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What does Rabobank offer start-ups?

An innovative methodology for future-proofing a business through start-up collaboration

25 European Corporate Startup Stars reveals which large companies are doing the most to support new firms. These case studies highlight some specific examples of active and successful collaboration between corporates and startups.

European Headquarters: Utrecht (Netherlands)

Geographical reach: Netherlands, UK, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, France, Spain and USA

Sector of interest: Fintech

Works with start-ups through:

  • Test labs
  • Partnerships with accelerators (e.g. Startupbootcamp and Rockstart)
  • Mentoring
  • Investments and acquisitions

A good example of…

Rejuvenating corporate culture

Why does Rabobank work with start-ups?

Leading Dutch banking and financial services organisation Rabobank sources innovative ideas from start-ups as part of an ongoing process to maintain a strong, sustainable business model and rejuvenate its work.

Connecting with start-ups also allows Rabobank to keep up-to-date with industry trends and create lasting value for its customers through innovative products and services.

How does Rabobank work with start-ups?

Inquisitive and open-minded, with a strong presence in local communities, Rabobank is future-proofing its business by tapping into the talent of start-ups. Offering a full spectrum of imaginative initiatives – including fintech hackathons and partnerships with accelerators such as Startupbootcamp and Rockstart – it places interaction with start-ups at the heart of its growth strategy.

Rabobank’s integrated approach towards collaboration uses a combination of investments and acquisitions, and focuses on partnerships as a strategic priority. This enables the bank to ‘speak the same language’ as innovative start-ups and develop mutually beneficial relationships.

What has Rabobank done to facilitate collaboration with start-ups?

Rabobank has created an ’Entrepreneur in Residence’ role to establish relationships between start-ups and its business lines through start-up hubs, workspaces and accelerators. ‘Bankers in Residence’ work alongside the Entrepreneur in Residence and provide start-ups with financial advice, tailored to their banking needs.

There are dedicated points of contact for innovation in Rabobank departments. An innovation board, formed of business line executives, also helps champion start-ups across different departments and makes sure they are integrated with the rest of the company.

Business line management teams are regularly invited to start-up events and demo days, and innovation teams and internal employees are encouraged to mentor accelerated start-ups and share their business knowledge with them.

Particularly innovative is the Moonshot internal accelerator programme, which enables teams of Rabobank employees to leverage their own ideas, through using start-up methodologies in a corporate accelerator setting.

Success story: MyOrder

A good example of Rabobank’s integrated approach to acquisitions is MyOrder, a mobile commerce platform, brought into the organisation in 2012. As well as operating as a payments solution, MyOrder allows the creation of value-added services, such as remote ordering in food outlets.

MyOrder worked with Rabobank to create the new Rabo Wallet proposition, which simultaneously provides consumers with a digital wallet, loyalty scheme and value-added services, including offers, coupons, parking and fuelling.

The partnership between Rabobank and MyOrder is unique and has benefited both organisations: MyOrder has reached new customers and accelerated traction, while Rabobank has future-proofed a crucial part of its payment business.

“We were impressed by the flexible and pragmatic approach that Rabobank adopted. The acquisition of MyOrder is an inspiring example of successful corporate-start-up interaction.”

Alberto Onetti, Corporate Startup Stars judge

What can other corporates learn from Rabobank about working with start-ups?

  • An ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’, innovation board and dedicated single point of contact for innovation in each department facilitate the interaction and integration of start-ups in Rabobank’s operations
  • An internal accelerator programme to foster new ideas (such as the Moonshot programme) helps harness in-house talent, inspire employees and create an entrepreneurial attitude
  • Selective investments, acquisitions and partnerships, to help future-proof existing services, increase customer satisfaction and broaden a client base

What is Rabobank looking for from the start-ups it works with?

Rabobank is looking for new and innovative solutions in the Fintech areas. It is interested in engaging with both early and later stage start-ups.

How can start-ups get involved with Rabobank?

Start-ups can get involved with Rabobank by applying to one of its start-up accelerators: Startupbootcamp (Amsterdam, London, New York) or Rockstart (Amsterdam). Alternatively contact Harrie Vollard, Head of Innovation at Rabobank directly:

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Image courtesy of SVC2UK CEO Summit 2015.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644104.


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