Fintech Mundi | Blog Large Image Whole Post
paged,page-template,page-template-blog-large-image-whole-post,page-template-blog-large-image-whole-post-php,page,page-id-18956,page-child,parent-pageid-1815,paged-2,page-paged-2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-theme-ver-2.6,vertical_menu_enabled,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.5,vc_responsive

Blog Large Image Whole Post

HRH Crown Prince Haakon to join global innovators and institutions at first Oslo Financial Inclusion Summit

  • 32 Nordic financial technology companies will showcase solutions
  • Speakers from Equity Bank, Mastercard, World Bank, World Economic Forum gather to identify new ways to end financial exclusion

OSLO, 1 MARCH 2019: HRH Crown Prince Haakon has announced that he will attend the Financial Inclusion Summit in Oslo on 28th March and invites global leaders, innovators and financial institutions in Oslo to join him.

The Summit is being held to advance practical steps to end financial exclusion worldwide and discuss how the Nordic region can contribute to reducing poverty and driving growth through a dialogue for long-term solutions to financial inclusion, aided by latest advances in financial technology.

HRH Prince Haakon will be meeting thirty-two financial technology companies from across the Nordic region who will be showcasing how technology can solve the specific challenges faced by the almost 2 billion adults who are still excluded from formal financial services and act as a key driver to ending global poverty.

The summit – arranged by Fintech Mundi, the Nordic fintech accelerator, in partnership with Mastercard and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – will involve key government representatives, development agencies, fintech companies and private sector organisations from across the Nordic region and beyond.

Fintech Mundi CEO Susanne Hannestad explains: “It’s long been recognised that access to banking and financial tools is a proven route to poverty reduction. But despite significant global progress in reducing exclusion, the number of poor citizens continues to rise in some regions. Making a meaningful reduction in the ranks of the financially excluded will require a unique combination of public and private sector commitment coupled with technological creativity. We believe that Nordic fintechs can play a vital role providing concrete solutions.”

Headline speakers already confirmed include Ann Cairns, Executive Vice-Chairman of Mastercard; Greta Bull, Chief Executive Officer CGAP (World Bank); Drew Propson, Financial Service Director of the World Economic Forum; and James Mwangi, Chief Executive Officer of Equity Bank in Kenya.

Leaders from financial technology companies represented on stage include Antti Pennanen, CEO of Moni, Thea Sommerseth, CEO of Diwala, Selma Kvelm from Bright, Jens Glasø of Blockbonds, Sofie Blakstad of Hiveonline and Yoni Arbel of TransferWise.

This invitation-only event will:

  • Deepen understanding of financial health and the ecosystem drivers that enable prosperity through financial inclusion
  • Identify funding gaps for reducing exclusion and explore opportunities for private-public sector partnerships to tackle these
  • Highlight Nordic and global fintech innovations which can address unbanked customers and identify a roadmap to maximise their impact
  • Devise policy recommendations for government, multilateral agencies and the public sector.

Digital relevance, open architectures, automation and data – the new frontline in the battle for the customer

While we can’t exactly call it an outright thriller, “Removing Roadblocks: The New Road of Fintech” – the freshly launched Fintech Disruptors Report takes you on the journey of digital finance 10 years on from the Financial Crisis of 2008. A ride that’s involved exhilarating speed, tricky curves, bumps, the odd crash and acclaimed winners.

Fintech Disruptors 2019 EMEA, launched with Klarna in London in December, identifies four building blocks of a new fintech road, which will sharpen the attention of fintech providers of all sizes in the decade ahead.

Fintech Disruptors 2019 surveyed 5,000 industry professionals across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The report also provides strong evidence of a seismic shift in industry focus, away from new payments technologies and towards open banking and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in fintech.

The full report can be found here.


Report reveals 84% of traditional players seeking partnerships with fintechs

The latest ‘Nordic Fintech Disruptors Report 2018’ and wide-ranging survey on financial institutions, fintech start-ups and ecosystem participants across the Nordic and Baltic region reveals that greater cooperation between regulators, banks and innovators is essential to the region’s status as a leading fintech hub.

According to the survey conducted by MagnaCarta and Fintech Mundi on behalf of Mastercard, more than four fifths (84%) of traditional players are now actively seeking partnerships with fintechs to help them digitise and create digital services for customers. They believe that collaborating with fintechs will help them to achieve their goals faster and more cost effectively.

While the Nordic and Baltic region accounts for over half of Europe’s fintech unicorns by value, the research shows the biggest challenges for fintechs are the direct or indirect result of limited regulatory coordination on fintech. 37% of respondents cited regulation directly, 67% find it difficult to achieve scale, and 33% find access to funding remains a challenge. Increased competition from incumbents jumped 19 percent from 2017.

The Mastercard 2018 Fintech Disruptors Nordic Report finds that a holistic approach to cooperation across the region – including incentives for investment and working together to create a regulatory environment that stimulates innovation and promotes collaboration between new and established providers would strengthen the region’s status as a global digital fintech hub.

Mats Taraldsson, Head of Digital Business Development and Fintech Partnerships, Mastercard Nordics and Baltics comments:

“Innovation by collaboration is at the heart of Mastercard and working together with start-ups and fintechs is essential to meet the future needs of consumers, merchants and governments. We have been committed to fintechs for many years, fostering partnerships with pioneers who have grown into global brands. One Nordic example is iZettle where we helped them in the early phase setting up their business, acting as an advisor.

We now continue this commitment locally in the just recently launched Nordic and Baltic fintech program called Lighthouse Development Program in partnership with NFT Ventures”

Susanne Hannestad, Chief Executive of Fintech Mundi, co-author of the research, added:

“The Nordic and Baltic markets already have an incredible track record of building fintech companies having created regional successes that have gone on to become global winners, like Spotify and Zwipe.

A more joined-up approach to fintech, and the factors that influence successful innovation between the markets governments and regulators, however would create new opportunities for growth and productivity and ensure the region is the best place in Europe to build the next generation of fintech giants.”

Key findings


  • 37% of fintechs view limited regulatory coordination, a third view access to funding as key challenges to growth
  • 38% of Nordic banks believe revenues are at risk of disruption – 12 points up from 2017, 7% higher than among European banks.
  • AI and automation outstrip payments as top areas of fintech investment for Nordic banks in 2018
  • Payments – the primary investment opportunity across the Nordic region and the rest of Europe last year – has been pushed to second place among regional banks and fintechs.
  • Double the number of survey respondents feel financial inclusion is critical to the future of their business compared to the rest of Europe.

About the survey:

Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies including 32 in-depth interviews, MagnaCarta and Fintech Mundi polled more than 3,000 senior executives from leading banks, financial institutions and fintech firms between March and May 2018. Full results are found in the study released today.

CLICK HERE to read the full report


New report reveals rapid growth in Nordic Fintech Industry over past year

  • Collaborations between banks and fintechs experience rapid growth; specialisms are emerging in Nordic markets, and a first wave of consolidation in the sector is predicted by 2020.
  • Nordic markets’ focus differs significantly from the rest of Europe, suggesting heightened sophistication and familiarity with fintech in Nordic markets.


A new report released today reveals that 74% of Nordic banks intend to collaborate with fintech firms in 2017. This finding is in sharp contrast to 2016’s study, which found that less than 50% of Nordic banks had any defined strategy for fintech. Evidence is also emerging of fintech specialisms in Nordic markets, and there’s strong belief in the region’s future as a fintech hub, with 72% of this year’s respondents seeing the Nordic region as the world’s leading hub by 2020.

According to the “Innovation. Delivered: Fintech Disruptors 2017 Report” sponsored by DNB, 42% of financial institutions surveyed want to expand their existing partnerships with fintech firms in addition to the 74% that want to create new partnerships, a finding that suggests a healthy relationship between banks and fintechs. 42% of banks surveyed also intend to set up fintech incubators, nearly double the 24% of banks seeking to create incubators across the rest of Europe.

The report also reveals evidence of emerging fintech specialisms in Nordic markets. Norway is developing a specialism in authentication and security with companies such as Encap, Zwipe, Promon, Signicat and the bankID consortium; Sweden is becoming recognised for e-payments thanks to companies like Trustly, Klarna, iZettle and Wrapp, while Denmark’s specialism in blockchain is seen in companies such as Chainalysis, Blocktech, Brainbot and WeMoveCoins. For Finland, Holvi, Zervant and Arex underline the country’s expertise in e-invoicing and electronic banking for SMEs.

Other findings suggest different approaches between Nordic markets and the rest of Europe which point to the Nordics’ heightened sophistication and familiarity with fintech. Whilst 56% of respondents from other European countries remain concerned with payment technologies, Nordic markets cite security and fraud management (37%) as their major concern, reflecting the fact that electronic payment is already a reality for Nordic markets. Looking ahead to 2020, Nordic respondents see a wave of fintech mergers and acquisitions (36%) and the emergence of a new banking business model (36%) as the most significant developments – whereas 43% of respondents from the rest of Europe cite real-time payments as the biggest development.

The growing partnerships between fintech and banks described in this report are not without their challenges, however, with both sides recognising that the conservative culture of some Nordic banks must change if these partnerships are to prove successful. As Halvor Lande of DNB notes, “The winning banks of the future will be those that emulate the working practices, culture and methodology of successful tech companies: smart existing banks will have to learn from fintech start-ups.”

Susanne Hannestad, CEO of Fintech Mundi, which conducted the research, said: “Nordic markets are home to a number of “unicorns” – fintech start-ups now valued at more than US$ 1 billion. This fact is reflected in the confidence of our survey respondents, and in the growing evidence of partnership between financial institutions and fintechs. Challenges remain – but our report showcases a fast-growing sector that is making its presence felt across Europe and beyond.”

Click here to download a copy of “Innovation. Distributed: The Fintech Disruptors Report 2017


Successful Norwegian Fintech booths at Slush with Fintech Mundi

Norway’s promising fintech companies Cloud Insurance, Prego and Payr had booths at Slush in Helsinki early December in collaboration with Fintech Mundi. The Crown Prince of Norway visited our booths at Slush and had good entrepreneurship conversation with all the Norwegian fintech companies.

Slush is held during the darkest time of the year in Helsinki, Finland, Slush has always been characterized by a unique energy and enthusiasm. The very core of Slush is to facilitate founder and investor meetings and to build a world-wide startup community. More than 17,500 ATTENDEES, 2,300 STARTUPS, 1,100 INVESTORS and 600 JOURNALISTS were present.

  • “We are amazed by how many bank and insurance companies visited us at our booth,” says Axel Sjøstedt, CEO Cloud Insurance a Norwegian Fintech startup already having footprint in 19 countries and four continents. Cloud Insurance is a Software-as-a-Service platform for the insurance industry, with extensive policy and claims management capabilities.
  • “We plan for an IPO,” says Ronald Eriksen, Chairman at Prego International which is an international Fintech with everyday banking for the unbanked. Started in Malaysia with additional hubs in the Nordics and UK, total invested capital so far is in excess of USD$ 7 million with global investors. Meeting investors and customers at Slush is great for Prego.
  • “We are here to attract investors and customers,” says Espen Grimstad, CEO Payr. “We have just received e-money license from NFA Norway and Payr is the next generation payment platform app empowering consumers to pay invoices in flexible and smart ways. Our customers can pay any invoice using bank account, debit or credit card or digital wallets, saving time and money. You can even save up bonus points on your credit card, while paying your regular invoices.”

Majority of European Banks say partnering with Fintechs is essential to Future of Financial Services Delivery

A survey of financial institutions, fintech start-ups and ecosystem participants across Europe, Africa and the Middle East has revealed that the convergence between the strategies of fintechs and traditional financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies is rapidly gathering pace.

According to a survey conducted by MagnaCarta Communications on behalf of global payments company ACI Worldwide, more than three quarters (78%) of traditional players are now actively seeking partnerships with fintechs in order to create digitally based services and applications for customers and believe that collaborating with fintechs will help them to achieve their goals faster and more cost effectively.

The ACI 2017 Fintech Disruptors Report finds that such partnerships are taking a wide range of forms, from selective collaborations and in-house acceleration programmes to acquisitions, joint ventures and, for some banks, a blended approach that includes a combination of some or all of the elements above.

Collaborating comes with a range of benefits for all players, the research shows: Fintechs look to banks for help with financing or to get access to a broad customer base, whereas traditional players are increasingly looking to work with fintechs in order to develop new applications and generate new revenue streams.

Key findings of the report:

Top areas of fintech investment in 2017: Over half or respondents (56%) said payments was the biggest area of investment for next year with the global push for real-time payments quoted as a major theme, followed by e-Commerce (36%) , consumer banking (35%) and security and fraud management (28%).

Biggest opportunities: Banks say the biggest opportunities for collaboration with fintechs are in the areas of developing APIs (46%), mobile applications (43%) and Data Analytics (38%).

Global fintech hubs: 79% of all respondents say North America will remain the global centre of fintech innovation over the next five years, followed by the UK (67%), Europe (43%) and China (43%)
Brexit Impact: More than 50% of respondents believe the UK’s vote for Brexit will have little or no impact on European fintech development and financing.

Africa as biggest opportunity for growth: The African continent with its large unbanked population, estimated to be as high as 90% in some countries such as Nigeria, is widely viewed as the region with the greatest potential for fintech applications.

Paul Thomalla, SVP for Global Business Development at ACI, comments: “Our research shows that the transition from an analogue to a digital banking model and from complete to shared ownership is well underway. Traditional players and fintechs have realised that neither tribe can win in isolation and that collaboration is the way forward for those who want to succeed in the new payments and banking world.

“Up until recently the relationship between finetchs and banks has always been a bit like that between children and their parents. Fintechs were the rebellious teenagers who wanted to do things differently and banks were a bit like parents who didn’t take them seriously enough. Today both sides are recognising that they need each other. Fintechs have great ideas that are in demand and banks have the finances and the scale to commercialise these ideas.

“Businesses on both sides of the bridge that are ready to adapt to the new terms of the alliance will share the rich rewards to be won from combining institutional scale with entrepreneurial agility.”

Simon Hardie, Partner at MagnaCarta Communications, who conducted the research, added: “Our survey demonstrates that fintechs and traditional financial institutions are now closely aligned in both their aims and approaches. The fact that both industry groups are now keen to forge partnerships suggests that, if anything, we are likely to see acceleration of the current rapid pace of development of new financial technologies in 2017 and beyond.

“Challenges remain, notably in aligning the cultures of large organizations and start-ups; however, we believe an increase in the current phase of mass development will lead to the adoption of a revolutionary digital delivery platform for financial services within the next ten years.”

Download a copy of the Fintech Disruptors 2017 Report


Nordic startups attract global funds

“Attracting global investment is not all about the money,” believes Steffen Larsen, Vice President for Products at Zwipe, one of Norway’s rising fintech stars. Steffen spoke at a workshop on how to attract global fintech investment hosted by Fintech Mundi during Oslo Fintech Week.

Zwipe which has developed the world’s first fingerprint authenticated payment card, closed a $5 million series B funding round in the fall of 2015 from Photon Future, a subsidiary of the Chinese technology giant Kuang-Chi Group. To date Zwipe has raised over $10 million in funding, which according to Larsen, required serious attention to building a robust network, utilizing door openers and establishing superior resources and vehicles for commercialization.

Sharing the podium was Ronald Eriksen, Chairman of Prego International, an international fintech with a solution that offers everyday banking for the unbanked. Launching in Malaysia and with additional hubs in the Nordics and the UK, Prego has secured in excess of $7 million from global investors and the immediate plan is for an IPO on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Bo Ji, chief representative for Europe at CKGSB introduced the audience to China Start, a leading Chinese investment programme scouting promising Western start-ups. For more information about the programme and its series of planned events, contact Susanne Hannestad at

The workshop concluded with a panel discussion that included Øivind Amundsen, EVP at Oslo Stock Exchange, Jan-Erik Hareid, Managing Partner at Alliance Ventures, Tero Weckroth, Chairman at Invesdor in addition to Steffen Larsen, Ronald Eriksen and Bo Ji. The discussion was moderated by Susanne Hannestad, CEO of Fintech Mundi.


Building a capital market for the little guys

Investor crowdfunding was the theme at a Fintech Mundi breakfast in Oslo last month with Finland’s Invesdor laying out its plans to build an equity crowdfunding platform for Norway.

Reactions to the company’s plans at the breakfast were positive. Anne Worsøe of product design consultancy Bakken & Bæck commented that equity crowdfunding provides opportunities for private investors and savers to invest in technology companies that they would not previously have had access to. While the securitized nature of crowdfunded investing also helps mitigate some of the risks of investing in start-up technology businesses.

To date Invesdor’s automated platform has completed 57 funding rounds, raising a combined NOK 140 million (around €15 million). Lasse Mäkelä, the company’s CEO, explained that the advantage of using Invesdor’s platform that beyond the opportunity to distribute risk by investing collectively, platform investors are able to share their knowledge about individual companies and their management teams or entrepreneur owners.

The same is true for the companies that are looking to raise capital. Besides opening up a new, viable channel for funding at comparable market rates, investors can provide useful insights to the companies on the platform and act as valuable promoters – “what could be better than having more than 300 investors talking about your company?” remarked Mr Mäkelä.

The breakfast panel was moderated by Fintech Mundi CEO, Susanne Hannestad and included contributions from Axel Sjøstedt, CEO of Cloud Insurance (a Norwegian crowdfunding platform for the insurance market), Marius Kristiansen, CEO of Bad Norwegian and Anne Taran Tjølsen, of BDO in addition to Anne Worsøe and Lasse Mäkelä.

Details of Fintech Mundi’s next event will be announced shortly.


Keep up the heat! – iZettle founder welcomes competition

A long list of fintech innovations across all areas of financial services, is inspiring the development of a regional fintech ecosystem. Copenhagen’s seizing of Europe’s first Money2020 and a plethora of other events hosted by the region is further proof of a region keen to compete on the world stage.

And why not? Affluent, well-educated, technologically-literate societies and a sophisticated banking industry to match make this region the ideal test bed for new innovation.

In the first of a series of interviews with Nordic fintech entrepreneurs, we look at iZettle, one of the megastars setting the world alight with its pledge to make running a small business simple, secure and fun. Co-founder Magnus CW Nilsson tells us that ‘iZettlers’ come to work every day to build game-changing, easy-to-use payment services and apps for building a small business.

  1. What challenges do established financial service providers face in an increasingly competitive fintech environment?

There are many challenges for established fintech firms despite them having the advantage of scale. Take banks, for example, where existing products are expensive and the process of changing the business to be innovative presents a shift in mindset. Another challenge for incumbents is attracting the best talent to innovate.

  1. How is iZettle meeting these challenges?

We want to keep innovating. We maintain an SME culture and structure our business for entrepreneurship. We also welcome strong competition to keep us on our toes and challenge our ideas.

  1. Is the playing field level for all parties?

The introduction of PSD2 is a good thing and is challenging the financial model. While all have the same requirements, small companies find it challenging to navigate the regulatory environment. Disruptors should disrupt and challenge the status quo, and leave the market to adapt.

  1. What are your most promising markets?

We started like Square with a cheap and secure product but targeting Europe. Two out of three card networks supported iZettle with our chip and signature solution together with phone/tablet device. Visa Europe did not support iZettle in the beginning. We had to deal with traditional EMV (chip and PIN) and not just signature. iZettle had to find new ways to be disruptive. We are currently focusing on Europe and Latin America.

  1. Why are you focusing on SMEs?

SMEs represent 30-60% of GDP depending on the country. Our key segments are retail, hospitality and business services, which are underserved by the banks.

  1. How difficult is selling and distributing to other countries?

Language and messaging are the main challenges. We found we had to find the local voice and accept that it takes a little longer to get market penetration outside your home markets.

  1. What’s next for iZettle?

We are growing and developing new services for the future.

  1. Who are your benchmarks?

I admire Facebook – they chose what to do and what not to get involved in. This is more difficult than one would imagine. And of course, relentless focus to be great.

  1. What does iZettle need for global success?

We’ve built many central functions suitable for an international market. EMV, global standards and proper regulatory environments are important for us. As is attracting great people to work for us.

  1. Are transactions and income matching your earlier expectations?

iZettle started in 2010 and building the business has taken a long time. The company continues to follow the original plan and we are delivering on our expectations. But you can never rest. Everything can always be improved.



Equity Crowdfunding Event – 24th May – Register now!

Looking for financing to boost your company’s growth? Looking to engage your network in your company’s growth story?

Invesdor, Fintech Mundi, BDO and Bakken&Bæck invite you to join a breakfast at Havnelageret to learn more about equity crowdfunding!

The event is targeted at startup and growth company entrepreneurs, investors and board members and everyone that helps companies on their growth journey (accelerators, incubators, consultants, accountants etc.)

Click here to find out more and to register for this event.