The PFLab’s success story began in 2013 with an innovation process for internal employees before its official launch at the end of 2015 with a physical location at Engehaldenstrasse 26 in Bern. Originally intended to produce prototypes more quickly and to support and implement internal ideas for new business models, much more than that has emerged from the PFLab. At the PFLab, experiments and pilot projects have been validated and innovations, such as The link will open in a new window tilbago, The link will open in a new window Ormera, The link will open in a new window cardossier, PostFinance car insurance (Toni), The link will open in a new window miira, GreenCoin, etc., have been launched. The Corporate Venture Capital team set up in 2016 has also initiated financial participations in further startups.
Bye bye PFLab, hello VNTR | Innovation & Venturing by PostFinance!
The PFLab now has a new name: PostFinance’s innovation and venturing teams will now be known as VNTR (pronounced “Venture”). But their tasks remain the same. VNTR focuses on future-oriented topics, technologies and business models which have not yet been embraced at PostFinance.
New market identity
The activities and profile of the PFLab and the start of a new internal strategy phase meant the step to the next level of maturity was required – this also involves a change to the innovation lab’s previous identity: since June 2021, the PFLab has no longer been positioned on the market as the innovation lab, but instead as VNTR.
VNTR – an abbreviated form of venture (pronounced V-N-T-R) – signifies both venture in the sense of speculative enterprise or risk capital invested in startups, as well as “ventures” referring to newly created innovation projects and its own startups (innovation participations) which are launched on the market.
In short, VNTR represents the innovation and venturing teams and the related innovation and venturing initiatives of PostFinance whose activities extend beyond the current strategy period. While PostFinance is dedicated to its core business (day-to-day activities), the digital transformation and the strategy implementation, VNTR focuses on innovation, future-oriented topics, technologies and business models which have not yet been embraced by PostFinance (innovation horizon 3). The key elements are rapid experiments and the validation of innovation projects independently of PostFinance and directly on the market, on one hand, as well as investment in startups on the other.
An overview of the initiatives
In an early phase: trend identification, development of future scenarios and definition of areas of innovation. Cross-company innovation management and a separate innovation process with a portfolio of small innovation ‘shoots’ based on future-oriented topics or new topics at an early stage (exploration portfolio in the innovation horizon H3).
In a subsequent phase: implementation of innovation projects and ventures. Market validation, scaling and decision on continuation and monetization on the market (e.g. joint venture, spin-off).
Through corporate venture capital, we participate in innovative startups and support them with limited funds in the form of equity. This also means we are directly involved in market changes, enabling us to identify emerging products, services, technologies and business models at an early stage. In terms of strategic thrusts, we are especially interested in high-growth startups in the fintech sector.
The opening-up of the innovation process (open innovation) – which involves close collaboration and services with an innovation partner network, with universities, startups and other companies – remains a core element.
Further information and contact with VNTR – Innovation & Venturing by PostFinance
VNTR service for startups, companies and universities
Advance notice: all success stories in one book
In autumn 2021, VNTR – together with over 70 innovation experts from our network and the vatter&vatter publishing house – is publishing the ‘Successbook’ featuring background information on the development of the innovation team, the success stories, innovation myths and insights gained. VNTR is also publishing a completely revised edition of the ‘Failbook’ which outlines unsuccessful ideas and innovations and the lessons learned from them.