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. We talked about the different trends, what’s happening in the industry, and most importantly what are the innovations and other goals OTP Bank would like to achieve.

Startups and OTP Bank

We are very pleased with the startups that got selected to the program: seeing them work with OTP Bank and develop as companies and as collaborators has been a real joy. There is a reason we call them bank-approved startups. We are proud to continue the journey with them also now, after the program. But the best part is that our partner OTP Bank seems to have found what they were looking for.

Multiple startups have made a deal with OTP Bank during or after the 3 months of the program, and more discussions are going on. That’s double the industry standard! The selection process was laborsome, but it was clearly worth it.

Check out the startups here and their Demo Day pitches here.

(The accelerator) was focused on a specific goal instead of vague “startup acceleration”. Nestholma was really involved in pushing and poking us and OTP to work together.

– Łukasz Podgajny, Co-founder of Scanye, a startup at the OTP Bank accelerator

Organizational changes start from the inside

Last February was the start of the 3-month accelerator program itself. As usual in our collaboration programs, we settled inside OTP LAB together with the 8 startups. And there is a good reason for that.

Our job is to help the collaboration happen; help the startups become more bank ready and our partner becomes more startup ready. We focus on getting real results, instead of the generic startup buzz. After all, startups and corporations are from two very different worlds, both with their own benefits and disadvantages. Our mission is to combine them in a way that creates innovation and development, and not waste time & resources.

“It’s very clear that this was not the very first accelerator organized by Nestholma ;) I really liked the structured approach, your commitment, and that it really feels you want to achieve tangible outcomes of the program.”

-Janos Barits, COO of FintechBlocks, a startup from the OTP Bank accelerator

Working with startups is also a great opportunity for banks and insurance companies to not only get innovations but also learn and change internally; be more prepared to face the challenges the industries are going through. But those learnings won’t happen if the startups are kept somewhere far away, ’out of sight, out of mind’, visited by just a few of the corporation’s employees.

Now not only did the startups get to work closely with the brilliant team of the OTP LAB, but also the business champions, mentors and other relevant people from different departments of OTP Bank. The accelerator impacted many inside the OTP Bank instead of just a few. And that’s what you need for big organizations to learn and become even better than they are today.

“(We got to) better understand how startups can work with OTP, better understand internal processes, better understand pain points within the bank. …(The accelerator) accelerated the collaborations, helped us test new ideas, brought OTP Bank closer to the startup community.”

-OTP Bank employee

OTP Bank & startups working together

The people at OTP Bank were open, direct and supportive, sharing openly how to work with banks, and inside a regulated market. They were a true pleasure to work with, and more importantly: they help the collaboration get forward with the startups and gave them invaluable learnings for future about how to work with banks.

“OTP Bank has real intrapreneurs among their employees, that have helped push the collaboration forward. It was a pleasure working with such clear-minded people.”

-Daniel Collado-Ruiz, On-site partner in OTP Bank Startup Accelerator

100% of the startups and OTP Bank employees recommend the accelerator

We had truly amazing time working with OTP Bank and the startups. And they feel the same: 100% of the startups and 100% of the OTP Bank employees surveyed would recommend the accelerator. Startups and banks, now this should make you think about what your next move is!

(Great about the accelerator was) the way it was structured and aimed at creating long-term value for all the parties involved  

-Ivan Starodub, CTO of Keystroke DNA, a startup at OTP Bank accelerator

A big thank you goes to the startups, the OTP LAB, the mentors, the business champions and everyone else from the different departments at OTP Bank involved –  you really rock! These kinds of results encourage us to work even harder.


OTP Bank & Nestholma accelerator in numbers

  • 8 startups participating
  • Double the deals than the industry standard and more in discussions
  • 170+ participants on Demo Day
  • 200+ meetings with startups / business champions
  • 100% of startups and OTP Bank employees recommend
  • 30+ Workshops with collaboration focus
  • 10+ Guest talks