On September 12 this year, Alior Bank – in response to market trends and customer needs – opened a special space in which, together with startups from the fintech industry, the bank will implement new solutions under its RBL_START acceleration program. This space will also be used to carry out surveys on customer feedback and test new bank products and services.
Alior Bank’s RBL_START program will last for three months. The program’s goal is to develop products and services appreciated by customers and supporting automation of the bank’s processes. The best solutions will be implemented at Alior Bank. During the acceleration program, startups will develop solutions in cooperation with bank mentors and external partners. In a specially designed space developed by the Robert Majkut Design studio in the Warsaw Spire building, startups, together with the bank’s clients, will be able to carry out tests of their solutions. There will also be workshops and mentoring on offer. Participants will also have access to a test environment with API services related to PSD 2 (Alior Bank’s Developer Portal). The partners of the program are PZU, the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Huge Thing, Mastercard, IBM, Google Cloud, Amazon and Microsoft.
– One of the determinants of an innovative company is its ability to cooperate with startups. By implementing the bank’s RBL_START program, we will once again prove that “Digital Rebel” is not a cliché but a real commitment. After testing with blockchain technology and the Open API model, we are entering the next level of advancement: we want to develop solutions that will revolutionize the market – says Katarzyna Sułkowska, CEO at Alior Bank.
Alior Bank successfully combines business and an unusual approach to technology. Together with the startup VoicePin, the bank successfully implemented the DRONN artificial intelligence solution, which supports certain processes within the bank, including monitoring of key customers and higher-risk customers, ROR closing processes and dispatch of reminder letters as part of execution processes. Currently, “Digital Rebel” is in the process of creating a pan-European platform based on the Open API model in cooperation with Mastercard and foreign fintech companies: Raisin and solarisBank.
With the start of the RBL_START program, Alior Bank introduced its new brand: RBL_. The purpose of the brand is to combine everything that is innovative, digital and fresh. Two entities operate under the RBL_ brand (short for REBEL): RBL_START – an acceleration program for startups, and RBL_LAB – a laboratory for work on technological solutions.
It took over 80 days, more than 100 meetings and dozens of teleconferences to choose eight startups out of nearly 100 from around the world that applied for the RBL_START acceleration program within just one month. This difficult selection process was carried out by the managers and directors of the IT department and business units. This year’s edition bears the slogan ‘Open Banking’ because the profile of many startups that applied refers to this model. Among the startups that were accepted to the RBL_START program, various innovative solutions were found in the areas of, among others, account aggregation and expenditure categorization, robo-advisory, deferred payments, artificial intelligence and remote verification based on PSD2 and blockchain technology.
“The Alior Bank Accelerator is a huge opportunity for startups. Their employees will acquire new competencies, the solutions presented by them will be developed in cooperation with mentors, and subsequently selected projects will be selected for implementation within the bank or within PZU, which is the main partner for this edition. However, that’s not all. Startups participating in the program can apply for business development financing from Alior Bank. We also plan a trip to London, during which our participants will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the local fintech market,” says Kamila Wincenciak, FinTech Partnership Manager at Alior Bank.
Modern space in the Warsaw Spire building is a place where, apart from the acceleration program, various workshops, meetings, events and research on the bank’s products and services will also be organized. These activities are made possible by a networking space and a special laboratory.
In the separated space, Alior Bank has created one of the most modern laboratories in Poland intended for work on digital solutions, including research with users. RBL_LAB is a versatile, flexible place that is fully suited to the process of building innovation, with smart boards, video conferencing sets and cameras all provided for this purpose. The space’s creators were guided by the idea of an agile approach to projects, characterized by quick incorporation of the recommendations of users in the process of creating solutions.
RBL_LAB is intended to host design workshops, during which specialists will develop practical solutions for the bank. Over the next few days, designers will visualize these ideas or prepare working prototypes. Final concepts will be presented during research with users. Thus kind of activity cycle will significantly reduce the time required for implementing solutions. It will also make it easier to identify ideas that are highly unlikely to meet the needs of customers.
The laboratory will also be used to improve standard internal solutions, test new technologies and develop ideas proposed by employees. Thanks to modern technology, employees from the headquarters in Krakow and Gdansk will be able to participate in current activities remotely.
“We want to continually improve our services and achieve an ever higher level of innovation – the RBL_ concept should help us do this. When preparing the space, we also thought about the market, which – just like us – wants to develop toward new technologies. This is why in the new office, apart from the accelerator and the laboratory, there will also be a networking space. Educational events and meetings for our customers will be organized there as well as internal events that will familiarize employees with the subject of innovation,” says Marcin Jaszczuk, Vice President of the Board at Alior Bank.
Source: Bank’s Press release from September 12, 2018.
Photos: Alior Bank
RBL_ is the venue for the Pitching Session during the CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2018, Warsaw, October 29-30