Is startup collaboration vital to avoid new tech disruption?

Startup collaboration is necessary if banks want to ensure new technology from other firms does not disrupt their business, claims the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS’s) CEO for commercial and private banking.

In her argument, Alison Rose was specifically referring to the fintech startup community. She says that although the growth of financial technology over the past few years has been “incredible”, the sector is now tasked with finding and developing new innovators. Therefore, collaborating with startups is vital.

RBS is working together with startups in a number of ways, Ms Rose notes. It is currently finding office space for UK startups using staff located in Silicon Valley, as well as providing finance to SMEs through a new partnership with Funding Circle and Assetz capital.

Despite this, Ms Rose comments that RBS is still unaware from where the next disrupter of technology will come. Because of the wide variety of places it could be, it’s important to forever keep an eye on as many areas as possible, so the banks stand a chance of knowing what the new tech will be.

Recent research from Accenture revealed that global fintech investments trebled to £8 billion in 2014, with the UK leading this growth. Moreover, 44 per cent of senior banking executives believe their bank does not invest enough in new technologies. Even when they do invest, 40 per cent state that their business is too slow to roll out these improvements.

Indeed there is a real fear that businesses are lagging behind due to their lack of tech. Four out of five executives think their organisation cannot succeed in the digital age because it does not have the right skills and culture to do so.

However, it does seem that banks are more open to collaboration than they previously were. Accenture notes that all are willing to boost innovation by working with businesses outside their own.


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