Raiffeisen Bank goes for the next fintech unicorn in CEE

At the beginning of April, TechHub Bucharest (the oldest and largest Romanian coworking and events dedicated exclusively to the tech community), and Raiffeisen Bank Romania announced that all fintech startups can apply to the 2019 Elevator Lab BootCamp (http://www.elevator-lab.at/ro/).

Fintech is still a rare breed in some of the areas in which Fintech Camp chapters are active – this is what we are trying to tackle, by the way!

So it’s interesting to learn the “why”s and “how”s of a corporate wanting to work with fintechs. To that extent, I was glad to have the opportunity to discuss with Max Schausberger (Head of Fintech Partnerships at Raiffeisen Bank International) about their larger scope in working with the startup space. We also touched upon their flagship initiatives, Elevator Lab and Elevator Ventures.

Here are some of the takeaways of our discussion (and the full recording of the event below):

  • The financial services industry is undergoing major shifts. It will take some time before the traditional corporates become accustomed to work day-to-day with startups.
  • One of the key pain points that startups have with banks is there is no clear contact person for innovation. Startups lose time until they realise who are the deciding factors they need to discuss with. At the same time, corporate employees do not have yet clear processes of working with startups.
  • Banks need pilots and checking all processes before they decide to work with startups via a partnership. The highly regulated, process-driven financial services industry has made this approach the norm.
  • The corporate-startup relationship mixes a startup’s fast execution (from startup) and the corporate’s trust. Both benefit, if the partners understand aand accept their strenghts and weaknesses.
  • As part of Elevator Lab, senior employees in Raiffeisen work closely with startups throughout the program, becoming part of the team during the duration of the batch.

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