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.
The third edition of SIBS Payforward is on! The Bootcamp phase will occur from 13th to 16th of May in both Beta-i and SIBS headquarters.
Paying it forward
35 years ago SIBS started the startup way to turn into one of the World’s top Fintech innovators – SIBS has been providing new payment solutions and investing to perform in a constantly changing society, for the last 30 years.
Now it’s time to pay it forward by working with startups to test and grow in a global changing environment. That’s why SIBS is committing, for the third year, with a piloting program focusing on Fintech trends and payment solutions.
SIBS wants to embrace the possibilities of innovating together with other Fintech entrepreneurs, transforming the way businesses and consumers access and use financial products.
This open-innovation program aims to gather the best fintech startups to work in collaborating pilot with SIBS. For startups, this is an opportunity to join the most secure, modern, and reliable payment solutions player, who has a network of more than 300 million users.
For this edition, the program was looking for startups in technologies like Big Data, Machine Learning, APIs, IoT, AI and Cyber Security, that work in one of these for areas:
Security and Authentication
Client Behaviour and analytics
Payment and future stores
The Bootcamp will happen between 13th and the 16th of May. To further improve collaboration between startups and SIBS, two days will happen at Beta-i, and the other two will happen at SIBS headquarters. Startups will get to know SIBS by being welcomed into their space.
The four days include workshops by the Beta-i team, on piloting and creating business case models, mentorship, talks by alumni of previous editions and several hours of co-work between the startups and SIBS.
The Bootcamp is an amazing opportunity for startups to get insights, mentorship and a potential partner. Like Denis Kiselev, CEO @SnapSwap, described:
We met amazing people. We learned a lot from them about the technology, about the market and about the product. So now we have a great user experience. It was mind-opening.
We can’t wait to meet all startups joining the program on this edition!
On our Fintech Trends of 2019 report, we highlighted that one of the big trends would be change brought on by new regulations, namely the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2). It’s a European Union Directive with the aim to contribute to the creation of a single market of payment services in Europe.
The Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), enables bank customers, both consumers, and businesses, to use third-party providers to manage their finances, aiming to be safe for all entities involved, efficient in time and in costs and communications infrastructure, innovative by opening opportunities for new services and competitive, pushing for an ecosystem where several providers work on.
The new players
PSD2 creates the conditions for any client (private or business) to authorize their bank to give access to their account and payment information to any other providers properly authorized by national regulations – what is called Third Party Providers (TPP).
These third party providers can be Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISP), that provide payment alternatives to credit and debit cards, Account Information Service Providers (AISP), that aggregate information, online, information from multiple accounts and offer their customers an overview of their financial position, or Account Servicing Payment Service Providers (ASPSP), that make available and hold the payment accounts of consumers.
In a nutshell, the open banking API allows these third-party providers to access consumers’ financial information (with their permission) so they can provide them with new and innovative services.
A consumer-centric market
With the implementation of PSD2, banks will no longer be competing with just other banks, but every other financial services provider. Changing the payments value chain and which business models are profitable, will result in a more consumer-centric approach to the business.
As consumers expect an increased digitalization, banks will have a harder time differentiating themselves, so they will be partnering up with startups in fintech to provide new services and better experiences, fitting customers’ convenience and expectations.
In the end, PSD2 is a directive working towards a more open and innovative fintech market that will achieve:
More security in electronic payments: Through the use of consumer authentication methods which comply with European standards and the accountability of payment service providers in the event of unauthorized payment transactions
Better protection against fraud and payment incidents for both consumers and merchants: By certifying all payment service providers who may have access to consumers’ bank details
The emergence of payment methods tailored to consumers and merchants: thanks to reduced costs in infrastructure and transactions.
The impact of it all is still to be seen – banks must comply with all the regulations of the directive by September 2019 – but bigger players are already taking notice of the impact the directive might have on the financial market: global fintech investment has doubled to €43 billion in 2018, according to DealRoom.co.
The second edition of SIBS PAYFORWARD, an acceleration program done in partnership between SIBS and Beta-i, has already selected the startups for its Bootcamp, from more than 100 startups from 20 different countries. The number of startups applying is impressive, in comparison with last year, considering this edition was mainly focused on startups with Open Banking API solutions.
This change from the first edition reflects the “hot topic” in Europe right now and its challenges: PSD2. What is amazing is that the program was able to captivate startups from the United States or Asia where this topic isn’t that trendy right now. This shows not only the success of the first edition but also the current importance SIBS open innovation approach has worldwide.
The 10 startups attending the Bootcamp were chosen after being carefully evaluated and are focused in areas such as: analytics, clients, payments and security. The lucky 10 are:
It’s a smartphone app that allows users to round up their daily purchases and automatically save the spare change into financial products such as saving insurance, life insurance or pension funds.
It aggregates invoicing, expense management and bank account management.
Gofact works with integrated solutions in identity, communication and management. A cloud billing solution made for the micro-entrepreneur.
Infin8 created the only mobile banking app that people will ever need regardless of how many banking products they have in different banks. The goal is to carry out all daily banking needs from a single app, making people forget about the financial jargon.
It’s a mobile app which aims to help banks and other financial institutions help Millennials save their own Money. The money is transferred to a dedicated “savings” account rather than invested. Then, some of savings will be invested into risk appropriate, low-cost funds so that clients can achieve their financial goals even faster.
It’s a financial platform which offers to users a holistic approach to personal financial planning and wealth management. It also offers a consolidated view of all income, spending and assets. It also shows to customers where they can save money and help them to better invest their money.
It’s an integrated and an inter-operable financial inclusion solution which uses multiple base hardware solutions (SIM overlay, the secure microSD card and a low cost NFC reader for an 360 degree offering on enabling financial inclusion at the last mile and for the masses).
SEZA.ME: FinPin Technologies
It provides a secure and simple new way of secure logins to potentially all existing password protected accounts by leveraging a mobile phone for primary authentication where possible and for secondary authentication where necessary.
Choose the country to send money to, add the mobile or account number of your recipient, add the amount you’d like to send and include a personal message. SimbaPay, manages the money and risk of the transfer.
It brings digital transformation in Credit Risk Management by leveraging predictive analytics, AI and ML techniques on Big Data. It helps business and financial leaders to reformulate their challenges and Convert Data into Actionable Intelligence. Its product implements Credit Risk Models’ development and maintenance by leveraging predictive analytics, AI and ML techniques on Big Data.
It has a platform called Debit2Go which aims turning enterprise data and transactional banking operations into loyalty & business outcomes. Sstategy enables turning customers into subscribers through the use of SDD (SEPA Direct Debit Scheme) linked to the Subscription Economy phenomena.
During the Bootcamp that is taking place from February 26 to March 2, the selected startups will have the opportunity to learn about payments and tech financial solutions, SIBS’s core business, besides having access to the people who work at different branches of the company developing the services the company has both in Portugal and abroad. As if this wasn’t enough the startups will also be part of the biggest Open Banking ecosystem in Portugal.
The bootcamp also includes individual coaching, which means learning how to pitch, workshops and mentoring sessions, considered crucial for startups to improve their business plans as well as adjust their products to the market where SIBS works.
After this 10 weeks of acceleration awaits the startups with the main goal to integrate them at SIBS and that can turn into business, partnerships and even investment.
Everyone involved is eager for the Bootcamp to start. Maria Antónia Saldanha, Brand and Communication Director at SIBS, says “we are very excited with this new phase. The selected startups are all very interesting and we’re looking forward to see how it goes during the bootcamp”.
Manuel Tânger, Co-founder and Head of Open Innovation at Beta-i, has an advice to the startups that made it this far “look at what SIBS is doing and look at the opportunities both inside and outside Portugal where SIBS operates”. And Francisco Carvalho, Program Director, says that “the goal is a high number of conversion rate after the bootcamp, because that means that the quality of the startups, are, like we believe, really high. We’re aiming for seven pilots”.