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‘We help banks renew dialog with clients’: Opportunity Network’s matchmaking services help banks stand out

  • Corporate banking clients are increasingly looking for solutions that help them run their businesses more efficiently.

  • Can a 2 year old startup do the trick?

Corporate banking does not get as much fintech buzz as retail banking. But customer expectations are demanding better services there, too.

Corporate banking clients now demand fully integrated solutions, lean processes, and 24/7 access via web and mobile, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Clients want more than just the digitization of traditional corporate banking products and are requesting new, value-added solutions.

The relationship between clients and corporate banks could be much more engaging and value adding, said Nicolas Pocard, head of business development, Israel for Opportunity Network, a business matchmaking network for bank clients. Often, relationship managers in banks, pressured by internal sales targets, may recommend products that are sub optimal for the client.

Opportunity Network, a two year old startup, helps banks deliver more value to their corporate clients via its business matchmaking platform. But unlike other such platforms, it is licensed to banks, which can then invite their most valuable clients to the platform.

Opportunities, ranging from commercial partnerships to M&A or investments, are posted anonymously to the platform and are then proposed, via algorithm, to potential decision makers according to their stated preferences and interests.

The members of the network are vetted and invited to the platform by bank partners. There is a deal minimum of $1 million.

For example, if a boutique wine manufacturer in Italy wants to enter the South American market, today he will need to spend a lot of time, money and effort to schedule meetings with potential distributors. Using Opportunity Network, the same manufacturer will be paired with an interested prospect without leaving his hometown.

“We want to offer the banks an opportunity to renew the dialog with their clients,” said Pocard. “This is an additional value proposition the banks can offer their clients.”

The onboarding bank also gets customer intelligence from the platform, which then enables the banks to offer more tailored service.

“For companies that want to grow, internationalization is the path to follow” explained Stefano Barrese, head of sales and marketing of the Banca dei Territori division of Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, which uses Opportunity Network. “The support of a bank such as Intesa Sanpaolo is decisive thanks to the role of connector that it can perform among commercial flows and cross-border investments … We believe that we are further increasing the range of opportunities that our corporate clients can take advantage of for their international growth.”

According to BCG, corporate banking clients are increasingly looking for highly customized advice from their bankers, solutions that help them run their businesses more efficiently, and industry specific solutions. Opportunity Network addresses all three client demands, in addition to adding some digital glam to the bank’s offering.

Opportunity Network boasts over 13,500 members and a total aggregate deal value of $35 billion. It currently works with 6 Financial institutions. After the matching is made, the dealmaking moves offline, so Pocard did not have data on the actual amounts of closed deals.

Corporate banks frequently try to offer customers more comprehensive solutions in order to retain them. Barclays, for example, offers corporate clients a trade finance portal where businesses can bid for clients in a more streamlined way. HSBC offers its corporate clients global cashflow management solutions.

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