Alior Bank has announced the development of a unique acceleration programme for technology start-ups. The mission of the Warsaw-based accelerator is to identify innovative ideas of technology start-ups, support them in the development of their business, help them create added value for Alior Bank clients, and provide funding. The bank will accept seed projects in the programme, as well. As a part of the accelerator, the bank will open to third parties its development platform which uses the OpenAPI environment based on IBM technology implemented by TUATARA.
In October 2017, Alior Bank announced the implementation plan of its Digital Disruptor strategy. One of its pillars is the development of a fintech partner environment. “It is our goal to have 20 partners by 2020, which is the time horizon of the Digital Disruptor strategy,” said Michał Chyczewski, Alior Bank Vice President and acting CEO. “It is our aspiration to be the bank of first choice for fintechs in Europe,” added Mr Chyczewski.
Accelerator of ideas
Alior Bank will select a group of start-ups for the accelerator whose ideas add value to the bank’s services. The bank will seek potential partners in Poland and CEE as well as beyond Europe. “Our people are looking at solutions proposed by fintechs in Europe, Israel, and the US. We have identified and contacted a number of interesting potential partners,” said Bruno Ferreira, Alior Bank Managing Director.
Each partner of Alior Bank will be supported by an advisor at the newly established Fintech Department as well as a mentor who can help to develop the right business model and manage relations with the relevant business units of the bank. The bank will delegate a large number of its employees to work with partners and offer diverse business competences.
“We offer our partners a comprehensive acceleration programme. We believe that the project can build a bridge between the fast-growing world of fintechs and Alior Bank which is open to ideas of others, uses unique business know-how, and provides a portfolio of clients with world-class services,” said Mariusz Ożga, Alior Bank’s Fintech Director.
The acceleration programme will also provide access to internal and/or external financing for partners (seed finance, partnerships, potential CVC). “We want to help our partners raise money for growth within and outside Alior Bank. We believe that it will change the market of fintech solutions in Poland and in the region,” said Bruno Ferreira. “Alior Bank plans to invest ca. PLN 100 million per year in innovations by 2020, including PLN 15-20 million per year in fintech partnerships and projects.”
Alior Bank redefines its innovation management ecosystem
The development of the accelerator is a part of a bigger project which will create the CEE’s most advanced comprehensive ecosystem of innovation management. The new innovation model relies on two units: Alior Bank’s Innovation Centre responsible for crowdsourcing within the bank, and the Fintech Department responsible for initiatives developed with external partners, including the Accelerator. Both units will be located in the state-of-the-art innovation space at the Warsaw Spire scheduled to open in May 2018.
Alior Bank picks IBM and TUATARA as its Open API vendors
Alior Bank wants to be Poland’s first financial institution to offer a sandbox – a dedicated test environment for partners. It will be open to third-party developers and fintechs in order to develop products originating from the accelerator and to ensure compliance with the future PSD2 requirements. Alior Bank believes that IBM API Connect meets all of its technology requirements and that the platform will greatly accelerate the prototyping, designing, and alignment of solutions before they are offered to clients. This will ensure safety and efficiency of development, as well as scalability of solutions. According to independent analysts, IBM API Connect is a leading global solution in its class.
“According to a recent survey of the IBM Institute for Business Value, 57 percent of managers in financial institutions say that the lines dividing traditional banks and competitors from other sectors are disappearing,”said Jarosław Szymczuk, IBM Polska General Director. “Leading banks are becoming a platform which integrates products from different suppliers while ensuring safety of transactions, which is the banks’ traditional competitive advantage. Those banks that can redefine themselves will enjoy the benefits of partnership with other players in the economic ecosystem, including start-ups and fintechs, by offering more innovative services to clients.”
IBM API Connect will be developed and implemented by TUATARA, a Polish developer of business solutions based on state-of-the-art technology, which contributes international experience in API implementations to the project.
“We are proud to assist Alior Bank in implementing its Digital Disruptor strategy. We believe that a partnership based on advanced tools of the digital economy will bolster the development of the API economy in Poland. We are currently launching a project in the Gulf which proves that collaboration of partners from different sectors not only fosters the culture of innovation but also creates new revenue streams for all involved participants,” said Bogdan Nowopolski, TUATARA Chief Executive Officer.
Open Banking: benefits for clients
With the opportunities opened by the implementation of OpenAPI, Alior Bank is planning to offer advanced financial services based on detailed data analytics. “We want to give clients a banking app which integrates all bank accounts, including accounts with Alior Bank and with other banks, so clients always know the exact value of their accounts,” said Mariusz Ożga.
The bank is planning to develop a marketplace where clients can pick and choose services of partners that are complementary to the traditional banking service.
“We want to be a bank for every day which assists clients in their everyday needs. The bank will not only provide financial services but also work with third partners to offer a broad range of services to clients,” said Mariusz Ożga.