RBS has ‘tech scouts’ in Silicon Valley and Israel

The Royal Bank of Scotland has established technology scouting networks in Silicon Valley, Israel, London and Edinburgh to make sure it is up to date with the latest technology trends, reports Business Insider UK.

Facing competition from fintech startups that “operate and look more like a Facebook or Google” than a traditional lender, established players are “now scrambling to keep up with the pace of change”. RBS wants to make sure it has its ear to the ground in areas of tech innovation and has a scouting network around the world “just like a football club looking for a hot new prospect that can take it to the next level,” says Business Insider.

“I have a team on the ground in Silicon Valley, it has been there for just over two years now,” said Kevin Hanley, head of design at RBS. “It is a reasonably small team but massively connected into the innovation ecosystem. This is everyone the Facebooks and the Apples of the world through to a startup, south of Market Street [an area in San Francisco where Twitter is based].”

It has seen more than 1,000 technology companies in the last year and has connections with the venture capital community and academia. It does not have a dedicated team in Israel, but has established links with the VC community and Israeli banks and once every three months “we will have extended time on the ground.”

Silicon Valley is useful for guidance on design-led thinking while Israel produces cutting edge ideas and technology around cyber security, analytics and blockchain technology. Hanley added: “Close to home we have got our London and Edinburgh connections which are massively important to us; the broader entrepreneurial community in the UK.”

RBS was the first financial services company to adopt Facebook at Work, the social network’s corporate intranet product, as a possible replacement for email and Hanley said the bank’s presence on the ground in California helped get that deal done.