OTP Startup Partner Program is an international partnership program seeking later-stage startups with validated products 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 starts with a 3-month pilot phase, after which the most successful cohort companies are admitted to a 6-month rollout phase aimed at supporting the full-scale, live integration of the tested solutions into the operation of the bank. Take this unique opportunity to refine your product, grow your business, and expand your networks through projects conducted in one of the 11 countries where the OTP Banking Group is present and via bespoke training and mentoring sessions!
OTP Startup Partner Program is brought to you by OTP LAB, OTP Bank’s innovation hub.
Results-oriented pilots based on real business needs
Business-relevant Proof-of-Concept or pilot projects with one of the banks belonging to OTP Group, collaborating directly with renowned OTP experts
Dedicated support from piloting to live collaboration
Connection with the right stakeholders and key decision makers within OTP Group, dedicated resources to support the live rollout in case of a successful pilot
Business development acceleration & potential customer base
Opportunity to forge new partnerships within OTP Group and get access to up to 18.5 million customers in the CEE region
Business insights and guidance from dedicated mentors and key decision makers at OTP Group with market-specific expertise in 11 CEE markets
Investor relations & international 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, leading corporate partners and our proven alumni companies
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
No application or participation fees, we take no equity, we do not lock you in
Advanced data & analytics tool
- Business intelligence solutions, customer needs mapping, customer profiling
- Marketing automation tools supporting micro-segmentation, identification of client insights and next best offers
- Social media sentiment analysis
- Brand equity measurement solutions
- Campaign measurement tools for monitoring the effect of offline ATL campaigns on sales
- Campaign measurement tools for monitoring the effectiveness of digital brand awareness campaigns
Customer experience & servicing
- Tools supporting personal data management and GDPR compliance
- Novel customer management tools ensuring balance between sales objectives and customer satisfaction
- Solutions bringing CSR initiatives closer to clients
- White-label platforms to manage loyalty and referral programs for current and prospective clients
- Novel solutions enriching discount or loyalty programs
- Biometric user identification methods for ATMs, branches, call centre
- Remote customer identification, digital contracts for smooth digital onboarding (retail and business clients)
- Voice analysis and emotion detection, voice enabled chatbots
- Beyond banking, value-added services for retail clients (e.g. third-party marketplaces)
- Recruitment and employee selection tools based on gamification or simulation
- Tools supporting easier operator-supervisor interactions, operator quality assurance in call centre
- Gamification based employee knowledge sharing and knowledge management systems
- Gamification based incentivizing solutions for front-office personnel for increased sales efficiency
- Solutions streamlining administration activities in branches
- Tools streamlining IT development
- Identity and access management for frictionless collaboration with third parties
- File and data synchronization solutions
- Tools to monitor the locations of POS terminals
- External data sources supporting AML screening for business clients
- OCR and RPA solutions to digitize documents and automate back-office processes
- Document digitalization and archiving solutions maintaining the legal validity of documents
- Solutions incentivizing microsavings and goal-based long-term savings in case of young professionals
- White-label, non-SaaS personal finance management solutions
- Succession and inheritance planning tools for private banking clients
- Non-financial services related to home buying
- PSD2-enabled data aggregation solutions for online lending (customer onboarding, credit scoring)
- Payment gateways, peer-to-peer payment systems, utility bill payment aggregators
- Non-financial services enhancing QR code payments
- White-label savings and asset management solutions for corporate clients
- Farm management software
- Alternative, additional credit scoring solutions for farmers
- Solutions helping farmers maximizing their production efficiency (data-based suggestions, knowledge sharing)
- Data aggregation tools supporting online lending to SMEs, including farmers
- Data aggregation solutions improving online factoring
- Non-financial and beyond banking services for SME and corporate clients
- Pipeline management system for SME and corporate relationship managers with sales reporting features
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:
- Incorporated companies
- 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 market ready, validated at least through pilots (even better if you already have live users and/or corporate partners)
- 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 or to other subsidiary HQs in CEE on a regular basis during the program (no relocation is required)
2019/2020 batch timeline
- Launch of open call: 14 Oct 2019
- Application deadline: 22 Nov 2019
- Online interviews: 21 Oct – 06 Dec 2019
- Selection Camp: 15 – 16 Jan 2020
Pilot phase milestones
- Kick-off week: 02 – 05 Mar 2020
- Mid-term week: 06 – 09 Apr 2020
- Final week: 18 – 20 May 2020
- Demo Day: 20 May 2020
- In case of successful pilots admission to the 6-month rollout phase aimed at long-term partnership
- Alumni membership
”The OTP Startup Program is an extraordinary opportunity for any B2B startup, who wants to expand in financial services. The program gave us a good chance to acquire deeper knowledge on banking sector, an opportunity to manage a pilot program in a multinational giant and also to learn from peer startups. I am proud of being part of it, congrats for the organizers for the extremely professional execution and fingers crossed for the next-gen startups!”
”Framed by the fantastic organisation by the OTP Innovation Lab team we benefited from relevant expert mentorship and the fast-tracked and direct access to senior level decision-makers - not only for Hungary but also for the subsidiaries. If your main targets are banks and you have CEE ambitions, this is the right program to go for.”
”The accelerator program was focused on a specific goal instead of vague “startup acceleration”.”
“OTP Bank was clear about its business objectives and the program was dedicated to foster bank-fintech partnerships. OTP LAB provided access to the right stakeholders at the right time.”
“The program was not just an external project but really integrated within the bank and besides workshops and networking we could do business with OTP within 3 months.”
How to apply?
Are you ready to set your business in fast-forward mode? Hit the “Apply now” button and complete our application form by 22nd November 2019 (11:59PM CET).
We evaluate submissions on a rolling basis, so make sure you register early and increase your chances to participate!Apply now
Tips for application
Here is some advice from our program team you should read before filling out the application form:
- 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.
Private Banking Services & Network Management
OTP Bank Albania
OTP Bank Russia
Vojvodjanska banka, OTP Group
Have a chat with our team at the following events.
Online Info Session
Are you thinking about applying for the OTP Startup Partner Program? This is your chance to hear about OTP Group’s international partnership program targeted at later-stage startups and scaleups directly from the program managers and ask all your questions.Online Meeting RSVP here
Take a look behind the scenes and explore the best moments of being part of the Program.
You can find the program team and our co-working space here:OTP LAB Deák Ferenc utca 5.
Do you have any questions about the program or your application? Please feel free to drop us a line on email@example.com.
Frequently asked questions
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.
The 3+6 months long partnership program is designed to ensure that bank-startup collaborations can deliver tangible results for both parties. It is achieved by ensuring 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 and by offering dedicated project coordination and budget support starting from the pilot phase until the initial rollout period. Our goal is to carry out a Proof-of-Concept or Pilot project with the participating startups, which validates them within the banking group and opens the door for long-term collaboration. The cohort companies may even receive capital investment to achieve their objectives, with the help of PortfoLion Venture Capital Fund, a member of 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, where the regulator operates an innovation hub and a regulatory sandbox to facilitate the innovation of the financial intermediator sector.
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 move around 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 89th globally among more than 1000 cities according to its startup ecosystem strength.
Check out the Focus areas in the upper section of the website for the detailed list. Although we are eager to learn about as much innovative solutions as possible, please note that our program cannot accommodate:
- Consulting firms
- Marketing or PR agencies
- Ideas only or not market-ready prototypes
- Companies with fewer than two full-time team members
We typically accept 8-10 companies per cohort and we run one cohort per year.
Our program has two main phases: a 3-month pilot phase, followed by a 6-month rollout phase, which is available for the cohort companies conducting the most successful pilots.
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.
Not all, but the majority will be OTP senior experts and executives since each startup will be assigned to a sponsor department at a bank belonging to OTP Group and will have dedicated internal mentors. Besides this, you will also have access to our leading Program Partners. They will put forward their global networks of expertise and relationships to support your business.
The Demo Day will be held on 20th May 2020. You will present in front of OTP executives and key people, our Partners, including several VCs and large corporates.
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.
You can complete our application form by 22nd Nov 2019 (11:59PM CET) by clicking here. We evaluate submissions on a rolling basis, so make sure that you register early and increase your chances to participate!
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.
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.
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.
This year, our program accepts applications from 14th October 2019 to 22nd November 2019 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the possible synergies for our other ongoing initiatives.
No, there is no fee to apply.
We are looking for later-stage startups and scaleups, which offer relevant solutions for financial institutions, have an assembled team, a market-ready product possibly along with a growing customer base. Ideal applicants are startups and scaleups aiming to conduct a Proof of Concept or Pilot project with OTP for further technology validation and increased experience in corporate collaboration; and ultimately to have long-term partnership with a key banking player like OTP Group.
Yes, our program is completely international so it is open to companies from all over the world.
Unfortunately no, we are looking for startups with at least two full-time founders preferably with both business and tech understanding.
No, we do not read business plans. If you would like to apply, it is enough to thoroughly complete our online application form.
Yes, your company should be established at the time you submit your application.
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.
No problem. Our focus is on conducting Proof of Concepts or Pilot projects with cohort startups and potentially transform them into long-term partners so chances are that there will be little overlap between your experiences at the OTP Startup Partner Program and other accelerator programs.
No, not at all.
No, but you must be able to travel to Budapest or the HQs of the subsidiary banks located in CEE on a regular basis during the 12-week program.
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.
No, we do not invest in startups directly as part of the program and we do not take equity of any kind.
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.
We run a non-residential program with three onsite intervention weeks taking place in Budapest or at the HQs of the subsidiary banks of the Group (kick-off week, mid-term week, final week including the Demo Day). We expect program participants to attend these three weeks in person, but no relocation is required for the whole duration of the program.
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 admitted to the program will have to bear all travel and accommodation costs they incur to participate at the activities of the three onsite intervention weeks.
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.
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.
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 or – in case of admission – during the program. 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 program. You are not required to provide any proprietary information or intellectual property material during the application process.
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.
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.
Yes, but you are required to disclose your affiliation when submitting your application form.
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.
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.