It will be a long journey – this is the first thing I tell start-ups. If we, the bank, were able to make a decision quickly, we wouldn’t need start-ups, because we would be agile, nimble and we could do everything by ourselves. Actually the bank needs you, but it will take us three, six or even ten months to start cooperation. What is typical for large organisation is that we have different time units. For us “fast” means 1-3 months; for you it is 1-3 days. When you are waiting, we are pushing inside the organisation to do some things faster, but sometimes banks are like dinosaurs. Remember, we are on your side, but remember don’t try to push a dinosaur on your own.
Tell us what are you really doing and what you really have right now. Don’t tell us what you maybe will have in the near future. If you speak about the future, tell us that this is the plan. If we know whom we are talking to and what is real stage of the product, we can arrange meetings and handle it much better.
Don’t go around the gatekeepers
You may hear some advice to avoid bank employees designated to contact with start-ups and to go directly to the person responsible for a particular field. Never ever do this! Such behaviour puts such strain on our job, so much so, that we want shoot these free-walkers. Firstly, we know whom should you talk to. If we are not arranging a meeting at the moment, it’s because we know it’s not the best time.
Secondly, if a start up managed to avoid us, we don’t know what kind of projects have been started inside the organisation. This is crucial for us, because this is the way we can optimise costs. If we can manage the number of POCs (proof of concept) that are going on, in the organisation at that moment, we can squeeze the costs and have more resources to work with start-ups in a more diversified way.
Michał Miszułowicz, BGŻ BNP Paribas
If you want to introduce your startup to BGŻ BNP Paribas, he’s the man you should talk to. 12 years of experience in banking, from corporate customer service, through business development, cash management, project management, budgeting & reporting to startup cooperation. Wide knowledge of the needs and rules of the financial industry itself. Big fan of new technologies. Supporter of the 1st Polish edition of BNP Paribas International Hackathon and main organizer of the second one. Host of MIT Innovators under 35 in 2016.
Learn to pitch
In general in Central Europe we have problem with pitching skills. Start-up founders are unable to pitch correctly. Once at the pan European start-up event in Budapest I was listening pitching start-ups. None of them came from Central Europe but they pitched properly: it was like a flow of words, everything was perfect. As a result I don’t remember what they were selling, but they sold it to me already. If I meet a CEE start up that pitches correctly, it’s already making the right impression.