Projective to help FinTech platform B-Hive with international growth

08 October 2018 7 min. read

Projective, a consulting and project management firm for the financial services industry, has struck an alliance with B-Hive. The consultancy has become B-Hive’s associate partner and will as part of the partnership assist the Belgian FinTech innovation platform with realising its international growth ambitions.

In 2006, Projective was launched by co-founders Stefan Dierckx and Filip Bosschaert, who felt there was a gap in the financial services project management landscape. The company has since grown to a team of more than 120 project managers and consultants with local offices across Europe.

Last year the firm accelerated its international presence with the launch of a series of new offices. These included presences in Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt, adding to previously existing locations in Den Haag, London and Brussels. Following the period of expansion, Projective has announced an official collaboration with banking services provider B-Hive, which is seeking to fulfil international ambitions of its own.

B-Hive is a European collaborative innovation FinTech platform, working to bring major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players together to work on common innovation programmes and build bridges between corporate partners and its start-up / scale-up community members. Based in Brussels, the group is aiming to make the Belgian capital the “smart gateway to Europe”, while leveraging the opportunities offered by the digital transformation for the financial services industry.

Projective to help FinTech platform B-Hive with international growth

FinTech hub

Brussels is already internationally recognised as a robust FinTech hub, in which stakeholders of many shapes and sizes come together. Brussels is also home to market infrastructure players such as Euroclear and Swift, which has enabled B-Hive to support the growth of the FinTech scene by building up a strong reputation through community building and strategic digitisation programmes within multiple segments. In just 18 months, the B-Hive network has grown to 170 members and some 40 partners, many from outside Belgium. This includes consulting firms Capgemini, KPMG, PwC and Roland Berger, among others.

At the same time, Projective already has a significant international footprint – including offices as close as Brussels itself and as far-flung as Singapore – positioning it well to support B-Hive in its drive for internationalisation. The belief is that as a robust international organisation, B-Hive will be better positioned to cater to its members’ needs, as partners will find it easier to access expertise which is rare in their respective regions, but stronger in other hubs, via B-Hive’s network. For example, Israel is traditionally a strong player in cybersecurity, while Singapore mainly concentrates on being a regulatory and logistical tech hub, and as a pan-continental platform, B-Hive will be able to bring these geographical strengths together.

B-Hive CEO Wim De Waele explained, “Banks are under enormous pressure to innovate today. They can increase their innovative clout by working with international parties that are not directly competing in their home markets. Through our platform, they will exchange knowledge and set up innovation programmes together. We have already taken steps towards internationalisation, with satellites in London and New York, but this collaboration with Projective will significantly accelerate our expansion.”

According to De Waele, banks can strengthen their ability to innovate by collaborating with international players that do not compete directly in their home market, which Projective will allow them to do, by enabling the sharing of knowledge and develop joint initiatives. For its part, Projective will work as a structural partner to find material to develop B-Hive’s business. To that end, Projective CEO Stefan Dierckx said, "B-Hive will expand its surface thanks to us, and we will be able to support the implementation of innovation projects that will emerge.”

Projective and B-Hive aim to connect five international banks and 50 FinTech players by the end of 2019. Their collaboration has so far seen Projective set up a significant international FinTech ecosystem which includes The Glue and SmartfinCapital.

“B-Hive will expand its surface thanks to us, and we will be able to support the implementation of innovation projects that will emerge.”
– Stefan Dierckx, CEO of Projective

Fostering collaboration

A great deal of work remains to be done, however. Commenting on the partnership, Dierckx said that while B-Hive has already started a lot of great projects in a short time, this often involved more general themes, such as stricter regulations for the sector or cybersecurity, while demand for the development of new services appears to be much smaller. This is largely thanks to the slow adaptation of attitudes in banking to a more collaborative age. Rather, Dierckx suggests, many key players still suffer from a hang-over to a more dog-eat-dog existence, where “no one wants to share his innovative ideas with someone else.”

The Projective CEO is confident that by closing partnerships with banks and FinTech players who are not (yet) active in Belgium, B-Hive can help solve that problem, though. He elaborated, “There is already a large Dutch and a large French bank on the point of joining. These financial institutions also have studios abroad where they test innovative services. We intend to organise two-day courses for the banks that are affiliated with B-Hive, with around five international institutions showing their most promising developments.”

B-Hive and Projective’s partnership was announced against the backdrop of the opening of Projective’s brand new offices. The facilities have been furnished according to the firm’s new way of working principles, and include modular workspaces, as well as allocated one-third of the space to an expansive lounge and bar. Dierckx stated that the make-over reflects the company’s business case.

“In an agile, knowledge-driven company like ours, creativity and a good knowledge flow make all the difference for our clients,” he elaborated. “The fluid layout of the offices stimulates this sharing of expertise. Our offices are also an expression of the flexibility of our ecosystem: our partners can use them as a base when needed, the rooms adapt to the context of meetings, and the bar can be used as a networking space.”

At the same time, the offices have a more straight-forward goal in mind. Amid a fierce war for top talent across leading markets, Projective is hitching its hopes of attracting new staff to its presentation as a vibrant, modern workplace, welcoming to creative individuals and their ideas.

Stefan Dierckx concluded, “By 2020, millennials will represent 70% of the labour market. Millennials prefer more informal working conditions, in a knowledge environment that encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. Projective has always a strong proponent of this, but our new offices make it tangible for our employees. And, of course, the ‘Friday in the Office’ drinks at our bar are an added bonus.”