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Pioneering a New Era: Unstoppable Forces Reshaping Finance in the Nordics and Baltics

2023 has kept our team on its toes, as we’ve raced across the fastest growing fintech ecosystems in the Nordics, delivered keynotes, and forged media partnerships.

With a nonstop stream of innovation in fintech, insuretech, regtech, and wealthtech, our journalists, content creators, and editor-in-chief have been firing on all cylinders to bring you the boldest thinking from the Nordics and Baltics in the summer edition of our Magazine.

Looking back at the first half of this year, it’s been a non-stop stream of activity for Nordic Fintech Magazine. We’ve done keynotes and panels at some of the most exciting events in the Baltic countries, and have started partnerships with several of the most visionary organizations in the industry. In this issue we will tell you all about it!

First, let’s talk about Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. We were lucky enough to visit twice, once for Fintech Day, masterfully organized by Rockit, and secondly as guest speakers at the Lithuanian Davos conference. The energy and enthusiasm at these events were palpable, and it was clear that something truly special is in the making.

The new Nordics

Our trips to Riga, the capital of Latvia, were equally exciting. On our first visit, we had the opportunity to meet some of the most exciting proponents of fintech in the country, from entrepreneurs to policymakers, who are all working to build a thriving ecosystem for fintech innovation. The second visit was even more exciting, as we were invited as exclusive media partners to ECOM’21, an event unique in its class, bringing together fintech and Ecommerce. There we met with some of the entities and organizations rallying people and policy makers to accelerate the expansion of fintech in the region and to further blurry the boundaries between fintech and other adjacent industries like ecommerce and mobility. The passion and dedication of these individuals is truly inspiring, and it’s clear that their ambitions and grit is the catalyst driving the growth of fintech in the Baltics.

Recommended for you: Get your copy of the Nordic Fintech Magazine Summer Edition 2023

What’s truly remarkable about these New Nordic countries, as they are often referred to, is that they embody the best attributes of startup companies themselves. They are agile, innovative, fast, ambitious, and extremely talented. Their recent history and the fact that they were reborn in the 90s have given these three nations an unprecedented impetus that is catapulting them into Fintech stardom.

Estonia, for example, has 10 unicorns, or one for every 130,000 people, while Lithuania is the largest fintech hub in Europe by the number of issued licenses and Latvia ranks among the top 10 countries with the highest number of fintechs per capita. This powerful combination of skills, strong focus on STEM, young minds, and collaborative ecosystems is bringing together regulators, academia, central banks, corporates, and entrepreneurs to supercharge the development of their ecosystem. It’s inspiring to say the least, to see how the fintech community in these countries is co-creating an ecosystem that nourishes innovation, growth, and collaboration.

Fintech Deep Dives

But as we all know, fintech is one of the most regulated industries and with good reason. In this issue we have also continued to explore how practitioners in AML and Financial Crime prevention are waging a war against highly sophisticated criminals who operate at the bleeding edge of technology to find new ways to exploit system loopholes and generate profits from illicit activities. Thankfully, AI, machine learning, and a whole lot of inventiveness are resulting in a flurry of new value propositions coming to market by companies that are emboldening their capabilities with strong technical expertise, knowledge of financial markets, criminology, psychology, and deep knowledge from the trenches in the field, from regulators, controllers, and central bankers.

Recommended for you: Get your copy of the Nordic Fintech Magazine Summer Edition 2023

Unfortunately, the conditions in the market are changing. The slowdown in investment, as well as the failure of banks like Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and Credit Suisse, are creating an increasingly difficult scenario for fintech startups. It’s narrowing the funnel that once provided bountiful fuel for these organizations to realize their value propositions. This new reality means that those companies determined to expand their list of features and functionalities will have to turn on a dime to show profitability. Markets across Europe are prepping themselves for increased activities in mergers and acquisitions and investors are withholding their bets only for those companies who can really show solid plans to profitable growth.

The bold thinking

Nevertheless, we are as excited as ever for the future of fintech. The passion, dedication, and hard work of the individuals driving the growth of fintech in the Nordic and Baltic markets is a testament to the fact that innovation and collaboration can overcome any obstacle. And we are certain the current challenges will result in a more mature and stable market, poised to accelerate the emergence of a fairer more reliable and resilient financial system.

With some fabulously inspiring Fintech events and gatherings behind us and with the return of Nordic Fintech Week, in September, we can’t wait to see the new directions the industry is taking as founders and innovators pioneer new tools, technologies, and business models. We’ll be here every step of the way, covering and celebrating the heroes transforming our industry, one innovation at a time. Join us, and if you can, avoid blinking else you may miss the birth of the next amazing thing that changes how you experience finance forever.

Chris Crespo
Chris Crespo
Chris is a Founding Partner and Chief Editor at Nordic Fintech Magazine, where he simplifies complex financial ideas into easy-to-understand content. With nearly 20 years of experience in management consulting and financial services, including leadership roles with some of Europe's largest banks, he offers profound industry insights. Previously serving as the Chief Futurist at the largest bank in the Nordics, Chris has sharp views on the Future of Financial Services, Money, Disruption, and Ethical AI in Finance. He is also a guest lecturer at Stanford University, Singularity University and Copenhagen Business School, where he frequently discusses the future of Money, Finance, and Entrepreneurship in Financial Services. As a Behavioral Economist, Chris is passionate about studying how human behavior and decision-making relate to risk. He also delves into the connections between psychology, leadership, and technology within financial services.