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A FinTech—short for Financial Technology—is a start-up that capitalizes on new technologies to reinvent financial and banking services. Some start-ups in the InsurTech category—the FinTech companion in the insurance industry—also fall under the FinTech banner. FinTechs are much more than developers of software and apps dedicated to finance: they offer disruptive technology and usage solutions that transform the value chain through the technological innovation they represent.
Examples of FinTech-developed innovations abound: “mobile banking” applications, virtual currencies, electronic payments, online savings tools, and crowdfunding platforms that offer new financing methods to businesses and individuals.
Many other innovations are still to come, building on mobile technologies, artificial intelligence and secure transactions, to name a few. More and more FinTechs emerge every day, operating in a vast range of fields.
The FinTech sector is booming, with 1,000 startups in Europe, including about 150 in France. According to Accenture, investments in the sector reached $22.3 billion worldwide in 2015, up from $9.6 billion in 2014.
The United States is by far the market leader, currently accounting for 57% of the global FinTech market, with Asia representing 31%, and Europe barely 10%.
Some banks have become wary of upstart companies disrupting their traditional economic models. On the contrary, BNP Paribas encourages young entrepreneurs from FinTechs, while supporting innovation and new ideas. That position is in line with Group strategy, founded on digitization and innovation, and relying on collaboration with FinTechs.
For the Group, collaborating with the startup ecosystem involves support through a 4-step method: Sourcing, Acceleration, Building pilots, Industrialization.
The end goal is to accelerate the digitization of the company’s activities, leading to the production of innovative new products and services that meet the changing needs of business and retail customers. One of BNP Paribas’s top priorities by 2020 is to build a digital bank that delivers a high-quality customer experience, both in terms of customer pathways as well as operational security.
The ambitious and unique FinTech Accelerator program aims to detect promising young FinTechs and InsurTechs to provide them with concrete support.
To do so, L’Atelier BNP Paribas selects about ten startups twice a year. Each partners with a BNP Paribas entity, which shares its expertise and works with the startup on an Open Innovation project.
Startups undergo a rigorous selection process: during the first season, 140 FinTech and InsurTech startups submitted applications. Of these, BNP Paribas experts found eight that were pertinent and sufficiently advanced enough to garner support. Each startup made rapid advances: by the end of the program, each had generally reached the fundraising phase, with nearly formed major partnerships. Above all, each startup had completed the development of its project.
“ Taking part in the L’Atelier FinTech accelerator lent us much greater credibility ”
Founder of FinTech startup Amalfi
Though the FinTech Accelerator is the cornerstone of our FinTech support strategy, it is not the only program in place. BNP Paribas detects and assists innovative ideas—and forward-thinking entrepreneurs—in a variety of ways:
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