Banks want to be venture builders too
As their involvement in fintech matures, large banks are focusing on building standalone digital businesses rather than just taking stakes in third-party startups through venture capital funds and accelerators. Can these new in-house ventures disprove the thesis that incumbent banks can’t create disruptive business models?
We all know the stereotype: big banks are complex and backward-looking. When it comes to setting up businesses based on digital technology and new consumer habits, they’re bureaucratic and risk averse.
As fintech competitors have grown, big banks have nevertheless been forced to learn from them – and from other industries – about the best structures for building new ventures inside their organizations.
Many banks’ innovation efforts are no longer focusing on gaining exposure to new technologies by taking minority stakes in fintech firms via venture capital funds – although they’re doing plenty of that too, sometimes ramping up the capital deployed and spinning out those funds.
Nor are they just taking a passing interest in early-stage fintech companies in accelerators, which might not share very much with the sponsoring bank or which might not involve much commitment from the bank to grow those startups.