'Radical ideas can strengthen the bank'

Rabobank’s very own startups

Don’t just sit back and watch how the world around the bank innovates, but take the lead yourself. That’s the idea behind the Moonshot campaign: a quest for the most radical technological ideas from Rabobank employees around the world. “We are proving in this way that FinTech is also taking place within our bank.”

Employees ditched their suits and ties for the occasion in favour of startup-style jeans and trainers. The four winning teams presented their innovative ideas on Demo Day held in the Auditorium in Utrecht. “Some things consume energy, but innovation gives you energy,” said Rabobank Executive Board Chairman Wiebe Draijer at the end of Demo Day.

Worldwide potential

The Moonshot Demo Day held in early April showed how employees’ ideas will be able to help customers worldwide in the future. For example, one team is working on an app that enables users to easily transfer funds to their contacts stored in their mobile phone. Another team has an innovative solution for international companies exposed to currency risk. And a new big data platform, which was an idea conceived by an Australian team, enables food and agribusiness customers to find relevant information relating to their agricultural activities. The fourth team conceived a smart plan for helping Dutch SMEs to conduct e-commerce in Africa by linking local payment systems.

Innovation as reflection

Wiebe Draijer expressed his excitement at the highly successful Demo Day in his speech: “This day is all the proof we need that our bank is making its own contribution to FinTech. I would like to see the Moonshot campaign become an opportunity for us to reflect on our work at regular intervals. If radical ideas are properly developed, they can really make the bank stronger.”

The four Moonshot teams will spend the coming period further developing and refining their ideas, with the exact details in terms of scope and format to be confirmed soon. After this event, a third Moonshot campaign has been confirmed for next year. As Draijer announced, “We intend to continue this initiative, as the campaign is very much in line with our ideas about innovation.”

Startup site

In the run-up to Demo Day, the four teams spent three months camped out at a startup site in Amsterdam together with other startups. They were granted time away from their regular duties during this period. Chief Information Officer René Steenvoorden, who is in charge of business innovation at Rabobank worldwide:“We feel it is important that employees continue to come up with new ideas and think about ways in which our bank can maintain our innovative edge. If we give our people the freedom they need and foster a more open corporate structure, they will have more room to bring their creativity to fruition.”

GRPPY and Fync

The Demo Day also provided an opportunity for the bank to reflect back on the first Moonshot campaign held in 2015. Last year’s winning teams, GRPPY and Fync, were in attendance on the day to present their elaborated ideas. GRPPY is an app that enables consumers to keep track of and offset expenses using a virtual group kitty. This solution can be used by all consumers, regardless of which bank or provider they use. Fync is an application for self-employed professionals and startups that integrates bank and accounting data into a single mobile application. Rabobank customers will be able to use Fync later this year, while GRPPY will be available to customers from May onward.

The four winning Moonshot ideas for 2016:

  • Bank Contact Cloud: An app that simplifies payments. Contacts in your mobile phone are automatically linked to their IBAN so you can transfer funds without entering an IBAN.
  • EasyTrade: A solution for international companies that have a currency risk. Orders from companies wanting to hedge their risks are automatically converted into transactions. This makes risk management easier and faster.
  • Geofarm: A big data platform for farmers. Farmers gain insight into the risks involved when making key decisions. The platform creates valuable insights by combining different data sources.
  • Fetch:A solution for Dutch companies that want to conduct e-commerce in Africa. By linking payment systems, SMEs gain access to this emerging market. Businesses can consequently tap into the opportunities of the growing African economy.

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