Menno van Leeuwen: Use the sustainable angle of your idea to create fans and partners.

Meet Menno van Leeuwen, Head of Business and Customer Development at Moneyou, at the Event Corporate Venturing and Innovation – Lessons learned from startups in Düsseldorf

Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Menno van Leeuwen: My name is Menno van Leeuwen, I am what I like to call a ‘Fintechbanker’ (also my name on Instagram). I have been working in the banking industry for nearly two decades. At ABN AMRO Bank I never chose the ‘traditional’ jobs. I have always been attracted to the entrepreneurial side and innovation. As a consequence of this I have been involved in the Dutch startup scene for many years. E.g. mentor of Startupbootcamp, one of the bigger global accelerators with Dutch roots. Now, I am in an enterprise myself, more or less. For two years I am working for Moneyou, which is the international digital retail brand of ABN AMRO.

Moneyou has been transformed into a challenger bank and is expanding her products in the Netherlands and Germany. We are launching Moneyou Go, an app to organise your free to spend money. Soon available in Germany and already we have thousands of users in, in the Dutch beta version. In Germany we already launched a specific payment service called: Tikkie. We launched this product together with German fintech FintecSystems. Together with Solaris Bank beginning of this year we launched Moneyou Ratenkredit.

Please tell us about your business?
Menno van Leeuwen: The banking industry has become a very dynamic area. Digitization has opened up many possibilities for innovation and as always, startups are leading the way. Banks have opened up more to collaborate with Fintech companies trying to hold on to their positions. At the end of the day it is all about the customer. In retail banking he/she will profit from all innovations and decide which banking service providers are the future winners. I strongly believe technology should support people to do finances themselves. With other services such as travel, e-commerce, more and more people are using their mobile to orientate and execute. Not so much for banking, yet! This is the opportunity area for all pioneers.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
Menno van Leeuwen:Half of my time I am what I call ‘outside’. Talking to innovative companies to seek collaboration potential. Doing interviews with customers to discover ideas for new propositions and testing our solutions. Reading and sharing news I do all day round.
For the other half, I am more focused on the ‘inside’. At the end, it is about delivering products. This takes many sprints to design and deliver the product in our multi-disciplinary teams. We adopted agile sprint and work lean startup as much as we can.

You are a speaker of the event  Corporate Venturing and Innovation – Lessons learned from startups . What do you talk about oft he event?
I will talk about the strategy of a corporate (ABN AMRO in my case) to give room to ventures (such as Moneyou). Is this a faster way to get new products and services on the market? I can bring in three cases of Fintech collaborations we realized. Collaboration success is best if the project is equal important for both the corporate as the Fintech.
I am in a panel with three other innovative companies so I expect a discussion on various innovation strategies.

What do you mean: How changed the startup scene in the last years. The most mistakes of startup founders?
The startup scene has matured. Startups, especially in the banking industry, are more focused on collaboration with incumbents. Big valuations based on disruptive pitches have been replaced by big collaborations with revenue potential. For both parties. Which mistakes do startups founders make you ask? I always say, it is because they allow themselves to make mistakes, they can differentiate from risk avoiding big companies.

Which books do you read?
I like to read novels from Ken Follett for instance. Gives me some global historical perspective. Often history repeats itself. For innovation inspiration I read a lot of blogs, newsfeeds. One book that stands out is the Business Romantic, from Tim Leberecht. I strongly feel that the more tech driven and data predictive we become, the more the need will grow for something non-data driven: Personal, beautiful and with the surprising element in it. Or can you predict that with data analysis too?

Where do you see yourself in five years
I will be there together with the curious ones, like I have always been. I don’t know if it will be on the side of a corporate, or startup. Maybe still with Moneyou, then in the top 3 digital retail banks of Europe?

What 3 tips would you give to startup founders?
Corporates like startups to get some inspiration. Don’t waste your time on this. Make a commercial pitch out of this. Then you will know how serious they are. Be careful with experiments with Corporate Labs. For the corporate it is about learning, not about business in the short run.
You have something unique, a personal drive to accomplish something sustainable for the better right? At the end of the day, everyone wants this or at least be part of this. Even corporate clerks. Use the sustainable angle of your idea to create fans and partners.

Thank you Menno van Leeuwen for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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