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Sunday, May 29, 2022
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What makes Nordic innovation special? We asked some of the most visionary thought leaders in fintech, what, in their view, makes Nordic innovation special.

Nordic Innovation is taking frontstage as the region continues to produce a streak of winning fintechs and unicorns that are redefining financial services across Northern Europe and the rest of the world.

We asked some of the most visionary thought leaders in fintech, what, in their view, makes Nordic innovation special.

TRUST IS THE CENTRAL CURRENCY…

By Andrea Kates, Partner at Suma Ventures

The Nordic region represents a set of values that addresses today’s central currency in Fintech: Trust. From a strictly transactional perspective, everyone can be a fintech company now. Payments are embedded into services; tech companies and retailers have entered the payments world. He who earns the trust of the customer through a consistent set of values earns permission to transact.
The Nordic region has been home to companies like Danish company Lunar, which has earned the trust of the gaming community and Dreams, a Swedish neobank that has earned the trust of small investors by creating an engaged community.

“Trust is the number one currency in today’s fintech ecosystem. The Nordics bring values to the table that set the standard for what customers need next in the world of fintech: Authentic commitment to trust, activation of sustainability, and distinction as a responsible orchestrator of innovation.”

Andrea Kates, Partner at Suma Ventures

Transparency Rules…

Financial transactions are increasingly interconnected on a global basis, and data transparency is the new standard. In today’s market, companies need to stand for fairness versus winner-take-all profit taking. Look at Wise’s stance on “extreme transparency”—and their emergence as a unicorn—as a driver of their growth.
Incumbents that need to reinvent can learn from the leadership priorities of companies like Saxo Bank, whose core commitment to psychological safety creates a Petri dish for broad participation in corporate innovation.

SUSTAINABILITY NEEDS ACTIVATION…

Nordics are ahead of the curve in not only talking about sustainability but living it. The last mile in sustainability comes through companies like Solstroem, a Danish company that enables carbon financing, Sweden’s Earthbanc and Normative —all dedicated to incorporating sustainable decisions into financial transactions, seamlessly.

RESPONSIBLE ECOSYSTEM ORCHESTRATORS ARE KEY…

Nordic companies have demonstrated their talents in bringing together technology, customers, and complementary players in refreshing and important ways.
The technologies at the core of fintech are evolving quickly, giving tech companies an advantage over incumbents in the design and implementation of global currency exchange options, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, innovations. Companies that enable many players to thrive by enabling the use of advanced technologies will win. Examples: Chainalysis’s platform for blockchain, Tink’s open banking platform, and Vipps’s seamless mobile payment application.

Recommended for you: Get your copy of the Nordic Fintech Magazine Spring Edition 2022

Nordic companies have proven themselves to be fair brokers in emerging markets, opening the door for more widespread participation in saving, credit, investment, flexible transactions, and commerce. Inclusion is the critical factor in truly solving the underlying priorities for a huge population of what has previously been called “the unbanked”—people who were not served by traditional financial institutions. Inspiring companies like Dreamplan, Pleo, and Holvi bring platforms, products and services that widen the net of the community that can participate.

The Nordics represent core values that are aligned with the principles that drive growth in fintech today. Nordic fintech companies are well positioned to not only serve existing customers with more flexible, transparent, and trustworthy options, but broaden and diversify the community of people who can take advantage of innovative services that are specifically invented to address unmet needs.

Aleksi Grym, Head of Fintech at the Bank of Finland

There are two things that stand out in the Nordics. There is a decades old vibrant tech scene, with great software companies and an atmosphere conducive to new tech-oriented businesses. The Nordics provide a very good environment to start up and test new companies and that setup for entrepreneurship has been there for a long time. In addition to that, the Nordics also have a very strong financial sector with strong old established banks that are very advanced in terms of digital transformation. We’ve had mobile banking and online banking for years, and the infrastructure that’s underpinning it is very strong. It is therefore a natural development that if you have a strong banking sector and a great tech scene that these two would come together.

Aleksi Grym, Head of Fintech at the Bank of Finland

Karina Rothoff Brix, Country Manager for Denmark at Firi

The Nordics are first of all very used to the paperless money society. By far most families in the Nordics are using digital payment solutions in their everyday life and therefore the testing of new products is far easier than in other parts of the world.To give an example, the use of the P2P transfer and payment service MobilePay is so widely used in Denmark that people use it to identify unknown phone numbers as well as for its intended services.
Other factors like our educational system, the mutual trust through the Scandinavian borders, in our governments and a collaborative mindset makes shifts and tests easier to implement.

Karina Rothoff Brix, Country Manager for Denmark at Firi

Furthermore the size of the regions is an important factor as the Nordic population in total is no more than 30 mill people which is said to enable a closer collaboration between institutions and the corporate sector.
Last but not least is the history of creating tech successes and enabling young university students to create start-ups and test out ideas at an early stage. The ecosystem in the Nordics is well defined and the existence of a local huge tech success creates both a lot of knowledge pools, access to finance and role models.

Recommended for you: Get your copy of the Nordic Fintech Magazine Spring Edition 2022

Tom Holgerson, CEO at Findec- Swedens Fintech Hub

I think the Nordics stand out compared to the rest of the world when it comes to the environment and sustainable solutions. Especially Sweden which has the highest number of investments in green fintech and impact solutions across Europe. I believe this is just the beginning of something that will have a global reach and a significant influence on all of mankind.”

Tom Holgerson, CEO at Findec- Swedens Fintech Hub

Liv Freihow, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at NBX

There is something about the Nordics that makes it a magic origin for technology and finance. While social platforms have been developed and led from the USA, the Nordic countries are home to some of the leading fintech solutions in the world. As longtime cashless societies, Scandis have been quick to develop and adopt new digital financial products. The combination of a booming entrepreneurial ecosystem, small, trust-based markets and a digitally savvy population makes us perfectly situated to take lead in designing and adopting the new generation of crypto-based services as well. From crypto exchanges, to web 3 gaming, to crypto analytics – some of the main players in crypto are spinning out of the Nordics these days. This attracts both capital and talent to our region – strengthening the ecosystem even further.

Liv Freihow, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at NBX
Ditte Dyhr
Ditte Dyhrhttps://nordicfintechmagazine.com/
Ditte is the Co-founder of Nordic Fintech Magazine and head of Product.
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