According to Findexable’s report, the fintech landscape in the Nordic region continues to be one of the most successful at producing unicorns. Described in the report as inherently open, transparent and internationally focused, the Nordic landscape is full of ambitious fintechs, cautiously enthusiastic banks, innovative ideas, and global vision.
By: Rea Parashar
Fintech exists to solve global problems of access, speed, cost and convenience. An industry founded on principles to make the world better needs a global index to track progress, and benchmark its success. This is the vision of Findexable, who has built a global fintech index that ranks cities and countries based on the quality and quantity of their fintech companies and business environments.
The backbone of this index is run by an algorithm based on financial data collected from thousands of hours of interviews, surveys and internet searches. The purpose of the algorithm is to identify emerging hubs, fintech companies and trends - objectively and in real time.
The Nordics are punching above their weight
According to Findexable’s report, the Nordic region has all the building blocks in place to generate wealth and opportunities. The most important ingredient of all - confidence - can be found in abundance. When it comes to scale-up businesses, the Nordic region punches above its weight. 16% per cent of European fintech scale-ups are located in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
Coming in at rank 27 globally, Norway is considered an up-and-coming nation to watch out for in fintech. Our virtually cashless economy and several global fintech startups makes for a thriving payments hub. Amongst the startups listed are cluster members Bulder Bank, Quantfol.io, Signicat, Stacc and Vipps, along with Funding Partner, Monner and Zwipe.
Big ≠ better
When it comes to fintech, small is beautiful. Smaller countries – and cities - in the Index’s city rankings are doing very well at making themselves bases for a new breed of financial services. One of the most interesting outcomes of the global fintech city rankings is the scale of success achieved by smaller countries, regions and cities – particularly in Europe.
Becoming an important fintech hub is increasingly defined by the number of connections you enable – both physical and digital – not the size of your banks’ accounts.
- The Global Fintech Index 2020
Many of the smaller places that have scored highly have managed to identify a magic formula combining national initiatives to promote the city or country with adjustments to local rules to make it easier for companies to form, and for entrepreneurs from outside to set up shop.
Building the next big Fintech Hub
Norway might not be at the top of the tables - yet. However, according to Findexables index we are among the few countries giving the traditional financial hubs a good run for their money. Among the top five on this list are heavyweights such as India, Brazil, Mexico - and Norway. By combining the focus on regulatory, entrepreneurial and ecosystem efforts, we succeed at building fintech at scale and showing the world what it takes to wage a fintech battle.
While there might not be a ‘secret sauce’ that will allow us to build the next fintech hub overnight, the success of some cities over others in the index provides a useful indicator of what success looks like and what it takes if you’re serious about attracting fintech entrepreneurs.
Here are some of the shared attributes of the winners and fastest risers in the Index’s first global fintech city rankings:
1. Regulations. Fintech-friendly regulations incentivise entrepreneurship & encourage investment.
2. Small cities. Size doesn’t matter. Really. Smaller cities tracked by the index do really well. This is proof of the value of an ecosystem where people can connect easily.
3. The ecosystem. A strong talent pool is key to fintech success but so is a fun location with a global vibe.
If these attributes are something to go on, Norway possesses all the prerequisites to become a leading fintech nation. A continuing focus on fintech-friendly actions such as the regulatory sandbox combined with transparency of our closely knit Norwegian fintech ecosystems might give us the edge we need in the regional race to the top. Only time will tell and, as an official partner of Findexable, NCE Finance Innovation is excited to see the index evolve and to share this journey with them.
A global Index
The Global Fintech Index (GFI) by Findexable is the first global, real-time, objective ranking of all cities where there is a fintech cluster. The rankings are determined and updated using our proprietary algorithm. It is digital and real-time. It uses open data & data sharing to create a continuously updated index.
A global mission
The GFI is designed to highlight opportunities and drive transparency across the ecosystem. We are on a mission to help financial institutions, governments and investors understand how innovation is evolving, where to invest, and what it takes to build a thriving fintech ecosystem.