In July 2017,  the application phase for “Elevator Lab”, the fintech accelerator program of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) started. In total, 336 fintech start-ups used the opportunity for a potential long-term cooperation with the RBI Group and RBI’s 16.6 million customers in Austria and the CEE region. 13.4 per cent of all applications were submitted by Austrian fintechs, 27.1 per cent by fintechs from the CEE region, with a comparatively high number of applications from Hungary, Romania and Slovakia reflecting the well-developed fintech communities in these countries. The remaining applications were mainly submitted by Western European, Asian and North American fintechs, which in turn shows that Elevator Lab attracts great international interest. Most submissions were related to Payment & Transaction services, followed by the fields of Investing & Trading, SME Banking, Big Data Analytics, RegTech and Branch of the Future.

The start-ups that will eventually participate in the accelerator program were selected in mid-September in Vienna. We would like to introduce these fintechs and their business models to our readers. Together we want to jointly develop scalable business cases and enable international growth. One of the selected start-ups is Sonect from Switzerland, which converts any shop or individual into a „Virtual ATM“ reducing the high „cost of cash“ via a location based on-demand service that allows its users to withdraw cash using smartphones.

We talked to Rik Krieger, co-founder of Sonect, how they are making it easy to withdraw cash everywhere and asked him how much longer in his opinion people will even use “real money”.