Israeli founded Team8, which is a think tank and foundry comprised of leading minds from Israel’s innovative tech ecosystem and backed by strategic funding from Microsoft, Walmart, Barclay’s, Moody’s, among others, announced the launch of Team8 Fintech. The fintech-focused venture will be led by Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, who is the former CEO & President of Israel’s biggest bank Leumi Group. Russak-Aminoach will be joined by former Payoneer CEO & founder Yuval Tal, who at the beginning of the month stepped down from his position at the digital payment Unicorn to join the think tank; E-trading digital brokerage eToro founder Ronen Assia will also hop on the Team8 Fintech venture, along with former Head of Business Development for PayPal across Eastern Europe, Israel and Africa, Galia Beer-Gabel.

“Today, we are joining forces with giants. Financial Services are first and foremost about Trust. To make them more efficient, available and ultimately fair, Digital Trust is paramount. And Digital Trust is dependent on Cyber Security and Privacy - a natural habitat for Team8. Assembling this all-star team is a rare event and is gearing us with the talent, gravitas and exceptional leadership skills to build transformative fintech companies. This cements another important milestone in Team8’s journey as we expand our foundry model and become a multi-sector venture group.” said Team8’s Co-Founder Nadav Zafrir.

COVID-19 steers massive Fintech opportunities

Covid-19 has paved the way to hyper digitization, accelerating trends and expectations both at the business level and for consumers across all age groups. From the decline in cash usage and the decreasing relevance of brick and mortar to the recent surge in the opening of digital-only bank accounts,  the pandemic is acting as a catalyst to spur a wealth of new digital experiences that offer enhanced engagement and increased personalization. The financial services sector is already undergoing major transformation, driven by multiple forces. Regulations such as “open banking” encourage competition, provide users with more control over their data, and allow them to easily migrate and adopt new financial services. Modern technology advancements and banking-as-a-service platforms make it easier than ever to repurpose and integrate different layers of the financial technology stack into new applications. From younger generations looking for solutions with their favorite brands rather than their parents’ financial institutions of choice, to a growing aging population depositing checks by phone now, Covid-19 has fast-forwarded today’s market needs by a decade.

Team8 Fintech will create both B2B and B2B2C companies that empower industry players with new technologies and new business offerings to ensure they stay relevant and gain a competitive advantage. The foundry will build companies that enable incumbents, largely operating with legacy infrastructure, to hyperscale their digital transformation. For established fintechs, typically offering niche solutions, Team8 Fintech will create companies that enhance their value propositions with more diverse and robust capabilities and broaden their business models. The practice will also target non-financial companies with significant customer bases and relevant customer needs where a financial service offering may be beneficial. Team8 Fintech will create companies providing embedded fintech solutions to address these opportunities, enabling such non-financial companies to become new fintech providers, benefiting from new revenue streams and enhanced customer engagement.

The foundry has proven success

Team8 Fintech will leverage Team8’s signature foundry model of company building, ideating novel solutions to address the problems and opportunities of its target audience. The foundry will partner with exceptional entrepreneurs to co-found new companies, bringing together its domain expertise and company-building capabilities to mitigate the complexity of building companies for this highly regulated and fragmented market; ultimately accelerating the path to success.  The Foundry will leverage and extend the Team8 Village - an extensive rich ecosystem of corporate executives and investors that provide a privileged insider’s view to enterprise challenges and fintech opportunities - a key benefit for companies. It will also support startup progression through its trademark disciplined and rigorous approach, utilizing the group’s in-house team of dozens of domain experts, researchers, ideators, marketers, business developers and talent recruiters based in New York and Tel Aviv.

A pioneer in the global digital banking arena, Russak-Aminoach has been listed in Fortune Magazine’s "100 Most Powerful Women" three times since 2015 and included in the BBC's "100 Most Inspirational and Influential Women". At Bank Leumi, Russak-Aminoach headed Israel’s oldest bank and turned it into the largest market cap-wise by implementing groundbreaking digital transformation strategies including the establishment of LeumiTech, the Group’s high-tech banking arm, and the launch of digital bank Pepper.

“The financial industry is facing a perfect storm, with inevitable changes and advancements already underway. Understanding the challenges and complexities of incumbents or other enterprises to innovate from within, my passion is to build the  type of companies I would have wanted to collaborate with in my previous role as CEO of a bank. I see great opportunities in leveraging new technologies to completely reinvent financial services, drive efficiency and improve customer experience,” said Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, Founder of Team8 Fintech. “In order to execute leading-edge fintech, a strong technology partner is vital - Team8 is renowned for its best-in-class technology capabilities and I’m excited about the fintech powerhouse we’re going to build.”

Founded in 2014, Team8’s leadership team represents serial entrepreneurs, industry pioneers and the former leadership of Israel’s elite tech and intelligence Unit 8200.