Posted by & filed under Corporations, Innovation, Organizational learning.

Hurricane Ophelia decided to pay a visit to Ireland at the same time that we were visiting Dublin for an event about collaborating to make the best out of PSD2. And one can learn a lot from seeing how people react to a hurricane. In a way, dealing with a hurricane can be like dealing with changing markets. Change is like the wind, and when it’s fast and sudden, it’s a hurricane. The hurricane of disruption. Tweet this.

Many industries are going through their own “disruption Ophelia” at the moment. Fintech is going through a regulation hurricane. Knowledge-based industries, in general, are bracing for the AI hurricane. All industries deal with the hurricane of digitalization, one way or another.

Availability of information

The thing that struck me the most was the availability information. Of course, we had heard about the hurricane before getting into the plane. Particularly, that it could reach speeds of more than 100 km/h! But once we landed:

  1. Everybody that we spoke with shared the information they had. We heard about when the storm would be strongest. We heard how people thought one should react.
  2. The hotel reception gave us a one-pager with some official recommendations. It had information about the size of the storm, how we should act, and other useful information.
  3. The TV covered the storm almost all the time. We saw how the storm was affecting other parts of the country, and how people were preparing.

At first, the information struck me as an overload. And compared to what I was actually seeing during the storm, it felt like an overreaction.

 

But then I noticed: as travelers, we were just getting an extra load of the signals. Most people only see a few of those. That’s why they need to spread fast (and much). Otherwise, people might be optimistic, and a bit foolhardy.

I can imagine many people saying oh, I still have time to go get my groceries, I’ll just quickly jump into the car, when the hurricane is already there and it’s too late. But when everybody is talking about it, everywhere, you make sure that everybody is at least a bit worried. Enough to make sure they stay safe. Get those groceries later.

The lesson learned for corporations: you can do the same with big changes:

  1. Make sure you encourage your employees to discuss the changes. Tweet this. They will be more prepared to transform your business. And that means your business will be agiler. And you also get more ideas of how to take advantage of those changes. You never know where the best ideas might come from. Tweet this.
  2. Have clear ways of working for and with the change. Have clear policies. And make sure you deliver them in many places. Tweet this. Like the one-pager in our hotel. Having constant reminders and “official guidelines” makes a great difference.
  3. Keep people informed. One official piece is not enough. When the changes are big enough, your employees want to know more. When you engage with startups, your employees want to know more. One press release is not enough. They will feel like something is happening, and then move on to day-to-day. You must have a constant stream of information about how you’re reacting to the change. Make sure that their discussions are not far away from your official view. Tweet this.

 

“Startups often try to change things” pointed out John O’Dwyer, Head of Digital Investments and Innovation at AIB. “And they encounter departments that don’t want to change”. That’s also in our view the biggest hurdle of organizational change. That’s what stands in the way of renewal. You could even say, that is renewal itself.

So let’s learn from the Irish reaction to Ophelia:

  1. By keeping everybody discussing the change, they will acknowledge the change. They will be open to changing things. They might even be the ones suggesting the change. When working with startups, have many people involved. In many ways. You are making them ready for when it’s time for their department to get involved.
  2. By having clear processes for the change, they will know how to react. They will propose things that fit into that process. And you will be able to control that process. You will be able to identify what are the best reactions to change, and apply those. You will be able to identify the best startups to work with, and how to do it.
  3. By having a clear stream of communication about the change, you keep the discussion informed. You make sure people understand that the change is coming. You make sure people understand the size. And you make sure people understand how it will affect them. When an innovation touches them, they will be more open to it. Because they saw it coming. Because they wanted it to come.

 

Of course, in this story, we have a very big advantage in comparison with a hurricane. In this case, your corporation can come out much much stronger! So let’s learn the lesson!

 

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Customers, Fintech, Innovation, Programs.

Telling the future is difficult. And even more in banking right now, with so many innovations happening. New fintech startups (like you?) claim to disrupt the industry every day. By collaborating with a big bank you can improve your chances of success. And that makes those banks more ready for the future. But in which areas can we make the biggest changes?

For our upcoming program with OTP Bank, we’ve taken a shot at defining the key areas of banking that need new innovations. If your startup can improve the lives of OTP Bank employees or customers in these areas, you are just what we are looking for!

 

Banking for the family

With the rise of fintech startups, we have seen banking touch many other areas of our lives. Families are one of the most important units in society. So fintech should transform the way we deal with finance in the family unit!

For example, technology can play a huge role in the financial education of kids. And nobody doubts the importance of financial education. We can make sure that the kids of the future as a whole know how to handle money better than we do. Tweet this

OTP Bank has a strong vision when it comes to this area. They want to work with startups to improve their offering in this area. Do you have the next big thing for banking for the whole family? Then this is your opportunity!

Banking for the family - do you have the next big innovation?

 

Data in banking

Data is everywhere. And that’s what fintech is about. Clever use of data is what makes most fintech startups successful. Tweet this

OTP Group includes a wider range of services than usual for a bank. That means that they have access to a breadth of data. And they are open to using that data to deliver better service to their customers.

Do you have some clever application to brings new useful data for OTP Bank?Some smart way of using OTP Bank’s existing data for the better of their customers? Or some other creative way of making business through data with OTP Bank? If you said yes in any of those questions, then this one is for you!

 

Automation of personal activities

We live in the age of digitalization and automation. And still, there are many tedious tasks that we need to do every day. For example, many people still handle household documents by hand. Where are the robots, to rid us from those tasks? Tweet this

OTP Group connects many different types of customers. And they want to support their day-to-day activities the best way possible. That’s why they’re looking for startups that make their workflows more efficient. From better car-sharing to better mortgage evaluation.

If you can make it more efficient for the bank’s customers, you are just what we are looking for!

 

Making customers day-to-day lives

 

Collaboration

It’s no surprise that OTP Bank is a big organization. And as such, their ways of working are key to their success. Collaboration between departments or sections can sometimes make it or break it.

And the challenge doesn’t stop there. As such a big group, there are many partnerships to manage. Communicating and coordinating with those partners can also be a challenge! Tweet this

Does your startup help teams, departments or partners collaborate better? Then we want to work with you!

 

Technology-driven change

One of the main drivers for fintech has been technological advances. Digitalization and mobile themselves are a starting point. But we also have recent hypes. The internet of things, virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence… you name it!

Sometimes innovation comes from technology opening a new opportunity. And it looks like we live in the times for that. Tweet this

Have you spotted such an opportunity? Do you think it can make the banking on real estate markets better? Can it deliver a better customer experience, online or in the branches? Or make the whole process more efficient? In that case, we want to hear from you!

 

Is your technology going to change banking? Make the lives of SMEs better?

 

SME administration

OTP Group has a strong focus on SME’s. In particular, one of OTP Bank’s subsidiaries is OTP eBiz. They are the mobile financial assistant for SMEs. Oh, and they work like a startup themselves!

And if you’re working in that space, it’s your lucky day. They’re keen on getting partners to collaborate! The focus is to make the life of SME’s easier. SME’s should be able to concentrate on their core business. Let’s make the rest of the tasks easier and more efficient for them. Tweet this

If you have a great tool to make the day-to-day of SME’s easier, this is your chance!

 

Surprise us!

Do you have an awesome idea where we could cooperate? We know we can’t put every idea in one of the boxes above. Tweet this. Especially because your idea might be very out-of-the-box (pun intended)! But OTP Bank is open to working with very different companies!

If you’re working the next big thing, and you can work together with OTP Bank to make it a reality, don’t hesitate! Read more here, and apply now to OTP Bank startup accelerator:

Apply

 

Posted by & filed under Corporations, General, innovating, Investing, Organizational learning, Product development, Startups.

Corporate venture capital has been an excellent way for many companies to increase shareholder value.

Research shows 30% better increase of share value with companies with strong Corporate Venture capital activities.  And if you look for example at the biggest Chinese giants, most of that valuation increase is because of good investments, not operative business.

But it’s usually done only with later-stage companies.

Many corporations have a very profitable business, but visibility to the future is getting shorter every year. Earlier-stage companies have the newest ideas and willingness to adapt according to your objectives. So, it’s time to get engaged also with earlier-stage companies.

Working with startups

Working together with startups is the most effective way to become ready for the unknown future. And to learn how to work with startups, you only learn by working with them. And then you’ll also learn to work like them.

The challenge is: how can you work with them? Can you renew your organization to treat startups like equal partners? Can you support them with the right facts?

If you can support them effectively they can deliver new products that are close to customers, much faster, with iteration. As Boston Consulting Group says, successful corporations are already reaping the benefits of their venture investments opening up new markets with innovations originally developed by their portfolio companies.

Corporate Venture Capital - official SLUSH side event

Large corporations know how to do business today and they could also leverage startups’ business. Make them scale faster: scaling with your organization may be the thing for the startup to become really valuable. And you should take your share of that. Not only of the business they do with you, but also for the business outside your scope. And that’s only possible when you invest in them. True win-win.

You’ve seen it work with later-stage companies.  But could it also work with early-stage startups?

In order to discuss why and how to invest in early-stage companies, we have partnered with Mawsonia and Helsinki Business Hub to create an official Slush side event: Corporate Venture Capital. Register now here, we have very limited seats.

 

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Fintech, Global Fintech Accelerator, Programs.

Collaboration between startups and corporations is a great formula. That’s why fintech startups are looking for good financial institutions to work with.

That’s why we’ve picked the best partner for you at the Global Fintech Accelerator: OTP Bank! It has all the traits you need. It’s a strong partner. It’s also an innovative one. And the people working there have an attitude of getting stuff done (tweet this).

 

A strong partner

OTP Bank is a 65-year-old institution. But don’t let that fool you: they have had to live through great changes, you could even say it comes from a different era. And they had to change fast, so they know how to adapt to new environments.

OTP Bank is not only the biggest bank in Hungary, it’s also the biggest banking group in the Central Eastern European region. They are present in 9 different countries, with around 14,5 million customers. With a strong focus on retail banking, they have the financial background and know how to help your startup. According to Peter Csanyi, Head of Digital Sales and Development, you will be able to “verify the value proposition of your startup, and see how it can work in the long run”. It’s your best chance to become bank-validated! (tweet this)

But OTP Bank is not just a bank. It’s a group, with very different subsidiaries. This gives you the opportunity to test your business idea in a live ecosystem. Big markets can be tough to enter, but with a partner like OTP Bank, you have a chance to validating your business in it, knowing what you’re doing.

 

 

“We know the local market, we know what’s realistic” adds András Fischer, Head of Retail Innovation. Their dominating position gives them the capability being ambitious and delivering. And it also gives them access to lots of data, that they’re willing to use to make the customer experience better. Big data? No: huge data!

 

An innovative partner

OTP Bank is renown in its region for its innovativeness. This means that their customers are used to trying new products and services. “We are not relaxed, thinking that we are the biggest in Hungary or in the region”, says Ferenc Böle, Head of IT Project Management and Methodology. Instead, they are committed to bringing new innovations to the market.

One of the effects of their openness towards innovation is their decision-making process. During the accelerator, in the OTP Bank’s headquarters, decision-makers are all at your reach. “All decisions happen very fast, very efficiently, every good idea can be executed”, adds Böle. If it’s a good idea, they’re in! And working with your startup is a good idea for OTP Bank, right?

This shows in their attitude as a company. “Traditionally OTP Bank is superior in technology innovation”, comments Tamás Schenk, Head of Digital Transformation Program Management Office. “If something is really exciting to our customers, we are devoted to developing it here”. They’re keen on working with startups, to bring the next disruptive idea to the market (with you).

Evidence to this attitude is the fact that they have already developed two internal startups themselves! “OTP Bank has the power to rise these solutions to a mass level”, shares Peter Benyó, CEO of OTP Mobil, one of those startups. “We run lean startup, we have the flexibility, with the strong financial background”, adds Tamás Jósvai, CEO of eBiz, the other OTP Bank startup. This means that OTP Bank knows very well how to work with a startup, which will make the collaboration with you so much easier!

 

A partner with the right attitude

Last but not least, people at OTP Bank are generally open, hard-working, and very structured. “Once something is decided, they are devoted to carrying it out”, adds Schenk. They have an attitude of doing business and getting things done.

 

 

“We don’t try to pretend”, adds Böle. OTP Bank doesn’t work with startups just “to be cool”. They have the capability – and the will – to bring value to customers. And they strongly believe that they can do that better working with startups. “I believe that our colleagues provide a very welcoming atmosphere”, adds Fischer.

Collaboration requires the right attitude, and the right ingredients (tweet this). And OTP Bank has both. And they are looking for startups to join the OTP Bank’s Startup Accelerator with us.

So now is your chance to join one of the best accelerators for your business. If you haven’t applied yet, what are you waiting for? It’s your chance to validate your business with one of the best partners.

 

Apply

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Fintech, Global Fintech Accelerator, Press release, Programs.

It has been a hard to keep our lips zipped with all these exciting news, but now we can finally give the first peek into the Global Fintech Accelerator – the first ever fintech accelerator done on such a global stage! We couldn’t be more excited to introduce new bank partners in the program.

 

Yes Bank

Fintech experts have been calling China the hottest place for fintech for a while now, but now they are turning their attention towards India. And not without a reason!

India is a huge market. Just the sheer size of the country itself is humongous with 1,3 billion people and counting. And while the size of the country and its market are impressive, their fintech adoption rate is even more so. It is the top of the world with 52%, only second to China and far ahead of Europe (source). The market has very different conditions than the traditional western countries and they lack many of the legacy systems and old innovation-stifling regulations many banks and countries in the West have. No wonder India is hotter than hot in fintech!

That’s why for an accelerator focused in fintech, partnering with one of the strongest players in Indian banking scene Yes Bank could not be better news!

Yes Bank is the fifth biggest bank in the enormous market of India, they are highly awarded and even have a massive following in their social media channels (They are for example, the most followed bank in the world in Twitter). If India is hot in fintech, Yes Bank is even hotter! We can’t think of a better partner for startups than the Yes Bank Accelerator to take over the Indian market.


Our next partner comes from an equally interesting marketplace: Eastern Europe. China has had the fintech innovation crown for a bit now and India seems to be taking over. But is Eastern Europe the next hotter than hot market for fintech?

 

OTP Bank

Eastern Europe has been able to fly under a radar for a while. But that won’t be so for long, especially when banking and fintech are in question. GDP of East European countries is growing nicely, in fact, better than nicely when compared to other European countries who drag behind. They also have a very interesting opportunity in the banking sector. What China and India have been able to pull off in fintech doesn’t seem too much of a fairytale for East Europe either. They do after all have many similarities in the consumer environment, regulations and other key issues that made China and India succeed.

East European consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the possibilities fintech innovations bring, and they will not just passively wait for them. They will demand them and they will demand them from their banks. Consumers still prefer banks over startups to provide their banking solutions, including new innovations. The local startup ecosystems are still just evolving, and there aren’t even that many real competitors for banks to provide such solutions. There is demand for fintech innovations but not much local supply. Game-changing innovations are expected to come from international players.

Overall, there is great potential for fintech startups in Eastern Europe to fill up the gaps in banking and disrupt the existing systems. But due to the strong status of the existing banks, not just any startup can do it. The fintechs need a way in. And that’s why we could not be more proud to partner up with OTP Bank, one of the biggest players in Eastern Europe.

OTP Bank has a presence in 9 East European countries (including dominating position in Hungary). And they are called the leading innovator in their market (more about it here). All in all, for startups there could not be a better partner to work with to conquer Eastern Europe.


At the heart of the Global Fintech Accelerator is, of course, banks working with startups, but also with other banks. The best results are when different kinds of banks with different experiences and knowledge work together. And we are proud to say that is exactly what is happening in Global Fintech Accelerator.

 

The Nordics

When you think about fintech you can’t help but also think about the Nordics. The Nordics have a flourishing startup environment that is attracting a high proportion of investments in Europe. Stockholm is the second largest fintech hub in Europe, and the whole Nordic fintech market is rapidly growing. The Nordics are also home for ginormous success stories like Klarna and iZettle, which have brought the area high to fintech investors interests.

A big part of the fintech’s success in the Nordics is its markets uniqueness. The Nordic countries are forerunners in many areas of banking. And that has made adopting new fintech innovations much easier for both the companies and the general public.

For example, consumers in the Nordics are avid smartphone users. In fact, smartphone ownership is almost universal, more than 9 out of 10 internet users have one. Nordic countries are also often referred to as cashless societies. Cash is not seen convenient and you can easily live your life without using cash pretty much 100% of the time. The Nordics also have strong electronic banking systems in place, and they have warmly welcomed innovations like e-invoicing. For example, 89% of large and even 59% of small businesses in Finland use it, and the usage is growing fast.

These and many other similar market conditions have made Nordics a very favorable for fintech innovations. Thus the Nordics just had to be a part of our Global Fintech Accelerator.

And we are very happy to have such a close relationship with Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordics. 

Nordea

Nordea has over 10 million personal customers and over half million corporate customers. They are also one of the top 10 largest universal banks in Europe, and have a presence in 16 countries around the world. They are also one of the very few European banks to have an AA- rating. We can’t think of a better bank to work with in the Nordics. Especially as they are already well immersed in the startup world.

We have already done three great accelerators with Nordea and we have had an amazing time working with them. Thus we couldn’t be happier to continue working with them!

These banks from such different areas and market situations will be giving amazing opportunities and insights for both the participating startups and banks. We are expecting to see great innovations, big changes and most importantly: more satisfied banking customers. Stay tuned for amazing results!

If your bank wants to get access to those results, there is still time! We have several models from marketing partnership to full accelerator in the Global Fintech Accelerator. Just contact Mika at [email protected] or +358 40 3433352, and let’s find together the best solution for your bank!

 

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Fintech, innovating, Product development, Startups.

What will the future of banking look like? Just what the innovators will make it be.

Advances in technology, regulatory changes, new entrants to the market… In the past couple of years, banking has gone through big changes and more is to come. They keep saying the ‘future has never been as uncertain as now’ year after year, decade after decade. But in banking, this time it might be true. A lot of things are changing and a lot of things will change. And with it, a lot of challenges are coming. But more importantly: also opportunities. So, what should innovators focus to get the most of it all?

Technology is driving the change

When you talk about the future of banking you just can’t not talk about advances in technology. They are making things possible we couldn’t even imagine just couple years ago. No, even months if not just weeks ago. In fact, behind the success of many fintech startups has been mastering new technologies like AI, big data or blockchain and thus being able to create something completely new and revolutionary for the customers. And that has been one of the key reasons the little and new entrants have been able to challenge the old giants, banks.

For innovators embracing the technological changes and even new technologies is a must. Advances in technology and innovation go hand in hand. Like blockchain and bitcoin. And the first innovation is just the beginning. Just think about the innovations that have come and especially the innovations that are coming because of the blockchain.

While it is impossible to be the master of every single technology, innovators have to keep their eyes open. See what’s out there, what’s up-and-coming. And then use the opportunities that become possible. The players that refuse to adopt the new and/or evolving technologies are the ones who will lose. Just like many banks have noticed.

The future is mobile

It hasn’t been long when computers were huge, the size of rooms. Now they fit in a pocket and can do so much more. So so much more, especially with things related to banking.

Usage of mobiles is growing fast. Incredibly fast. And it is no wonder considering how handy they are, far from just calling and texting. Now we can handle our money usage, savings, investments, pay our bills, transfer money to our friends in an instant, pay for a haircut, do our accounting… and those are just some examples from digital banking. That’s a huge jump from storing our cash under a mattress or going to our banks’ physical location to let the employees do something magical behind the desk. Now the customers have control over everything. We can choose exactly the services we want and exactly how we want to use them, and when we want to use them.

And it is not just about making mobile versions of old services. Smartphones have made completely new things possible. For example, the spread of phones has been the key to fintech’s success in China and India. People who didn’t even have access to any banking services now have a phone, with what they now have access to exactly the kind of banking services they need. Mobile is completely changing the game. And innovators need to remember that.

Technology is driving change

Customer behavior is changing and millennials are ruling

The most hated, loved, talked about generation now is millennials, at least if you read any online news sites. And innovators should take notice.

Millennials are not only the cat video and selfie-loving generation: for example in America millennials will make more than 1 out of 3 adults by 2020 and 75% of the workforce by 2025. And America is not a unicorn. In just few years millennials will be the ones with the biggest consumption power and the ones making making decisions in corporations. If innovators ever want people and companies to buy their solutions, they need to know how millennials work. How they consume, how they make decisions, and especially, how they are different from the previous consumer majorities.

For example, millennials don’t share the previous generations’ love for owning things like houses and cars. They like to share them. And when they do want to own them, it’s usually later than the previous generations wanted. Millenials are diginative and put huge emphasis on companies’ presence online, especially in social media. And unlike the previous generations, millennials are obsessed with corporate social responsibility. In fact, 75% said that it’s either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit. In short, they are critically different from the previous generations.

Millennials and their quirks should be in the minds of innovators when planning, when creating, and when selling – throughout the whole journey of innovation.

Collaboration is a must – know how to do it

In banking the past years have been dominated by fierce competition between banks and fintech startups – the old rulers and the new challengers. But now the fierce competition has had to give space for fierce collaboration. Banks and startups have realized joining forces makes a lot of sense. Collaboration is now a must – for all innovators.

But just the willingness to collaborate isn’t enough. Innovators on both sides also need to know how to collaborate. Startups and corporations are after like two completely different creatures – the differences in their pros and cons and how they are complementary are, after all, why collaboration between the two makes sense. But that also poses many challenges to collaborating.

There are countless articles about how banks need to collaborate with startups and especially how they need to change to be able to do that. To not to smother the startups with their processes. But likewise, the startups need to know how to collaborate with the corporation. Many deals have been lost for stupid reasons, in essence, not understanding the other party.

For example, where is the user data stored is a question many bank and startups approach differently. The answer from some startups is ”Not sure, somewhere. Probably in some kind of a cloud. My co-founder might know…”. But for banks where and how data is stored and protected is one of the big things that keep them awake at night.


These are some of the big themes visible in banking now that innovators need to keep in mind. That is why they are also themes in the Yes Fintech accelerator by our Global Fintech Accelerator partner YES BANK. Take a more detailed look here, and see what kind of innovations banks are really looking for. And if you already happen to have an innovation that matches those themes, apply to the accelerator.

 

YES BANK

YES BANK is one of the strongest players in one of the hottest fintech markets; India, and the Yes Fintech accelerator also shows that. The perks will make the participating startups giddy (straight access to the huge customer base and YES BANK’s extensive market knowledge, huge number of APIs, investment opportunities, global fintech market access, coaching…. just to name few), as were the results from the last accelerator (e.g. 9/10 solutions from the accelerator were taken up by YES BANK. 90%! Not many bank accelerators can say the same!). 

YES BANK has adopted a new approach to Banking, called A.R.T – Alliances, Relationships & Technology (A.R.T) approach to Digitized Banking. They are a good example of a major player in banking who has really taken on the collaboration part as they have already partnered with over 100+ fintechs to deliver best services to their customers. And thus the selected startups in Yes Fintech accelerator will be in good, no: great hands! Read more about the accelerator benefits for startups here.

Finding opportunities instead of threats

What differentiates innovators from the others is that innovators see opportunities where others see threats. Instead of shivering in fear and hiding under their blankets when someone mentions new technologies, changes in regulations or any of the usual commonly mentioned boogie men, they start looking for the opportunities in them. What could we do with this new technology? How could this new regulation be used to create new and serve our customers better?

The future of banking is made by the innovators. The startups, the banks and the ones who take on the opportunities instead of hiding from the threats. And that’s why innovators will also be the winners of the future.

Read more about the YES FINTECH accelerator here and apply now! Deadline the 14th of October 2017!

 

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Corporations, Human Resources, innovating, Innovation, Marketing, Product development.

How to renew corporations with startups

A whitepaper by Nestholma

Corporations need to renew themselves, and one of the best ways to do that is by working with startups. But that’s easier said than done. Corporations need to understand what they want to get out of the collaboration. They need to understand what they’re getting into. And they need to understand what their options are.

At Nestholma we discuss with many people from corporations. And very often we end up in the same discussions. Those are great conversations: we get to understand the concerns that people have. We also get to see what gaps they have, when it comes to working with startups.

That’s why we decided to put together this whitepaper. In it

  • I dive into what makes working with startups worthwhile for corporations.
  • Take a look beyond the flashy surface: corporations can benefit in branding, innovation and learning.
  • I also explore different ways that corporations engage with startups.
  • I finally dwell into what makes some accelerators more successful, for a particular corporation.

 

The whitepaper is packed with insights. You can skim through it quickly, and discover new angles for your collaborations. Or you can peruse it. In that case, prepare for a lot of content. You’ll understand what makes some collaborations successful. You’ll also understand why others end up a mere stunt.

 

Download the Nestholma whitepaper

Corporations need to renew themselves. One of the best ways to do it is by working with startups. This white paper explores the benefits of branding, innovation and learning. It also reviews alternatives and best practices on collaboration.

 

This text is born of many discussion. Many of them within Nestholma, and many with our customers and potential customers. But publishing a whitepaper is not the end of a discussion, but the beginning of many others. I would love to hear from you! Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] and let’s talk!

 

Related post: 4 ways working with startups can make your organization more agile and innovative

 

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Corporations, Fintech, Innovation, Startups.

Collaboration. Collaboration. And collaboration. Be it global warming, science, the economy, collaboration is the word that keeps popping up more and more, especially during the past couple of years. With globalization, we have become so connected that collaboration is pretty much part of our DNA. And the need for collaboration is only increasing. And so are the possibilities.

Companies don’t just see other companies as competitors or suppliers/customers anymore. They are sizing them up to see if they should work together instead of trying to beat each other. That’s even more so in fintech.

Over the past couple of years, the narrative in fintech has changed from fierce competition and trying to one-up everyone else to collaboration. It’s no longer the established players, banks, trying to smother the new entrants, startups, or the startups trying to throw the old masters out the game. Now it’s about the two working together to create something neither could do alone.

Why corporations should work with startups

For corporations, working with startups can give them access to whole new kind of innovation power. While corporations have resources, a huge amount of industry knowledge and plenty of smart people working for them, they are rarely called innovation powerhouses – words often associated with startups.

There are many reasons why corporations can’t be as agile and innovative as startups are. While corporations can learn from startups (and they should!), getting new innovations from startups makes a lot of sense. That way they can get innovations from many startups. And they can get it much faster than by doing it by themselves. Quantity and quality without using much of their own resources.

Collaborating makes sense especially in areas that the corporation doesn’t have knowledge of in-house, for example in AI. Instead of spending resources of acquiring the needed knowledge and then starting to think what could be done with it, they can access the best AI innovations straight from startups.

By working with startups corporation are also bound to learn from them. They will get exposed to the ways startups work, and why they can be so agile and innovative. And those learnings can lead to organization wide changes.

Also, when corporations work with startups it is inevitable that some of the ’startup coolness’ will rub on on them. That’s good for customers, attracting new talents and getting new innovative startups to approach the corporation. It’s a win, win, and win!

 

Collaborating can be beneficial for both startups and corporations

 

Why startups should work with corporations

One of the big differences between startups and corporations is that corporations have a known name, brand value, behind them. They are a known and trusted player in the market while startups are nobodies. No one knows what they do, what they can do, or even if the whole thing is just a scam. Especially in banking gaining the customers’ trust is a very important but difficult issue. After working with a big name in their industry, like a known bank in fintech, startups are immediately on a different level. If that well-trusted corporation trusts them, also the customers think they must be legit and be able to execute what they promise.

Fintech startups also face the problem that they need data, lots of it to be able to make their solution work in real life. And they need users, people to test their solution. And the more the merrier. In such trust-sensitive industry as banking, getting those is far from easy, impossible even.

For lots of startups working in just one market is a luxury they can’t afford. Unless they are in a very market-specific business or work in a huge market like China or the US, aiming to be global is a must. But going global isn’t always (if ever!) so easy. In a new market, everything is different. The competitive environment, laws and regulations, even the customers’ needs among many many other things. There might be amazingly potential new markets, but if there is no entry point, they are often just passed to the ’no’-pile. But with a local partner, preferably with one that already has a great presence in the market, they can get just the knowledge and access to the market they need.

 

Collaboration between startups and banks can make many impossible things possible.

 

One great example of such a partner for startups is YES BANK, one of our partners in the Global Fintech Accelerator.

India & YES BANK

For fintech startups right now India is a very interesting market. And by interesting, I mean hot; hotter than hot even! In India there is a huge need for new fintech solutions. And even more importantly: people are eager to use them. In fact, the fintech adoption rate is on top of the world with 52%, only second to China and growing. The environment in India for fintech startups is also very supportive: investments are booming and the government is being very proactive in supporting fintechs. In short, India is THE place to be for fintechs. But accessing that massive potential is another thing. Foreign startups need an entry point, a partner to help them gain access to the market, the right knowledge and the tools needed. One good example of such is the YES Fintech accelerator by our Global Fintech Accelerator partner YES BANK.

YES BANK is the fifth biggest private sector bank in India – you can say they know the Indian market. And in the YES BANK accelerator startups get access to that knowledge. Startups also get access to their 200+ APIs and their 2 million + retail and 15 000+ corporate customers – just what it is needed to test and validate the startups’ solution.

In their first cohort as well, YES Fintech had two international startups – soCash (Singapore) and Paykey (Israel). The overall cohort ended up with an offtake of 90% wherein 9 out of 10 solutions were taken up by YES BANK.

The accelerator program also provides access to the top 20 global fintech markets, offer mentoring and coaching and much more. Just the knowledge and tools needed to conquer the Indian fintech market and in general, get the startups on a whole new level. You can read more about the accelerator here.

The real winners = customers

While corporations and startups will benefit greatly from collaboration, the real winners will be the customers. No matter what happens and who ’wins’ or ’loses’, customers will get more options and better solutions. And as there are plenty of options, in fact, more and more of them as the world is moving increasingly towards supporting competition (e.g. PSD2 in Europe), the customers can just pick and choose. The winners of the future will be the providers who answer the needs of the customers the best. Needless to say, it has never been a better time to be a banking customer!

 

Read more about YES FINTECH accelerator  and more about our Global Fintech Accelerator.

 

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Fintech.

Investments in fintech are breaking their own records over and over again. New solutions are coming left and right, and the consumers are switching to them faster and faster. Fintech is booming and there seems to be no end to it.

In the center of the boom is Asia, especially China and India. While China still leads in consumer adoption rate of fintech solutions and investments, India isn’t far off. And according to predictions India will soon go past China and become the leading country in fintech. It’s exciting times for fintech and for India, and even more exciting opportunity for startups. But why is India such a hot place in fintech? And why should startups all over the world put India to the top of their priority list?

 

Market size & fintech adoption rate

First of all, India is a huge market. Just the sheer size of the country itself is humongous with 1,3 billion people and counting. But what makes it interesting for fintech is that its population is the most underbanked or unbanked in the world. At least for now.

India’s smartphone user base is expected to grow rapidly from 150 million (in 2016) to 500 million users by 2020. With it the digital banking is also expected to have a rapid growth. (source).The un- and underbanked consumers will jump right past the old banking systems and go straight for the newest fintech innovations. And they are doing it fast.

The reluctance of trying new banking related solutions that many fintech markets struggle with is quite non-existing in India. In fact, their fintech adoption rate is on top of the world with 52%, only second to China and far ahead the rest of the world (source). And some predict it will soon grow to 80% and surpass China, and be far ahead of the global average (around 50%) (source).

Banking is one of the most trust-based industries. Getting people to change from their trusted bank to a new provider or to try a completely new service altogether is a huge struggle for fintechs. That is one of the key reasons fintech adoption rate is so low in many markets. The fact that Indian customer base is so welcoming is already a huge advantage for fintech startups that are active there.

Fintech adoption rate in the world. India is now second place, but predictions say it will rise to number 1 soon.

Figure: EY Fintech Adoption Index 2017

 

Fintech-minded government

In many, if not most markets, fintech startups struggle with innovation-stifling regulations and legacy systems. But the Indian government has decided to take a different approach.

The Indian government is actively pushing to support new fintech innovations and startups in many ways. For example, they have been discussing with the key players in fintech to understand the market better. Thus they are able to design a supportive and enabling regulatory environment.

As a result, India has many policy initiatives which provide a strong foundation for fintech in India. They are working hard to simplify the regulatory processes, do tax redemptions, patent reforms, and provide increased government funding. They have also created India Stack, a world-class technological framework and an amazing set of APIs, to help entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate their solutions to a completely new level.

India’s government has also been a big part in making people so receptive of new fintech innovations. They have actively encouraged and educated the Indian consumers to use fintech solutions. Thah has been a huge help in getting new solutions the top of the mind of the Indian consumers. (Source)

India is clearly sending the message that fintech innovations are necessary and more than welcome.

 

Investments

In investors eyes, fintech is extremely hot now. And within fintech Asia, lead by India and China who attract the most investments, are the hottest of them all. Even when in 2016 fintech investments dropped globally 13%, in Asia fintech investments grew 12,5%. And that was led by India’s and China’s fintech investment success. (source) Fintech really is blooming in India.

Considering the market’s opportunity and the supportive environment for fintech innovations and the whole ecosystem, it is no wonder that investors find India attractive. More so as India offers the highest expected return on fintech investments. If investors are interested, startups should be too.

Fintech investments in India are going strong

 

Overall India ticks all the key boxes for startup success. India’s fintech scene is an investment magnet. India’s government is being very proactive in supporting the growth and adoption of new fintech innovations. And most importantly, the consumers are excited to use them. That’s check, check and check!

 

Getting access to the Indian fintech opportunity

While India has a huge potential for fintech startups, for startups far away, it might seem too distant. From understanding how the market works to the very basics of being a company in a foreign country can feel too big of a challenge.

An EY study found that one of the best business models to drive mass adoption of fintech solution is collaborating with businesses who already have an existing customer base in the market. Working together with a major player is a great way to get access to the market and get an understanding of the hows. For young startups, it can be especially fruitful to go to an accelerator organized by a major local player. Then they will get straight access to a big number of customers and the company’s great experience of the industry. And at the same time also get help accelerating their startup’s growth.

One good example of such is the YES Fintech accelerator by our Global Fintech Accelerator partner YES BANK.

YES BANK and YES FINTECH Accelerator

YES BANK is the fifth largest private sector bank in India with 2 million+ retail and 15 000+ corporate customers. They definitely know the Indian market by heart. And thus they can give startups just the knowledge they need to access to the huge Indian fintech opportunity. Through the YES Fintech accelerator startups will also get access to their huge customer base and their 200+ APIs. That means a straight route to the market, and getting an amazing set of tools to test and validate the startups’ solutions with real customer data.

The accelerator will also provide focused mentorship to accelerate the startups’ growth. And also give access to 1 million+ funding. Through the program and its ecosystem, partners, and cohort startups can also take their solutions to the top 20 global fintech markets.

Their previous program ended up with an offtake of 90% wherein 9 out of 10 solutions were taken up by YES BANK. That’s an incredible number! It speaks volumes of the startups and YES BANK’s startup-readiness. Overall, the YES Fintech accelerator is definitely a solid option for startups planning to conquer the Indian fintech market.

For fintech startups India gives huge opportunity. So big even that I’d like to call it the home of startup unicorns. While we still will have to see about that one, it has already become clear that for fintechs India is the place to be.

 

Read more and apply now to the YES FINTECH Accelerator. Applications will close on the 7th of October 2017.

Read more about what the Global Fintech Accelerator is about.

Posted by & filed under Corporations, Organizational learning, Startups.

Aiming to create an organization that is ready for constant change and learning? Or perhaps you are looking for ways to motivate your employees to think more creatively. Either way, startup collaboration is the best tool for creating an innovative corporate culture.

Why? Well, startups are famous for their agility and ability to execute ideas at a fast pace. These are the factors that big corporations often lack. By collaborating with startups and involving employees in the process, companies can start becoming more like startups; agile, innovative and great at executing those innovations. But how exactly does collaborating with startups enhance cultural change and learning?

To transform your organization, you need to transform your employees first. Afterall, they are your organization. And they are also the ones executing the ideas and innovations. It does not matter how great your products and ideas are, only execution matters. And execution is nothing without the effort of your employees. Your employees are the key to becoming more agile and innovative. And for employees to learn and change, the key is to get them doing.

To actually get your employees to learn from the startup’s you should get your employees involved in the collaboration as much as possible. This way they learn by doing. And the more employees you involve the greater the learnings and changes will be. A couple of employees can’t make big changes in your organization. But the more the entire corporation is involved, the greater are the learnings and changes achieved.

Organizations are made of people. And thus also organizational changes start from the employees.

 

In this post, I will present the four cultural benefits that partnering with startups can bring with the example case of Ann.

 

So, let’s begin with Ann

Ann is an employee at a big global corporation. For five years she has been part of the human resource department. She really enjoys working for her company. Working at a global player gives you the opportunity to work in game-changing projects, which really excites her. At the same time, those projects take time to happen: new ideas need the approval of many people, and changes require many meetings. Ideas are sometimes also called off when other, more urgent tasks appear.

Ann’s company is getting more involved with startups, and she has been asked to mentor a startup. One of her tasks now is to make sure the corporation and the startup partner, so that her department becomes more efficient. She had been involved with startups a bit before when her company organized a hackathon, but she never saw a long-term difference after that.

Next, you will find what Ann experienced after working with the startup. This also includes the four benefits startup collaboration has on the company culture.

 

1.Openness to renewal

The first meeting with the startup was already an eye-opener. The startups came with a proposal already in mind, but after a quick discussion, it was clear that it would not work inside Ann’s corporation. Ann thought that this was the end of the partnership. To her surprise, one of the entrepreneurs came up with a brilliant idea. After a brief discussion, they decided that Ann would discuss with some colleagues and get back to the entrepreneurs. They proposed to meet the next week.

Ann was a bit skeptical of whether she would be able to get answers by next week. Ann was aware how slowly the execution of some ideas took place in the company. But she was even more skeptical that the entrepreneurs could do all the things they promised.

While consulting a few colleagues, Ann discovered that most people were quick to dismiss her and the collaboration. Many people offered to discuss with her only after a few weeks! In contrast, whenever she had a question for the entrepreneurs, she got a response in a matter of minutes, and with a different attitude. Instead of formal structures, startups were open to any sort of idea sharing. If she wanted to make this partnership work, she needed to make sure her colleagues were more responsive and open to change. And for that to happen, she needed to be open to renewal herself.

In order for innovation to happen, employees must be adaptable and open to discussion. Yet, corporations generally have rigid structures. As a result employees revert to default behavior and start rejecting big changes. Nobody sees the incentive to develop ideas if the implementation is restricted by the structure.

To solve this issue, some organizations have organized official channels for startup collaboration. This is also what Ann’s corporation did. Startup collaboration creates the impression of proactivity and openness. It encourages employees to adopt a similar mindset. This further fosters business renewal as well as innovation.

 

2.Navigating uncertainty

Three meetings and countless discussions later, Ann and the entrepreneurs had talked with most of the departments involved. They all understood that, if the collaboration worked, the corporation would benefit greatly. However, several of them had concerns over whether what the startup was proposing would really work.

On the next meeting, she decided to tell the startups what was delaying the collaboration so much. One or the entrepreneurs asked “What if we run a small pilot with some customers, to show how people really use the product? And if they don’t use it the way we expect, we will redesign it so that they do”. They identified all the risks that people had mentioned and designed a pilot that would give the more information about those risks.

Ann could not take the uncertainty out of innovation, but the startup showed her how to deal with it, by talking to customers, testing and learning.

Most people working in corporations tend to focus on tasks with high certainty. But as you might know, innovation is uncertain by definition. Fearing to take risks is the all time enemy of innovation. This is why developing new products is often seen as challenging.

Startups are the opposite of corporations. They are famous for the ability to develop and produce products under uncertainty. Startups favor experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition and iterative design over traditional development. By collaborating with startups corporation employees are encouraged to work in a similar manner. This allows them to become accustomed to working in uncertain environments.

By working together with startups the employees get new ideas to their work.

 

3.Understanding the need for quicker execution

Everything looked good after the meeting with the startups. It looked like her corporation would soon be collaborating with them, and both of them would have happy customers. That probably made the fall worse: once the project started looking real, it seemed like there were more and more decision-makers that had to be involved. In addition, several departments had to give clearance, which required more and more analysis.

When she told the entrepreneurs that the agreement could take a few more months, she could see that they were not happy with it. She didn’t even know if they would last that long, without a source of income.

Ann had also noticed how fast and well startups executed their new ideas. “How would you guys solve this, if this were your company?”, she asked. “Good question! We would probably look for something doable, something that we can get a shot at right now, and leave the rest of the complex stuff for later.”.

That was it! She could use this way of working too! Ann figured out that if she cut out some parts of the pilot, she would not need a clearance from the other departments since it would be an internal project with a relatively low budget. This would also make the bigger project later on much easier. Otherwise, the project might die at the idea stage. While ideas are good, but the execution is the only thing that matters.

As described, entrepreneurs are faster at executing than corporations. Speed is essential for startups. Why? Well, without speed there is inevitable failure. The fast eat the slow. When startups decide on a course of action they don’t wait. They don’t rethink or hesitate. They put the plan into action the moment the plan reaches consensus in a meeting.

In contrast, the strict structures and formal processes of corporations restrict this behavior. Decisions move slowly. Ideas go through a path of managers, board rooms, decision-makers, analysts, researchers, legals, marketing…

Success is no longer about being big or small. It’s about speed, pivoting and rapid scaling. When corporate employees are exposed to the faster pace of startups, they will learn to value the fast speed and further mimic this behavior. They will also be willing to make more agile plans that get results immediately.

 

4. Focus on risk optimization, not only minimization

With her new plan of having an early pilot first, everything seemed set. There was only one step left: the final approval by Sarah, the head of her department. Sarah had seemed confident with the collaboration so far, but now it seemed like she was less comfortable with the situation.

“Is there any problem?”, asked Anna. “Well”, Sarah answered, “I’m just thinking if this is the best for the department. At the end of the day, we’re the ones promoting this project, and if it goes wrong… well, it’s not good”. Anna realized that her department was taking a risk, and investing time in something that might not have any effect in their quarterly targets.

“But it could have a much bigger impact later on”, Anna pointed out. “It’s a controlled risk, and even if it fails, little failures can add up to big success”. Sarah nodded quietly for a few seconds. “You’re right Anna, and you’ve actually spelled out the risks and opportunities very clearly. We should take these opportunities much more often. For the next quarter, let’s make sure we include some metrics related to this project, and even give ourselves some room for innovation”.

Corporations typically focus on performance and KPIs, which encourages employees to become risk-averse. But if radical innovation is on your company agenda, you should give people the possibility of being flexible.

Instead, the focus should be on the acceptance and management of both risks and execution. Successful startups go quickly from failure to failure. They then continuously adapt and iterate what they have learned from customers. Similarly, employees working in startup environments are more willing to work with risks, as opposed to avoiding them.

Risk is an essential part of innovation. Instead of avoiding risk corporations should manage it.

In short:

As shown with the case of Ann, allowing employees to work in the startup environment improves innovation levels and standards. Working with startups makes employees more likely to identify potential improvements.

Working with startups creates a culture of constant change and learning.

Employees learn to become ready for the unknown future. They view the organization through new, different lenses and beyond the plans. They learn to become prepared for the unplanned success.

 

Read more about renewing organizations with the help of startups:

 

Download the Nestholma whitepaper

Corporations need to renew themselves. One of the best ways to do it is by working with startups. This white paper explores the benefits on branding, innovation and learning. It also reviews alternatives and best practices on collaboration.