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francoisdempers

Show your work, don’t just share ideas, Capitec innovation head tells startups

Entrepreneurs should be ready to show their work and not just share their ideas, says Capitec bank’s manager for innovation Francois Dempers.

In an interview with Ventureburn, Dempers — who oversees innovation in the bank’s digital solutions division — says tech entrepreneurs who want to sell their ideas for apps or platforms to the bank should remain open and honest about what their product can and cannot do.

“Do not oversell your product or service and get straight to business. Leave your business guy at home and bring your techie instead. We prefer authentic experiences right from the start of a relationship,” says Dempers.

‘Capitec prefers authentic experiences right from the start of a relationship’

Read more about Demper’s advice for startups on pitching to Capitec in the below interview.

Ventureburn: What are some important tips for startups looking to approach Capitec with their idea for an app, widget or platform? 

Francoise Dempers: Critically analyse the client experience your solution offers. Be clear about your desired outcomes from the potential relationship with the bank and what you offer in return.

VB: What channels should they go through and what kinds of things should they have prepared and got in order before approaching the bank with their ideas?

FD: You should email us at innovation@capitecbank.co.za with your product proposal and include product details and slides.

VB: What is the process one usually follows when one is trying to sell a product or service to the bank?

FD: When of interest, we invite vendors to present their ideas, either in person or via video conference. New technology and ideas are also incubated within the innovation team. Incubation consists of a well-defined and scoped proof-of-concept project to test viability and client experience. Successful projects are then prioritised for implementation in accordance with the bank’s greater objectives.

VB: In general, how can startups improve the way they deal with corporates? Are there certain things that make them look more professional?

FD: Be open and honest about what your product can and cannot do. Do not oversell your product or service and get straight to business. Leave your business guy at home and bring your techie instead. We prefer authentic experiences right from the start of a relationship.

VB: What are some common mistakes made by startups that want to sell tech products or services to the bank?

FD: Timing your engagement is important. We generally look for startups that are already profitable businesses in their own right. Be ready to show your work, and not just share your ideas.

VB: How many pitches do you currently get from startups per month on average and what kinds of services and products are they usually pitching?

FD: We get an average of 10 to 30 pitches per month in ideas that include payments platforms, banking platforms, chatbots, blockchain and identity.

VB: What kinds of innovative services and products is Capitec looking for?

FD: In a nutshell: we seek to gain a better understanding of our client through data science and machine learning. In order to provide our clients with the best possible service and experience, we are constantly looking for ways to:

  • Gain a better understanding of our clients through the use of data science and machine learning.
  • Optimise and expand our services across all channels eg: branch, call centre, app, USSD and social media.
  • Challenge the existing norms in the financial sector to help our clients bank better to live better.