Rabobank nurtures innovative talent: from coach to partner

Startupbootcamp helps newcomers and established businesses to progress

You are young, and you are bursting with innovative ideas. So you start a company to make the world easier, more customer-friendly or more logical with your new product. If you are lucky, you will be chosen to participate in Startupbootcamp: an intensive accelerator programme whereby a team of old hands in the branch give you three months’ intensive coaching to help your company make a big step forward.

Rabobank has been associated with Startupbootcamp since 2012, with around 30 experienced and passionate mentors that advise start-ups on matters such as funding, marketing or strategic choices. This is not only good for the start-ups, it is also good for the bank and its customers, since the boot camp offers great opportunities for established businesses. Rabobank learns about new innovations, and through cooperation with start-ups it can acquire innovative techniques in order to improve its own services and processes. A win-win situation.

Online mortgage advice with video chat

One example of such a win-win situation is the cooperation with the start-up 24sessions, which offers businesses a platform with which they can offer their advisory services in digital form. During the boot camp for E-Commerce 2015/2016, 24sessions carried out a pilot with online mortgage advice at Rabobank Amstel en Vecht. Customers can use the platform to find a mortgage adviser, make an appointment immediately (without having to make a telephone call or deal with intermediaries) and have an advice consultation using video chat. And they do not have to install any software or do anything complicated.

‘What a waste of time!’

Founder and CEO of 24sessions, Rutger Teunissen: ‘Some time ago I bought a house for the second time. I immediately noticed that very little had changed with respect to how mortgage advice is provided in eight years - it was as if the Internet had never been invented. You could look for an adviser online, but if you wanted to speak to one, it was only possible to visit them on site. This meant you had to take an afternoon off, arrange a babysitter, deal with the traffic on the way … and then possibly find out after two minutes that the adviser was not the right person for you. What a waste of time! For both the customer and the adviser.’

‘If you want to speak to a mortgage adviser, you still have to take an afternoon off, arrange a babysitter, deal with the traffic on the way … as if the Internet has never been invented.’

Rutger Teunissen, CEO 24sessions

Teunissen thought this could be done better. And so it was good news Rabobank expressed an interest in his digital advice platform at the boot camp. ‘We digitalise the entire advisory process: The customers choose their own mortgage adviser on the basis of profiles and reviews, they arrange an appointment at their convenience and do not have to leave the house for a consultation. This not only saves time for the customer, it is also much more efficient for the bank. Results from other businesses also show that they are receiving more requests for advice as a result of the platform and customer satisfaction has risen sharply.’

Contributing ideas and making contacts

Michael Dooijes of Rabobank was one of the mentors who guided 24sessions during Startupbootcamp. ‘The start-ups choose who they want to have on their advisory board and I was one of the eight mentors that 24sessions had chosen. I also helped them by putting them in touch with colleagues and advised them as to who they should contact first. I said that they should consider Rabobank first, and this led to the pilot at Rabobank Amstel en Vecht. Since I am also the CEO of MyOrder, Rabobank’s own mobile commerce start-up, I could give them a lot of advice on a partnership with Rabobank – as business partners.’ It turned out that Dooijes’ advice worked out well for 24sessions: ‘The results of the pilot at Rabobank Amstel en Vecht are so positive that we are currently talking to 24sessions to see how we can use the platform more widely.’

‘Be ready to learn’

Participating in Startupbootcamp was an unforgettable experience for Teunissen. ‘It was absolutely fantastic to be a participant. I learned a lot, I was able to expand my team and I was offered some great opportunities, including the partnership with Rabobank.’ The best advice he received? ‘Be ready to learn. I already had quite some experience, and sometimes this can make you think you know a lot. Business operators are indeed headstrong, I am a headstrong person myself … but the important thing is to believe in your own vision and at the same time listen to people with a lot of experience that have seen certain situations many times before and therefore have valuable insights to offer. By listening to their input, I learned a great deal during the boot camp.’

Rabobank and Startupbootcamp

Startupbootcamp offers accelerator programmes for start-ups in various sectors and at various locations around the world. Rabobank is currently a partner in three programmes:

  • E-Commerce (Netherlands)
  • FinTech (London)
  • FinTech (New York)

In addition, we will be participating together with DLL for the first time in the Internet of Things & Data programme (London) in 2016 and a Startupbootcamp will begin in the autumn with a FinTech programme in the Netherlands, in which we are also involved.

As a programme partner, we organise all kinds of events for the participating start-ups. We invite them to get acquainted, organise workshops and put the start-ups in touch with potential investors from our network. We take a close interest in the start-ups and try to follow their progress – partly to gain a good understanding of their business and partly to support them where we can.

In recent years participation in Startupbootcamp has led to various pilots and partnerships with start-ups. For example, Rabobank’s start-up MyOrder works together with the start-up MobyPark, which participated in the E-Commerce boot camp in 2014. Using the technology of MobyPark, MyOrder can further improve its parking app, make it more user-friendly and expand it with new mobility services, such as using the app to refuel at the petrol station.