Helsinki and Finland have tremendous potential in financial technology, which is one of the hottest business topics at the moment. The financial industry is hungry for innovations, which Helsinki and Finland are in an excellent position to provide.
Finland has long been known for its forward-looking banking industry and cutting-edge ICT know-how, while Helsinki adds a bustling startup community to this mix. The Finnish mobile operators have jointly developed a unified mobile payment service for their customers, and mobile banking is widely used. Furthermore, 87% of Finns use online banking services, which are among the most secure in the world.
“The Nordic countries in general present an advanced and sophisticated environment for financial services innovation. As a community they are miles ahead of Europe and most of the world in regards of payments and attitudes to cash. They are an excellent proving ground for embedding agile technologies into the financial services sector,” says Elizabeth Lumley, Special Projects Editor from Finextra Research.
Finextra Research, based in London, is an independent newswire and information source for the worldwide financial technology community. In June, it organized a financial technology event called the Future Money Nordics 2015 in Helsinki.
Collaboration is the key
Although Helsinki and Finland have huge potential in financial technology, success requires work.
“If we want Helsinki and Finland to become a leading financial technology hub, our banks need to collaborate with the startup community. We also have room for more financial technology startups. Helsinki could be the place where banks and startups begin solving real business problems together,” says Deputy CEO Micah Gland from Helsinki Business Hub.
While Gland wants to see cooperation between startups and banks, Lumley also calls for collaboration with the government.
“Companies need to work with the government and regulators to ensure Finland is an easy place to do business. Private organizations and leading banks could also establish innovation hubs and startup accelerators,” Lumley says.
The fruits of Helsinki
Helsinki is home to startups like Invesdor, an online investment matching service for startups and investors, and Maksuturva Group, offering intelligent online payment services for web stores. Helsinki and Finland also have strong expertise in game design. Gamification, the use of game mechanics in non-game solutions, could be the seed of new financial technology startups and innovations.
“We expect to see more output from Helsinki, especially in regards to payments advances that effect not only the financial services industry, but consumers and the wider economy as well,” remarks Elizabeth Lumley.
Text: Anu Jussila