OTP Bank’s third Startup Program holds several records, as it is the banking group’s most comprehensive startup collaboration initiative in terms of the number of applying startups, the number of startups selected for pilot projects, and the number of group members participating in the initiative.
Out of the 370 applicants, 13 later-stage startup and scaleup companies were invited to the 3 + 6-month long Program where they can test their products and services with the support of a dedicated sponsoring department and prove their readiness for long-term cooperation with the banking group.
370 startups from 56 countries submitted applications for the 2019-2020 OTP Startup Partner Program during the application period between 14 October and 22 November 2019. The international appeal of the Program is also demonstrated by the list of the top 5 countries providing the largest number of applicants: Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, the United States and Russia. Twenty-seven of the companies having submitted applications were invited to the final selection event of the Program, where, after consulting with the respective organisations, they presented their pilot proposals to be implemented with the OTP Group. We are proud that this year 160 employees and startupers from close to 20 nations worked together at the two-day Selection Camp.
2020 is the first time in the history of the Program that the number of participating companies has increased to over 10, signaling the high level of professionalism of the applying startups and the growing commitment of the OTP business units to startup partnerships. As a result, 13 startup and scaleup companies are participating in the program period between 2 March and 20 May 2020, working together with their sponsoring business units in five markets of the banking group (Albania, Croatia, Russia and Serbia beyond the Hungarian headquarter) to test the fit of their solutions to the banking operations and improve their services based on feedback from their mentors.
Interested companies once again were able to apply for the Program in 5+1 focus areas: Advanced data & analytics tools, Customer experience and customer servicing, Internal efficiency, Product innovations, SME banking, and entirely innovative and disruptive solutions, which do not fall under any of the listed categories but are related to the banking sector.
The activities of the selected startups fit well into one of the above topics:
• Advanced data and analytics tools are provided by Neticle, a company offering online media monitoring and sentiment analysis platform, and MostlyAI, which generates synthetic data sets from real data containing no personal data and suitable for testing.
• Three companies are focused on better customer experience and customer servicing. EdgeTier has developed an intelligent assistant providing call center operators with response templates to answer incoming chat conversations. Linistry’s smart queue management system enables branch visitors to join the queue remotely and then track their queue status on their mobile. The Waay offers lifestyle-based banking with relevant, quality content and offerings tailored to the individual customers’ life moments.
• Combining cutting-edge cloud and containerization technologies to increase internal efficiency, Banzai Cloud facilitates the rapid development, deployment and scalability of cloud-based applications. In addition, LutherOne and EDUardo optimize HR processes, the former providing a comprehensive platform for seamless and real-time feedback and employee performance measurement, and the latter developing an online business simulation game that helps employees gain insights through almost lifelike situations.
• Three companies are focused on product innovations: FINQware, the developer of an API aggregator platform for the Central and Eastern European region, Sanostro, which provides investment analysts with access to investment signals aggregated from a wide range of hedge funds, and Realmonitor, which promises best-price real-estate purchase transactions via its real estate price monitoring application.
• Finally, SME banking is supported with new elements by Trustchain, which runs an online platform for B2B partners to identify business partners and manage all related documents online, as well as by Scolvo, which streamlines corporate advisors’ client meetings with an application that supports customer profiling and quoting.
“By elevating the Program to the banking group level this year, the opportunities for participating companies have multiplied: a solution tested in a particular market may be extended to other interested subsidiaries, and subsidiary mentors may provide valuable country-specific information to companies. Cooperation still continues with the majority of the companies that participated in our previous cohort which ended last May. Our goal this year is to maintain or even increase this ratio. We trust that both group-level cooperation and the 6-month rollout period introduced this year will help achieve this goal,” said András Fischer, Head of OTP Bank’s Retail Innovation Department.
The 13 startups joined the Program from 7 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland). During the three-month acceleration and pilot period, representatives of these companies will meet in person for three special onsite weeks with the mentors from their sponsoring business units in Budapest or at the headquarters of the subsidiaries implementing the pilot. In addition, trainings, workshops and individual mentoring sessions corresponding to the maturity levels of the startups will help the teams in business development. The acceleration period ends on 20 May with the Demo Day event, where the startups will report on the lessons learned and the achievements of the pilot projects in front of the management of OTP Group and of the partner corporations supporting the Program.