The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Lev Khasis & Victor Orlovski, Sberbank

Efficiency is not always a given among big banks, but Russia’s largest, Sberbank, prizes it highly as part of its transition from command-and-control to customer-led service provider.

Herman Gref, Sberbank’s CEO, said: “We are leveraging data and our deep relationship with the customers to build a platform-like business predicting what our customers need in the next moment and enabling our customers to access products and services instantly on demand. Efficient engagement in the startup ecosystem [through] VC activities in large part accountable for our success”

The relationship between Victor Orlovski, chief technology officer and chief digital officer in Sberbank for eight years and now managing partner of the MoneyTime venture firm managing the bank’s fund commitments, and Lev Khasis, first deputy chairman and chief operating officer, has been crucial.

Orlovski said, for his GCV Rising Star profile in January, that through the Sberbank Tech Venture Funds (SBT) he was helping the bank invest in ventures that can leverage the Sberbank infrastructure of 110 million consumers, 2 million merchants, 80 million mobile banking users and “outstanding brand and customer’s loyalty in more than 20 geographies”.

Khasis said Sberbank’s commitment was $90m for SBT Fund I, out of a total fund commitment of $100m, and $50m for SBT Fund II, out of a $200m total from more than 50 limited partners. Orlovski said the second fund was closing. By the end of last year, Moneytime had invested in 14 deals, including Israel-based social investment platform EToro, US-based mortgage provider LendingHome, cybersecurity provider Tufin and in-memory processing grid technology provider GridGain, Orlovski said, adding that many of them had started a commercial relationship with Sberbank in the form of contractual arrangement, profit-sharing and joint ventures.

He said: “Sberbank’s goal is to become more than a bank, targeting many industries and markets that are not financial by nature by exploring the Alibaba and Tencent model.

“Sberbank aims to leverage technology and know-how, business models and so on, having built the ecosystem with startups we are investing in. The fund is not an affiliate of Sberbank and therefore has a freedom to invest globally and under the fund’s mandate and investment thesis. The fund is not a fintech fund by nature but is an investor in promising technology and business models that may be synergistic for Sberbank.”

Khasis, who is on the boards of LendingHome, Boxed and Evotor, added that Sberbank’s business model had already moved from a traditional banking landscape to a “platform-based business in which we leverage our relationship with customers in the financial space and deep understanding of data around our customers”.

In February, Sberbank announced an artificial intelligence-developed recommendations platform via a new personal assistant service in Sberbank Online.

Khasis said: “We completely rebuilt out technology, business processes and customer relationship models. We are becoming a true data company, analysing every bit of data associated with our customers. We work on productive models and algorithms and are now able to make real-time decisions, customised offers and respond to the changing behaviour of our individual customers.

“We built a platform capable of integrating different business strategies across different customer needs, be it a private individual or a corporate. Our platform allows effective connection of third-party services, creating a store-like marketplace, and our data allows each service to be offered in a special and dedicated manner predicting customer needs.

“We are developing our presence in sharing and on-demand economy, partnering leaders in such industries as on-demand transportation, business-to-consumer market places, healthcare, cloud, telecoms and a few others.”

The reference to a “store-like” experience reflects Khasis’s previous retail background before joining Sberbank as Gref’s right-hand person in September 2013.

Khasis was CEO of X5 Retail Group before joining US-based retailer Walmart as senior vice-president. A source close to Khasis said it had been expected Walmart would make a large acquisition in Russia, but he returned instead to banking.

Having initially graduated in aerospace engineering just before the collapse of the Soviet Union. He retrained in finance in 1995 and worked in banking at Alfa. He became chairman of trading company Perekrestok before his switch to retail.