BNP Paribas & WAI Boost: an accelerator for corporates & startups

December 8, 2017

With innovation at the heart of its strategy, BNP Paribas aims to anticipate changes and transform them into opportunities for its clients to help them shape the world of tomorrow.

Combining global champions and a high number of start-ups with a culture of innovation, Switzerland is the ideal place for BNP Paribas to launch this initiative in response to corporate clients seeking areas of development.

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WAI – We Are Innovation – a unique co-innovation program

Through the strength and reach of the BNP Paribas network, WAI Boost provides promising start-ups and corporate clients with the opportunity to meet and develop a unique partnership.

To unlock this potential, a team of internal and external experts took every step necessary to assess the potential and viability of business model, solutions and products of start-ups and if they meet innovation requirements and objectives of the corporate clients. This helped the corporate client to choose the best suited start-ups for a 4-month co-innovation partnership program, including a wide range of business and technical services which can lead to a long-term collaboration.

WAI Boost was launched by BNP Paribas in Paris in 2014. Due to the strong presence of companies that are global leaders in their field and due to the high level of innovation, Switzerland is the ideal market for the launch of a second WAI Boost initiative outside France.

A pilot phase: meeting the innovation market requirements of a world leader

In March 2017, BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA launched the pilot phase for its WAI Boost program with Dufry AG. The Switzerland-based global travel retailer in partnership with WAI Boost Switzerland, wanted to work with start-ups to innovate and develop digital solutions that meet market requirements in the following areas:

  • Point of Sales
  • Sales Transformation
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Data Management
  • Change Management

Thanks to its knowledge of the start-up ecosystem, BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA provided Dufry with a 360° overview of digital innovations that match with their industry-specific needs. Based on the intelligence and assessment of BNP Paribas, Dufry decided to work with two start-ups: Mishipay and Gowento.

In partnership with MishiPay, Dufry worked on the launch of a beta version of a cashier-free, app-based shopping experience as a pilot in one of their locations. And with Gowento, Dufry worked on a project to build a more effective digital communication with clients, to improve their customer loyalty and increase revenues.


Patrick Voegeli, Head of BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA Corporate and Institutional Banking said: “The WAI Boost initiative demonstrates the ability of BNP Paribas to provide companies with a real business added value, beyond banking services thanks to our global network. Furthermore, it strengthens our foothold with swiss and international startups”.

Kim-Andrée Potvin, COO of BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA added: “Far from establishing a simple relationship, the WAI Boost initiative is a tailor-made acceleration for startups and partner companies. BNP Paribas is the first bank to become a full fledge accelerator for its clients, building on its experience with its own digital programme”.

“It’s an honour for us to launch this project with DUFRY, the leading travel retailer in the world. Thanks to the WAI boost programme run by BNP Paribas, we are able to take this major step towards our goal of eliminating queuing in retail, which in this case, will make sure we get to do all the airport shopping we want without ever having to worry about missing a flight.”Mustafa Khanwala – Co-Founder and CEO MishiPay


 “This is the most efficient communication channel ever! Gowento embraces the potential of native mobile applications (mobile wallet and web browser) to provide Dufry’s Cclients with the right message at the right time. This guarantees a 100 % Delivery, Read & Remain Subscribed without any specific applications or expensive marketing campaign.”Rabye Marouene – CEO of Gowento

BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA

With more than 1,400 employees and 4 locations in Geneva, Zurich, Basel and Lugano, BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA is a European player of reference in Switzerland for businesses, institutions and private customers. Established in Switzerland since 1872, we are here to develop over the long term, with a specific strategy for each business-line: To be the privileged partner of businesses and institutions, to accompany them in their development in Europe and internationally, with our “One Bank for Corporates” initiative. To be a reference in Wealth Management in terms of expertise and of service for our private customers and entrepreneurs. To be a centre of excellence for funding of raw materials thanks to our “Specialised Trade Solutions” offer at the service of our historical customers who share our values, and of the bank’s corporate customers in Europe. The integrated model of the BNP Paribas Group enables us to offer our customers the financial stability of a first rate bank in Europe with international reach and a full range of products and investments. By developing privileged long-term relationships with our customers, we aspire to contribute to sustainable and responsible growth.

Press contacts:

Isabelle Wolff


Laurence Anthony