Look East if you want to see the FinTech future!
Deloitte’s 2017 report, Fintech in CEE: Charting the course for innovation in financial services technology, highlights a number of key findings in its executive summary, including the opportunities for innovation in the banking sector, the growth of contactless and mobile payments, and the potential for disruption in the region’s “somewhat conservative” asset management industry.
The report noted: Innovations for the banking sector provide the greatest share of FinTech solutions in all CEE countries. Such solutions are highly developed in virtually all countries (internet and mobile banking and contactless cards, for example). Although most solutions are developed in-house or provided by established vendors, there is room for emerging FinTech providers.
The theme of “opportunity” is a common one among CEE fintech analysts. In its CEE Fintech Survey for 2017, BCS Global Markets highlighted a number of firms doing business in the region – including Finovate alums mBank, Azimo, and Atsora. In addition to its praise for Poland (“No other country in CEE tops Poland in terms of fintech”), the report also gave high marks for the country it called “Cyber Republic”:
The Czech Republic has a relatively big and fast-growing market for fintech, Its banks are considered some of the safest and best-run in the region, but also the most conservative, which makes them fat targets for emerging fintech firms to either offer new-fangled services to or even take business away from.
Chris Skinner, a fintech author (The Finanser) and analyst who has been involved in the region’s banking scene for more than 20 years, has provided some astute insights into what makes fintech in the CEE different from fintech in the rest of Europe, or the United States, for that matter. Praising the capital markets and competitive banking marketplaces that have developed in nations like Poland, Skinner added:
Because they’ve done all that with new technology, they are hugely innovative. And that’s what I see across Eastern Europe. There’s innovation that you don’t get in mainstream Europe or mainstream America because in mainstream America you are still dealing with technologies that were implemented invented before Mark Zuckerberg was born. Whereas in these countries, all the technologies are from the 1990s onwards, many of them from the last decade. Therefore they are fit for the future, and fit for the present.
With FinovateEurope just one month away, we wanted to take a special look at fintech in the eastern part of the continent. Here we’ll focus on what our Finovate alums – from Europe and beyond – have been doing to take advantage of new markets, new talent, and new opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe.
CEE-headquartered FinTechs (finnovate alums):