ING pairs startups with inhouse pitches for accelerator

ING pairs startups with inhouse pitches for accelerator

ING is pairing four external startups with two inhouse teams selected from an innovation bootcamp for its next global accelerator programme

The four startups were selected from a field of 98 applicants and won their entry into the six-month accelerator following a competitive pitch involving ten shortlisted candidates.

During the programme, the four firms - Axyon AI, Gekko, Startup Insight and Surance - will work together with coaches, mentors and ING business units to validate their ideas, business models and to determine whether a viable product is possible.

The selected startups each have an ING business unit that sponsors them, for instance by helping them gain access to the bank's network of customers to test their product or service.

The accelerator will also host two inhouse teams selected from a list of 1196 ideas submitted by staff. The 100 best ideas were selected to participate in an Innovation Bootcamp and were further developed by international teams of employees, supported by mentors.

A final shortlist of 30 applicants were then put through ‘pressure cooker’ workshops, designed to test the mettle of the teams to ensure their idea really does solve a problem.

Eight teams making it to next stage were then invited to deliver 15-minute elevator pitches before a six-person jury consisting mostly of ING senior leaders in front of an all-employee audience, and present to a Kids Counsel, set up in cooperation with the Missing Chapter Foundation, comprising a group of 9-12 year olds.

Previous ideas to emerge from the inhouse bootcamp include Orange Assistant, a service that automates day-to-day banking based on customer-set rules and triggers, and Direct Lease, an online leasing platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. These are now available to customers in Turkey and the Netherlands respectively.

The big winner this year was a concept to digitalise and automate commodity trade finance processes using blockchain technology. It will go into the accelerator alongside one other inhouse-developed application and the four outsider groups, which between them cover the full spectrum of new digital banking models.

Axyon AI started as a spin-off of DM Digital to explore how artificial intelligence can be applied to provide predictive models for use across a wide range of data-intensive industries.

Gekko produces business accounting software for SMEs.

Startup Insight is developing a blockchain-based platform for entrepreneurs that provides insight into financial and legal matters, ranging from notary services to financial forecasting.

Surance is an app-based product offering retirement planning scenarios for job-hopping millennials.

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