Digitalisation, new expectations, new players… For several years, the banking sector has been undergoing a transformation. In this context, BNP Paribas adapts, innovates and changes its ways of working. It does this by working with young, growing companies that are revolutionizing our models and developing labs that anticipate trends.
Developing our open innovation ecosystem
Because innovation is the result of a vast collaboration between a multitude of players, BNP Paribas encourages the dynamics of this ecosystem by bringing together companies, institutions, start-ups, entrepreneurs, networks and associations.
In recent years, BNP Paribas has continued to develop its leadership in open innovation and has established itself as the benchmark bank for start-ups and innovative companies. By accompanying them, it makes open innovation one of the major axes of digital transformation of its activities, to develop products and services that meet the needs of its clients.
An ancor in the startup ecosystem
As an active and constant supporter of FinTech, DeepTech and InsurTech companies worldwide, BNP Paribas is a major player in the start-up ecosystem.
Since 2017, the Group has been present at Station F (France’s largest start-up incubator), from where it operates several acceleration programmes for start-ups.
More recently, in 2020, BNP Paribas became a partner in the Startupbootcamp Fintech & Cybersecurity in Amsterdam. Partner of VivaTechnology and Paris Fintech Forum, BNP Paribas also support disruptive innovation through our partnership with Hello Tomorrow, a global organisation that supports the development of DeepTech start-ups.
"Thanks to this great and large ecosystem from Station F, Plug and Play , Startupbootcamp, Finance Innovation, we are able to source the best startups and we are building a wonderful Fintech and Insurtech Connection network."
Detect trends and transform them into opportunities
Innovating means anticipating the changes that affect our clients, detecting market trends and transforming them into opportunities. Accordingly, we’ve set up various “laboratories” dedicated to monitoring and innovation:
- L’Atelier, an independent subsidiary of the BNP Paribas Group specialising in research and forecasting. Its mission is to discover, over the next ten years, new market challenges and opportunities, driven by digital and virtual innovations.
- BivwAk!, a cross-functional programme designed to support the entities and subsidiaries of BNP Paribas in their business transformation. It’s also a place for innovation located in Paris.
- Cardif Lab, the laboratory of the insurance subsidiary of BNP Paribas Cardif. Its goal is to detect innovations developed in the 37 countries where BNP Paribas Cardif operates, and to draw inspiration from them to offer new products and services to policyholders.
- L’Echangeur, BNP Paribas Personal Finance's prospecting and innovation unit dedicated to corporate clients, on new retail and consumer practices.
Several other “Innovative Labs” exist, such as, the HoMe Lab, the innovation laboratory of Europe-Mediterranean, the CIB Lab, the laboratory in Paris, London and the Grands Moulins de Pantin (France) of the Corporate and Institutional Banking division.
BNP Paribas and fintechs: a global support
In Asia, Europe, the US and Africa, BNP Paribas supports young fintech entrepreneurs to encourage innovation and new ideas! This collaboration is a powerful driving force for the bank’s digital transformation. In a spirit of open innovation, it encourages new ways of working and will enable us to adapt more quickly to offer better products and services for our customers. The growing number of these partnerships will improve our entire customer journey and deliver a real competitive advantage for the Group.
BNP Paribas has put in place a model for collaboration with fintechs that is built around four pillars: access to banking services, co-creation, acceleration and investment.
Pillar #1: Access to banking services
Firstly, BNP Paribas offers solutions opening up access to banking services to support start-ups with their development, in France and around the world. Thanks to our network of retail banks and our Corporate and Institutional Banking franchise division, these young businesses can benefit from a full range of products and services, from the day-to-day management of their various needs through to the financial arrangements offered by our subsidiaries. In France, we have set up a network of specialist business centres called WAI (We Are Innovation) focused on innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups.
In Belgium, BNP Paribas Fortis supports start-up entrepreneurs in innovative areas through The Innovation Hub.
Pillar #2: Cocreation
With the fintechs from its ecosystem, BNP Paribas is developing the co-creation of new solutions for its customers, improving existing services or even its overall performance. For instance, the RISK integrated control function has created a dedicated unit to handle the innovation strategy and facilitate its emergence by connecting the internal and external ecosystems. The start-ups involved and the various BNP Paribas branches are working closely together, providing the creativity required for the transformation of the business lines and activities, while improving internal processes, systems and tools.
Several projects have already been launched in recent years. For example, in 2021, we launched Instanea, an instant payment solution, created with Token, for our merchants customers in Europe. In Poland, BNP Paribas Bank Polska partnered with Blik to enable our individual customers to pay easily, quickly and safely from their banking application.
Pillar #3: Acceleration
BNP Paribas is also supporting the development of fintechs through incubators and labs. To achieve this, we have set up partnerships with leading accelerators such as Plug and Play, the world’s largest start-up incubator, based in San Francisco. Housed in Station F, the international BNP Paribas Plug and Play programme puts the Group’s business lines in touch with international start-ups that can help meet their challenges. Since 2017, the program has accelerated 43 fintechs and insurtechs, completing 54 pilots, including 19 currently in production.
BNP Paribas also directly manages the TechUP acceleration program by BNP Paribas, which provides accomodation and support for 6 months at Station F. It is designed for early stage start-ups in the fintech and insurtech sector.
The Group has forged many similar partnerships around the world and unites them through a network: the Fintech Insurtech Connection. This community connects and embodies BNP Paribas partners in the startup ecosystem worldwide: accelerators, incubators and other sourcing players working with BNP Paribas across the world. This objective is to gather to drive open innovation and leverage the network’s strength to support and empower entrepreneurs around the world.
Pillar #4: Investment
Lastly, BNP Paribas invests in start-ups, directly through full acquisitions or equity interests, or indirectly, through third-party funds. For the Group, this value-creating approach may, with time, improve the financial sector’s experience, benefiting all customers. We have therefore created Opera Tech Ventures, within BNP Paribas Capital Partners, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas Asset Management, a venture capital fund whose mission is to support start-ups and entrepreneurs with the potential to transform or even disrupt the world of finance.
Similary, BNP Paribas Cardif, our insurance subsidiary, has partnered with Cathay Innovation to create the investment fund C Entrepreneurs. This structure supports start-ups developing technologies or services that will help invent insurance solutions for tomorrow’s world, notably using artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and connected cars.
Fintechs in figures
The Fintechs sector is expanding rapidly. According to a KPMG report, global investment reached $98 billion in the first half of 2021. Still the leader, the United States accounted for the majority of investments with $42.1 billion, closely followed by the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) with $39.1 billion. As for Asia, investments in fintech reached $7.5 billion.
Photos : © Maskot, @Kaelaimages, BivwAk! BNP Paribas, Westend61, Stocksy, BNP Paribas, NDABCREATIVITY, @ALunaBlue