Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Featured, Fintech, Programs, Startups.

We have done 26 programs so far, but still, each new program makes us as excited as if it was the first one. And the same thing happened again with our latest program: startup accelerator with OTP Bank.

Now it has already been a month since the Demo Day and the end of the program itself. While the collaboration still continues, it’s a good time to look back and reflect on what happened.

Three months of collaboration, innovation & results

Last summer when we started designing this accelerator, we mapped our partner’s OTP Bank’s needs with them – like we do with every collaboration program, be it for a bootcamp, a three-month accelerator, or continuous startup-innovation support. Read more »

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

Collaboration between startups and corporations is not easy. Most attempts to cooperate actually fail. There is a cultural divide between their two worlds. This why you need a mediator who understands both of those worlds: to make the collaboration a win-win for both the corporation and the startups.

Luckily, our area of expertise at Nestholma is exactly that: collaboration. Turning it into an actual business. Making the magic happen. “Banks and startups speak a different language”, says András Fischer, Head of Retail Innovation. “We need an interpreter”. Tweet this. And we’re proud to say that they have chosen Nestholma as such an interpreter.

But what does Nestholma bring into the mix for the startups and the corporation, as an acceleration partner? Read more »

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Fintech, General, Programs, Startups.

It’s time for more deals and more pilots! Taviq from our second Nordea accelerator has just signed a pilot agreement with Nordea Private Banking, going live now. And that’s awesome news for Taviq and Nordea, but even better for Nordea’s customers!

Juho Isola on a MoneyFintech panel with Nordea's Ewan MacLeod.

Taviq’s Juho Isola on stage with Nordea’s Chief Digital Officer Ewan MacLeod.

In Private Banking and wealth management, too many clients drop off during the first meeting. That’s because the first meeting is like a cold blind date. Except the customer and the wealth advisor know even less about each other. The first meeting is spent figuring each other out; if the wealth advisor even is the right one to handle their money. Read more »

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. Read more »

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 Antti at [email protected], and let’s find together the best solution for your bank!

 

Posted by & filed under Customers, Funding, General, Programs, Startups.

This is a guest post by Maarit Cimolonskas from Feelingstream

Feelingstream is one of our portfolio startups (feelingstream.com). FeelingStream helps large service companies improve customer experience by analyzing customer messages and providing actionable insight on customer feelings using smart analytics. They participated in the first Nordea and Nestholma Startup Accelerator batch. Applications for the next batch is open: apply and read more.

Antti / Nestholma

You have a great idea, so you start it up.  Every founder knows that it’s hard to launch a successful startup. We’ve all heard stories about both startups who fail and startuppers who do it for networking. The truth is that turning a great idea into a profitable business is a difficult journey! Joining an accelerator might help you here and we wanted to put down some of the lessons we believe are relevant to do it.

Accelerator supports your startup

You want to start real business and accelerator advances your doings.

At the same time it equals a lot of work. It might happen that startups wait of being changed better after they join an accelerator. What actually happens is that they are given a better hook to catch a bigger fish!

Intense experience brings accelerated knowledge.

Be prepared that the way you think about the problem you solve may change more than once. The time you spent at the accelerator may come as being too overwhelming and intense at the same time. What it actually brings with is that you get faster answers about the business problem and clearer view about actual business impact.

Take the courage and start creating raving fans as soon as you can.

Profitable business means speaking to actual customers. To start relationships with your customers, you need to get close to their stories. And you need to listen what they have to say. It of course depends on the field you’re in, but the accelerator might as well serve as the gateway to your future customers.

 Accelerator should create as much value as you create value for customers.

Instead of choosing one that brings you more monetary value, go for the one that helps you get closer to your potential customer. Accelerators connected to certain fields bring you actual people with real cases. The sooner you get to know your customer, the better.

Know what you’re missing or where you need to improve. 

Even if your mind acts like sponge for knowledge, it’s good to understand that opinions are different and that in the end, it’s your startup that you want to turn into a business. Mentors are useful only if you know what you need their input for.

Develop and help others develop.

You’re in it together with the teams a lot like you and completely different at the same time.  You’re lucky to have other talented minds around you. They want to help you and giving feedback to other teams might just show you some advancement too.

These are our feelings after participating at the Nordea Nestholma Startup Accelerator. An intense time but what a ride!

Good luck and feel on!

Terje from Feelingstream

– Maarit, Feelingstream

Read more about Feelingstrem at feelingstream.com

Applications for the next Nordea Startup Accelerator batch is open: apply and read more.

Posted by & filed under General, Programs, Startups.

 

They are here! The first startups for the Nestholma B2B Startup Accelerator Program have been selected.

Nestholma will arrange an accelerator program in Oulu starting in September. The startups are Epic Artiga, FlexiDet, Playsign, SIMO, Technovate and Zemeho

The companies provide a wide variety of innovations from creative and interactive uses of e-ink displays and 3D modelling to printed electronics, automated health examinations, music tools for game developers and solutions for on-demand deliveries.

More info on the startups

Nordea Startup Accelerator