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Last week it was finally time to get the accelerator started at OTP Bank! We have worked hard with OTP Bank to prepare for it, and we couldn’t wait. We were looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work with the startups and their counterparts at OTP Bank. Based on the selection period, we had high expectations, and lucky for us, so far it seems like we weren’t wrong!

The first week was a whirlwind of introductions and clarification

On day one we got to know the startups better, and they got to know us better. But even more importantly: the got to know their collaboration partner OTP Bank better. The startups met with their business champion (who will help them develop a good business case for both sides) and mentor (who will guide them through the organization).

They worked together to define the moving parts of the collaboration and the next steps for the three months that they’ll be here. When we say we do collaboration and aim for win-win deals between startups and banks, we really mean it! During the first week, we also had the departments of Architecture, Procurement, and Innovation discuss the journey that the startups will go through, into collaborating with OTP Bank.

When selecting the startups, we pay attention to the startups’ potential. But even more importantly, we pay attention to how much of a good match they are for the bank. Many excellent startups applied but just weren’t right for OTP Bank. And of course, vice versa. It’s important to us to make sure there is potential for real, win-win collaboration.

Startups got to meet all the people supporting their journey

On week two, we’ve drilled further into the value that the startups can bring to OTP Bank’s customers, and to OTP Bank. We’ve worked on crystallizing their message. In big organizations, many people are involved in a partnership. And if they can’t understand quickly where the core value is, things get stuck easily.

Additionally, innovation includes uncertainty by definition. We also worked hard on how finding out what the startups need to validate (or find out), and on what they need to test, show or pilot. In the startup world, people talk a lot about Minimum Viable Products. In innovation, that’s actually not a new concept… the only difference is that many people call it ‘pilots’ or ‘proof of concept’!

The selection of the startups was tough, but it paid off

The past two weeks, it’s been a pleasure working with such brilliant startups. We have strong and ambitious teams, that are quickly learning how to navigate inside the organization to bring value. And OTP Bank’s business champions and mentors have been great at thinking big, and looking at the startups, not as the company they are at the moment, but at the great partner they can become in the future.

Here’s a glimpse of our rising stars:

 

AdviceRobo: advanced scoring and predictive analytics to improve lending and insurance.

Alo Agri: connects small and medium agriculture farms with food and beverage businesses, to discover each other and do business, using blockchain.

Keystroke DNAenables behavioral biometrics authentication security into any web application in minutes.

Family Finances: a digital financial ecosystem for families and banks integrating payment services, savings, PFM, and EduTech functions to create more conscious finances at home.

Fintech Blocksa banking innovation platform which enables banks to integrate with fintechs in a faster, easier and cheaper way.

Prais: Online real estate valuation platform used to calculate market price of real estates and compare neighborhoods in terms of quality of living.

Scanye: a self-learning platform that saves accountants’ time and money on invoice processing.

Trackometrix: like Google Analytics for physical outlets. A B2B SaaS cloud platform for consumer tracking and data visualization using CCTV cameras and face recognition.

OTP Bank and Nestholma accelerator in full swing

All in all, the start of the accelerator has been great, and we can’t wait to see what innovations the next three months will bring for OTP Bank and its customers!

 

Related post: Why OTP Bank wants to work with startups

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