Startup Fest Europe: mosaic of people and ideas

Rabobank is founding partner of top innovation event

Startup Fest Europe is a European top event in the field of innovation that took place from 24 May to 28 May 2016. It brings together people with ideas and investors so these ideas can become reality. The event had an impressive line-up including the CEOs of Apple, Uber and Adyen. Rabobank is Startup Fest Europe’s founding partner.

Sessions, workshops, meetings and other events for matchmaking, knowledge-sharing and inspiration were held across the Netherlands. The aim was to help innovative startups find the right investment opportunities, attract talents and close deals with the business community. Dutch innovation hubs staged a variety of events and Rabobank co-organised two of them:

  • Campus Party, Jaarbeurs Utrecht

    Large-scale technology festival that brings together young talent and ambitious entrepreneurs.
  • F&A Next, Wageningen

    The first European platform for investors, startups and scale-ups in the food and agricultural sector (F&A, Food & Agri).

Funding force for entrepreneurs

Board Members attended various events during Startup Fest Europe. Wiebe Draijer and other founding partners opened a CEO event on 24 May that focused on how big businesses can embrace and anticipate the dynamics caused by disruptive innovations. According to Wiebe Draijer, it’s only logical that Rabobank is the founding partner of Startup Fest Europe. "Rabobank promotes entrepreneurship and sustainable innovation by providing access to knowledge and networks. We also aim to be a driving force for entrepreneurs when it comes to funding. Startup Fest Europe brings together ideas and capital, creating a platform where concepts can be turned into reality. With our involvement in Startup Fest Europe, we increase our knowledge on innovative entrepreneurships and startups. This allows us to serve startups and scale-ups better and provide our customers with up-to-date information on trends and developments."

Online platform as a “matchmaker”

To coincide with Startup Fest Europe, Rabobank has created an online platform that connects innovative startups with established businesses. The platform will support around 700 high-potential startups in finding successful businesses to become their ‘launching customers’: the first major customers of a startup, which both create trust in the product and play a role in its further development. This introduces the businesses to startups working on potentially interesting innovations. The platform is not just about finding sources of finance. Just as important is bringing companies together and learning from each other.
All startups participating in Startup Fest Europe are represented on the platform, but other startups are also welcome to register.

Campus Party: the world’s biggest tech festival

25-29 May, Jaarbeurs Utrecht – 24 hours per day!
Rabobank's goal as co-organiser of Campus Party was to further stimulate startup enterprise and sustainable innovation in the Netherlands. We did this by organising events including two hackathons and a number of workshops and by enabling startups to present and demonstrate their ideas.

Two hackathons: challenges for the whiz kids

Rabobank offered the attending whiz kids two nice challenges during Campus Party. Number 1: develop a financial sixth sense that will give our customers an early warning to help prevent them from making the wrong financial decision. Number 2: figure out how farmers worldwide can produce more efficiently using fewer natural resources. Harrie Vollaard, Head of Innovation, explains, "Campus Party is a world-class event where we get to meet the forerunners in innovation. They have the ability to conceive fantastic applications in the field of banking that will benefit our customers in the near future. We hope that they come up with new insights and business models by connecting various data sources with new technology."

Good for both startups and customers

Rabobank enabled startups to pitch their ideas so they could connect with interesting parties during Campus Party. We also demonstrated our latest Rabo innovations (MyOrder, RaboWallet, Smartpin) and our own startup GRPPY: a virtual kitty for group expenses. And of course, we showed what Rabobank can mean for technology startups: we support innovation initiatives in a number of ways, such as the partnerships and investments as part of the Fintech ecosystem. Rabobank has increased its partnerships with startups by a factor of ten in the past five years! This enables us to not only help the startups, but also our customers: through these partnerships, we get access to innovative solutions that help our customers manage their financial affairs faster and easier.’

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F&A Next: extra attention to food and agri

25-26 May, Wageningen
In partnership with Food Valley NL, StartLife and Wageningen UR (University & Research centre), Rabobank organised F&A Next: the first European platform for international investors, startups and scale-ups in the Food & Agri domain.

High potential, but insufficient visibility

The Netherlands is a forerunner in the Food & Agri domain internationally, but promising startups in this sector are often insufficiently visible to investors. With F&A Next, we want to increase that visibility to promote investments in promising enterprises and innovations. Board Member Berry Marttin: "We need entrepreneurs to convert innovations into practical solutions that seamlessly meet the demands of the market. Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the worldwide Food & Agri sector is one of Rabobank’s key focus areas. Innovation is necessary, because in 2050 the worldwide demand for food is expected to have increased by 60 percent."

Biggest group of investors ever

Over 25 major international investors attended F&A Next along with representatives of the biggest European Food & Agri companies. The startups and investors met during pitch sessions, business presentations, networking moments and one-on-one meetings. "We’re proud that this event brings together the biggest group of F&A investors ever in the Netherlands," says Marttin. "Rabobank supports innovation in this sector with financing, our unique Food & Agri knowledge and connecting our networks in global food chains – from farmer to fork. We are committed to ensuring that this event develops into a permanent platform, so innovation in this sector can really start happening and pick up speed."

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UX Center available to high-potential startups

High-potential startups will have the opportunity to test their products in Rabobank’s User Experience Center (UX Center) in the near future. Rabobank normally uses this facility every day to test its own products and services with the aim of making them more user friendly. "We see that fintech startups need a professional platform at a bank to test their products with potential customers," says Harrie Vollaard, Rabobank’s Head of Innovation. "We will make our UX Center available to startups in order to help facilitate the development of these young businesses. We are looking forward to letting selected startups test their products under the professional guidance of our usability experts. All free of charge."

Testing user friendliness in the UX Center

Practical situations in different atmospheres and environments can be optimally simulated using light, audio, photos and moving images. An observation team looks on from behind mirror glass. The team carries out the usability and user-friendliness test using remote-controlled cameras and eye tracking to follow the test subject’s eye movements across the screen. Special mini cameras with wide-angle lenses are used to track the subject’s finger movements across a tablet computer.

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