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Goirigolzarri: “Digitalisation is a structural shift for the financial sector and society as a whole”

07 February 2017

Category: Corporate

  • “If we know how to manage it right, digitalisation is not a threat but a challenge and huge source of opportunities”
  • Demo Day brings to a close the first Bankia Accelerator by Conector programme leading to the acceleration of five start-ups
  • Demo Day enables accelerated businesses to showcase their projects before a large group of investors, business angels and VCs
  • Bankia Accelerator by Conector is accepting applications for its second accelerator programme until 27 February

“Digitalisation is a challenge for Bankia, not a threat. If we know how to manage it right, it is a huge source of opportunities;” said the bank’s chairman, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, during today’s speech at the Demo Day of the first accelerator programme run by Bankia Accelerator by Conector.

If we know how to manage it right, digitalisation is not a threat but a challenge and huge source of opportunities

“We are well aware of the structural shift that digitalisation represents for the financial sector and society as a whole. That’s why we are working hard to understand customer habits,” Goirigolzarri stated.

It is precisely “in this environment of collaboration and mutual learning” that the Bankia Accelerator by Conector programme is being run “to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem by accelerating innovative start-ups”. The programme was launched in May last year with the aim of driving the growth of 20 start-ups in two years through three accelerator programmes.

The first of these programmes attracted a hundred applications, five of which were selected. Demo Day is the culmination of five months’ work and is a private investment forum for entrepreneurs to present their start-ups to a large group of investors, business angels and VCs.

Accelerated start-ups

The following companies benefited from the first accelerator programme of Bankia Accelerator by Conector:

  • Afterscool (Barcelona): Marketplace for extra-curricular activities that allows parents to discover, plan and book these activities.
  • Bitrendy (Barcelona): Digital platform for influencers and brands to sell their latest looks in fashion.
  • Kiply (Santiago de Compostela): Software to automatically measure productivity in real time to help achieve professional goals.
  • Kwiil (Madrid): Electricity supplier that exploits IoT technology.
  • Teachapp (Barcelona): App that connects teachers and students using geolocation technology.

During his speech, Bankia’s chairman took the opportunity to underscore the values of “determination, dedication, enterprise and responsibility” since “we can only help to build a fairer and more engaged society by rewarding those who are determined, committed and take risks”.

Goirigolzarri said that: “Risk-taking is crucial” when starting out in business, although oftentimes, “we don’t take risks because we stigmatise failure, when it should be seen as a learning opportunity”.

“We need more entrepreneurs with the courage to accept that they could fail, allowing them to rise to bigger challenges and reach greater heights,” he stressed.

In turn, Elisabeth Martínez, co-founder and CEO of Conector, highlighted above all, “the enthusiasm of Bankia and Conector’s mentors, who have supported the entrepreneurs and given advice on how to grow their businesses”.

In her opinion, “Bankia Accelerator by Conector is now a top accelerator in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and has demonstrated Bankia’s commitment to back entrepreneurs”. She concluded that: “Bankia Accelerator by Conector is a clear example of all the synergies that can be generated between start-ups and corporates”.

Second Bankia Accelerator by Conector programme

Bankia Accelerator by Conector is currently accepting applications for its second accelerator programme, which will be launched in Madrid in April. The deadline for applications is 27 February.

Bankia Accelerator by Conector looks for innovative and scalable start-ups with the potential to grow. Each start-up project must consist of an existing company with a product or service already in the market, and must be able to disclose its initial financials. It is also important that it has a skilled workforce and clear leadership. Entrepreneurs with projects fulling these requirements may submit their applications via this website until 27 February.

When the application process is closed, an independent committee made up of Conector partners, Bankia managers and external professionals will select the start-ups that deserve to go forward to the Start-up Day – an event at which the Bankia Accelerator by Conector mentors will vote and select which projects finally go into the acceleration programme.

The entrepreneurs selected for the second Bankia Accelerator by Conector programme will receive 15,000 euros in financing via a convertible loan.

They will also have access to their own board of mentors, comprising Bankia managers and Conector mentors.

Entrepreneurs will also receive support from the companies collaborating in the accelerator programme, weekly training sessions, and space at the Bankia Accelerator offices in Madrid. The accelerator programme will provide networking opportunities and access to the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem centre. The programme will draw to a close with the second Demo Day.

About Conector Startup Accelerator

Conector is a start-up accelerator promoted by some of the most influential technology entrepreneurs in Spain. Its partners are Carlos Blanco, founder of Encomenda VC and Nuclio VB; Gerard Olivé, founder of Antai and BeRepublic; Marc Ros, founder of AftershareTV and 60dB; Marc Vidal, founder of Idodi VC; Miguel Vicente, founder of Antai, LetsBonus and Wallapop; Risto Mejide, founder of AftershareTV; Xavier Verdaguer, founder of Imagine; and Elisabeth Martínez, CEO of the accelerator. Conector was created to promote and support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Spain, helping projects and entrepreneurs in the digital sector (internet, mobile telephony and new technologies). Conector has more than 150 mentors across Spain who are experts in different fields in the digital sector and have accelerated more than 88 start-ups.

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