The fourth round of Raiffeisen Bank International’s (RBI) Partnership Program Elevator Lab took place virtually in the second half of 2020. Elevator Lab, selected as one of the “Best Financial Innovation Labs in 2020” by the renowned magazine Global Finance and nominated for the “Best Accelerator or Incubator Program 2020” award by the Central European Startup Awards, aims at finding innovative fintech solutions and building mutually beneficial partnerships between RBI and fintechs.
This year, RBI’s subsidiary banks played an even more active role, setting the search topics, conducting the scouting and choosing the most promising solutions to be tested locally, aligned with the head office in Vienna. On top of that, some subsidiary banks continued to organize Elevator Lab Challenges for later-stage fintechs and Elevator Lab Bootcamps for early-stage startups in their home markets.
Three tracks of the global Elevator Lab Programs were organized in 2020, with four selected winners. These fintechs, together with mentors and experts from RBI’s subsidiary banks and head office, are working on developing Proofs of Concepts (PoC). In the second quarter of 2021, all of the fintech solutions tested in the PoC phase, will be presented at a Demo Day and subsequently evaluated for a potential partnership.
Advanced Analytics and Loyalty Solutions
Co-hosted by Raiffeisen Bank in Romania and Raiffeisenbank in Bulgaria, the “Advanced Analytics and Loyalty Solutions” track ended with two winners: The jury from the Romanian subsidiary bank selected iFactor (https://ifactor-online.com), a fintech which is developing an engine used for monitoring abnormal behavior and fraud detection during the factoring process. This technology will enable lenders to get a better understanding of both default and fraud credit risk of the applicant sellers and debtors and thus minimize risks in factoring.
The Bulgarian subsidiary bank chose Synerise which focuses on online customer experience and growth development in e-commerce. The aim of this cooperation will be to generate specific predictive sales signals for corporate customers and to analyze anonymous customer behavior.
Value added Services for Large Corporates
Within the “Value added Services for Large Corporates” track, RBI´s head office searched for innovative fintech solutions to expand its offerings to business customers through new value-added services in the fields of cash, treasury, expense and risk management. The jury chose FinLync (https://www.finlync.com) which strives to develop white-label applications for real-time cash management, trade finance reporting and exchange rates integration, directly embedded in the corporate’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) environment, thus enabling RBI to communicate end-to-end with corporate customers.
Bank as a Platform
The goal of RBI’s Slovakian subsidiary Tatra Banka’s “Bank as a Platform” track was to find a solution for building a digital platform that will connect Tatra Banka’s clients with third-party solutions. The selected fintech Zentity (https://zentity.com) offers a platform and products which allow customers to use multiple services of third-party merchants without downloading separate apps, with the goal of creating a unified experience in one app.
“The possible use cases we have discussed so far with selected fintechs from this year’s Elevator Lab Program are very promising, and make me look forward to the PoCs on which we are now working together. Furthermore, it was very encouraging to see the active participation of our subsidiary banks in this program, and in the face of the challenging circumstances in 2020. I am very pleased that 10 out of 13 subsidiary banks organized initiatives to foster the fintech ecosystems and advance innovation in CEE,“ says Christian Wolf, Head of Strategic Partnerships & Ecosystems at RBI.