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Nordic Fintech Week 2023: Day Two Highlights

Day Two of Nordic Fintech Week 2023 began with a bang as investors huddled in an invitation-only breakfast on the Fintech balcony, and payment professionals streamed down the spiralling stone staircase to the Fintech Underground for a networking breakfast hosted by 

Lunar’s Chief Revenue Officer, Anne Marie Kindberg, delivered the opening keynote on the main stage, and revealed—for the first time—Lunar’s AI-powered chatbot, which will officially launch “soon.”

She also emphasised Lunar’s attention to the user experience. “We’re obsessed with our users,” she said, echoing statements from multiple other fintechs both yesterday and today. The message is clear: If you want to succeed in this space, create an amazing product that puts the user first. Always. 

CEO of Flint, Taylor Ryan, gave a whirlwind review of blockchain and Web3 at the Founders Stage, taking the audience all the way back to the Wild West days of ICOs, through the NFT craze, and to where we are now. 

He explained the topic in a way “that my dad would understand,” and gave a simple, actionable tip for any company interested in getting into the space: “There are endless opportunities when entering this space. You have to dig in and find what you want to build, and then do it.”

Back on the main stage, the Danish Minister for Digital Government and Gender Equality in Denmark, Marie Bjerre, clarified that regulations should never stifle innovation. She also thanked those fintechs who’ve gone the extra mile regarding compliance, treating it as more than a box to check, but rather as an social responsibility. 

Meanwhile, attendees crowded onto tables and the meeting spaces, working on laptops, and networking next to the NFM interview booth, where NFM co-founder Chris Crespo interviewed guests under the studio lights. 

In the hall next door, past the packed “mute boxes” where attendees conducted video calls in soundproof booths, Jyske Bank TV conducted its own video interviews right next to the Startup Stage, where Nordic startups pitched potential investors. 

At the Nordic Studio Stage, panellists from Indó, Reality+, Starling Bank, and Tango discussed how marketing has changed, and what fintechs need to do to market irresistible products. 

One of the most well-attended keynotes happened on the main stage as Froda, Lunar, and Visa dived into the innovative SME lending solution they unveiled earlier this year. 

Another SME-focused platform that captivated the crowd was when Futurist Christiane Vejlø interviewed Michael Hurup Andersen, founder and CEO of Kompasbank. 

“We took an old-fashioned, reliable, and extremely profitable way of making money, and did it in a new way,” Andersen said, describing Kompasbank’s success. “The question was how to take that old model and provide it at a much lower cost, and extremely fast. I think that’s where we succeeded: Speed for SMEs.”

Rebel Marketing for Success—Fintech’s “Zebra” Problem 

Richard Rozins, Pinterest Sales Lead at Aleph Holding, gave one of the most memorable talks of the event, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he began his career as a professional basketball player. Rather, extensive experience in working with over 45 platforms and with more than 1,700 clients spoke for itself. 

Rozins described the fintech marketing challenge by comparing it to a zebra: “A zebra looks unique on its own. But, in a crowd, it blends in and is unremarkable,” he said. “Congratulations, you’re a zebra in the zebra business.”

He showed a collage slide of zebras for 1.6 seconds, the exact amount of time you have to capture someone’s attention depending on the generation you’re targeting. The three images people remembered in that collage were:

  • A red zebra.
  • A “cartoonified” zebra. 
  • A luxury car.

On closer inspection, he pointed out that the other images of zebras had errors, such as additional legs, but no one noticed those. “Think of those legs as your product’s features,” he said. “No one is going to notice them. You have to find a way to make those features stand out.”

No fixed formula exists for which creatives work best on Digital Media advertising. Fintechs should currently “test and trial,” although he did mention that the video format remains king on most platforms, and lo-fi videos tend to be performing better. In some cases, images outperform videos when that image is surrounded by videos—because it’s different. 

Singapore Closed-Room Discussion

A neon red and white sign, modelled to look like the UK’s sign for the London Underground, hung above a door, lit up brightly with the words “Fintech Underground.”

The door opened up on a spiral staircase with metal railings that led down to a small, intimate room with a large white table in the centre, and two couches behind it. 

The room filled up to standing-room-only for an intimate discussion with Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, of how and why Singapore’s fintech festival has grown to become the largest in the world. And why Nordic fintechs might want to consider Singapore in their strategies. 

He told the story of how the festival—which today counts over 70,000 attendees—started out as a seminar intended for only 200 people. 

“I’m telling you this story to illustrate how, in fintech, things can happen very quickly beyond your control,” Mohanty said. 

For those in attendance, the full story with every detail is one not to be forgotten. To summarise it here: 200 registrations had grown to 1,000, which organisers felt was too much for this small “seminar,” but  they agreed to let it go as high as 3,000. When Mohanty was told to close off website registrations, he left them open for just half a day more because the U.S. elections were on. “And no one is going to sign up while they wait for the election results,” he said. 

By the end of that day, however, the number had exploded to 7,000, surprising him and the organisers completely.

The event has since become a model for the rest of the world. “We learned that, when you bring people together, ideas happen,” he said. 

Mohanty then fielded questions about the Singapore scene. He also pointed out that banks spend, globally, between $700 billion and $800 billion on tech. “Imagine if that all went to fintechs,” he said. 

Fireside chats, giveaways, and the afterparty

It’s impossible to cover it all—the fireside chats, networking conversations, giveaways such as Lucinity bags, power banks from Telesign, notebooks from FIS, and delicious sweet things from Enfuce. 

For those who were there, it will be remembered for at least one of three things: 

  1. An immense springboard of opportunities and connections whose results will stretch on for years. 
  2. An enlightening, massively informative event, filling gaps across every aspect of fintech. 
  3. And, finally, an exceptionally warm gathering of like-minded people who are driven to create things for a better world. Bringing those people together means new friendships, need ideas, and unforgettable memories. 

As we wrap up the afterparty with smiles and celebrations, we start the countdown to Nordic Fintech 2024—which is already less than 12 months away. 

See you there.

R. Paulo Delgado
R. Paulo Delgado
R. Paulo Delgado is a freelance writer and ghostwriter specialising in finance, investment, fintech, crypto, business, entrepreneurship, and technology. He was a computer programmer for 17 years, with particular focus on the finance industry, until he switched roles and followed his passion to become a full-time writer. Since then, his business articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Moneyweb, Business Insider, and Forbes Councils. His clients have included representatives of CNN, the World Trade Center Gibraltar, and numerous tech startups across the globe.
Fintech Events in the Nordics 2024