After a four-month search, PwC CEE has selected 13 FinTech startups for acceleration within its Startup Collider programme. Startup Collider is a new initiative for nurturing and promoting startups from CEE, with a focus on startups with solutions for the financial services sector in the first cohort. PwC provides the startups with a co-working space, a residence for their accommodation during the acceleration program, highly qualified dedicated mentors and a shorter route to market.
FinTech is shaping the financial services industry from the outside in. This dynamic segment is at the intersection of the financial services and technology sectors, where technology-focused startups and new market entrants innovate the products and services currently provided by the traditional financial services industry. According to the PwC study Blurred lines: How FinTech is shaping Financial Services, funding of FinTech startups more than doubled in the year 2015, reaching $12.2 bn – and more than 20% of financial services business is at risk to FinTechs by the year 2020.
It is in this context that, in September 2016, PwC Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) announced the launch of its Startup Collider business accelerator programme. After a four-month tour of scouting for startups, it’s the time to announce the successful startups who will participate in the first cohort.
Jolanta Kokosinska, partner and head of Innovation and Incentives team at PwC Poland, says: “PwC Startup Collider provides a significant help to European startups and fosters innovation across the CEE region. Our programme offers a broad range of opportunities: some startups will get to see their solutions embedded into PwC services while others will be in a position to win new customers and partners thanks to PwC's global network.”
The first cohort of Startup Collider will focus on startups with solutions applicable to the financial services sector. Based on the maturity level of startups, they will participate in one of two programme streams. The first is Startup Bootcamp, where eight startups (Xchanger, Cognitum, Claims Control, Blueopes, Talk Bank, finAPI, Autenti and Jumbster ) with a proven minimum viable product will have the opportunity to take part in a three-month upskilling “boot camp”. The second is Fast Track and five startups (Noa Tech, Cyber Productivity, Dotmetrics, Transparent Data and Coinfirm) with greater initial traction and higher maturity level can expand their network with the power of PwC’s global reach.
Here is the list of the startups that have been selected:
Xchanger.io is an innovative multi-broker comparison platform. They enable to savings of up to 25% on hidden bank fees, cooperating with 30 international money transfer and currency exchange operators. Xchanger.io the only service on the market that compares the total cost of the transaction – the live exchange rates as well as the additional costs like operator's fees and transfer costs. Their aim is to be the leading comparison platform in CEE as well as Payment initiator and account information service provider regarding PSD2.
Cognitum is a cognitive platform that enables high-end, scalable and future-ready solutions for data acquisition, storage, archive searching and online processing, regardless of the complexity of the data. Their solution homogenizes the heterogenic, distributed data sources by using AI methods and tools allowing the end-user to communicate with the machine using natural language.
Claims Control is an insurance Claims Sharing System. An open API hub, which integrates claims systems with each other and a freemium SaaS Claims Handling Portal for SMEs (insurance brokers, motor fleets, loss adjusters, freight forwarders), who do not have their own claims systems. Claims Control has online claim cases which can be shared with all claims handling process participants. They also get all case updates by automated emails or via APIs.
Blueopes is an automatic white-label wealth management service for asset managers. Blueopes uses artificial intelligence to help asset managers customize their investment portfolios for their end-clients while taking into account the environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to deliver a competitive financial return.
TalkBank.io is the first digital bank, using Artificial Intelligence in messengers at Telegram, Facebook, Viber, Siri without installing any apps. They envision the building of a digital ecosystem offering interactive banking, concierge services and financial advice tailored to individual needs. The speed of scaling comes from a self-built chatbot platform that allows side teams to connect and develop additional services and products inside the core banking offer without any additional coding skills.
finAPI is a smart solution for banks, facing PSD2 and major FinTech challenges. They provide solutions for both a bank's challenges and other startups seeking niche solutions. finAPI is a unified and secure interface for building new digital ecosystems between a bank and startups interested in financial activities, using a set of ready-to-use functional components, combined with authorial software and open-source solutions.
Autenti is a platform for document approvals and signing contracts online that transforms traditional B2B and B2C transactions into e-commerce, by using one-click e-signatures. Their workflow approval, e-identification, and payments are designed to fit European business and consumer practices. By eliminating traditional ways of paper circulation and physical signing of documents, Autenti brings a significant reduction of time to close any transaction from several days to just a few seconds, giving measurable benefits and savings.
Jumbster is a web application that allows drivers and businesses to buy cheaper fuel online. Besides saving cost, the data gathered from cars can be sold to banks, oil corporations, and automobile manufacturers. Also, this data enables insurance companies to know more about an insuree's driving behaviour. Gasoline could be paid by credit card within the application, and that could lead to a credit line for businesses who own car fleets.
Noa Tech enables small and medium sized retailers to reduce the cost of cash handling in their stores, reducing the risk of cash transportation and frauds made by cashiers as well as saving time that can be spent on better customer service. Thanks to recirculation of cash among retail shops, visits in the treasury base are minimized. All cash paid by the customers to the device is counted and accounted for by merchant bank account D+1, minimising problems with the whole process of cash handling.
Cyber Productivity is an online automated accounting system for MICR/SME bank clients, using a robotic accounting solution for BPO/SSC and nearshoring/subcontracting based on robotic accounting technology.
DotMetrics is a country-level big data audience measurement company. Through their user interface, agencies, advertisers, and publishers can make real-time reports with the whole data set about who is using web pages (demographic and psychographic data), and the ways that people are using those web pages. On the surface, DotMetrics is a data management platform which can be used for targeting online ads based on users' interests. Below the surface, DotMetrics is also a data onboarding partner for companies with CRMs with many end users.
Transparent Data is an extremely fast-moving, agile risk management company. They deliver current, reliable and comprehensive data to help businesses manage risk and strengthen their overall decision-making ability.
Coinfirm is a blockchain AML/KYC risk and compliance platform. They provide seamless and cost-effective compliance for blockchain-based transactions and allow for the safe adoption of digital currencies and blockchain. Their platform applies proprietary algorithms that result in actionable conclusions for AML/CFT compliance, credit risk assessment, and increased efficiency. The Coinfirm platform is also blockchain agnostic, meaning it can be applied to public blockchains such as Bitcoin and Dash as well as private blockchains such as those in development by financial institutions.
Mateusz Nowak, the leader of the Startup Collider at PwC, adds: “Startup Collider offers a carefully-structured collaboration process between PwC and startups under PwC's Innovation and Incentives team and our great technological partners. The process was designed to expand the value that the startups generate. PwC initiated the program to support entrepreneurs’ cross-border ties with the startup and investors community, support their go-to-market strategy and accelerate them by using our methodology and global network.”
Startup Collider is a new initiative for nurturing and promoting startups from CEE. Each annual cycle of Startup Collider includes a 3-month bootcamp stage. The first edition started on 9th January 2017 and sees the entrepreneurs meeting with PwC's experts and relevant business units to compile more information.
The startups chosen for the acceleration program will be matched with two dedicated mentors, a non-PwC expert and a PwC high performer, who is chosen based on his/her relevant expertise and serves as the contact point between the startup and PwC. This mentor works directly with the startup and is responsible for securing access to additional resources in PwC.
The extensive acceleration program is followed by a go-to-market stage of 6-9 months, during which PwC and the startups work together on the Proof of Concept and the first sale. More mature startups will directly move to this stage.
By the end of the acceleration program, startups will have refined value propositions, business plans, processes and possess knowledge of their respective markets, client needs, regulations and more. For the best startups, an extensive go-to-market program is going to take place, where startups can align with PwC’s and benefit from its market footprint to deploy their products and services throughout CEE and beyond. Startup Collider is not just an acceleration program; it is rather a lifetime opportunity for the selected CEE startups.
To connect with the best startups in Central and Eastern Europe, the Startup Collider team started an extensive social media promotion where they became one of the top 100 brands in InsurTech and gained over a million impression on their channels. To know more about the ecosystem of startups in CEE and meet startups and opinion leaders, the Startup Collider team went on a roadshow called #StartupColliderBus. They spent over two weeks, drove 4313 kilometers and visited 12 European cities in 8 countries to meet startups, investors and startup enthusiasts. Startups from each city had the opportunity to hop on the bus and accompany the Startup Collider team throughout the whole trip.
Startup Collider’s main goal is to support the whole CEE ecosystem. If you are a startuper or startup enthusiast, influencer or investor, make sure to follow startup collider on our social media channels and contact us for more information..
For more information on Startup Collider, contact the Startup Collider Operational Team at firstname.lastname@example.org