Russia’s Sberbank is pumping a total of 27.1 million rubles (about $400,00) into six startups created by its own employees, promising to also integrate the ideas into its own ecosystem.

Sberbank received 575 applications from staffers to participate in its first inhouse accelerator programme, gradually narrowing the field down to 12 teams, which were given two months to create prototypes for their ideals before making pitches to bank execs and private investors.

Now, six of the teams have received investments from the bank. Among the winners are PayZakat, which secured five million roubles for its platform for collecting and distributing contributions that members of the Muslim community give to the poor, and GetMeBack, which won four million rubles for a digital loyalty programme builder.

Other winners are less fintech-focused: one helps users create corporate sports programmes and offer additional services for healthy living, while another users a bot to offer personal style consultations.

Lev Khasis, first deputy chairman, executive board, Sberbank, says: “Every year around 180 venture deals are concluded in Russia. Today we helped improve that statistic because six deals between Sberbank and start-ups amount to 3% of the entire Russian venture market.”



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