KONSULTA’s Roland Woerle on Innovation, Incumbency and Insurtech

KONSULTA’s Roland Woerle on Innovation, Incumbency and Insurtech

The impact of technology on the insurance industry continues to be one of the more underrated developments in fintech. And while the level of disruption varies from one region to another, the intersection of insurance and technology is the growing source of innovation.

This year at FinovateEurope, we spoke with Roland Woerle, founder and partner of KONSULTA.eu, a boutique advisory firm, based in Austria, with a focus on the European insurance industry. KONSULTA helps insurers and brokers increase revenues, improve their customer experience, and manage business transformations.

“We are different, refreshing, highly-competent, fun, value-driven, and 100% customer focused,” Woerle described KONSULTA by way of introduction. “We are trying to help insurance players in their transformation, innovation, and customer/employee value propositions.”

Finovate Research Analyst David Penn talks technology and innovation in insurtech with KONSULTA’s Roland Woerle

Woerle is also senior representative at Vienna-based Match-Maker Ventures, where he helps startups that have already reached the proof-of-concept level scale their businesses. Previously, Woerle spent more than five years as Chief Operations Officer (Nordics/ Austria and CEE) for global financial services firm Aon, and more than ten years as Chief Operating Officer (Austria, CEE, CIS, and Nordics ) for leading insurance broker Marsh.

We talked about the role of technology in accelerating processes in insurance, and which business models benefit the most from the cost savings of technologies ranging from robotics to satellites. We also discussed the key distinction between companies with innovation teams and companies with innovation cultures, and the challenges businesses face in developing the latter from the former.

“Large insurance organizations they are still struggling with (this),” Woerle said. He pointed to issues with the company’s best and brightest often being pre-occupied with other, day-to-day tasks, as well as an incentive structure that does not reward what he called a “try and fail fast” approach to innovation, as major obstacles. Add to that insurance companies’ traditional risk aversion and it’s easy to see why “unconventional ideas,” as Woerle referred to them, face a challenging road to adoption.

Here are some of the top takeaways from our conversation with Roland Woerle this year at FinovateEurope in Berlin.

On platformification and the future of the insurtech

Woerle: (The platform economy) is highly relevant for insurance. We had a good debate in the afternoon, discussing where insurance companies might go into, and how they might become platform providers and solution providers for platforms. The industry as such might evaporate over time and morph into the platforms.

It’s a bit of a scary thought on the one hand. But, on the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for those who actually partner with the right platform providers. They can actually grow and grasp new opportunities in the market.

On the main ways the technology is changing the traditional insurance business

Woerle: I think that there are probably three areas where technology is really changing (insurance). First of all, it primarily speeds up the processes along the insurance value chain. Whether it’s distribution, underwriting, customer service … there’s huge potential for claims … just to make the process faster.

I see also tremendous potential on the B2B side, especially the large B2B speciality insurance lines like marine, where you can actually use satellite tracking, blockchain contracts in much more innovative ways around data analytics to drive down the tremendous costs in that industry.

On the relationship between insurance incumbents and insurtech startups.

Woerle: It’s still a difficult relationship to make work. I guess it’s the same as in the fintech space. It’s one of the things that KONSULTA is actually focusing on. We are working with startups and working with industry leaders to better match them to make sure it’s a win/win case for both of them.

They need to be true partnerships. Incumbents cannot see a startup just as a supplier. This won’t work. They will fail any procurement process. They will not “tick the boxes” which they need to tick. (Incumbents) need to nurture (startups). They need to see them as strategic partners.

So bringing them together, speaking the same language, seeing where value is added on both sides, and how can they make a win/win situation … I think that is the way to succeed.

Watch the full, six-minute interview on Finovate TV.

How Banks Make Digital Transformation Work

How Banks Make Digital Transformation Work

One of the more consistently insightful observers of the fintech industry, author Chris Skinner, highlighted the rise of central bank digital currencies as one of the more surprising conversations at FinovateEurope this year.

“China’s about to launch one, there’s going to be a digital dollar from the Fed at some point probably,” Skinner said. “And the implications of that on cross border payments and infrastructure was one of the topics that was a little bit off track to me because it hadn’t come up before. So I enjoyed that immensely.”

That said, the man behind theFinanser.com and chair of the Financial Services Club spent the majority of our conversation in Berlin talking the discussions he’s had with leaders in the banking industry who are tackling the challenge of digital transformation head on – and succeeding. These insights are at the core of Skinner’s upcoming book, Doing Digital, to be published in April.

Skinner also shared some insights on banks and their role in digital identity management. He noted Head of OP Lab for Finland’s OP Financial Group Kristian Luoma who pointed out that even in a future in which banks aren’t involved in payments or authentication due to intermediaries like Square and Apple ID, for example, there is still a critical role for banks to play. But banks must be ready to share the ball.

“It’s one of the few times I’ve heard a bank actually stating that in such a clear way, because most banks still think they have to own and control everything,” Skinner observed. “The idea of being just a player in a system – that’s the way we have to think for the future.”

Here are some of the top takeaways from our conversation with Chris Skinner this year at FinovateEurope in Berlin.

On why a “bare-knuckle approach” to the challenge of successful digital transformation is appropriate – if not required

Skinner: Digital transformation is not easy, it’s really hard, it takes years, it involves balancing business-as-usual with business-as-unusual, and it’s something that had to be led by the chief executive and chairperson and cannot be delegated. I find too many banks think that digital (transformation) is a project or a function or a budget that can be delegated. But that’s absconding the reality. The reality is that you have to own it.

On the swim-or-sink approach companies that succeed in digital transformation have adopted to ensure a digital-positive culture

Skinner: The most difficult thing in any transformational project is getting the middle management to buy into the project and participate. And commit. Because often the middle management are the most worried about what’s happening. They think they are going to lose their job or they might lose their part of the organization or they might lose their power. They might lose their people. They might lose their promotion. So they fear change rather than embrace it. And it’s really a case of: how do you bring those people with you?

On the progress some innovative banks are making toward digital transformation.

Skinner: One of (the banks I interviewed for Doing Digital) had a head of ecosystems. It’s the first time I ever met anybody at a bank who’s called the “head of ecosystems.” His pure role was to go out and find appropriate partnerships – in the world of APIs and apps and analytics – on open platforms and bring them in to work with the bank. At the time, they had about ten partnerships, and I think today they’ve more than doubled that number. So there are some banks taking it very seriously.

Watch the full, 10-minute interview on Finovate TV.

The Best of Europe’s Fintech at FinovateEurope 2020

The Best of Europe’s Fintech at FinovateEurope 2020

Fintech innovation is growing at an exponential rate and the need for financial institutions to embrace digital transformation has never been more urgent. We are at the beginning of a new S curve; just as the smartphone began to transform financial services in 2007, we now face unprecedented change driven by artificial intelligence, 5G and quantum computing.

In Berlin in February, FinovateEurope brought together 140+ expert speakers; 50+ cutting-edge demoing companies and 1,000+ attendees to explore the road to success in a brave new digital world.

The first day got off to a rousing start with a keynote address from Steven van Belleghem, author of Customers The Day After Tomorrow. His key message? The number one resource that we are all short of is time; the companies that save customers time are really solving a problem for them. The tech giants are excelling at this – how can financial institutions emulate their approach? If they don’t address real customer pain-points they risk losing them to new competitors.

In a new initiative for 2020 we then offered the audience the choice of five industry stages to attend – Digital Future, Open Banking Future, Future Tech, Future Payments, and Future Insurance. Themes that cropped up repeatedly across all five stages were the critical importance of the customer experience, the ability to effectively leverage data, and the need to embrace new technologies for real business reasons– not just for window dressing.

Two days of over 50 live demos followed, once again putting innovation front-and-center on the stage. Our unique demo model showcased the most transformative solutions currently being created across the whole fintech value chain and gave the audience the chance to speak to the innovators behind the most exciting tech in finance.

Across the whole event we covered a myriad of topics – from digital journeys to customer experience, open banking to payments, challenger banks to insurtech, digital identity to financial crime, AI to blockchain – and we launched three new initiatives.

Our Start-up Booster program was a huge hit with startups seeking expert advice around funding, scaling, and partnerships.

The Executive Reboot program allowed C-suite executives to brainstorm how to address their legacy culture and find a path to change with our keynote speakers.

And our Women in Fintech program brought together a highly engaged audience to explore the critical need for of diversity in financial services.

It was a jam-packed three days and the feedback was amazing – we look forward to returning to Berlin for more next year.

-Katie Gwynn-Williams, FinovateEurope 2020 Director

Catch the photos from FinovateEurope 2020 >>

Photos from FinovateEurope 2020

Commitment, FOMO, and Capital: How Smart Corporates Make Partnerships Work

Commitment, FOMO, and Capital: How Smart Corporates Make Partnerships Work
Photo by Haley Black from Pexels

With one startup for every 1,400 citizens, Israel may have the highest “innovation per capita” ratio of any country on Earth.

That makes it little surprise that Itai Green, founder and CEO of Innovate Israel, would be the one to help explain what corporates need to do in order to make the most out of their collaborations with startups at FinovateEurope in Berlin last month.

Green advocates an innovation model – open innovation – in which corporates leverage their local ecosystems to collaborate and partner with startups, entrepreneurs, universities – even customers and other corporates – in order to develop whatever products or services will allow it to grow and expand. This argues against the in-house innovation model, which many have found to be an insufficient way of driving major innovation due to factors ranging from a lack of internal incentives to inconsistent and/or unclear support from management.

Green made the case to our audience that open innovation provides the lowest risk and the greatest return on investment a company can ask for – if they do it right.

In his presentation at FinovateEurope this month, Green outlined the most important factors that businesses need to keep in mind when working with innovative companies in an open innovation context. He listed nine distinct “Tips for Corporates” – a few of the more compelling ones are highlighted below.

Commitment – A theme that was quite common at FinovateEurope in Berlin this year – that bringing tech-savvy diversity to a financial institution’s board of directors was a must – was echoed strongly by Green. He advocated that companies have at least one technology/innovation-oriented board member – though having three, he noted, was far better. Green said that this kind of board representation was increasingly common in Israel where he pointed out that boards of directors typically had 20% of their members under the age of 40. Compare this to the S&P 500, where the age of the average board member is above 60.

FOMO > NIH – Even among companies that have recognized the importance of digital transformation, there can be a reluctance by corporates to embrace non-native ideas. This “Not Invented Here” attitude can be especially harmful when working with innovative startups, who often arrive on the scene with a passion to, if not disrupt, then certainly make a clear difference for their partner and a strong representation of their technology.

Green argues that a “Fear of Missing Out” on the next big opportunity is a more healthy psychology for the corporate when working with a startup rather than any sense of injured pride at not having come up with the innovation on their own.

Show Startups the Money – Another highlight on Green’s list was the importance of paying for the work. This was a point that Steve Frook of Best of Show winner Horizn would underscore in his FinovateEurope presentation, Landing Your First Bank Customer, later that day. From Frook’s perspective, it was important that startups avoid the temptation to, essentially, work for free in an attempt to show their enthusiasm and eagerness to collaborate. Establishing a business relationship – even a modest one – was an important early step for startups to take, Frook suggested. Green, from the perspective of advising the corporate, concurred. Companies should come to collaborations with startups with a budget and be prepared to use it. Paying startups, Green explained, sends a positive, professional signal to the company and to the broader community of innovators and entrepreneurs, as well.

Founded in 2017, Innovate Israel helps partner global corporations with innovative entrepreneurs and startups in Israel to help them implement advanced technologies in their businesses.

RegTech, AI, and the Future of Digital Identity

RegTech, AI, and the Future of Digital Identity

My first introduction to Dave Birch, Director of Innovation and Global Ambassador at Consult Hyperion, was via his book Identity is the New Money, and a conversation we had at a Finovate event a few years ago. He is as synonymous with the issue of digital identity as any fintech analyst; his book Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin, is a fascinating history of the relationship between money and identity.

Birch sees digital identity not just as a way to create a safer, more efficient interconnected world. Instead, he sees digital identity – powered by technologies like artificial intelligence – as capable of restoring the power of relationships at a time of digital and social atomization. “Before we had the kind of urban anonymity of the industrial revolution,” he said, “things were based on relationships: whether I trusted you, whether I wanted to lend you money.”

“And we’ve scaled away from that, and had institutions become intermediaries. But with the new technologies, because we are connected all the time, in a weird kind of way we’re going back to that. In a way, those new connections are taking us back,” Birch explained.

Here are some of the top takeaways from my conversation with Dave Birch this year at FinovateEurope in Berlin.

On whether financial services professionals and regulators are on the same page with regard to the importance of digital identity.

Birch: A long time ago it was the theorists who said we’re going to have to do something about identity. And then a few years ago it was technologists like me who ran into the buffers and said we can’t make any more progress until we do something about identity. But now it’s people like Mark Carney, who is the governor of the Bank of England, saying we can’t make any progress without doing something about digital identity. So it’s gone up the agenda. But my point was that it’s not just technologists who are saying it. It is people who understand the financial system that are saying it. It’s become a priority. And, of course, because of my heritage, I feel that banks have a role to play in fixing the problem.

On why regtech may be the most critical subset of financial technology.

Birch: In terms of the goal, which is to reduce the cost of financial intermediation, it’s getting asymptotic. We’re getting as far as we can get. We’ve already cut the cost of transactions, increased the speed of transactions. We can’t get any further with fintech. The costs that are out of control are the regtech costs. It’s compliance, it’s Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) … If we really want to make an impact on costs, we’ve got to attack those costs … And if we really want to do something about that, then we have to start talking about artificial intelligence.

On how advances in digital identity will help build new communities of trust.

Birch: I like to look at what the social anthropologists say rather than what the technologists are saying. Those guys are very into this idea that we live in these clans with relationships. There’s something more human about that. I think that technology, basing identity on relationships, the reputations we establish in those relationships, that is more interconnected.

Nowadays we’re all in lots of overlapping communities of one kind or another. But the idea that our reputations can be forged in those communities, that the values that we share will lead us to form these communities, that the transactions we get involved in, the money that we use, will somehow reflect those values, to me that seems like a very positive vision of the future.

Watch the full, 12-minute interview on Finovate TV.

From SuperApps and AI to Financial Inclusion 3.0

From SuperApps and AI to Financial Inclusion 3.0

From the rise of the superapp to financial inclusion 3.0, the insights of our Fintech What’s Hot/What’s Not analysts at FinovateEurope last week continue to artfully disrupt our signature demo-only format.

Mixed in with live demonstrations of the latest innovations in payments and customer engagement (see our Best of Show coverage), our main stage analysts reminded us of the critical differences between machine learning and AI, the opportunities of 5G connectivity, and how open innovation helps companies maximize technological change.

Ratna Sita Handayani of Euromonitor International highlights the rapid growth of mobile payments in Asia.

Does the rise of the super app in Asia anticipate the future of apps in the West? Ratna Sita Handayani, Senior Research Manager with Euromonitor International, looked at the rapid growth in mobile payments in Asia, and the way that companies outside of traditional financial services such as ridesharing firm Grab have moved effectively into the payment space. Highlighting similar accomplishments from Japanese social media giant LINE and the continued rise of AliPay, Handayani considered how hyperlocalization and other strategies are helping these new offerings gain ground.

Promoting a “more autonomous, more distributed, and more ethical” fintech industry, Forrester VP and Research Director Oliwia Berdak encouraged innovators to move from thinking about the “next best product” to a value-for-value exchange in which interests align. Berdak compared many of the more limited fintech offerings of today with solutions such as smart contracts and even autonomous debt management that more fully take advantage of the latest technologies like advanced machine learning.

Berdak urges a move “from myopic and disoriented” to “more autonomous and more ethical” in fintech.

This is necessary in large part, Berdak suggested, to help manage the cognitive load of all the information that technology delivers in the first place. In other words, we need technology to “take the human” out of the technological equation we’ve created.

Tosin Agbabiaka, an Early Stage Investor with Octopus Ventures, leveraged his own experience – from frontier through the periphery to an increasingly divided developed world – to paint a vivid portrait of Financial Inclusion 3.0. Agbabiaka provided a deep, nuanced understanding of the challenges of developing countries like Nigeria in the 1990s where basic financial access was a principal obstacle to progress (Financial Inclusion 1.0). He then explained the difficulty periphery nations have when boom times stall and a lack of liquidity threatens to turn financial crises into catastrophe – like Greece in the late 2010s (Financial Inclusion 2.0).

A look at the challenges and opportunities on the periphery during Financial Inclusion 2.0

If the first stage of financial inclusion is about optimizing for basic access, and the second stage is about optimizing for quality and efficiency, as Agbabiaka indicated, the third stage of financial inclusion is about optimizing for affordability. This is the world we see in North America and Europe where the benefits of a digital, interconnected economy exist in abundance, but are harder for a growing number to obtain. These are places characterized by gig economics and alternative financing in response to low wages, funding challenges for micro- and small businesses, and the debt burden of higher education.

This is a critical challenge for fintech, Agbabiaka suggested, but it is not a challenge that needs to be pursued out of a sense of social good alone. Financial inclusion 3.0 represents the union of access, quality, affordability and, to coin a phrase used by another analyst above, aligns the interests of the frontier, the periphery, and the center when it comes to technological innovation. In this world, as Agbabiaka explained, “those served benefit as much as the newly-served.”

FinovateEurope Best of Show Winners Announced

FinovateEurope Best of Show Winners Announced

The votes are in and the people have spoken! Congratulations to the winners of Best of Show at FinovateEurope in Berlin, Germany!

Dorsum for its Communication HUB that provides real-time, private, banking customer engagement through automated notifications and instant human and AI chat possibilities. Video.

Glia for its digital customer service platform that connects financial institutions to their customers using chat, voice, video, cobrowsing, and AI. Video.

Horizn for its focus on equipping frontline employees and customers directly with the knowledge to improve customer experience and increase digital adoption. Video.

iProov for its solutions – used in production globally by governments and banks – that use biometrics to authenticate users online. Video.

Sonect for its easy-to-use and accessible for everyone, everywhere global platform for cash transactions. Video.

W.UP for its banking personalization platform that turns data into better banking. Video.

Thanks to all the demoing companies that took the time and effort to demonstrate their innovations live on stage. Thanks also the City of Berlin for being such a wonderful host for our first conference of the new year and new decade. We are already looking forward to returning in 2021!

Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The six companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2019 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017
FinovateMiddleEast 2018
FinovateEurope 2018
FinovateSpring 2018
FinovateFall 2018
FinovateAsia 2018
FinovateAfrica 2018
FinovateEurope 2019
FinovateSpring 2019
FinovateFall 2019
FinovateAsia 2019
FinovateMiddleEast 2019

Platformification in Financial Services and the Power of the Customer in the Age of AI

Platformification in Financial Services and the Power of the Customer in the Age of AI
Photo by Immortal shots from Pexels

Why is platformification an important development in financial services? And what will happen to financial services companies when financial decisions are made less by people, than by their trusted, AI-enabled personal assistants?

Answers to these questions were among the most compelling content on Day One at FinovateEurope this week. Our morning session, featured a pair of presenters, Nicolai Schattgen, founder and CEO of Match-Maker Ventures, and author and entrepreneur Steven Van Belleghem. Both speakers’ insights on platformification and the relationship between the customer and major enabling technologies like AI, respectively, were especially well-received by our FinovateEurope audience.

Opening his conversation on the role of the platform in financial services, Schattgen explained that platforms thrive in areas of low transparency and high transaction costs. He used the example of Airbnb, asking audience members to consider how Airbnb as a platform has helped revolutionize the industry of global online property rental. Calling this ability to transform opaque and expensive markets into accessible, consumer-friendly opportunities “the platform economy rules,” Schattgen implored the audience to understand that “the world will never be as slow as today” and that financial services companies and fintechs alike could receive “massive benefits” from the platform economy. 

The plan? Financial services companies must accept the shifting realities of their markets, including the preferences of customers. They must believe in what they do as innovators; as Schattgen put it, “you’ve got to be IN it.” This includes committing the appropriate amounts of both capital and mindshare from leadership. It is not something that can be effectively outsourced. Lastly, Schattgen encouraged partnerships, and praised the value of collaborations between “corporates” and “startups” to drive business value by combining leadership with innovation.

A little later in the day, a special address from Steven Van Belleghem was an entertaining and informative journey from the land of selfies, 4G, and Instagram to the precipice of a world driven by powerful enabling technologies like AI and machine learning, quantum computing, 5G, and robotics. Author of Customers The Day After Tomorrow, Belleghem discussed these technologies in the context of how they will change the relationship between customers and the products and services they buy – from the favorite and trusted brands to impulse purchases – once they are mature and widely distributed throughout the economy.

He refers to this future as B2A – business-to-assistant, as in virtual assistant, and asks the question of what companies will do to retain customers in a world in which customers rely on enabling technologies to either help them make purchasing decisions or to make those same purchasing decisions on their own.

In other words, Belleghem asks, what if the customer is no longer part of the decision flow? In much the same way that Facebook has become effective for its ability to filter information, Belleghem notes that algo-driven, B2A commerce will create product filters and digital shelves that are significantly more personalized and less diverse than brick-and-mortar shelves. The implications for brands of all kinds are significant.

Belleghem sees two possible futures as a result of this. In one future, mega platforms create centralized systems that serve as gatekeepers and distribution networks leveraging an AI-enabled understanding of consumers’ past and likely future buying preferences. In another future, customers access their preferred brands directly via a strong and user-friendly, automated interface. Belleghem he has no crystal ball to tell him which path is the one we are more likely to pursue as a society. Nevertheless, he recommends that businesses spend a significant amount of time on brand-building, and said understanding that managing a customer’s top three resources: time, money, and energy – and especially “time” – can be a gamechanger when it comes to determining which product or service is the one a customer will stick with over the long term.

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: ANNA

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: ANNA

A look at the companies demoing at FinovateFall on September 14-16, 2020. Register today and save your spot.

ANNA takes care of your banking and accounting while you get on with business.


  • ANNA’s tax and VAT accounting sorts your self-assessment and VAT returns
  • Costs only a fraction compared to a dedicated accountant

Why It’s Great
ANNA does your invoicing, sort expenses, keep accounts up-to-date and even submits your tax returns, saving you the time and hassle.


Vic Casambros, Digital Manager
Casambros has previous experience working in the Charities and Public Sector organisations. He specialises in analytics reporting, social media and digital engagement strategies. 

Boris Dyakonov, Co-Founder
Co-Founder at Tochka.com, knopka.com, and Anna. Dyakonov is an expert on financial services for entrepreneurs.

Finovate Launches New Gender Diversity Stream at FinovateEurope

Finovate Launches New Gender Diversity Stream at FinovateEurope

FinovateEurope is innovative for us in a number of ways. This will be the first time our fintech conference has been held in continental Europe after eight years of hosting our event in London. We are also launching our new Startup Booster program, which is designed to help give fintech startups the information, guidance, and support they need in order to more effectively build, pitch, and market their innovations.

FinovateEurope will also feature the debut of our Women in Fintech stream. Held on the afternoon and early evening of Wednesday, February 12, our Women in Fintech stream consists of presentations, keynotes, a panel discussion, and an end-of-day networking opportunity with refreshments hosted by European Women Payment Network (EWPN).

Here are some of the women who will be speaking as part of our Women in Fintech stream.

Isil Ugurlu

Country Ambassador, Germany, at the European Women Payments Network, Ugurlu is also Head of Payment at Berlin, Germany-based Elumeo group, a firm that produces and sells high-quality gemstone jewelry. She is responsible for the firm’s global payment infrastructure and processes, and the company’s global payment partner relations.

Theodora Lau

Founder at Unconventional Ventures, Lau is a speaker, writer, and innovator. Her focus is on developing and growing an ecosystem of financial institutions, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists to respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse consumer. She is a mentor to both fintech and healthtech startups, and supports a growing partnered portfolio.

Juliane Schmitz-Engels

Head of Communications at Mastercard for Germany and Switzerland and a host at Fintech Berlin, Schmitz-Engels is also a host at Fintech Berlin and a curator at FocusCamp. Previous to her work at Mastercard, Schmitz-Engels led communications and public relations at technology and finance companies in Berlin and Frankfurt. She studied at the Universitat Potsdam and the Institute for Law and Finance.

Also scheduled to participate in our Women in Fintech stream are:

  • Akira Sasaki
  • Ria Shetty
  • Sabrina Small
  • Weina Wang

For more on our FinovateEurope agenda, visit our FinovateEurope page. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Berlin!

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: SONECT

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: SONECT

A look at the companies demoing at FinovateFall on September 14-16, 2020. Register today and save your spot.

Sonect provides the largest ATM network in Switzerland and changes the way interaction happens with cash by allowing cash withdrawals anytime and anywhere with a smartphone.


  • Easy integration already included in several core banking systems
  • Offer customers a large network of ATMs
  • Internationally licensed with e-money institution (EMI)

Why It’s Great
Withdraw cash with your smartphone – anytime, anywhere.


Sandipan Chakraborty, CEO & Founder
Chakraborty is an ex-banker specializing in payments, core banking and regulatory compliance. He believes cash behaviour is changing and Sonect creates a path into the digital future.

Thai Nguyen, IT Project Manager
Nguyen assures the high-quality of all IT products (Android, iOS, web) to meet Sonect’s customer expectation in order to make cash easily accessible everywhere!

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: EcoTree

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: EcoTree

A look at the companies demoing at FinovateFall on September 14-16, 2020. Register today and save your spot.

EcoTree is a green investment revolution: in just a few clicks, and for as low as €18, anyone (firms or individuals) can now buy newly-planted trees from our forests in Europe.


  • Become a real tree-owner
  • Do the planet a favor by compensating your CO2 footprint
  • All while building a green asset that will gain financial value over time!

Why It’s Great
You too can own trees in a forest with EcoTree!


Marten Susebeek, Bus. Dev. Netherlands
In his previous role, Susebeek was CEO of a company that gets safe water to 125,000 people in Africa. After his exit, he joined EcoTree and now focuses on developing the Dutch market.