Bank of the West Eyes Powersports, Marine Startups for Accelerator Program

SAN FRANCISCO — Bank of the West is scouting RV and marine startups for its accelerator, called FinLab, in conjunction with innovation center L’Atelier BNP Paribas North America, Powersports Finance has learned.

Both institutions are owned by French bank BNP Paribas. FinLab sources ideas, designs prototypes, and tests concepts with Bank of the West in an effort to identify and implement the best new developments in key business areas, including cash management, payment and fraud, and credit approval.

“We started [the FinLab] two years ago on the commercial banking activities side, but we are expanding it to the automotive [marine, and RV] practice also,” Matthieu Soulé, deputy chief executive at L’Atelier, said at Auto Finance Innovation 2018 last week. “Basically, we do a ‘call for applications’ on very specific pain points we have in the business … to look at potential startups or partners we could work with to accelerate the use of technology for our businesses.”

Soulé declined to offer specifics on the type of startups the FinLab is seeking or a timeline for the expansion. Bank of the West did not respond by press time.

L’Atelier BNP Paribas is responsible for prospective and innovation analysis within the BNP Paribas Group and acts as a consultant for Bank of the West.

The FinLab initiative aims to review and test at least three business-to-business innovations per year and implement at least one per year, according to the release. The FinLab offers a four-step process that spans about six months: a call for applications, assessment, evaluation and onboarding, and startup coaching.

This article originally appeared in the monthly Powersports Finance Update newsletter. To view previous issues, click here.

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