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PKO Bank Polski is a partner in the Polish MassChallenge accelerator - one of the largest global start-up accelerators

  • PKO Bank Polski and MassChallenge are launching the Bridge to MassChallenge accelerator program, the first step in Poland's entry into one of the largest global start-up accelerators.
  • The bank has become a partner in the MassChallenge accelerator, companies that are the leading innovation pioneers, including: Microsoft, Procter&Gamble and Bosch.
  • The aim of the program is to attract to Poland, and then to develop, the best technology start-ups from Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Thanks to its involvement in the new initiative, the bank will gain access to a large base of start-ups from which it will be able to identify the most interesting ideas that can be implemented in Polish banking.

During the Impact'17 congress that took place in Krakow, which PKO Bank Polski is partnering with, the launch of the new Bridge to MassChallenge start-up program was announced. This is the first step on the way to introducing the MassChallenge brand, one of the biggest start-up accelerators in Poland, whose first major partner is PKO Bank Polski. The aim of the program is to attract to Poland, and then to develop, the best technology start-ups from Central and Eastern Europe. Teams participating in the program will gain not only better access to mentors from throughout the world and the chance to raise funds, but will also get a unique opportunity to make contact with the world's leading innovation companies.

“PKO Bank Polski is implementing the 2020 Strategy – the digital transformation of the bank and growth in the innovativeness of its services. The cooperation with MassChallenge complements the bank's current activities for the development of the technology start-up environment in Poland, extending our access to knowledge of interesting ideas in ​​fintech, which may be implemented in the bank for the benefit of our customers. We also want to attract start-ups from other countries to Poland, in order to increase the innovativeness of the Polish economy. After the full implementation of the project, Poland will have the largest accelerator for start-ups in the European Union,” says Szymon Wałach, Director of Analysis and Strategy Division at PKO Bank Polski.

MassChallenge – global accelerator, one of the largest in the world
MassChallenge is a global acceleration program that helps entrepreneurs with high growth potential to succeed. Poland, is the accelerator’s second location in the EU after the UK. The first accelerator was launched in Boston in 2010. Since then, MassChallenge has expanded to include London, Mexico, Jerusalem and Lausanne. So far, MassChallenge has supported more than 1,200 start-ups, which have raised $2 billion in funding, generated over $900 million in revenues and created 65,000 jobs.

Each year, MassChallenge accelerates around 350 start-ups from all sectors of the economy. The accelerated development of start-ups place through a three to four-month acceleration program, during which start-ups are developed in shared office space. During the program, young entrepreneurs can count on the support of more than eight hundred world-class mentors, and the best ideas will be further supported by funds for their development.

Bridge to MassChallenge – the first stage of building a stationary accelerator
In the first stage, the accelerator program will exist in Poland as the Bridge to MassChallenge, which will organise a boot camp for 25 start-ups in Warsaw. The ten best start-ups will get the opportunity to accelerate at a boot camp in Boston. The operator of the Bridge to MassChallenge program is the Technology Entrepreneurship Foundation, which is responsible for launching the MIT Enterprise Forum Poland. Bridge to MassChallenge is the first step in building the MassChallenge Poland brand. In the next steps with the partners, MassChallenge will launch a comprehensive acceleration program in Poland, to which up to 80 teams from CEE will be recruited annually, which will develop relatively mature revenue-generating start-ups.

PKO Bank Polski develops Polish start-ups
PKO Bank Polski is once again supporting the ideas of young entrepreneurs, whose main capital is their innovation ideas and unconventional way of thinking. The bank is the Lead Partner of the MIT EF start-up accelerator program. Three recruitment processes have already taken place as part of the program, and almost 50 start-ups have been accelerated. In the ongoing second edition of the program, PKO Bank Polski is running Let's Fintech with PKO Bank Polski!, where prospective technology solutions for the financial industry are sought.

In August last year, the bank also took over the main patronage of the fintech Startup Weekend Warsaw event, and since 2015 it has been working with D-RAFT on finding unique technologies. The fintech part of the project is currently being continued in the new corporate start-up center – The Heart Warsaw.

The first Polish bank to invest in fintech
The bank is also open to implementing unconventional solutions proposed by young scientists and entrepreneurs in its own systems. At the beginning of the year, we were the first Polish financial institution to invest in a fintech start-up. By purchasing ZenCard, we showed that we are ready to implement innovative solutions and we sent investors a clear signal that it is worth investing in prospective Polish start-ups because their best ideas can be successfully adopted by corporations operating in Poland.


PKO Bank Polski is the indisputable leader in the Polish banking sector. In the first quarter of 2016, its consolidated net profit amounted to PLN 525 million, whereas the balance sheet sum reached PLN 288.5 billion. In 2016, its net profit amounted to PLN 2.87 billion, what was the best result in the Polish financial sector. The bank is the basic supplier of financial services for all client segments and has highest share in the deposit market (17.3%) and loans (17.7%), including mortgage loans; every third mortgage loan is granted by PKO Bank Polski and PKO Bank Hipoteczny. Having 8 million pay cards, the Bank is the largest issuer of debit and credit cards in Poland with a share in the market on the level of 22%. Thanks to the development of digital tools, including the IKO app, which was already activated 1.2 million times, PKO Bank Polski has become the most mobile bank in Poland. The Bank’s strong position is reinforced by companies from the Capital Group. Dom Maklerski (Brokerage House) of PKO Bank Polski is the leader with respect to the number and the value of IPO and SPO transactions at the capital market. After the take-over of Raiffeisen-Leasing Polska, the Capital Group became a leader at the lease market, with a share on the level of 13%. Efficient implementation of growth strategy made PKO Bank Polski the highest positioned domestic financial company in the Forbes Global 2000 ranking, including largest listed companies in the world. In 2016, The Banker monthly magazine that belongs to Financial Times, awarded PKO Bank Polski with the “Bank of the Year in Poland” prize for the third time.