When you walk into your local bank in a decade’s time, what will it be like? Well, anything’s possible. Not even the world’s top banks know for sure just yet, but they do know that new tech is critical to a better experience for their customers. That’s why Central and Eastern European behemoth Raiffeisen Bank International has just launched its very first accelerator programme.
When it comes to choosing the best technological path, the smartest companies always look to the startup world. Because a lean, two-person startup has that extra freedom to give new ideas a stab than a multinational does. Elevator Lab will give five of the very best innovators the chance to work with Raiffeisen over a four-month period starting in October.
“We banks see startups as allies, and they should also see us as allies,” said Raiffeisen Plenipotentiary Michael Höllerer when Elevator Lab was announced at Pioneers’17 earlier this month. “We can provide them with expertise, a marketplace and customers, so there’s quite a lot of room for co-operation. And a win-win from my perspective would be if we could integrate the product or service of the winning startup into our business model.”
Without co-operation with startups, says Höllerer, the future would be a tough thing to tackle. And that’s just because new players, working outside the corporate structure, can unravel new solutions faster and more easily.
“Each of our 50 000 employees being innovative is important, but we also want to see how others are working and solving problems. Because companies that don’t innovate are quite simply lost in the medium to long term. There are brands that don’t exist anymore because they stopped innovating.”
Elevator Lab, in which our Pioneers Discover unit will play an important role as a Raiffeisen partner, is proof that even a company with a history dating back to 1862 can keep a watchful eye on the future.
“The big picture is that the whole industry is changing. Banks have a future but we have to fundamentally adapt our business models and services. In particular, the biggest challenge and biggest change will come from the technologies around payments and payment services. Customers want payment services that are very secure and efficient. And this is what we have to fulfil.”
That much is clear from the breakdown of the areas Elevator Lab is targeting. Raiffeisen is looking for applications from operational startups working on solutions in six categories: Payment & Transaction Services, SME Banking, Regulatory Tech, Branch of the Future, Investment & Trading Tech and Big Data Analytics.
“We want this to be a long-term relationship and a success story for both Raiffeisen and the startups,” concludes Höllerer.
So then, if you’re a startup with a Fintech solution for one of Europe’s true banking giants, get your application in before 31 July at http://www.elevator-lab.com/. Or if you’re from a company thinking about an accelerator program of its own, stop thinking and get in touch with Pioneers Discover.