11 SEPTEMBER 2019

HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL, WARSAW

EU eyes Fintech for Global Euro dominance!

New pan-European payment instruments, including solutions based on emerging technologies in the financial sector or FinTech, are a part of the European Commission’s plan to boost the euro’s standing in international markets.

EU officials told EURACTIV that it is no easy task to break the US dollar’s dominance, as Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged in September during his State of the EU speech.

Juncker to propose breaking dollar’s dominance in global markets
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to propose today (12 September) a bigger role for the euro in international markets and more efficient decision-making in EU foreign policy in his state of the union speech, European diplomats said.

Plans to boost the euro’s profile at international level will be released in December, just as the single currency prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

One of the options being put on the table by the EU executive is promoting the euro as an international payment currency.

In that context, the Commission is considering developing new pan-European payment instruments based on the infrastructure of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

SEPA simplifies bank transfers denominated in euro, and improves efficiency in cross-border payments.

As part of the new solutions, officials are looking at the opportunities provided by FinTech, although they did not disclose further details as the plans are still under discussion.

The Commission is looking for incentives in order to convince more market players to use the euro and countries to hold its reserves in the European currency.

Part of this charm offensive also includes the promotion of the euro as a stable currency.

Draghi ‘confident’ about a deal on Italian budget
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi expressed his confidence on Thursday (25 October) about the likelihood of an agreement between the European Commission and the Italian government over Rome’s spending plan for next year.

But this attempt comes as Italy, the third-largest eurozone economy, is unnerving financial markets with its budgetary spat with the EU.

In order to increase the monetary union’s resilience and to increase its attractiveness for investors, sources stressed the importance of completing the capital markets union, as well as the banking union and taking steps toward a fiscal union.

Juncker referred to the geopolitical risks and the ongoing global trade dispute when he made his proposal in September.

He mentioned that 80% of EU’s energy imports are paid in dollars, despite only 2% of them come from the US.

EU official: Europe must send signal that it protects its ‘own economic interests’
The EU leaders need to send a message to the rest of the world that Europe will look after “its own economic interests”, an EU official told EURACTIV.com ahead of an informal EU summit in Sofia, overshadowed by the US threat to hit EU companies operating in Iran with sanctions.

However, the biggest gap between the dollar and the euro is registered as reserve currency, not in international transactions. The trade war could be a turning point, experts said.

“If Europe knows how to manoeuvre, the trade war could represent a great opportunity for the euro,” Alicia García-Herrero, senior fellow at the Bruegel think-tank, told this website.

According to the latest figures, Russia, China and Turkey are all reducing their acquisitions of dollars.

“We are looking at whether this is a coordinated move and if someone else is buying them,” she explained.

EU eyes Fintech for Global Euro dominance!

New pan-European payment instruments, including solutions based on emerging technologies in the financial sector or FinTech, are a part of the European Commission’s plan to boost the euro’s standing in international markets.

EU officials told EURACTIV that it is no easy task to break the US dollar’s dominance, as Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged in September during his State of the EU speech.

Juncker to propose breaking dollar’s dominance in global markets
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to propose today (12 September) a bigger role for the euro in international markets and more efficient decision-making in EU foreign policy in his state of the union speech, European diplomats said.

Plans to boost the euro’s profile at international level will be released in December, just as the single currency prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

One of the options being put on the table by the EU executive is promoting the euro as an international payment currency.

In that context, the Commission is considering developing new pan-European payment instruments based on the infrastructure of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

SEPA simplifies bank transfers denominated in euro, and improves efficiency in cross-border payments.

As part of the new solutions, officials are looking at the opportunities provided by FinTech, although they did not disclose further details as the plans are still under discussion.

The Commission is looking for incentives in order to convince more market players to use the euro and countries to hold its reserves in the European currency.

Part of this charm offensive also includes the promotion of the euro as a stable currency.

Draghi ‘confident’ about a deal on Italian budget
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi expressed his confidence on Thursday (25 October) about the likelihood of an agreement between the European Commission and the Italian government over Rome’s spending plan for next year.

But this attempt comes as Italy, the third-largest eurozone economy, is unnerving financial markets with its budgetary spat with the EU.

In order to increase the monetary union’s resilience and to increase its attractiveness for investors, sources stressed the importance of completing the capital markets union, as well as the banking union and taking steps toward a fiscal union.

Juncker referred to the geopolitical risks and the ongoing global trade dispute when he made his proposal in September.

He mentioned that 80% of EU’s energy imports are paid in dollars, despite only 2% of them come from the US.

EU official: Europe must send signal that it protects its ‘own economic interests’
The EU leaders need to send a message to the rest of the world that Europe will look after “its own economic interests”, an EU official told EURACTIV.com ahead of an informal EU summit in Sofia, overshadowed by the US threat to hit EU companies operating in Iran with sanctions.

However, the biggest gap between the dollar and the euro is registered as reserve currency, not in international transactions. The trade war could be a turning point, experts said.

“If Europe knows how to manoeuvre, the trade war could represent a great opportunity for the euro,” Alicia García-Herrero, senior fellow at the Bruegel think-tank, told this website.

According to the latest figures, Russia, China and Turkey are all reducing their acquisitions of dollars.

“We are looking at whether this is a coordinated move and if someone else is buying them,” she explained.

Lithuania the newest EU Fintech Hotspot!

China’s rapid economic expansion across the globe has been well documented. From Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge this month to invest a further $60 billion in Africa to the construction of a previously unimaginable deepwater port in Gwadar, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, not to mention the propping up beleaguered Latin American economies with tens of billion dollars’ worth of loans — analysts have gone as far as to label our current age as the Chinese Century.

Much less, however, has been written about Chinese involvement in Europe but this is not to say it is a region outside of the interest of The Red Dragon.

Just last week Prague featured as the venue for a key China Investment Forum, chaired by the President of Czechia, Miloš Zeman. The event was not only attended by roughly 100 guests from Czechia but also 150 delegates from other Central and Eastern European countries plus 250 representatives from China itself. Whilst potential future investment within more traditional industries such as energy, transportation and infrastructure was on the agenda, fintech was the emergent sector which dominated discussions.

In particular, the Lithuanian delegation led by Marius Jurgilas, a board member at the Bank of Lithuania, made headlines after proclaiming that it was increasingly ready to welcome Chinese fintech firms and act as a gateway for access across not only the rest of Central and Eastern Europe but also the European Union.

“We have already established close ties with Asian authorities regarding maintaining regulatory flexibility and are building bridges for fintech businesses in the region,” Jurgilas said. “Banks, electronic money and payment institutions can all gain easy access to Europe’s fast-paced payments market via infrastructure provided and maintained by the Bank of Lithuania.”

Collaboration between the Bank of Lithuania and the Chinese sector is certainly not new with the bank signing a co-operation agreement with the China Banking Regulatory Commission in 2015. Since then, the Bank of Lithuania has already issued four electronic money institution licenses and one payment institution license to Chinese companies. Jurgilas also revealed that there are a further ten Chinese companies looking to join the bank’s central payment system Centrolink. In addition, Lithuania is constructing a fintech coordination center for the 16+1 organization in Vilnius and plans to hold a fintech conference in the city in October 2019.

The Chinese embrace of Lithuania as a key European fintech market is certainly no anomaly, however, with the country having long-established itself as a fintech superpower.

According to the Lithuania Fintech Report 2017, a total of 117 fintech firms were operating in the country employing over 2,000 people — a rapid increase from 45 companies in 2013. A report produced by local consultancy firm Versli Lietuva, revealed that the Baltic state saw a 305% increase in ICO investment over the past 18 months, with up to $570 million raised. The same report also detailed that cryptocurrency transfers involving Lithuanian firms reached a whopping $762 million between 2017 and 2018. Major companies including IBM IBM -1.31%AIG, Western Union WU -1.73% and Nasdaq have established a presence in the country, alongside tech giants like Google and domestic success stories such as CoinGate, Debifo and Bankera — which raised $100 million in its initial ICO in Lithuania earlier this year.

Lithuania already ranks tenth in Europe in the Index of Economic Freedom, the World Bank judged it to be the 16th out of 191 countries globally in its Doing Business Index 2018 while the country also finished 41st in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.

For many in the country, however, this is just the beginning as Brexit is set to bring a wealth of opportunities to the Baltic nation. United Kingdom-headquartered start-up Revolut has already announced that it has set up a subsidiary office in the country to combat the UK leaving the EU.

“I cannot deny that,” said Jurgilas, when he was recently asked if Lithuania saw Brexit as an opportunity.

“We are not saying that we will be attracting top firms from the fintech hub of the world, which is and always will be London, to the new booming financial sector in Lithuania, no,” he said. “But there is a huge flow of firms — and we want to participate in that flow — who want to hedge the risk of Brexit.”

So, why is Lithuania such a booming fintech hub and why are globally renowned firms increasingly choosing to headquarter there?

Favorable Regulatory Environment

The explosion in the number of fintechs choosing Lithuania as their new hub can be attributed to the creation of a regulatory sandbox by the Bank of Lithuania, with submissions to enter having opened on October 15. Available to both existing authorized financial institutions and start-ups, the sandbox aims to provide a platform for firms to test innovation before bringing a product to market, ensuring no crucial errors when it falls into the hands of consumers.

In addition to this, fintech firms are not subject to regulatory sanctions within the first year of operating within the country while remote video Know Your Customer (KYC) rules are in place which allows firms not based within Lithuania to open an account in the country without maintaining a physical presence there.

Government Policy

Lithuania’s government under progressive and euro-centric President Dalia Grybauskaitė has also sought to introduce new laws and tax relief to the benefit of start-ups. Its corporate tax rate is the third-lowest in the EU and its personal income tax rate is the second-lowest in the union, while start-ups are able to obtain an e-money or payment license in just three months, the quickest in the EU. Furthermore, its initial capital requirements for “lite” bank licenses — for challenger banks — are five times smaller than in other EU countries and can be obtained in just six months, ideal for start-ups. Even for more traditional, established banks, the country currently only demands a $1.14 million investment — again, the smallest in the EU in order to encourage financial houses to relocate.

Lithuania has the quickest internet speed in the whole of the world, according to a study by telecommunications company Ooma

Lithuania’s government has also set aside $750 million in funding through organizations such as Enterprise Lithuania and the MITA Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology for start-ups. In the previous six years alone, MITA has helped to establish over 100 start-ups in the country through its “R&D Commercialization Program” which has provided grants for firms of up to $22,300 and helped to foster innovation across the country.

Lastly, Grybauskaitė’s government has recently approved a “Startup Visa” for entrepreneurs to ensure that relocation to the country from outside the EU is as easy as possible. More established firms can apply for the EU Blue Card program to obtain residency for highly-skilled non-EU citizens.

Talent Pool

Lithuania is also home to an extremely tech-savvy workforce, with 31,500 IT professionals in a country of just 2.9 million people. Out of these individuals, the level of English language proficiency is at 84%, ideal for start-ups looking for a hub with which to launch a product across the continent.

Furthermore, the country is ranked as the eight best in the entire world by Bloomberg for the percentage of graduates enrolled in higher education, with a large number of students undertaking “innovation degrees” in subjects such as science, mathematics or computing, thus meaning that the country has a ready-made workforce suited to the needs of many incoming foreign fintech firms.

“After my first visit to Vilnius I just felt that this city is a small version of Silicon Valley and this was absolutely unexpected,” chimes Jared Isaacman, the CEO of Harbortouch, the touchscreen point-of-sale (POS) system firm that has opened an office in Lithuania’s capital. “The city, its infrastructure, the prevalence of technology made an impression on me,” Isaacman continued.

While even the greatest Lithuanian fintech advocate may concede that its capital has some way to go before it rivals the Californian behemoth of Silicon Valley, it certainly is an advantageous location to base a start-up if a firm is looking to operate across Europe.

The Mercer Cost of Living Index found that it is one of the five least expensive cities in the EU and average office space in Vilnius is only $17.14 per sq/m. When compared to $26.28 in Berlin, $34.27 in Amsterdam, $47.98 in Stockholm and $153.09 in Central London, it is not difficult to understand why a start-up may look favorably upon the city. The city also has the fastest public Wi-Fi connection in the entire world for both average upload and download speeds, according to a study by telecommunications company Ooma.

Lithuania to position itself as China’s EU Fintech Gateway!

Lithuania is ready to welcome Chinese FinTech companies and serve as a gateway providing access to CEE and EU markets!

Marius Jurgilas, a board member at the Bank of Lithuania, presented Lithuania’s experience and future plans in the field of FinTech at a key China Investment Forum held in Prague in mid-October.

“We have already established close ties with Asian authorities regarding maintaining regulatory flexibility, and are building bridges for FinTech businesses in the region,” said Mr Jurgilas. “Banks, electronic money and payment institutions can all gain easy access to Europe’s fast-paced payments market via infrastructure provided and maintained by the Bank of Lithuania.”

According to Mr Jurgilas, Lithuania is boosting its international standing as a FinTech-friendly jurisdiction by developing a FinTech coordination centre of the 16+1 framework in the country’s capital Vilnius.

In addition, the country is organising a high-level FinTech conference to be held in Vilnius in October 2019.

To date, the Bank of Lithuania has already issued four Chinese companies with electronic money institution licences and one payment institution licence. There are also an addition 10 companies looking to join the bank’s central payment system Centrolink.

In particular, Mr Jurgilas highlighted the quick authorisation process and broad choice of business models, ranging from electronic money or payment institutions to specialised banks, as some of the key elements of Lithuania’s FinTech regulatory regime.

Cultivating a FinTech-conducive regulatory and supervisory ecosystem and fostering innovations in the financial sector is part of the bank’s key strategic goals for up to and including 2020. The bank and local authorities in Lithuania are working hard to create an environment that would attract new FinTech companies and encourage them to innovate in Lithuania.

The 16+1 framework is a Chinese initiative aimed at expanding China’s cooperation with 16 countries in emerging Europe: 11 EU member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) as well as five countries in the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), in the fields of transport, investment, finance, agriculture, healthcare, education and culture.

Romanian Startup bags a place in Microsoft accelerator in London!

Romanian fintech start-up FintechOS was accepted into the Microsoft accelerator program in London.

FintechOS is also the first Romanian start-up that joins the Microsoft UK accelerator, after having passed a complex registration and selection process.

As a result, the FintechOS platform will be listed in the global Microsoft marketplace, visible to a network of over 40,000 partners selling and implementing Microsoft technologies. It will also get mentorship on developing sales channels, personalized marketing programs and access to financial events as well as the newest Microsoft tools.

Joining this accelerator program is part of the company’s strategy to develop internationally and access the US and UK markets within the next two years.

FintechOS aims to help financial-banking institutions accelerate their digital transformation. The start-up is managed by Romanian entrepreneur Teodor Blidarus, one of its cofounders.

linkedin.com/in/teodor-blidarus-ba05367

fintechos.com

Polish Fintech joins large loan syndication platform!

Poland-based vendor finance fintech LeaseLink has joined Mintos, a loan syndication platform which this year also saw the onboarding of British lessor 1pm.

The fintech, part of the Pragma Faktoring group, offers leasing both directly through its website and in partnership with B2C and B2B merchants. It claims a portfolio of PLN 55m (€12.8m, £11.2m).

Applications for leases are made online and approved within 15 minutes. The fintech’s technology has also been licenced to banks including the Polish units of ING and Raiffeisen.

By tapping into Mintos’s 50,000-strong retail investor base, LeaseLink will be able to put loans up for syndication among retail investors, for up to 90% of the loans’ value. Loans will be listed both in Euros and Polish Zloty, and all listings will be covered by a buyback agreement in case of a delinquency of 60 days or more.

Wojciech Kazimierski, chief executive of LeaseLink, said: “Through our online channels, we offer Polish entrepreneurs a customised service for financing the purchase of fixed assets needed to develop their businesses. We are particularly proud of our business model and how it continues to gain market traction.

“In addition to customers who use our services, we are proud that we have merchants and partners which offer our services to their clients in parallel with their sales processes.”

The agreement with Mintos – whose panel of originators includes retail and commercial loan providers from across Europe and Central Asia – essentially allows lenders to spread risk from their balance sheets in order to free up more lending capacity. The majority of originators on the site provide buyback guarantees.

In February, British lessor 1pm also joined Mintos, the first UK loan originator to do so. The 1pm agreement terms are similar to LeaseLink’s, with the lessor being able to syndicate up to 90% of lease facilities, listed in GBP.

Polish MedTech startup wins big in Boston!

The Polish startup scene has just scored some major points in the international tech industry, all thanks to Genomtec. After competing with numerous innovators from all parts of the world at this year’s HUBweek festival in Boston, the biotech company emerged as a clear winner of the “Around the World in 2 Minutes of Less” contest.

In case you’re not familiar with the laureate, Genomtec is the developer of world’s first portable diagnostic device capable of analyzing virtually any sample. Despite not being much bigger than a standard smartphone, the device is able to carry out molecular diagnostic tests in a matter of minutes. Because of its portability, the innovation has the potential to revolutionize numerous industries – it could easily be used in veterinary sciences, but also the food industry, and even environmental hazard studies.

After a very successful year in Poland, where the startup had emerged as a finalist in the fourth edition of MIT Enterprise Forum Poland, Genomtec’s team travelled to Boston to compete in the international MIT Bootcamp alongside nine other Polish innovators. The program finished off with a pitching session at HUBweek, where their team got a chance to pitch their ideas in a special Demo Day in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. In the end, the Wrocław-native Genomtec wowed them all.

It is a great honor for us. Thanks to our participation in HUBweek, we have become part of an innovative ecosystem of startups who work hard to create a better future. The technology patented by Genomtec will make the existing, large and expensive laboratories, in need of hours, and sometimes even days for testing, be closed in a fast, cheap and portable device. This means that the diagnosis crucial for human life will last as long as a shopping spree and it will be possible to perform anywhere, even in an ambulance on its way to a hospital – said Miron Tokarski, president and co-founder of Genomtec.

HUBweek is an annual innovation festival hosted by The Boston Globe, the MIT, Harvard, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 2014, the event has been gathering the most creative ideas impacting the development of science, technology, and art. As stated on their website, the newest edition of HUBweek brought together innovators from 59 countries and 38 industries to “inspire curiosity, break down silos, and spark bold solutions for a more inclusive future”.

Hardware Startup for IoT, Drones&Robotics open office in Poland!

In September, Brinc moved to their brand new office in the Business Link Maraton office space in Poznań

Its located in the Business Link Maraton office center on ul. Królowej Jadwigi 43, in the heart of the city. The building lies in close proximity to many key business, trade and cultural places in Poznań, such as Stary Browar, Półwiejska Street, the Old Market and many more. It is perfectly equipped for all possible business needs, has charging stations for electric cars, is fully accessible for the disabled and houses lots of amenities for cyclists. It is also 3 minutes of walking dinstance away from the nearest tram station and 10 minutes away from the Poznań Central Train Station, making commutes quiet easy to and from any part of the city.

Poznań is in fact one of the most attractive locations for doing business in Poland thanks to the highly skilled workforce, excellent business facilites and growing number of investments, including the creation of more and more modern office spaces.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gasiormichal/ – Michal Gasior – Marketing&Product Head

Innovation Nest invests €1.6 million!

Innovation Nest invests in Infraspeak, the third Portuguese startup of its portfolio

The fund has lead an investment round in the total amount of 1.6 million euros. After Climber and Prodsmart, Infraspeak is the third portuguese SaaS company to be invested in by the Polish fund.

After having invested in Climber and Prodsmart, two companies from Lisbon, Innovation Nest, focused on investments in European SaaS early stage companies, keeps finding value in Portugal’s B2B technology startups, as it has now leading an investment round in Infraspeak.

Infraspeak, founded by Felipe Ávila da Costa and Luís Martins in 2015, develops a fully customisable, modular platform designed to make facility management smarter by using innovative technologies such as NFC, APIs, apps and sensors, making the work and lives of both managers and technicians significantly easier and more efficient, with less stress, less paper and lower costs. The startup, which has grown over 200% last year, will focus on entering new markets and reinforcing its team.
Within the next few months, Infraspeak will expand its operations in the United Kingdom, Spain, and France, which will have a positive impact on the company’s growth. To support this, the startup currently has 10 open job positions and plans to open more until the end of 2018.

“After three years focusing on product development, acquisition of renowned customers and putting together a team which we are proud of, it is now the time to aim for new heights. We reached the right partners to get Infraspeak into new international markets and we couldn’t be prouder of having some of the world’s biggest investors supporting us in this project”, says Felipe Ávila da Costa, co-founder and CEO of Infraspeak.

For Innovation Nest, with a portfolio of over 30 tech companies invested in Poland and all over Europe, the value was obvious.

“Innovation Nest is a thesis driven fund. We believe that we are in a software mega-trend that is transforming everything from how we work to how we do business. One of the key objectives of this software trend is to bring as many processes and assets online. Even today, Maintenance Management is mostly a pen and paper process. When we met Felipe and Luis, we knew instantly that Infraspeak is well positioned to digitise this market and help thousands of maintenance technicians make their work easier.” says Marcin Szelag, partner at Innovation Nest.

This investment, in the total amount of 1.6 million euros, was shared with top investors Firstminute Capital (United Kingdom), Construtech Ventures (Brazil), 500 Startups (USA) and Caixa Capital (Portugal).

About Innovation Nest

Innovation Nest is an early stage VC Firm focused on B2B Software investments all around Europe. Started in 2011, out of Krakow, Poland currently holds 30+ companies in its portfolio including: UXPin, Picodi, Growbots, and Estimote. The firm mission is to fund great teams based in Europe and help them to grow and scale globally.

Fintech startup Nordigen secures $1 million in total funding

Finance is among the traditional industries that have seen a groundbreaking change in the last few years. Due to regulation, the financial crisis and, more recently, ambitious new startups, legacy traditions are being replaced with more customer friendly solutions. Credit bureaus are next in line for disruption.

Banks across the world reject up to 90% of all loan applications daily. This is because banks base their decisions on credit history reports from credit bureaus, but not many people have a formal credit history. According to World Bank Group private credit bureau coverage report*, only 30% of the global population have any record at a credit bureau. In addition, credit bureaus have been working with the same old tools for decades and their insights are often incomplete and outdated. Bank account data is a good alternative to credit reports. It is full of risk-critical information that provides a transparent and more objective way to evaluate one’s ability to repay a loan in the future. That is where Nordigen comes in the picture.

Nordigen’s core product allows a lender to instantly verify a customer’s real income and spending habits to make the first assessment of their creditworthiness. The solution is based on open banking and the company’s “secret sauce” is the ability to identify risk-critical behaviours in customer account data with unparalleled accuracy.

“It’s hard to love credit bureaus at the moment. What they do was necessary, but with the rise of Open Banking, we’re now able to build technologies that are much faster, more reliable and more customer-friendly than traditional credit checks. This is a great time to build a global alternative to credit bureaus,” says Rolands Mesters, co-founder of Nordigen.

With a growing client base and recognition in the industry, Nordigen has been able to find support from powerhouse investors like Finland’s largest venture capital fund, Inventure, and Europe’s leading seed investor, Seedcamp to join pre-seed investor Change Ventures. Seedcamp, in particular, has extensive experience in the fintech sector from previous investments in two very successful European companies that are now worth over $1 billion – Revolut and Transferwise.

“Credit and debt are two major foundations of our financial system. The evaluation of creditworthiness has been much slower to progress, prohibiting many potential customers’ access to financial services. We’re excited to back the excellent founders of Nordigen and strongly believe in their desire to provide a more clear and transparent process making it easier for financial institutions to engage with more creditworthy customers and, in turn, for more customers to engage with financial services,” comments Carlos Espinal, Managing Partner at Seedcamp.

“The credit scoring industry has long been dominated by credit bureaus and other legacy software. This means that a lot of people who should not receive loans are getting loans and a lot of people who would be creditworthy, do not get their loans accepted or the loan is over-priced. Nordigen has a proprietary software solution that already today can outperform major credit bureaus in certain markets,” says Lauri Kokkila, Investment Manager at Inventure.

With the new funds, Nordigen will be hiring across the board with a focus on sales and business development. A big part of the investment will also be directed towards entering new markets, such as Brazil, South Africa, USA and UK.

Fintech startup Nordigen was established in 2016 in Riga, Latvia by a two Google Demo Day graduates, Rolands Mesters and Roberts Bernans. Today the company works with banks and alternative lenders in 12 countries across the world, including the Baltic states, Spain, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand.

Tron enters Poland as it gets listed on Bitpay

Tron’s mass adoption intensifies as the most significant Poland crypto exchange, Bitpay, lists TRX on its platform.

The listing is to foster and create a wider audience for both Tron and Bitpay. The collaboration between Tron and Bitpay was done to create a better and safer means to purchase and trade TRX tokens.Tron listing on Bitpay serves as good news for Tron’s community because TRX can now be traded to Bitcoin, Polish Zloty, US Dollars, and Euro. Bitpay is one of the biggest exchanges in the world, and the founder of Tron (TRX) didn’t fail to acknowledge that. Sun further emphasized that the listing is another achievement for Tron and its community.
Read more at http://globalcoinreport.com/tron-trx-bitpay/

KPMG buys stake in a startup it lauded as a top 50 FinTech globally

Accounting and consulting firm KPMG has taken a minority stake in AdviceRobo, a FinTech startup which its acquirer last year lauded as one of the globe’s 50 most promising FinTechs. AdviceRobo, which is based in the Netherlands, provides a technology which helps banks and retail lenders with better predicting financial risk of people and companies taking out loans.

https://www.consultancy.eu/news/1800/kpmg-buys-stake-in-a-startup-it-lauded-as-a-top-100-fintech-globally

 

Best Romanian tech startups awarded at Central European Startup Awards

The Romanian event of the Central European Startup Awards (CESA) 2018 announced its winners on September 19. The event awarded the best technology-based startups and the most active entrepreneurs in this industry, in 13 categories.

Thus, Spherik Accelerator was the big winner of the Best Accelerator or Incubator category. Spherik brings together technology, education and investment opportunities, with the mission of improving the local startup ecosystem and the growth of startups that are growing internationally.

Meanwhile, Dalia’s Book (Cartea Daliei), an NGO that aims to promote education among all children through technology, won the Best Social Impact Startup award. Also, BittWatt, a solution for the optimization of transactions involving energy and its use as a currency, got the big prize in the Best Blockchain Startup category.

The Best Coworking Space award went to Nod Makerspace – the coworking space endowed with production workshops for creative industries, while Nutritio, an app that makes the activity of dieticians and nutritionists more efficient so they can help more patients reach their objectives in a shorter amount of time, won the Best Biotech Startup award.

Polish fintech bank set to enter Lithuania

A Polish digital bank led by former executives of PKO, one of the largest commercial banks in Poland, plans to enter the Lithuanian market. The blockchain-based bank plans to apply for a license from the Bank of Lithuania shortly.

Michal Turalski, one of the founders of Horum Bank and its head of marketing and strategy, confirmed it to BNS Lithuania that the bank plans to start operations in Lithuania.

“We are a team of experienced former managers of leading international banks and blockchain-age experts, who gathered together to set up a completely new bank. It will be a pan-european, a fully digital bank for the most financially undiscovered segments of clients, including SMEs & affluents,” Turalski told BNS Lithuania.

“As the Lithuanian banking authority supports financial solutions based on blockchain and there are some other favorable circumstances, we are planning to apply for a banking license in your country. After a successful licensing process, we want to start operating for Lithuanian companies and begin thinking about other European countries,” he added without disclosing any specific plans due to confidentiality agreements with business partners.

Representatives of the Bank of Lithuania have refused to comment on Horum Bank’s plans when approached by BNS Lithuania.

“We really feel the interest from Poland to set up financial market participants in Lithuania. And it’s very strong. We are holding regular conversations but I could not disclose specific names,” Giedrius Simonavicius, director of the Communication Department at the Bank of Lithuania, told BNS Lithuania.

Polish business daily Puls Biznesu reported in late July that the Horum Bank project was being led by Jacek Oblekowski, a former PKO vice president, and Malgorzata Siatkowska, who also used to work for PKO in the past, was also named as one of the founders of the new bank and its technology executive.

It was reported then that Horum Bank had 400-500 million zloty (93–116 millon euros) accumulated for the start of its activity.

Revolut to bid for fresh European licence as it reveals losses

Fintech powerhouse Revolut has revealed its post-Brexit strategy amid the publication of its 2017 financial accounts, which put a heavy spotlight on the banking app’s operational losses.

Primarily, a spokesperson for the London startup confirmed to City A.M. it had applied for a second e-money licence in Luxembourg, in addition to its 2017 application for a full banking licence in Lithuania.

The fintech currently operates under an e-money licence in the UK, through which it passports its services to other European countries.

In its financial year ending in December 2017, operational costs weighed heavily on Revolut as it incurred £14.8m in total losses after tax at a 52 per cent increase from the previous year, largely attributed to costs associated with its card scheme, acquiring and user acquisition as the app saw its user numbers treble.

http://www.cityam.com/263497/revolut-bid-fresh-european-licence-reveals-losses

11 Bit Studios wins the Best Transition To Main Market Award !


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