Querona - the winner of BNP Paribas International Hackathon 2017 in Warsaw

There is no doubt banks and fintechs should cooperate. Such cooperation is a win-win solution for both banks and fintechs. And what is the main thing here – customers win as they get more advanced and fast services in digital channels. We talk to Michal Miszulowicz on how Bank BGŻ BNP Paribas cooperates with start-ups and fintechs.

MICHAL MISZULOWICZ, Startup & Innovation Ecosystem Manager at Bank BGŻ BNP Paribas

Olena Gryniuk: How exactly Bank BGŻ BNP Paribas cooperates with startups, incl. fintechs? Tell us about your current projects and how Bank is involved in each of them?

Michal Miszulowicz: As for today, we have started several proof of concept (POC) projects with startups. We are just learning new ways to cooperate with startups. They are completely different kind of companies – agile, swift and focused on delivery. On the other hand – they are fragile. Their cash flow is very unstable and in most cases, they lack pure business knowledge. Large corporations have a special role and need to take special actions to secure successful delivery – otherwise, startups can die on their way to finish the project. Bank BGŻ BNP Paribas is very lucky to compare to peers – as a part of the international group (BNP Paribas) we have many examples from all over the world. We can benefit from others experience. Regarding Banks involvement – we are currently working on simplified start-up cooperation rules. It’s as important as difficult – at the same time, we must secure as well the bank as startups interests.

OG: This year BNP Paribas International Hackathon 2017 took place in 10 cities simultaneously, including Warsaw. One of the challenges was on SME & Agro (which is our focus): How to explore sales opportunities on existing client database? What solutions were presented by the participants in this area?

MM: The SME business challenge was one of the toughest. While scouting the market for eligible startups we haven’t seen many specialized in this area. Finally, we have managed to find four:

–    Placeme: geo-localization crossed with economic data that shows where is the best localization to place your business;

–    CyberProductivity: TrueCashflow solution that enables the bank to see cash flow forecast and generate leads accordingly;

–    Querona: virtual data warehouse that enables to connect data from variety of internal and external sources;

–    Wandlee: chatbot supporting customer service and contact with the сlients.

In my opinion, the SME market is not yet well covered by startup’s offer. Their aim is a collaboration with corporations hoping for a golden deal. I think, that startups and SMEs have much in common and their cooperation could be much easier.

OG: The winner of Warsaw Hackathon is Querona. What exactly does it specialize in?

Querona – the winner of BNP Paribas International Hackathon 2017 in Warsaw

MM: Querona’s solution is hard to describe – it’s very technical but in simple words – they are providing an additional layer to our data governance system that enables the bank to connect the data from a variety of sources in a fast and relatively easy way.  The choice of the winner was quite pragmatic – during the 3-minute pitch, Querona managed to show half a million PLN cost synergy. After long discussions, we can see plenty of business cases supported by this technology.


We devote special panel to the discussion on cooperation between banks and start-ups during CEE SME Banking Club Conference 2017 in Krakow, 23-24 Nov. Join us!


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