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Finding Fintech’s Future in Emerging Europe

Where is fintech innovation in Europe making the greatest strides? In recent years, more than a few observers have found themselves looking eastward when thinking about the future of European fintech.

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.

First, a tip of the hat to our CEE-headquartered alums:

And here’s a review of what Finovate alums – based in the CEE and around the world – have been up to in the region over the past year.

Albania

  • Albania’s Raiffeisen Bank Shqipëri partners with NF Innova to deploy digital self-service kiosks.

Azerbaijan

  • International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) to deploy technology from FICO to fight money laundering.

Austria

  • First Data goes live with Clover Mini and Clover Flex smart terminals in Germany and Austria.

The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

  • Estonia’s Cryperium Releases Crypto-Fiat Solution.
  • Coinbase adds six new European markets: Andorra, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Iceland, Isle of Man, and Lithuania.

Belarus

  • FICO to provide KYC and onboarding solutions for Belarus-based lender, Belgazprombank.

Bulgaria

  • Azimo extends service to ten countries including Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia.

Croatia

  • Azimo extends service to ten countries including Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia.

Czech Republic

  • Trulioo announces its ID verification services are now available in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • Silicon Republic features expense-tracking tool BudgetBakers, PFM solution Spendee, and financial services provider for the underserved, Twisto in its list of 10 Outstanding Start-ups from Prague to Watch.
  • EVO Payments to provide payment acceptance services for merchant customers of leading Czech bank, MONETA.

Hungary

  • Erste Bank Hungary readies for immediate payments and open banking era with ACI Worldwide.
  • OTP Bank in Hungary partners with ACI Worldwide to power its digital transformation.

Poland

  • Backbase powers omni-channel digital services for Poland’s BGŻ BNP Paribas bank.
  • Intelligent CIO looks at the merger of Polish fintechs, Braintri and iCompass.
  • Poland’s Braintri merges with iCompass.
  • Braintri awarded the Polish Innovation Award 2018 for its creation of Jiffee, a bluetooth-based mobile payment and loyalty technology, and Biffee, a core banking system offloading engine.
  • Efigence provides UI/UX design, development and implementation for new investment platform from Polish home equities broker, CDM Pekao.
  • Mastercard partners with Polish Payment Standard to provide contactless payments.
  • Efigence provides UI/UX design, development and implementation for new investment platform from Polish home equities broker, CDM Pekao.
  • Kontomatik appoints CEO Piotr Warsicki as its new CEO.
  • Revolut announces recruitment initiative in Kraków, Poland to hire 100 new workers in a single day employment in its offices in Eastern Europe.
  • Efigence powers concept, UX, and design for BGŻOptima Bank’s new portal.

Romania

  • Finastra opens new offices in Romania.
  • Payfone partners with Orange to fight identity fraud in four new global markets, including Poland and Romania.
  • Entrepreneur.com features Fintech OS in a discussion on fintech innovation in Romania.
  • Revolut hires former Lead Marketing Manager of Uber Romania, Irina Scarlat, as its new Country Manager for Revolt Romania.
  • Personetics Brings Cognitive Banking to Romania’s Banca Transilvania.
  • Romanian bank Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) launches accelerator program, Elevator Lab with five startups, Gauss Algorithmics, SONECT, 360kompany, Asteria, and Moxtra.
  • Azimo extends service to ten countries including Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia.

Slovakia

  • Trulioo announces its ID verification services are now available in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Slovenia

  • Open banking platform innovator Token announces that its technology has been implemented by Sberbank in Slovenia.

Ukraine

  • Ukraine’s Akhmetov Bank leverages Corezoid’s cloud-based operating system.
  • Fortytwo Data opens its first international office in Kiev, Ukraine.

Russian Federation

  • Sberbank introduces support for Google Pay.
  • Sberbank offers clients new strategies for investment life insurance.
  • Ingenico Group teams up with Russia’s Sberbank to enable MOIR card payments for online purchases.
  • Tinkoff Mobile extends service to seven additional areas of Russia including Smolensk and the Republic of Mordovia.
  • Tinkoff Bank launches its Tinkoff Mortgage mobile application for its mortgage customers and partners.
  • Tinkoff Bank launches Tinkoff Junior mobile app for children and teenagers.
  • Sberbank unveils its new Payment Schedules solution, enabling users to configure the interface of Sberbank Business Online into an event feed format.
  • Sberbank customers can now add “cash postcards” – automated images with sound – to their money transfers.
  • Sberbank to offer loans of up to RUB 300,000 without proof of income as part of new pilot program.
  • Tinkoff Bank offers access to more than 10,000 global securities via its Tinkoff Investments Premium solution.
  • Sberbank partners with 500 Startups to launch Russian fintech accelerator.
  • Sberbank becomes Founding Partner of World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity.
  • Sberbank and SAP team up to complete cloud-based digital transformation project.
  • Sberbank partners with systems integrator I-Teco to develop joint cloud platform, SberCloud.

Interested in learning more about fintech in Europe? Join us February 12 through 14 for FinovateEurope 2019 at London’s Tobacco Dock. Visit our registration page for more information.

Top Photo “Colorful Krakow Night. Cracow Old Town Main Market Square. Krakow, Poland”Designed by Welcomia