SIBS Payforward Alumni Interview: Elecctro

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.

Follow the third edition of SIBS Payforward via social media at SIBS Payforward Facebook Page.

SIBS: A 300 million users company with a startup state of mind

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.

SIBS Payforward: Program’s Bootcamp is arriving

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.

The Program

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 Processes
  • Payment and future stores

The Bootcamp

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!

Fintech Startups: Here’s your chance to take part in the Open Banking revolution

Fintech Startups: Here’s your chance to take part in the Open Banking revolution

In the Fintech world, Portugal is recognized for having one of the most advanced payments systems. This is a result of 30 years of open collaboration between the country’s key financial players, through the creation of SIBS – the Portuguese driver of Fintech innovation.

In January 2018, new European regulation on Open Banking comes into force, bringing new challenges to the banking ecosystem. So, it’s only natural that to face these challenges the spirit of open collaboration is again put to great use. To do so, SIBS is working alongside the main banks in Portugal to provide an “Open Banking API”.

The good news? They are looking for global, Fintech startups to take part in the creation of one of the most ambitious Open Banking ecosystems through our second edition of the SIBSPAYFORWARD Accelerator.

For the second edition, we will select startups with business & consumer solutions in Open Baking context, who are able to incorporate the development of the platform being implemented by SIBS.

Applications are already open for startups with a stable functional prototype and a customer base. So, why should you apply?

  1. Data: SIBS is in charge of the majority of financial transactions in Portugal due to their role in managing the ATMs and a part of the POS systems.
  2. Access: By collaborating with SIBS you can have access to the entire Banking system at once.
  3. Collaborate with industry leaders: An amazing opportunity to work with one of World’s top Fintech innovators.
  4. Mentors: work with industry experts and true decision makers that will guide you through the complex world of finance.

Almost convinced? Then, check out our website to learn more about the program, the mentors, and last years edition. Make sure you apply before the 15th of December!