Turn news into actions: Owlin

Team Circuit Connector had the pleasure to interview Hauke van der Meer, Owlin’s Buy-side Manager to know about Owlin’s innovation and its collaboration with large organizations.

About Owlin  

Owlin gathers more than 3 million global news sources using artificial intelligence and machine learning to monitor, analyze, and visualize different market trends, risks and opportunities. Owlin tools can achieve the filtering and scouring of news according to different themes such as ESG, fraud indicators, bankruptcy and trends. The solution can be fully customized by diverse user and client groups, each of which will have different business needs and use cases.   Below are some examples that Hauke van der Meer, Owlin’s Buy-side Manager gave us to demonstrate how Owlin could adapt to decision making in the financial services.   

  • Banks – B2B lending and counterparty risk assessment, credit default risks, fraud
  • Asset Manager/ Buy-side funds – ESG compliance, market research on opportunities
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) – Merchant quality & risk assessments, mitigate risks such as payment terms changes
  • Data aggregator and vendor – data integration, data and analytics API

“We’ll point you to where to look for risks and opportunities because there is a tremendous amount of information out there on the internet”. – Hauke

What makes Owlin’s solution unique and competitive?

Speaking of the unique value proposition of Owlin’s product, first, Owlin gathers pieces of information that are otherwise difficult to obtain. Company news and market information coming from unlisted private companies are unstructured and scattered all over the internet.

Second, the language translation feature.  Globalization made it unprecedently challenging for market researcher and risk officers to source information from a truly global scale in various languages. Owlin does exactly that – it translates news of over 11 languages across the web.

Finally, Owlin provides a dashboard view to aggregate and visualize the data sources. It can also be integrated through API and be white labelled into websites, applications and widgets for the end clients. The plug-and-play functionality allows it to be connected to other applications such as salesforce or fitch applications. Owlin provides flexibility to add on different filters to drive actionable intelligence based on the user’s needs.

What is Owlin’s strategy in providing solutions to big institutions as a start-up? 

Hauke mentioned that the typical partnership models between start-ups and banks often start with the “first foot in the door” through innovation labs. Innovation labs provide the opportunity for start-up solutions to be evaluated with more flexibility in terms of the initial interaction. Reference project and other validations are also important for start-ups to gain credibility and trust to start the partnership with large financial institutions.

What are the challenges for a start-up in the bank’s due diligence process during onboarding?

Regardless of the solution providers’ size, banks are required to conduct extensive third-party due diligence on start-ups during the onboarding risk assessment to mitigate potential operational risks. Arguably, start-ups whose revenue are below a certain level may need a simpler process due to the low complexity in business risk assessments. Thus, it is important to comply with the due diligence, even when it’s a time-consuming process for start-ups.

Key learnings

  • 1. Intermediaries between banks and start-up can add value by matching the demand and supply of innovations

To acquire large banks and corporations as potential is not an easy task for a start-up. An intermediary can sometimes be more effective compared with the traditional inbound (whitepaper access, events, newsletters) and outbound sales (LinkedIn connect, sales navigators, cold call, cold emails) approach for a start-up. An intermediary that connects big banks and start-ups could help start the conversation with their expertise in banking. This is even more apparent when the intermediary has previous engagement with the bank’s existing projects, so they are aware of the bank’s infrastructure, technical policies and business needs. It also creates a win-win situation such as re-sell opportunities for the intermediary, which are often consulting partners or implementation partners for the start-up and banks. In some other cases, the intermediary acts as a “broker” by consolidating a menu-like catalogue of start-up solutions, which allows banks and other financial institutions to have structured information about the innovation market.

  • 2. The business case is more important than the technology

“The common mistake is to use innovation as a buzzword but not thinking about how the solution is useful for the clients.” Hauke highlighted. This becomes more important, especially when the financial services industry undergoing cost reduction over the entire operational process. A careful examination and a clear demonstration of the business value would be key for start-ups to acquire banks and other large organizations as clients.

Authors – Team Circuit Connector

Tingting Guo

Passionate about FinTech topics with 5+ years of experiences in banking technology and FinTech business development

A marathoner and coffee lover

Christian Wirawan

Hailing from Indonesia, Christian is an INSEAD MBA candidate with 5+ years of experiences in tech, start-up, and management consulting. He’s a passionate supporter of diversity & inclusion, and he loves learning, gaming, and reading. You’ll probably spot him in the wild at a coffee shop with a cup of joe in one hand, and either a laptop or book in the other. To connect with him, check his LinkedIn or his personal website!

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