• Magdalena Gołębiewska

Is there any FinTech outside of UK and DE?

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

A lot of people are selling "London is FinTech hub. Maybe followed by Berlin, Sweden. On other markets there is nothing besides copycats". Let me start from the beginning. Who is building startups in UK:

  • Revolut - build by Russian citizen

  • Azimo - launched by a Polish women

  • TransferGo - Lithuanian startup

  • Monese - the founder comes from Estonia

  • TransferWise - both of founders are originally from Estonia. Yes, UK's unicorn is actually build by migrants. Boom!

  • Luno - founders from South Africa

Ok, gave couple of examples - and in total are over 3K Fintech startups in UK. But let me continue. In UK there are 3,184 startups (where almost 2K ONLY IN LONDON) , a lot more than in other countries (details below). Please keep in mind though, that over 55% of population in London is born OUTSIDE OF UK (!). So again - who is building startup scene here? This is not only about FinTech. Big startups like Deliveroo, CarWOW, LendInvest are also created by migrants (details). However, we are talking about FinTech, and that blog is about FinTech so ... let's stick to it.


How many FinTech startups we have in emerging countries then (EE region)? (data, 2018/19)

  1. Russia - 373 FinTech startups (129 mln) - 0.003 startup per 1K people

  2. Estonia - 199 FinTech Startups (1.3 mln) (!!!) - 0.153 startup per 1K people

  3. Poland - 179 FinTech Startups (38 mln) - 0.005 startup per 1K people

  4. Bulgaria - 113 FInTech startups (7.1 mln) - 0.016 startup per 1K people

  5. Ukraine - 110 FInTech startups (44.,8 mln) - 0.002 startup per 1K people

  6. Romania - 75 FinTech startups (20 mln) - 0.004 startup per 1K people

  7. Lithuania - 55 FInTech startups (2.8 mln) - 0.002 startup per 1K people

  8. Hungary - 51 FinTech startups (9.7 mln) - 0.005 startup per 1K people

  9. Czech Republic - 95 FinTech startups (10.5 mln) - 0.009 startup per 1K people

And some other EU countries, this time Western Europe:

  1. France - 611 FinTech startups (67 mln) - 0.009 startup per 1K people

  2. Germany - 563 FinTech startups (82.7 mln) - 0.007 startup per 1K people

  3. Netherlands - 495 FinTech startups (17 mln) - 0.029 startup per 1K people

  4. Switzerland - 438 FinTech startups (8.4 mln) - 0.052 startup per 1K people

  5. Spain - 381 FinTech startups (46.7 mln) - 0.008 startup per 1K people

  6. Italy - 241 FinTech startups (60.59 mln) - 0.004 startup per 1K people

  7. Sweden - 238 FinTech startups (10 mln) - 0.024 startup per 1K people

  8. Ireland - 238 FInTech startups (4.7 mln) - 0.050 startup per 1K people

  9. Belgium - 147 FinTech startups (11.3 mln) - 0.013 startup per 1K people

  10. Denmark - 140 FinTech startups (5.8 mln) - 0.024 startup per 1K people

  11. Austria - 124 FinTech startups (8.7 mln) - 0.014 startup per 1K people

  12. Finland - 91 FinTech startups (5.5 mln) - 0.016 startup per 1K people

Coming back to EE region, only in Estonia (2 mln. people country) there was 67 new startups launched only in 2018. In Kenya (49.8 mln) there is 131 FinTech startups and 397 in South Africa (56,7 mln). So those regions actually goes head to head with Europe already. And China (1.4 bln) - 1433 FinTech startups, not mention 2566 in India (1.33 bln) alone!

If we will take into consideration no. of FinTech startups per 1000 people in the country - we have unquestionable leader in the space - ESTONIA! Followed by Switzerland and Ireland (Ireland so underestimated and in shadow of UK).


Still, we see a bit more startups in WE region of Europe, than in CEE, however please keep in mind size of the countries (added in brackets), as well easiness of starting the business. People from CEE simply start their adventure with business outside of home country, because of not-favourable legal frame in that region and difficult access to VC money.


The situation however starts to change - eg. in Estonia (where only in last year 67 FinTech startups were created). That small country (1,316 mln. people) is fully digitalised and has favourable law (including tax scheme) for startups. Similar situation we can observe in Lithuania which already is called FinTech hub of Europe.


However, still most of EE countries have old structures and do not help young entrepreneurs, that is why people.. migrate. We live in a global village, and it is really easy to relocate. This is happening in Europe now, and already happened in US. In US, of the top 25 most valuable tech companies, 60 percent were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. They employed 1.9 million people last year. New stricter immigration laws could negatively impact the tech industry and perhaps prevent our next Elon Musk from getting to the US.


And.. if you think that only startup founders has such a high rate of migrants, think again. High power positions often are help by migrants, in US it is for example Susan Wojcicki - daughter of polish man: https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Wojcicki. Just as a reminder - from 2013 she is a CEO of YouTube. And a co-founder of Apple - Steve Wozniak. But this is a subject for another article. Have a great day!


Contact me at m.golebiewska@icloud.com or leave your email below and let's stay in tuoch. 

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