The Open Innovation programs The Journey and Protechting achieved major pilot results – involving 23 startups from 15 countries, in three continents – to develop new solutions on Tourism, Fintech, Insurtech and Healthtech businesses
The crucial moment for establishing collaborative processes between corporates and startups, within Open Innovation programs, is unquestionably the Bootcamp. Under the method implemented by Beta-i over the years (and it’s been a decade!), Bootcamps are the turning point of every program, as the people behind the needs of organizations and the solutions brought by startups meet one on one, to develop something new – and collectively get achievable results.
The latest Beta-i Bootcamps on Tourism (The Journey) and the Fintech, Healthtech and Insurtech triad (Protechting) are a robust example of this process, with 29 pilots going to be considered and developed from 23 startups of 15 countries to impact both B2B and B2C fronts.
The Journey: innovation in Tourism
This Open Innovation program deals with one of the most interconnected industries of the contemporary era: Tourism, a gigantic cluster that generates economic, social and even identity consequences for the destinations visited. Goes without saying that the Tourism sector has been booming in Portugal for years in a row, and that’s why this Open Innovation program has been connecting key players in the Portuguese market with innovators from all over the world. “The Tourism Industry is one of the most competitive ones, and we must build everyday solutions and new services to our customers while envisioning the future,” explains Sergio Guerreiro, Senior Director Knowledge Management & Innovation from Turismo de Portugal, one of the organizations investing in the program alongside Barraqueiro Group, Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua and Vila Galé Hotels (in addition to Unicre, a key payment solutions provider in the country that participates as a Data Partner).
Every innovator deserves a break: The Journey participants on a hop-on hop-off bus and boat
In its 4th edition, the program investigated and selected startups able to tackle Hospitality, Parks & Monuments and Tours & Activities pain points shared by our clients, then linked to themes such as Smart Connected Operations, Seamless Traveler Journey, Customer Experience and Sustainable Development Solutions. These scouting challenges emerge a result of the needs assessments carried out by Beta-i’s expert team alongside the participant corporates teams, so the process can converge to common goals from the very beginning – and so can be explored in the Bootcamp.
The result of this concerted effort generated in the end of October the excellent result of 17 pilots, from 11 startups of 6 countries in Europe and Asia. “This number is a result of the program’s direct response to these tourism operators challenges,” says Gonçalo Faria, Open Innovation Program Director at Beta-i, who also highlights “some very interesting solutions on water and energy efficiency, aiming for a more sustainable tourism”. The results of this collaboration will be known at the end of January 2020, when The Journey comes to an end with one of the key events for tourism innovation businesses in Portugal: the Lisbon Tourism Summit 2020, focused on sustainability and organized by Beta-i, which counts with The Journey’s Demo Day on its programming: in other words, the moment when the results of these collaboratively developed pilots are presented to the stakeholders.
Protechting: tackling multiple industry challenges and geographies
Bootcamps are a special moment because, as Beta-i Senior Growth Strategist Tomás Bento recalls, “startups come in very ambitious for the program, but sometimes lack the experience to make the best win-win connections with corporates. And we believe that our contribution is fundamental to trim every potential down to the very essentials, and help them set up a bolder pitch”. And that’s exactly what happened at the Protechting bootcamp, which ended on November 21st in Lisbon, where 12 pilots were selected out of 21 different startups from 12 countries in three continents. As Beta-i’s Program Director Francisco Carvalho adds, “thanks to this collaboration, some startups were able to fully adapt their technologies, turning their initial proposals into much more fit and desirable solutions for the participant corporates”.
Shiny happy people: corporates, startups and Beta-i celebrating the closing of Protechting Bootcamp
Protechting is defiant by definition as it brings together different industries under the leadership of the same shareholder, the Chinese group Fosun – the name behind companies such as Fidelidade (Insurtech track), Luz Saúde Learning Health (Healthtech track) and the German bank Hauck & Aufhäuser (Fintech track). The process was tailored to this consortium, which in addition to different industries also operates in different geographies and has a particular involvement with China. To solve that, two groups of startups were selected: one for pilots development, and another (with more primary business models, coming from other 5 countries) for a parallel mentoring and acceleration path. “We truly believe in Open Innovation. The Protechting program gives us access to startups from around the world, and in order to accommodate both our strategic and geographic goals, we created these two groups. The pre-acceleration one is focused on bringing startups from markets where we are expanding right now, such as Mozambique and Peru” says José Villa de Freitas, Fidelidade’s marketing manager.
This strategic ambition facilitated by Protechting is reinforced by Harald Patt, CEO at Fosun Europe Innovation Hub and Managing Director of Fosun’s Wealth Department and Fintech Sector. Responsible for the Chinese group’s deal flow on startups, Patt sees the program as a concrete way to incorporate new solutions into the company portfolio. “In addition to the areas where we operate around the world, it is important to remember that we´re deeply rooted in China and we are able to generate great opportunities there.”
Bootcamps are particularly prized by Patt, since it’s the crucial moment where original ideas, created to solve people and organizations daily problem, leverage their approaches as business models. “It’s exciting. Startups with good ideas and bad pitches often turn out to present amazing solutions at the end of the pilot phase. Not to mention that this is the moment of truth, where they must prove a differentiated and scalable technology”. What was a surprise in the beginning – a global open innovation program set up all the way from Portugal – now is the new normal to him: “although central Europe is not always paying attention, the Portuguese ecosystem is very active and we are aware of this”.
But as Protechting is now taking applications for this years’ edition, it is also pertinent to let applicants know about one of the perks of Protechting – Piloting track: the roadshow to China.
Pack some clothes (and a pitch or two), you are going to Shanghai
If you are part of the top three startups to participate, this is where Protechting is taking you. We are talking about a global financial hub, 8th place ranked in the Top 30 Global Startup Ecosystems, as stated in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report launched this year. Food for thought, Shanghai is also part of the only three ecosystems that made it to the top 10 in both female entrepreneurship and global performance.
The experience is made to open some doors for the brave entrepreneurs by meeting Fosun and their associated companies as well as expanding the knowledge about the country’s market and culture. In fact, you might even take the chance to explore other opportunities all by yourself as you are already there.
Protechting’s applications phase are currently open. This year, the program’s evaluators are adding a new criteria to the selection of the top candidates: solutions with a sustainable and socially impact will certainly catch their attention.
You can even have add up a pinch of Sustaintech and there you go: the fourth edition of Protechting is on the making.
After three previous successful editions, Protechting is back to promote the collaboration between startups and established corporations. It has now two different tracks to boost startups growth, according to their maturity: a Piloting track and a new Pre-Acceleration track, with a spotlight at sustainable and socially impacting solutions.
Healthtech, Insurtech and Fintech startups – If you are eager to pilot your solution or to speed up your growth, here are the Partners who are making it happen:
As the largest insurance group in Portugal, with over 200 years of existence and an international presence, Fidelidade consists of a group of companies in the insurance and health sectors, including also a combination of services, that as a whole, protect the future of families, companies and Country. If Protection is your thing, this is the partner for you.
Fidelidade is here from the very first edition of Protechting (Jesus, it has been a few years now) noticing how startups have been bringing innovation and a new look into these areas. Shout out to the brave winners of the first edition of the program: EctoSense LifeSymb and CleenBeen.
Hospital da Luz Learning Health
Inside Luz Saúde Group, Hospital da Luz Learning Health is dedicated to the advanced training of professionals, translational research and innovation, in healthcare provision and management.
As the improvement of knowledge, technologies and advanced practices in healthcare are what makes their DNA, you can already see that innovation is part of the job and therefore the right partner to collaborate – “Healthteching” speaking.
Hauck & Aufhäuser
Hauck & Aufhäuser presents itself as the Fintech partner for Protechting. Adding not only knowledge and expertise into the area, it adds also to the international focus of the program, since it is a private german bank, with a 220-year history.
This is actually the most recent partner of the program, joining for the previous edition in 2018 – in fact here is their own testimony entering Proteching.
Fosun was founded in 1992 and is a family-focused multinational company listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (00656.HK) since 2007. With its roots in China, and through technology and innovation, Fosun’s mission is to create customer-to-maker (C2M) ecosystems in health, happiness and wealth. The group embraces all the other partners of the program.
Actually, the presence of Fosun in Protechting is what can be taking you to China: The three best solutions of the piloting track will get the chance to participate in a roadshow in China with access to some of the largest global investors.
Elecctro was part of the second edition of SIBS Payforward, the first fintech accelerator in Portugal. Created in 2014, the portuguese startup is disrupting the vending machine market, by integrating software and electronics, to allow vending machines to communicate with the world around them.
Even though they were not an immediate fit for the open banking challenge, they took on SIBS challenge and showed them how much value they could bring to the fintech area, making it to the pilot development stage of the program.
ReThink spoke with Ricardo Jacinto, co-founder and Head of Finance at Elecctro, about the startups participation in the open-innovation program.
ReThink: What attracted Elecctro to SIBS Payforward?
Ricardo Jacinto: For Elecctro, when we applied to SIBS Pay Forward, we believed it would be a great opportunity to increase our knowledge and expertise on the payments’ value chain, particularly by working with a corporation like SIBS, which is one of the main players in the industry in Portugal. At the time, we are already discussing new ways of cooperation with SIBS, but we applied to find an approach to fit the Open Banking API to our needs of developing a global and scalable payment solution.
RT: How did the program helped you grow? What were your main learnings during the program?
RJ: Although the requirements of Open Banking API were not suited to the vending industry, the program went very well because SIBS saw on Elecctro an opportunity to tackle a huge market where banks, processors and acquirers are getting zero. We were able to get SIBS’ attention to the vending industry and it was done on SIBS Pay Forward.
RT: How did your partnership with SIBS helped your business?
RJ: The opportunity to meet with almost all the managers and directors of the different departments of SIBS allowed us to establish connections and speed up the process of certification for the first payment terminal for vending in Portugal. Still today we keep several contacts that help on different perspectives: technical, commercial, etc.
RT: What advice do you give to startups currently in the program?
RJ: They should understand how exactly they can be interesting to SIBS and how they can help SIBS grow its business and strengthen its position in the market. If SIBS acknowledges the potential in a project and sees how it can benefit from a partnership, I believe they definitely will help that project to succeed.
It was during SIBS Payforward Bootcamp, the fintech accelerator powered by SIBS and Beta-i, that ReThink met with Maria Antónia Saldanha, SIBS PAYFORWARD’s Program Director and Head of Brand & Communication at SIBS, to speak about the fintech ecosystem and what are the challenges it wants to tackle.
SIBS is now a major player in the market, with 300 million clients and present in Iberia, Africa and Eastern Europe, but how did it all start? SIBS was created 30 years ago, with the help and collaboration of different companies from different industries. The goal was to serve the digital economy, which didn’t even exist yet.
“SIBS grew up as a fintech in a time where the word fintech didn’t even exist.”
According to Maria Antónia, a collaborative and cooperative model is the only way to “do things”, so SIBS has created an ecosystem of a lot of companies, all the banks, and different industries from different countries. Because of this, the payment services provider still moves with the same spirit as a startup: “SIBS grew up as a Fintech in a time where the word Fintech didn’t even exist. We were brought up as a Fintech, we work as a startup – we’re very agile, dynamic and innovative, launching every month a new service or product.”
It was their own history and this understanding that it takes collaboration to innovate, that made SIBS decide to keep the circle going, by fostering innovation inside and outside their walls: “Well, SIBS was created with the help and collaboration of different companies from different industries, so it’s time to pay it forward. It’s our chance to do for others what they did for us. To help, to share knowledge, to share expertise. It’s a way for us to help other companies to grow and to accelerate in order to become as big as SIBS”, said the program director.
The program looks for scalable, innovative solutions that can complement SIBS offer or grow exponentially from it, by taking advantage of SIBS large user market: “When we launched the accelerator for Fintechs it was the first national accelerator focused on payment solutions. The main goal was to attract fintech startups that have solutions for payments, or financial services, or complementary services around financial services so we can boost them in order to provide services either in Portugal or in other geographies where SIBS is, mainly in Africa for instance or Eastern Europe.”
The challenges that the accelerator proposes to solve in collaboration with the startups are, according to Maria Antónia, “the challenges that society faces every day. We’re focusing on Client behavior and Analytics, Security and Authentication, Payment Processes and Payments and Future Stores.”
The accelerator is committed to solve these challenges by working in complete collaboration with the startups – for the four days of the Bootcamp, the startups worked in groups with SIBS mentors – collaborators that could give them insight into the processes that go into SIBS services and technical experts who can help the startups incorporate their technologies in practical terms – and ultimately help them propose more viable, interesting and profitable pilot projects. All this is done within SIBS environment, to allow for better sharing of knowledge and understanding of the business: “We’ve acknowledged that they want to get to know us where we are every day, where we are working on innovation every day – where we have our terminals, our ATMs, our POSs, and all of our teams. So this is something that we’ve managed this year, to bring startups inside SIBS, so they’ve been working during these days in our premises, alongside us, where we work every day.”
When questioned about the future of fintech, SIBS concedes they cannot guess it, but they can be a part of it by keeping innovating inside their business and fostering innovation in the financial market: “We don’t know how the future is going to be, we don’t know how fast the future can grow, but we know that if we work together – startups, corporates, associations like Beta-i, we can move faster, we can grow faster, and we’ll probably have more products, more solutions that make us brighter and our lives more efficient.”
On its third edition, SIBS Payforward is the fintech accelerator powered by SIBS and Beta-i. You can follow the news and the projects being developed by following SIBS Payforward on Facebook and subscribe to Beta-i’s newsletter.