For the past 3 years, Lloyds Banking Group and Startupbootcamp have partnered together to support emerging start-ups in the FinTech accelerator programme. This year, the FinTech cohort is made up of 9 start-ups, who have all been taking part in the 3 month programme and will soon be pitching their business plans on Demo Day on 1st December.
To get a closer look to the programme, we sat down with Gareth Taylor – Head of Digital Customer Satisfaction, and Jo MacDonald – Group Propositions Senior Manager, who have taken up residence for the last 11 weeks at Rainmaking Loft in London – the home of Startupbootcamp FinTech. Reflecting on their experience they each explain the value of this partnership, their learnings and involvement as Executives in Residence.
Gareth, please tell us about the partnership with the Startupbootcamp FinTech programme and your role as an Executive in Residence:
My role as Executive in Residence is really quite simple: it’s about completely immersing yourself in the FinTech world alongside 9 of the top global FinTech start-ups for 14 weeks, getting a deep understanding of them and quickly identifying where they need help. Then, Jo and I use our own experience and network to help them with those challenges. Success is finding the ones where there are clear synergies and opportunities with Lloyds Banking Group, and look into collaborations to set up Proof of Concepts with the start-ups to drive benefit for both the Group and the newly established business.
For the start-up, it may be testing certain hypotheses and for the Group it is about innovating at pace or identifying new sources of value for either the business or our customers’.
How has this programme helped to deepen your knowledge in this area?
The Startupbootcamp programme has been a massive source of knowledge and insights around FinTech. Before joining as Executive in Residence, I really only knew what I had read. One thing I would call out to help other start-ups out there is a common mistake that I see happen more often than not: they try to do far too much for Day 1. They try to fix the world when instead they really just need to focus on one problem and develop a solution that does it brilliantly. Most need to avoid biting off more than they can chew.
Jo, what has been most illuminating for you?
I have definitely learnt from being in such a dynamic environment – really seeing the benefits first hand of agile working and fast decision-making whilst minimising risk. I’ve been very impressed with how each of the businesses share and learn, not only from the programme but with each other as well. Everyone is extremely collaborative, no politics, no hierarchy, no legacy issues and working without fear of failing. It’s been so refreshing to be part of.
It is also of extreme importance to get under the skin of what a start-up has to offer and who it’s targeting by asking lots of questions and thinking creatively about how this could help Lloyds Banking Group become the best bank for customers with faster and simpler digital services.
How important is collaboration with start-ups and programmes such as Startupbootcamp?
I think it’s really important. We need to learn as a bank how we can better collaborate with FinTech companies to improve the experience for our customers. There are lots of examples of FinTech companies tackling problems that we are currently facing or finding innovative ways to better meet the needs of our customers. Through collaboration we can harness their expertise and apply to this to our business, often more cheaply and quickly.
Gareth agrees and adds:
The bottom line is that we need them and they need us. We need them because they can build solutions quickly and without fear or risks, and they need us because of our experience, scale and data.
Finally, what advice would you give to future Executives in Residence or start-ups on accelerator programmes?
Jo: To the Executives in Residence of the future I would recommend they spend as much time with the start-ups as they can at the start of the programme. To leave any cynicism at the door and to ask lots and lots of questions! Be open, be curious, listen and then be clear and focused on helping them to find their own direction.
Gareth: Leave any preconceived ideas and fears at the door. Be open-minded and take risks. Don’t waste any time as the accelerator programmes go very fast. And finally, have fun!
You can see some of the examples of the FinTech collaborations we have had with Swave or WoraPay here. To find out when the next Startupbootcamp Fintech or InsuTech programmes are, please visit the website. To see this year’s FinTech companies final pitches on 1 December, follow @LBGDigi or #SBCDemoDay