Overcoming the innovation challenge

How does the innovation in financial industry really look like?
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Nektarios Liolios is a major name in fintech, and he joins Helene Panzarino as her first guest for our Banking on Air podcast. Nektarios was there when fintech first emerged as a new force in technology – right when this industry first started to really gain traction.

He co-founded the first accelerator program for startups and the very first startup bootcamp for fintechs in London. Hot on the heels of London came bootcamps in major hubs such as Singapore, New York and Dubai. However, ten years of working with big institutions such as major banks – and trying to bring in true innovation – has ultimately proved so frustrating for Nektarios that he has decided to step back from the industry. 

As he describes in this episode, banks just weren’t prepared to bring in true, effective innovation. According to Nektarios, most don’t really understand how innovation works. They are reluctant to invest either time or money in R&D and often fail to understand the value that partnering with startups across various stages can bring.

And even those times when banking executives grasped the necessity for a strategic framework to support innovation – and knew what the process needed to be on paper – that innovation simply didn’t happen. Largely it was because it was too much for a stretch for them to deliver, given pushbacks from key stakeholders. Or on occasion, their commitment to innovation was halfhearted as the team leads would soon be shuffled off into a different role in any case.

A major source of frustration, for sure – but can it be overcome?

To get the lowdown on Nektarios’ experiences with fintechs and innovation, listen to our podcast Banking on Air! Find our podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify or here:

Here‘s a rundown of this episode if you want to skip ahead:

  • 00:55 Who is Nektarios Liolios?
  • 04:55 What made Nektarios step back from working with major banks
  • 07:58 Why do major banks so often fail to innovate
  • 13:23 Cooperation between banks and with seed-stage companies
  • 17:46 Will fintechs take over?
  • 20:45 Successful fintech corporate engagement in a nutshell

Links from the episode:


Nektarios Liolios, Cofounder – The Future Farm, a platform committed to creating a healthier space for entrepreneurs

Ecosystem builder, Innovator & Sense maker. Over the last 10 years, Nektarios has worked closely with hundreds of entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses. He co-founded Startupbootcamp FinTech to address the relationship between corporates, startups and investors in London, New York, Singapore, Mumbai, Mexico City, Dubai, Amsterdam and Melbourne. He also co-founded Rainmaking Innovation, the global cooperative of entrepreneurs and led SWIFT’s Innotribe Startup Challenge, the first global FinTech startup competition, facilitating interaction between startups and financial institutions. Driven by entrepreneurship, collaboration and the desire to improve the lives of the people driving the change in this world, Nektarios is a global nomad, travel geek, and sneaker freaker.

‘Banking on Air’ is covering the challenges, opportunities, perspectives and opinions that matter in the world of fintech, digital and community banking, payments and technology. Our hosts Helene Panzarino and Marcel Klimo will look under the hood of the changing face of tech: the acceleration in all things digital, the impact of regulation and disruption, the need for genuine collaboration, and the specter of competitors old and new as it plays out in fintech and financial services around the world. 

This podcast is brought to you by Vacuumlabs – and we’re sharing our experience and expertise in creating solutions for the digital journey for professionals, community banks, and fintechs.  We believe that the future is in communities when it comes to digital transformation in financial services, and we invite you to join us and our guests over the coming weeks and months.

Full transcript of this episode is available here.

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