Russia’s VTB opens third round of start-up accelerator
VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, has launched the third round of recruitment for its start-up accelerator programme.
The bank runs the corporate accelerator with the Internet Initiative Development Fund (IIDF). The IIDF is one of Russia’s most active venture capital funds.
VTB is looking for solutions in areas including services for retail and corporate clients, marketing tools to sales pushes, customer experience, data analysis, cybersecurity, and bank employee services.
Applications are open until 24 August 2020.
How VTB works with fintechs
VTB allows its selected and tested fintech recruits to pilot their products on VTB’s some 16 million customers. Pilots with the bank take around three months from launch.
The two previous accelerator recruitment rounds resulted in 30 pilot projects. Ten of those projects are deploying at the bank as solutions.
Successful start-ups get between $7,050 and $21,150 for each pilot. A minimum of 20 start-ups get access to the bank’s accelerator after the selection process.
It was only in March this year that Russia’s prime minister Mikhail Mishustin introduced a new bill for Bank of Russia’s regulatory sandboxes.
Until March, Russia’s central bank had not allowed businesses – among them fintechs – to test their use cases on real customers in its sandboxes.
This has made accelerators like VTB’s key for fintechs’ breakthrough into real-life consumer and business-to-business (B2B) markets.
VTB’s digital push
VTB has recognised the need to focus on Russia’s financial competition. It deems this to be between Russia’s 10-15 largest banks.
“Fintech competition is between the banks,” VTB’s head of transfers Alexey Khranilov told FinTech Futures in April.
“A very minor number of fintechs provide their own end-to-end solutions, [but ultimately] consumers are already taken and loyal to banks.”
Khranilov said the bank was in “a huge digital transformation phase” to rival this competition.
All of VTB’s departments split into streams. These include anti-money laundering (AML), user experience (UX), product development and money transfers.
Executive committees listened to each of these streams. The aim was to deliver support to them much more quickly than prior to the restructure.