Announced in autumn 2019, OTP Bank’s 3rd startup partnership program invited applications from innovative enterprises with more mature, previously validated solutions to address a total of 63 business challenges. 370 startups from 56 countries applied to the Program, and 13 had the opportunity to implement joint pilot projects with Hungarian and foreign members of the Banking Group, each with support from dedicated domain sponsors.
Although the pilot period coincided with the spread of the coronavirus in Europe, thanks to the commitment of the startups and of the business units participating in their pilots, 10 out of the 13 pilot projects were completed in line with their original roadmaps, and the rest of the projects will also see their last milestones completed during the summer.
Following the Program’s kick-off week held in Budapest, training to support general business development was delivered online, providing the startuppers with 33 hours of workshop attendance and 43 hours of one-to-one mentoring. In the meantime, besides the Bank’s professionals, participants also received support from Program Partners, including experts from EIT Digital, HubHub, INV Fintech, Mastercard, Microsoft, McKinsey Panorama, and PortfoLion, for entering the next phase of business maturity.
For the first time this year, the 3-month pilot period was rounded off by an online Demo Day, giving the teams a high international visibility as presentations on pilot deliverables and the lessons learned were followed by more than 1100 viewers, including a panel of 10 experts representing the senior management of the Banking Group and partner corporations.
At the end of the event, 5 startups received special prizes from the Program Partners and based on votes from the audience:
- As a courtesy of HubHub, all of the 13 teams are granted 3 months’ membership and access to HubHub’s coworking spaces; additionally, HubHub will also support EDUardo through dedicated mentoring and the production of their promotional video.
- Through a package of media placements and online conference options, support for enhanced visibility within the professional community is offered to The Waay by EFMA, an international professional organization for banks and insurers.
- Microsoft recognized TrustChain with its Best Scaleup award offering wide ranging mentoring opportunities.
- Pioneers and its sister company The Minted offered EDUardo consulting on EU grants and venture capital investments.
- Based on audience votes, the prize for the best pitch has been awarded to LutherOne. The prize allowed the team to name a charity organisation, to which a donation of HUF 500,000 is made by the Bank on the startup’s behalf. Based on LutherOne’s decision, the amount will be donated to Svetluska, an NGO supporting visually impaired people.
“OTP Bank views the current, highly increased demand for digital solutions as an opportunity, and we are prepared to successfully address the changing expectations, in which startup collaborations play a crucial role besides our internal innovation initiatives.” OTP Bank’s Deputy CEO Antal Kovács said.
Head of OTP LAB András Fischer finds a great example of a joint Group-level effort in the fact that the Program ran according to its original schedule despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus. “The fact that the 13 pilot projects were successfully implemented even in the turbulent situation we are currently facing, and that they enjoyed support from senior executives both in Hungary and in participating Subsidiary Banks, including in Albania, Croatia, Russia, and Serbia, makes a strong case for innovation projects, both in terms of validity and timeliness.”
Below is a list of the Program’s 13 participating startups and their solutions:
- Banzai Cloud (containerisation platform for the rapid development, deployment and scalability of cloud-based applications)
- Edgetier (intelligent assistant to support call center operations, providing response templates to incoming inquiries)
- EDUardo (online business simulation platform to train staff in lifelike training situations)
- Finqware (API aggregator platform with a focus on the CEE region)
- Linistry (service to support remote queuing through the user’s mobile phone)
- LutherOne (comprehensive HR platform for smooth and real-time employee feedback and performance measurements)
- Mostly AI (software generating synthetic data sets from real data containing no personal data and suitable for testing)
- Neticle (online platform for media monitoring and sentiment analysis)
- Realmonitor (real estate price monitoring application to assist home purchases at the best available price)
- Sanostro (service offering a wide range of investment signals to investment analysts)
- Scolvo (mobile application for sales support in customer visits by corporate banking consultants)
- The Waay (lifestyle-based banking with relevant offers aligned to customers’ life situations)
- TrustChain (counterparty checks, e-signatures, and digital contracting in a single platform for B2B partners)
OTP Bank’s 3rd Startup Program has proved that the coordinated management of startup collaborations at Group level offers a number of benefits to both participating companies and the Member Banks involved. Consequently, the Bank is assessing ways to extend the Program further across the Group. During the autumn period, the www.otpstartup.com website will provide interested startups and scaleups with information about further opportunities to collaborate with the Bank.