas industry can adopt AI to not only improve the efficiency of the market, but to streamline processes for a positive environmental impact.
“These are things that will have massive business and social impact once leaders in those organizations gain access to the AI technology expertise they’re looking for,” Marquis says.
Expanding industry knowledge is key to AI development, but it’s also essential to remember that, as the tried-and-true saying goes, the customer always comes first — which means focus on the customer and the value you can provide to them, rather than the market.
“Intuit’s ultimate mission is to help solve its customers’ most important financial challenges, and engaging with the startup ecosystem helps us achieve this mission,” says Marquis. With access to Intuit’s AI development experience, accelerator participants can rapidly improve their service offerings to their customers. “We’re helping revolutionize how startups do business, and continually working to leverage the power of AI to power prosperity for the future.”
To learn more about this year’s cohort and participate in a fireside chat celebrating innovation with David Marquis and Michele Romanow, CEO & Co-Founder of Clearco, join the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator: AI Demo Day on March 24, 2022 from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET.
Register here for free.
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