In a recent webinar from The Nordic Fintech Alliance, industry experts gathered to discuss trends and developments in each of the Nordic countries, before taking a deeper dive into the Danish ecosystem.
Hosted by Copenhagen FinTech, the panellists discussed some of the key themes affecting the industry. Read on for our summary of the key insights shared during the session.
- Thomas Krogh Jensen, CEO, Copenhagen Fintech
- Gunnlaugur Jonsson, Founder and CEO of the Icelandic Fintech Cluster
- Atle Sivertsen, CEO, NCE Finance Innovation
- Tom Holgersson, CEO, Findec
- Kristoffer Hammer, EU Advisor at NCE Finance Innovation and Media City Bergen
- Janne Salminen, CEO, Helsinki Fintech Farm
- Johan Lorenzen, Fintech entrepreneur, Founder, Board and Investor
- Christine Loft Hunderup, Head of Digital, Velliv
- Jakob Grue Simonsen, Department Chair at Copenhagen University (Leader of Computer Science Department)
- Rune Mai, CEO & Co-founder at Aiia, a Mastercard company
Naturally, there were some common themes emerging across countries, from increased M&A activity as a means to getting the right capabilities and technologies, to the issues arising from blending new tech with outdated legacy systems. Healthy levels of FinTech funding were reported throughout the Nordics.
Denmark’s FinTech industry
Thomas Krogh Jensen, CEO of Copenhagen Fintech, opened his presentation with the positive news of 2021 being a great year for Danish FinTech investment, and noted that, like other countries, the 80-20 rule is true for Denmark too, with roughly 80% of these funds coming from foreign investors.
Thomas also spoke about the rise of enterprises across industries embedding financial services towards their customer base. Another key trend he highlighted was SME digitalisation, and how FinTechs are increasingly targeting SMEs.
Speaking from an investor perspective, Johan Lorenzen, FinTech Founder, Board, and Investor, echoed Thomas’s’s thoughts on the Danish ecosystem, noting that this has become extremely large.
AI was another key theme for Denmark, with Jakob Grue Simonsen, Department Chair at Copenhagen University discussing the ways in which AI will change the financial system, from fraud detection and optimised business processes, to enhancing recommended systems and algorithmic trading. However, he notes it’s not without its challenges.
Jakob listed the following factors as those he predicts will become increasingly important considerations for FinTechs working with AI:
- Ethics and bias
- Trustworthiness and expandability
- Security and privacy
- Social inclusiveness
- Correlation and causality
Other key themes in Nordic FinTech
Across the Nordic region in general, there has been a larger focus on digital behaviour due to the pandemic, but each country also had their own observations on some of the main themes:
FinTech funding and growth
Investment was a key topic of the webinar, with most countries reporting an increase. Kristoffer Hammer, EU Advisor at NCE Finance Innovation and Media City Bergen, revealed that there are currently 210 FinTechs in Norway, and a number of these have recently revealed significant investment. As a result, many are on a high recruitment drive.
In Finland, Janne Salminen, CEO of Helsinki Fintech Farm shared news of a record breaking funding year.
Over in Sweden, Tom Holgersson, CEO of Findec said that SME FinTechs have plans to expand overseas, mainly to the UK and Germany, but also to South America and Asia Pacific.
Challenger banks and disruptors
Janne explained to guests that Finland hadn’t really experienced challenger banks until last year, when the likes of SweepBank, SaldoFinance, and Fellow Bank entered the scene.
Janne noted that Finland still has extremely low margins in banking.
In Norway, Kristoffer revealed that sustainability has been a key theme, while Tom explained that in Sweden, there is a continued development of green FinTech.