Interview: Fabian Vandenreydt, B-Hive
In an exclusive interview with Daily News at Sibos, Fabian Vandenreydt, executive chairman of collaborative innovation platform B-Hive, explains what it’s doing for creativity and how it will form a separate company for scale-ups.
Like Vandenreydt, the origins of B-Hive lie firmly in Belgium. It was launched earlier this year as the result of a recommendation made by an expert group on the future of finance in the country.
The organisation is the successor of Eggsplore, a platform in which several major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players started working together on common innovation challenges and making connections to the start-up and scale-up community.
At its unveiling, B-Hive said it builds further on Eggsplore, with support from the Belgian government by means of a federal investment fund – and several other additional partners.
He was already working as chairman of B-Hive board while still at Swift – and in fact the latter is a shareholder of B-Hive alongside 12 other financial institutions and investment funds from Belgium.
Vandenreydt explains: “I wanted to accelerate development of Brussels/Belgium as a financial technology innovation/collaboration hub in the heart of Europe.
“There is a lot to do, so in the end this became a full-time job. And Swift was gracious enough to allow me to do this.”
Get with the programme
In terms of specific things B-Hive does, Vandenreydt believes it is “about two things that reinforce each other: a set of focussed innovation delivery programmes and a diverse, inclusive community of experts”.
These programmes aim at “delivering joint learning, best practices and tech standards and, at its most ambitious, new shared services/utilities”.
To give you some key examples, B-Hive offers three programmes – TrustHive, CyberHive and TalentHive.
The first one is a know your customer (KYC) project, where banks, insurers and market infrastructure in Belgium work on developing a collective KYC platform.
For the CyberHive programme, Vandenreydt says it is building a “shared platform to scan, screen and assess innovative cybersoftware with our partners” and “developing awareness material for non-cyber experts in financial institutions as everybody is impacted”.
The last one entails “looking at the impact of digitalisation on today’s and tomorrow’s jobs and which skills will be needed”.
He adds: “We are looking at setting up a platform where young and more senior experts can work together on joint B-Hive projects.”
Looking to the future, Vandenreydt says B-Hive will focus until the year end on “delivering on milestones in the three key programmes above as well as developing new programmes like OpenHive (on API tech standards and business models); and DigiHive on for instance the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for automation of back office processes”.
However, start-ups are certainly not forgotten.
“We will of course keep on supporting and growing our community of 120+ start-ups in various ways.”
This includes coaching, exposure, events and participation in its delivery programmes.
There is also a plan to create a separate company called Scaleups.eu.
This will “organise events about the tech scale-ups industry (beyond fintech) and help accelerate the growth of promising scale-ups in Europe – through coaching, financing etc”.
On the broader scale of things, Vandenreydt explains what technologies he sees coming forward.
These include augmented intelligence (machines and workforce), data visualisation/pattern analysis, cloud and the internet of things (IoT).
But for Vandenreydt, he is “more interested in technology combined with process renewal, people and business models” – namely “how to apply these enablers to concrete use cases”.
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