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    Raiffeisen opened the application phase for Bulgarian start-ups in Elevator Lab – the CEE region’s largest fintech acceleration program

    • Bulgarian companies can join the challenge of Raiffeisenbank until June 17
    • The winner will receive a "wild card" for the semifinals of the global program and will compete with fintech start-ups from all over the world
    • The innovation of the Bulgarian company could be provided to all 16.5 million clients of Raiffeisen

    Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria started the application phase of the regional challenge of Elevator Lab – the CEE region’s largest fintech acceleration program. Bulgarian start-ups have now time until 17 June to apply on with their ideas and solutions from the fields of Advanced Analytics, Corporate Banking, Investing & Trading Tech, New Branch Experience, Open Banking and RegTech.

    The winner of the regional challenge will be awarded at the beginning of July when at a special ceremony the top five projects will be presented by their authors in front of the Elevator Lab Challenge jury in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian winner will receive a "wild card" for participation in the semi-final phase of the global competition with companies from all over the world. This gives an excellent chance for winning a place in the final top 15 in Vienna in September 2018 and an opportunity the innovation of a Bulgarian company to become available to all customers of the Raiffeisen Group in CEE. Besides the right to participate in the global competition, the Bulgarian winner will also receive a prize of 5,000 euros.

    The innovative ideas and solutions of the Bulgarian fintech start-ups will be rated by reputable leaders with great experience in the field of banking and new technologies: Oliver Roegl, Chairman of the Management Board at Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria, Ani Angelova, Member of the Management Board at Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria, Nedialko Mihaylov, Member of the Managing Board at Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria, Maximilian Schausberger, Elevator Lab Program Lead, Kalin Dimchev, Managing Director of Microsoft Balkans, Svetlin Nakov, Co-Founder and CEO of Software University (SoftUni), Atanas Raykov, Viber Director Business Development CIS & CEE and Head of Global Telecom Partnerships, Todor Breshkov, Co-founder Launchub Ventures.

    During the first edition of the accelerator program candidates from 56 countries applied with 336 projects, including 8 Bulgarian. This year eight RBI network banks in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are supporting the group-wide fintech accelerator program "Elevator Lab" with local "Elevator Lab Challenges" – along with Bulgaria, the fintech ecosystems in Albania, Belarus, Kosovo, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Slovakia are also specifically addressed through local challenges. This makes Elevator Lab the largest fintech accelerator program in the CEE region.

    Group-wide "Elevator Lab" starts second round on 1 May, 2018

    „For almost 30 years, RBI has been successful in the CEE region. Therefore, we know how much economic and creative potential this diverse and dynamic region has to offer. With these local challenges we want to specifically support the start-up ecosystems in the region and give young companies the opportunity to compete on an international stage with fintechs from all over the world.", says Johann Strobl, CEO of RBI, about the motives behind the new format of the fintech accelerator program.

    Experience from the first round of the virtual accelerator program "Elevator Lab" has shown that the cooperation between the start-ups and RBI benefits both sides. Within a few months, pilot projects were developed with the five participating start-ups, which are now in extended testing or implementation phases. RBI regards the start-ups as partners on an equal level and deliberately foregoes equity participation in this phase. The common goal is to respond even better to the needs of RBI's 16.5 million customers and to tap new sources of income through the use of new technologies and innovative products.

    The application phase for the group-wide "Elevator Lab" is open from 1 May until 24 June. Start-ups can then apply for the program via the website

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    About RBI

    Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) regards Austria, where it is a leading corporate and investment bank, as well as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. 14 markets of the region are covered by subsidiary banks. Additionally, the RBI Group comprises numerous other financial service providers, for instance in leasing, asset management or M&A.

    In total, nearly 50,000 employees service 16.5 million customers through more than 2,400 business outlets, the majority thereof in CEE. RBI's shares are listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange. The Regional Raiffeisen Banks own around 58.8 per cent of the shares, the remainder is in free float. Within the Raiffeisen Banking Group, RBI is the central institute of the Regional Raiffeisen Banks and other affiliated credit institutions and renders important services in this function.


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