30 Nov. 2016 - OP Lab launches a startup programme aimed at developing new services for Finns in partnership with startups

OP’s innovation unit OP Lab has launched a startup partnership programme in connection with Slush. The programme is aimed at encouraging foreign and Finnish startups to develop new services for Finns in partnership with OP, and it will initially target startups that provide smart mobility services.

 - Finland is in many ways a perfect place for startups to demonstrate that their business model works: We are a small, well-educated, technologically inquisitive, and internet-savvy bunch. Providing new services in Finland is a great opportunity for many companies in their growth stage to take their business to the next level, explains Harri Nummela, OP’s Executive Vice President for Digital Business and Customer Experience.

OP is particularly interested in startups that are past the seed stage and thinking about internationalisation and where to take their business next.

- OP can provide support for localising services and making them fit for the Finnish market. We typically do not ask for equity in the startups that we support.  We want to give startups a sense of achievement that encourages them to take their business beyond the experimental stage, explains Kristian Luoma, OP’s Head of New Business Development.

OP is looking for suitable startups in international startup hubs, such as Berlin, London, and the Silicon Valley. OP Financial Group has also partnered up with Plug and Play Tech Centre, a startup accelerator based in the Silicon Valley, which is known for its involvement in the early stages of companies such as PayPal and Lending Club.

What sets OP’s operating model apart from traditional startup programmes is its needs-based approach:

- We are not looking for just anything, nor are we looking to just coach startups. We are looking for startups that want to, and are able to, generate business with our experts straight away, Luoma says.

First challenge for startups in the mobility industry

According to its new strategy, OP wants to become a diversified services company. This is also reflected in the industries targeted by the startup programme. OP is looking for startups in the banking technology, insurance technology, and health technology sectors, as well as in housing.

The first thematic challenge associated with the programme – Smart Mobility – was announced on 30 November in connection with Slush. The aim is to find startups in the mobility industry that are willing to help turn Finland into a pioneer in smart mobility.

OP launched a service called OP Kulku at the beginning of the week, which is OP’s first step on the path to providing mobility services.

More information:
Harri Nummela, Executive Vice President for Digital Business and Customer Experience, OP Financial Group
Kristian Luoma, Head of New Business Development, OP Financial Group
Requests for interviews are coordinated by OP Communications: viestinta@op.fi, tel. +358 (0)50 523 9904