Nordea’s Startup Accelerator program is underway for 2016 and set to expand from Finland into Sweden. The program, which launched in 2015, looks for new opportunities and insights into the future of digital banking services by developing upcoming talent.
”We are cooperating with the Finish venture capital company Nestholma. They can provide financial support and we can contribute with technical expertise, business development, and the possibility to connect to the Nordea system,” Erik Zingmark, Nordea’s Co-Head of Transaction Banking told digital.di.se.
Last year over 170 groups applied but only 12 were selected to participate in the three month program. Of these, two received initial funding and were selected to continue development with Nordea as pilot projects, though the startups retain full ownership of their companies.
The experience from last year’s program will be used to guide the 2016 accelerator, which will have a broader Nordic approach. 2015’s winning startups both worked toward improving and automating the customer service experience. This year’s themes focus on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies as well as on new and innovative ways for banking to fit into the rapidly changing digital economy and regulatory infrastructure.
”We try to identify relevant services for our customers, both corporate and private. Especially interesting is to find startups who focus on similar services as we do at Nordea. A side-effect is also that we are able to create a cultural shift in Nordea: they learn from us and we learn from them,” said Erik Zingmark.
Nordea’s support takes the form of dedicated mentors which are assigned to one startup throughout the process. These mentors help the startups build networks, strengthen their ideas, and provide perspective from globally-connected decision makers.
“We will initiate a dialogue with those startups who come up with promising concepts on how we can further develop the business idea,” said Erik Zingmark
Startups are encouraged to apply now for the 2016 accelerator. The 50 most promising applications will be invited to a training and selection week in Oslo where 20-30 of them will be selected to continue with the full program in Helsinki and Stockholm.
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