Rabobank has partnered with blockchain-focused accelerator Nexuslab to support the first round of its programme geared towards early-stage European blockchain ventures.

The collaboration adds financial industry expertise to the programme. As a partner, Rabobank contributes experts to Nexuslab’s roster of mentors, helping participants build and refine their business models and test their ideas against real-world requirements.

Rabobank has been experimenting with blockchain-based solutions for a while, with a particular focus on international payments, micropayments and pay-per-use models, as well as smart contracts and trade and commodity finance.

Harrie Vollaard, Rabobank head of innovation, tells GTR that the technology is still in its early stage, but promising. “There is a lot of talk and big promise, but there aren’t that many mature start-ups yet. This is why we decided to collaborate with NexusLab, because these start-ups are very early stage, but they fit very well in our focus area and I can imagine we are going to collaborate together in working out the use cases and value proposition.”

According to him, the programme presents a win-win situation for both the bank and the start-ups. “We have an opportunity to work together with start-ups that have the knowledge and experience that we can use to work out the use cases we have in mind. There are mutual benefits because they are looking at validating their proposition and testing it. We are providing them with the facilities to validate their proposition and work together, sharing resources.”

The first round of Nexuslab began last weekend with an in-person hang-out session in Amsterdam. Participants will attend future sessions in London and Berlin, before spending a final month at SwissQ in Zurich. In between those sessions, the programme will take place in a virtual setting, allowing participants to work in the location of their preference.

“With its novel approach to fostering start-ups in a virtual setting, Nexuslab has introduced an innovative way of enabling blockchain innovation,” Vollaard comments.