In part 1 we promised you that we still have more expert opinions in the pipeline, ready to discuss the future of banking and finance and what it holds for us! In the prelude, Nordic hotshot meniga suggested that banks face a real risk of losing their position of power as players like snapchat or WeChat enter in disguise – along with giants like Amazon and thousands of emerging fintechs. However according to meniga, a CODE_n alumnus, making digital banking a drastically better environment as well as gathering speed in providing a top-notch user experience could be a lifeline that allows banks to keep pace with the emerging competitors. What do other players think? Three additional visionary fintechs predict where the digital disruption of the banking and finance sector will lead. But be prepared – they don’t offer easy answers!
Since its participation in the CODE_n CONTEST in 2013, Swan Insights quickly matured from a fledgling into a majestic bird, and is now part of the Bisnode Group.
Swan Insights’ mission was to use data science to turn information into insights. By capturing the value contained in publicly available information, the Swan.business platform contextualized data to provide business users with real-time insights that truly matter. Marketing, sales, and human resources executives can use the technology to improve their performance on a daily basis. From the massive amounts of unstructured text deluging the internet each second, the technology separates the wheat from the chaff by applying NLP and disambiguation techniques, coupled with extreme matching of individuals and organizations. One of the first startups to dive into this subject – which has since gone mainstream – Swan Insights also investigated business value by applying network science, especially social network analysis. Fun fact: Swan stands for Social Web Analysis.
Excellent engineers and computer scientists in Germany are awash with offers from big businesses these days – with ever better salaries, great work-life balance, company cars and other incentives, students are being hired right out of the classroom.
Nevertheless, there are people who choose a different path: starting their own companies. They want to bring their own ideas to market, delight their customers, make the world a better place. I am currently working with just such an entrepreneur at TTI Stuttgart GmbH, the startup center of the University of Stuttgart, and interviewed him about his attitude and his motives. Harald is 35 years old, a father of two and, after his PhD, decided to go for his startup ScatterBlogs instead of secure employment. Together with Harald, we shine a light on the opportunities and challenges of a startup straight out of college.
The world is becoming smaller every day, not just because of the amazing technological advancements of recent decades, but also because of the way the internet and the digital revolution are eradicating physical and spatial barriers. Things taking place on the other side of the globe suddenly feel like they’re right next door to us – if only those language barriers weren’t still in the way. The CODE_n alumnus Transfluent was founded in the belief that all companies should have an easy way to become global and communicate with their customers in the local language. The conviction of the Finnish startup morphed into a leading translation provider with a global team and solutions that bring them to the forefront of innovative technology. We spoke to the CEO and founder Jani Penttinen about the things that make his business model unique and the journey towards becoming a global, rapidly expanding enterprise. Jani also divulges a couple of personal tips on setting up a successful team and how he successfully pulled together 800k through the crowdfunding platform Invesdor. And that was just the prep work before the planned IPO gets underway! Jani also tells us about the up-and-coming startup scene in Finland.
Center of political power and great waffles: those are pretty much the first things that come to mind, when thinking of Belgium. Could be worse, right? But there’s more to Belgium than just that! In fact, Belgium ranks fifth in Europe for its number of fintech deals. Entrepreneurs benefit from the country’s contrasts and mixture of languages and cultures.
“Belgium is a great country to build business critical software. The complexity of the country (tri-lingual, multiple government and legislations, …) and customer base (people expect state-of-the-art software that is tailored to their needs) results in the development of highly scalable, highly flexible solutions. As a result, we easily meet the requirements of multinational rental and lease companies that adopt FleetMaster today. This is quite unique and a direct result of our geographical origin.”
So, let’s have a deeper look at Belgium’s diversity. What exactly is it about the European capital that attracts young visionary minds? Let’s check out Belgium’s strengths, weaknesses and special powers as a promising tech startup hub!
Some exciting news from the CODE_n Community! When we read the story at the end of last month it was nothing short of phenomenal. One of our alumni, the HealthTech startup SpinDiag, has just drummed up €1.6 million in seed capital. The team plans to use the funding to roll out its revolutionary point-of-care screening system for antibiotic resistance and conduct initial trials in hospitals. The HealthTech startup has been working on its novel solution since 2016, following a spinoff from the Hahn-Schickard R&D institute. The system could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives, thanks to a simple screening test that can ascertain in as little as 30 minutes if a patient is carrying drug-resistant bacteria and thus requires treatment in isolation from other patients. Introducing the screening systems to hospital wards could drastically reduce mortalities resulting from germs: Colonization and infections can be detected immediately and positive patients treated in isolation, thus preventing the transmission of drug-resistant bacteria in the long term. We spoke to the team about the seed funding initiative and asked them what tips they would give to startups. Of course, we were also dying to hear about their plans!
The larger a business grows, the harder it becomes to champion innovation. Deep-rooted routines and long decision-making processes can keep a business from realizing its full potential. But there is hope! Thriving startups are driven by entrepreneurial energy, excitement, creativity and a killer desire to change things for the better. So, why not partnering up with a startup to ensure a fresh breeze?
But how do you guarantee success?
Corporations, listen up: here are our 5 tips for the collaboration with startups.
Banks need to wrap up warmly – the upheaval across the whole sector has only just begun! Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are on a mission to revolutionize our monetary system, roboadvisors are superseding human financial advisors using sophisticated algorithms that predict the best personal investment strategy, or transfer money at the click of an icon on your smartphone. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is huge potential for disruptive concepts to take us off the beaten track into entirely new realms of banking and finance! The keys to the door for the promising FinTech startups now entering the market are customer service and automation. These two factors are defining current goals, as startups dare to challenge the hegemony of traditional financial services and the age-old banking system. How? By combining cutting-edge technology like blockchain systems, artificial intelligence and big data, and using them to create new and enhanced services for their customers. As part of our Future of Finance and Banking series, we will be looking at this fascinating topic and speaking to some of the “revolutionaries” in the sector. Their aim will be to predict developments in this rapidly evolving market from their standpoint, lifting the lid on visionary FinTech business and gaining insights into the kind of financial world we can expect to experience in the future!