OTP Startup Program
Boost your business and shape the future of the banking industry!Apply now
OTP Startup Program is an intensive three-month program seeking post product/market fit startups and scaleups from all over the world, with the chance to build goal-oriented, business-focused, and mutually beneficial partnerships with
OTP Bank, a top tier player of the financial industry in Central and Eastern Europe.
The program provides a unique opportunity to refine your product, grow your business, expand your networks, and hone your business development skills through selected training and mentoring sessions. It is brought to you by OTP LAB, OTP Bank’s innovation hub.
Access to data & technology
Premium access to OTP Bank’s API sandbox to demonstrate your innovation in our testing environment and prepare for opportunities opened up by PSD2
Business validation & potential customer base
Opportunity to confirm your product/market fit, conduct Proof-of-Concepts or Pilot projects with OTP Bank and get access to up to 18 million customers in the CEE region
Business insights and guidance from dedicated mentors and key decision makers at OTP Bank
Investor relations & networking
Introductions to PortfoLion, OTP’s VC and PE arm, to other VCs and angel investors and access to an extensive pool of renowned mentors, corporate partners and fellow startup founders
Free desks for your team at OTP LAB, in the heart of Budapest, over the course of the program – if you decide to relocate (not required)
No cost, no equity
There are no application or participation fees, we take no equity, we do not lock you in
Advanced data & analytics tool
- Augmented credit scoring & rating tools
- Know Your Customer solutions
- Business intelligence solutions, customer needs mapping, cross-selling tools
- Transactional data marts
- Sentiment analysis, trend analysis and content management
Customer experience & servicing
- Augmented or virtual reality solutions
- Customer information and consent management
- Automated document generation and digitalization, smart contracting, digital signature
- Innovative customer relationship management tools
- New branch experience, digital queuing systems
- Process automation, automatic data aggregation
- Marketing & sales support tools
- Contact center supporting systems and tools
- Integrated task management and collaboration platforms
- Supporting tools for employees, intelligent property maps, booking systems, digital badges
- Innovative recruitment, evaluation, training and talent management solutions
- Automated and smart testing solutions
Open banking & security
- Personal finance management, data aggregation from multiple sources
- PSD2 as an opportunity for banks
- Biometric or other smart authentication and fraud detection
- Brand protection, anti-phishing, anti-malware solutions
- Bancassurance, e.g. group discounts, time-based and on-demand insurance
- Loans, e.g. blockchain-based solutions, charity crowdfunding
- Cards, e.g. card virtualization, value-added services
- Payments, e.g. peer-to-peer payments, open loop solutions, payment gateways
We are of course aware that we do not know what we do not know, and therefore we are open to disruptive solutions that can transform the financial industry in ways we have not thought of. If you have such an idea, we encourage you to submit your application.
Who are we looking for?
Startups and scaleups, which meet the following criteria:
- Company has been established (or will be incorporated before starting the program)
- Company is managed by at least two full-time founders, covering both business and tech competences
- There is some novel and scalable technology or an innovative business model behind the product
- The product is already validated on a marketplace, there is some evidence for product/market fit and early traction (in special cases we may also consider earlier-stage teams)
- There is a founder, a C or VP level executive who will devote the necessary time, energy, and attention needed for driving the partnership with OTP
- Readiness and willingness on the part of the right person at the company to travel to Budapest on a regular basis during the program (no relocation is required)
Launch of open call: 17 Oct 2018
Application deadline: 30 Nov 2018
Online interviews: 05 Nov – 14 Dec 2018
Selection camp: 16 – 17 Jan 2019
Kick-off week: 04 – 07 Mar 2019
Mid-term week: 08 – 11 Apr 2019
Final week: 20 – 23 May 2019
Demo day: 23 May 2019
For selected participants, partnership agreement signed with OTP Bank
How to apply?
Are you ready to set your business in fast-forward mode? Hit the “Apply now” button and complete our application form on the F6S system by 30th November 2018 (11:59PM CET).
To speed up the application process, we suggest you to log in with your LinkedIn account.
We evaluate submissions on a rolling basis, so make sure you register early and increase your chances to participate!Apply now
Tips for application
- Give concise and thorough responses and complete all relevant fields.
- We evaluate applicants based on the following factors: team, product/technology, market opportunity and traction, business model, fit with OTP Bank’s strategy and target markets. So show us how you excel in all these aspects.
- Enhance the quality of your application with an easy-to-understand product demo and an up-to-date pitch deck.
OTP Startup Program - Online Info Session no. 1
Are you thinking about applying for the OTP Startup Program? This is your chance to hear about the accelerator program directly from the program managers and ask all your questions.
OTP Startup Program - Online Info Session no. 2
Are you thinking about applying for the OTP Startup Program? This is your chance to hear about the accelerator program directly from the program managers and ask all your questions.
Get in the mood
Take a look behind the scenes and explore the most cherished moments of the previous batch.
Deák Ferenc u. 5.
Do you have any questions about the program or your application? Please feel free to drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently asked questions
Why does OTP Bank have a startup program?
Innovation is one of the four pillars of OTP Group’s strategy besides stability, profitability and growth. OTP Group aims to become the most successful universal banking group in Central and Eastern Europe and we understand that openness to innovation is indispensable to achieve this goal.
For this reason, OTP Bank is committed to develop convenient and modern services that are easier and faster to access and meet the challenges of the digital age and the expectations of our customers. Besides this, OTP Bank created its innovation hub, OTP LAB, where our expert colleagues, startups, businesses based on innovative technology and educational institutions are working together on developing the banking products and services of the future. Today, we have several hundred development projects underway and we are building partnerships with the leading fintech firms in the region.
How is the OTP Startup Program different from other accelerator programs?
Our 12-week intensive program is focused on the business development of post product/market fit startups aimed at transforming the financial services industry with their innovative solutions. We offer them strong integration with OTP Bank’s business through a dedicated sponsor department and hands-on mentoring from senior experts and highly ranked executives of OTP Bank. Our goal is to carry out a Proof-of-Concept or Pilot project with participating startups. They may even receive a capital investment to achieve their objectives, with the help of PortfoLion Venture Capital Fund, a member of the OTP Group.
Budapest boasts one of the most dynamic, explosive startup ecosystems in Central Eastern Europe with the potential to become the startup hub of the region. Thanks to the city’s geopolitical location, all major destinations in Europe are easily accessible. What is more, Hungary is one of the few countries in the EU (and the only one in Eastern Europe), where the regulator operates an innovation hub to facilitate the innovation of the financial intermediator sector. A regulatory sandbox is under development and its launch is expected in a few months.
Entrepreneurs get also settled easily in Hungary due to its cultural proximity to the Western business, legal and social environment and they really appreciate the fact that the cost of living, working labour and infrastructure is lower than in Western Europe or USA. Startups have access to various local meetups and events encouraging collaboration and they benefit from the availability of top-notch tech talent.
Do not worry if you are not familiar with the Hungarian language, you can easily live in Budapest speaking English only. If it is not enough, let yourself be convinced by the city’s beauty, exciting nightlife and the country’s rich traditions. If you want to see some numbers, in StartupBlink’s report Budapest ranks 56th globally among 950 cities according to its startup ecosystem strength.
What solutions and technologies is the OTP Startup Program targeting for its next cohort?
Our focus areas are:
- Advanced data & analytics tool
- Customer experience & servicing
- Internal efficiency
- Open banking & security
- Product innovations
For more details on these topics, please check out the Focus areas section of our website. Besides this, we are also open to disruptive solutions, which can transform the financial industry in ways we have not thought of. If you have such an idea, we encourage you to submit your application even if it does not fit in the above listed focus areas.
However, please note that our program cannot accommodate:
- Consulting firms
- Marketing or PR agencies
- Ideas without a prototype
- Companies with fewer than two full-time team members
How many companies are accepted into the program?
We typically accept 8-10 companies per cohort and we run one cohort per year.
How long is the program?
Our program lasts 12 weeks.
What does a typical week look like during the program?
During the 12-week schedule, you will have three special weeks (kick-off week, mid-term week and the final week leading up to the Demo day) when onsite presence will be required. These weeks will be packed with key status meetings and workshops on wide-ranging topics such as B2B sales, growth hacking or fundraising. Besides this, you will have weekly offline or online meetings with your dedicated mentor and bi-weekly checkpoints with the head of the department sponsoring your startup. During the regular weekly meetings, you will discuss your accomplishments from the previous week and your action plans for the following one. It is also a great occasion to identify areas in which you need help, or people or organizations you need introductions to. Related to topics discussed during the workshops, you can also book office hours at our highly ranked external experts for tailored support. Occasionally, you will be also invited to dinners with fellow startuppers participating in the program or to other meetups where you will have the chance to be introduced to potential customers, decision makers, and influencers within the industry.
Will all the mentors come from OTP Bank?
Not all, but the majority will be OTP senior experts and executives since each startup will be assigned to a sponsor department at OTP Bank and will have dedicated internal mentors. Besides this, you will also have access to the expertise of our Partners. They will put forward their global networks of expertise and relationships to support your business.
When does the Demo day take place and who will be invited?
The Demo day will be held at the end of May 2019. You will present in front of OTP executives and key people, our Partners, including several VCs, large corporates.
What happens after the program?
After the program, you can be part of our alumni community and remain in contact with OTP LAB, the Bank’s innovation hub. We will occasionally notify you about collaboration opportunities or relevant events offering powerful and valuable exposure to your business.
How do I apply for the OTP Startup Program?
You can complete our application form on the F6S system by 30th November 2018 (11:59PM CET) by clicking here. To speed up the application process, we suggest you to log in with your LinkedIn account. We evaluate submissions on a rolling basis, so make sure that you register early and increase your chances to participate!
What happens after I submit an application?
Upon receiving your application, our program team will review your submission based on the following factors: team, product/technology, market opportunity and traction, business model, fit with OTP Bank’s strategy and target markets. If we identify an initial fit between your project and our goals, we will contact you to arrange a video interview. Those selected after the interviews will be invited to a 2-day Selection camp in January, where, besides having plenty of networking opportunities with each other, with us, and with our partners, participants will learn in more detail what OTP’s strategic goals and partnership needs are, will work out the scope and the parameters of a potential collaboration with OTP, and will meet their potential OTP sponsors and mentors.
When will I know about being invited to the Selection camp?
We will notify all applicants about whether they are invited to the Selection camp at the latest 1 month prior to the event, so by the middle of December.
How do you evaluate the applications?
Our program team will review the submissions based on the following factors: team, product/technology, market opportunity and traction, business model, fit with OTP Bank’s strategy and target markets.
What happens if I submit my application late?
This year, our program accepts applications from 17 October 2018 to 30 November 2018 and we evaluate submissions on a rolling basis. We do not accept late applications for the program but if you think that you have an exceptional solution with great business fit for OTP, you can reach out to us on email@example.com and we will evaluate the possible synergies for our other ongoing initiatives.
Is there any application fee or participation fee for the program?
No, there is no fee to apply.
Are you looking for a particular stage startup?
We are looking for startups, which offer relevant solutions for financial institutions, have an assembled team, an MVP possibly along with a growing customer base. Ideal applicants are either startups aiming to conduct a Proof of Concept or Pilot project with OTP to validate their technology; or startups already in the commercial phase that want to learn by collaborating with a key banking player like OTP Bank.
My company was formed outside Hungary. Is it still eligible?
Yes, our program is completely international so it is open to companies from all over the world.
Do you accept startups with just one founder?
Unfortunately no, we are looking for startups with at least two full-time founders preferably with both business and tech understanding.
Do I need to send you a business plan?
No, we do not read business plans. If you would like to apply, it is enough to thoroughly complete our online application form.
Does my startup have to be incorporated?
Yes, your company should be established. It is acceptable if you incorporate your startup before starting the program.
My startup has already received funding. Can I still apply?
Yes, and since we do not fund startups upfront, we do not dilute your ownership by taking equity, so your current investors will be even happier.
What if I already went through another startup program?
No problem. Our focus is on conducting Proof of Concepts or Pilot projects with cohort startups so chances are that there will be little overlap between your experiences at the OTP Startup Program and other accelerator programs.
Is my age a factor in the selection process?
No, not at all.
Is my nationality a factor in the selection process?
No, but you must be able to travel to Budapest, Hungary on a regular basis during the 12-week program.
Do you impose any exclusivity constraints?
We expect that you commit yourself to achieve significant development compared to your initial product by investing sufficient effort during the program and to present your working product to OTP executives and potential investors at the Demo day. However, we understand that you may work with multiple clients and partners and some of them can be our competitors. We generally do not require exclusivity on the partners and clients you work with, but please be transparent about your previous, ongoing or planned Proof of Concepts or Pilot projects with our direct competitors or with our program partners. Indicate these activities in your application and we will evaluate these submissions on a case-by-case basis.
What services and perks does the OTP Startup Program offer to accepted startups?
- Access to data & technology: Premium access to OTP Bank’s API sandbox for adopting and integrating your solution into the Bank’s internal systems
- Technological and business validation: Opportunity to confirm and expand your product/market fit, and learn first-hand about all aspects of the financial industry through Proof-of-Concepts or Pilot projects with OTP Bank
- Access to OTP’s customer base: Chance to co-create products and services with OTP Bank, and to test them with 17+ million customers in ten different markets
- Customized mentorship: Business insights and guidance from dedicated mentors and key decision makers at OTP Bank, coaching and advice on matters such as growth hacking or fundraising from our external expert pool
- Handpicked workshops: Workshops and interactive training sessions based around the relevant issues for companies at your stage, which include legal issues, B2B sales, marketing, fundraising, and leadership
- Networking & visibility: Access to industry experts, corporate partners, startup (alumni) founders, and speaking and media opportunities at industry-specific events
- Investor relations: Introductions to PortfoLion, OTP’s venture capital and private equity arm, as well as to other VCs and angel investors
- Coworking space: Free desks and meeting rooms for your team at OTP LAB, in the heart of Budapest, over the course of the program – if you decide to relocate (not required)
Where can I get more information about the available data sets or API Sandbox?
We will introduce the OTP API Sandbox during the Selection camp to the startups invited to this event. Once your startup is accepted into the program, you will have full access to our API Sandbox and our developers will assist you in its use. Should you have any questions regarding the API Sandbox that may influence your application, you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What kind of trainings does the OTP Startup Program include?
Our program is focused on startups with working prototypes or validated products, so our workshops are based around the relevant issues for companies at this stage, which include legal issues, B2B sales, marketing, fundraising, and leadership. However, we reserve the right to slightly change the topics of the workshops in line with the stage and profile of the startups selected for the program.
Do startups get funding?
No, we do not invest in startups directly as part of the program and we do not take equity of any kind.
What if our startup needs more money? Will you help with fundraising?
If your business needs money, you may receive investments with the help of PortfoLion Venture Capital Fund, a member of the OTP Group or thanks to introductions to our VCs and Angels network.
If our startup is accepted into the program, do we need to move to Budapest?
We run a non-residential program with three onsite intervention weeks taking place in Budapest (kick-off week, mid-term week, final week including the Demo day). We expect program participants to travel to Budapest for the workshops, key meetings, and project milestones condensed in these three weeks, but no relocation is required for the whole duration of the program. In exchange for your time and dedication, you will get unique access to top-level banking expertise and tailored mentoring with at least two designated OTP mentors.
If our startup is based outside of Budapest, will you cover our travel costs?
Travel and accommodation costs related to your participation at the Selection Camp can be reimbursed up to a reasonable budget. Reimbursement claims will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis so please contact our program team before finalizing your travel arrangements. Please note that participants selected to attend the 12-week program will have to bear all travel and accommodation costs they incur to participate at the activities of the three onsite intervention weeks.
Where is the OTP Startup Program’s co-working space?
Cohort participants will be entitled to use the co-working place available at OTP LAB. The OTP LAB office is located at 5 Deák Ferenc Street, Budapest, 1052.
Can you help with visas?
We provide visa support to startups admitted to the program upon request. We cannot arrange the visas for you, but we can put you in touch with agencies and services, which can assist you with visa requests.
Do you sign NDAs?
We sign mutual non-disclosure agreements (NDA) with all startups invited to attend the Selection camp meaning that both you and we agree not to disclose any information shared during this event. As for the information provided in your application form, we do not sign an NDA, but we are committed to use this information only for the purpose of evaluating your participation in the OTP Startup Program. You are not required to provide any proprietary information or intellectual property material during the application process.
What guarantees does OTP Bank make to startups accepted to the program?
OTP Bank will sign a participation agreement with the startups selected for the program. This document will detail our respective rights and obligations. Accepted startups will be supported with personalized mentoring from OTP and our partners and with business model validation. Besides this, they will get access to facilities, visibility and relevant industry connections.
Is it guaranteed that the product or service of a participating startup will be used and distributed by OTP Bank?
No, it is fully at our discretion as to whether we intend to conduct a Proof of Concept / Pilot project or enter into any commercial agreement with a cohort startup. There are no obligations on your side, either.
Member(s) of our startup work for OTP Group or for one of the partner companies. Can we still apply?
Yes, but you are required to disclose your affiliation when submitting your application form.
Do startups need to sign any agreement in order to participate in the program?
Yes, OTP Bank will sign a participation agreement with the startups selected for the program. This document will detail our respective rights and obligations. We will share the preview of the agreement upfront with the startups invited to the Selection camp.
Who owns the intellectual property rights?
You are not required to provide any proprietary information or intellectual property material during the application process and you will retain the ownership of all your protected IP. We just need to have sufficient information to evaluate the business fit between your solution and OTP Bank’s objectives. Should we start a collaboration involving co-development or sharing IP assets belonging to OTP Bank or its partners, this will be regulated in a separate agreement.
Upon receiving your application, our program team will review your submission to understand your solution, team, and potential synergies with OTP Bank. If we identify an initial fit between your project and our goals, we will contact you to arrange a video interview. Those selected after the interviews will be invited to a 2-day Selection camp, where, besides having plenty of networking opportunities with each other, with us, and with our partners, participants will learn in more detail what OTP’s strategic goals and partnership needs are, will work out the scope and the parameters of a potential collaboration with OTP, and will meet their potential OTP sponsors and mentors.
During the 12 weeks of the program, you can fast-track your business growth and reach your biz dev goals by taking advantage of the weekly mentoring sessions, bespoke workshops, networking events, and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing opportunities that we will organize for you. We expect program participants to be in Budapest during the 3 onsite intervention weeks filled with workshops and key meetings, but no relocation is required. In exchange for your time and dedication, you will get unique access to top-level banking expertise and tailored mentoring with designated OTP mentors. Our goal is to complete a successful PoC or Pilot project with each participating startup, and eventually launch and integrate their solutions into OTP Bank’s offering. The program culminates in a Demo day, showcasing the participants’ achievements to OTP Bank executives, selected investors, and the media.
After the program is completed, you can be part of our alumni community and remain in contact with OTP LAB, the Bank’s innovation hub. We will make sure that you will get notified about future collaboration opportunities and events that bring further visibility to your business.
We reserve the right to change the dates of the program milestones and to slightly update the program activities in line with the profile of the startups selected for the program.