What Does Collaboration Mean for Entrepreneurs?

December 9, 2019

The F10 FinTech Hackathons have witnessed game-changers from all over the world disrupting the finance industry and multiple high-potential Startups have been formed. Success stories such as Billte revolutionizing invoicing, Riskifier digitalizing as well as gamifying investment risk profiling or Yoordi accelerating the ordering process at restaurants started at Hackathons. These successful ventures have one common characteristic: collaboration has played an important role from the beginning. To develop their business ideas further and amplify their impact, Startups need strong collaboration partners in the long run. We have listed three points that entrepreneurs need to consider when looking for partners.

F10 as THE HOME OF FINTECH brings FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech Startups with disruptive ideas together with the big players in finance, banking, insurance, consulting and digitalization to boost innovation in the financial world. Why is collaboration more important than ever before? Agile Startups addressing the needs of the clients of tomorrow are entering markets that had been the exclusive realm of traditional banks, insurances and financial institutions for decades. “Financial institutions must figure out how they can reinvent their products as well as services and create completely new offers to address consumer needs quickly. It has become easier than ever before to switch providers and only companies that focus on customer experience will survive in the long run”, says Thomas Landis, Head of F10 FinTech Incubator & Accelerator. F10 strongly believes that traditional financial institutions should collaborate with new incumbents instead of competing. “We are convinced that innovative Startups and the big players need to join forces to tear down innovation hurdles”, Landis states.

“Advances in security and verification will enable all aspects of sales, service and delivery to be conducted online. Technology is making it easier for customers to switch banks, making relationships much less sticky”, a PwC study finds. This means that banks’ target markets are no longer “defined by its physical footprint, but by its technology, regulatory boundaries and marketing budget” and that customer loyalty is lower than ever before. Young, digitally savvy customers tend to be less loyal to companies or brands than previous generations and there is a tendency to perceive financial products and services as interchangeable. The new generations of clients value convenience and prefer to execute transactions remotely – if possible, without direct interaction with the company or organization. The relevance of personal relationships with advisors has dwindled, banking and insurance are not people business anymore. The clients of tomorrow focus on customized and innovative products or services.Collaborations combine decades of experience with fresh ideas and lean structures.

The Aspen Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group from the international think tank Aspen Institute included collaboration as one of the elements of the entrepreneurial mindset which was defined as “critical mix of success-oriented attitudes of initiative, intelligent risk-taking, collaboration and opportunity recognition.” What does collaboration mean for an entrepreneur? F10 as THE HOME OF FINTECH brings FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech Startups together with established institutions in finance, banking, insurance, consulting as well as digitalization. The F10 portfolio covers three programs: international FinTech Hackathons, the P2 «Prototype to Product» program for Startups with first prototypes in FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech and the P3 «Product to Market» program for Startups with market traction and revenue generation looking for strong partners. The value chain starts with international F10 FinTech Hackathons by working on real-life challenges provided by the Hackathon sponsors, developing disruptive ideas for more innovation in the financial world and forming potential Startups. It continues with the P2 where the early-stage Startups go through a six-month program in Zurich or Singapore to develop their prototype – with the support of the F10 coaches, mentors and experts from the industry – to the extent to get investment ready. The P3 workshop aims to open doors for mature Startups to collaborate with the Corporate Members.

We have listed three tips on what Startups looking for strong partners need to consider:

1.) Be clear on the value you bring into the partnership

Before reaching out to customers or partners, gain clarity on the value your Startup will bring into that partnership. How does your product or service offer the finance industry new options to adapt to changing customer needs, reduce costs or make their offers available to bigger parts of the world population?Do a quick research on the people you are trying to contact and find out which topics are most relevant to them. Formulate the advantages of your idea in short, precise sentences and include some context on the industry when establishing contact.

2.) Communicate your expectations clearly

Another important aspect is to be clear about the goals of the partnership. What does your Startup expect from the collaboration? Co-founders should discuss the possible benefits that might arise from cooperating with a certain partner and define the goals of the collaboration. Are you mainly looking for investment? Can the cooperating partner offer relevant exposure or facilitate further business? Are you eager to learn from an established player?State your expectations unmistakably from the beginning and define milestones to re-evaluate the collaboration regularly.

3.) Ask for feedback – as often as you can

True collaboration includes offering opinions and being open for other perspectives. According to an article by the platform “Entrepreneur”, most successful entrepreneurs “are not only good at sharing information and ideas, they are often eager for the opinions and reviews of others and include the best ideas of others into their own thinking. While it may be possible to unearth a brilliant idea by yourself, getting from inspiration to implementation as a team of one is a very unlikely path.” Especially in the first stages of founding a Startup, it is crucial to get feedback on your ideas from potential customers and investors. Is your product or service addressing real-life problems of the finance industry?Key representatives from banks, insurance companies and consulting firms are regular guests at F10. THE HOME OF FINTECH has become an obligatory stop for FinTech delegations, regulatory bodies and investors from all over the world. Startup entrepreneurs thus have the chance to brainstorm and get feedback on their products or services from future customers or investors and industry experts at the F10 FinTech Co-Working Space. Invite members of the F10 ecosystem to a free coffee, share ideas and get valuable feedback from brilliant minds around the corner.

Hackathons as testing ground for entrepreneurs

Game-changing Startups such as Billte, Riskifier, Yoordi and PinAlpha formed at FinTech Hackathons and started their entrepreneurial journey after 48 hours of coding and ideation. “At the F10 FinTech Hackathons in Zurich, Singapore and Vienna, we have seen hundreds of innovators in action: talents in tech, finance and banking from all over the world came together to address the challenges that the global finance industry is facing and transferred their bright ideas into validated prototypes within 48 hours”, says Head of F10 Thomas Landis. Hackathons are the ideal testing grounds for entrepreneurs as they can share their business ideas with like-minded people from various backgrounds, develop these ideas further and finally pitch a first prototype in front of the jury – consisting of potential collaboration partners and industry experts – during the closing ceremony of the Hackathon. The newly founded Startups then have the opportunity to learn more about the P2 “Prototype to Product” program during the F10 Bootcamp and get tips on how to successfully apply for the Startup Program.

The Hackathon Startups Billte, Riskifier, Yoordi and PinAlpha joined our P2 “Prototype to Product” program to take their prototypes to the next level and start fruitful cooperation with strong partners. F10 guides and supports FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech Startups with innovative ideas on their journey to become successful companies while stimulating collaboration with international organization. During the six-month P2 “Prototype to Product” program, the F10 Startups regularly have the chance to pitch their products and services in front of the F10 Corporate Members and get feedback from future customers, partners, investors and industry experts. The Hackathon Startup Billte has now become a network partner of F10 Corporate Member SIX. In November 2019, SIX has introduced the network partner model for eBill into the market. eBill is the leading Swiss solution for digital invoicing and paying invoices which has been integrated directly into the e-banking of over 90 Swiss banks. Billte was the first company to conclude the respective contract.

Are you ready to revolutionize the finance industry with us, make valuable connections and transfer your bright idea into a validated prototype with the support of brilliant mentors, industry experts and the big players of the financial world? Apply now for the F10 FinTech Hackathon in Zurich taking place in February 2020.

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