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A new financial era for a new and positive economic governance?

Minutes of the conference on FinTech held in Bucharest on June 13, 2019 as part of the France-Romania Season.

Banks, insurance, traditional players and global giants of the Internet, the world of finance is in profound change.

:: The session started with a keynote on the Fintech trends by Joelle Durieux, managing director of Finance Innovation, the French competitivity pole gathering all the Finance Industry.

“Finance Innovation brings together Corporates, Start-ups and Academics in order to foster collaborative, innovative R&D projects, in France and at an international level. Finance Innovation is at the heart of the finance ecosystem. Our cluster aims to gather all the financial industry players in order to accelerate innovation and research inside the financial ecosystem.

Our priorities are banking, insurance, asset management, real estate, social & solidarity economy: we deal with the financial sector at a very large extent. 

Our 3 missions are to identify, select and certify the most promising fintechs, to help them to scale-up and make business partnerships with the large finance corporates, and to make the promotion of innovative financial tools for SMEs and act as a think tank.”

“Fintech is really a great revolution, worldwide, that will change the shape of the global financial system.”

“Between 2016 and 2018, the maturity level of Fintech companies has become really strong, with key segments being payment, lending, neo-banks, or insurance. Asia and North-Africa are the dominant regions, but Europe is catching-up.”

“The French Fintech have never attracted so much investors with a total 370 M€ raised in 2018 through 74 operations, which put France in the 4th position in Europe.”

“The GAFAs (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) are well positioned in all know-hows except trust capital and personal data protection.”

“We will have a redefinition of jobs in the finance industry, and the technical skills will be complemented by emotional skills such as empathy, leadership, creativity, because they are much more difficult to automate.”

“Our main purpose by being present in this event in Romania is to co-create projects at a European level. We must bring together our strengths to face challenges coming from giant countries such as USA, China, India, or the GAFAs. Europe is really key.”

:: Lucie Roulland, business developer Eastern Europe, ARIADNEXT :

“ARIADNEXT is a company helping Fintechs with their KYC (Know Your Customers) processes.

“Legal questions do participate to the ecosystems. And here in Romania, some legal issues still need to be addressed. One of the main things that are lacking in Romania is transposition of EU directives.”

“As a Fintech company, we need to partner-up with other tech companies, sometimes even with competitors, for the good of the final user… It benefits to everyone!”

:: Mark Kepeneghian, CEO, Kriptown :

“I decided to found Kriptown mainly to help SMEs and start-ups to raise money and to give liquidity to investors of this sector.”

“In France, there’s a lot of risk aversion, and it blocks sometimes innovation. So, we need to educate potential investors about the financial markets to encourage people to invest and to help the ecosystem to grow.”

“In France, innovation comes first from start-ups and Fintechs. Entrepreneurs in France are really innovative, and fearless!”

“Banks have made studies proving that it is cheaper to buy a start-up once they have made a product, than to innovate themselves…”

“The most important thing for Fintechs is the user experience… Banks are not good at it. They are very good in a lot of products, but they don’t know what the younger generation want. “

“When you are a Fintech, you are developing an idea, you’re doing all the execution and going to the market, and the hardest thing for you is to find final clients, especially if you are a B to C Fintech. For the banks at the contrary, finding clients is the easiest part, as they already have the clients. They only need to buy your product and to connect it to their clients and they know it’s going to be a success.”

:: Edward Cretescu, business consultant, Digidemat :

“Digidemat is a French / Romanian company working with trade boards, helping them digitalize their paper works, solving the bureaucracy issues. We work a lot with Fintechs: half of our clients are Fintech companies, but somme are also financial institutions, or big corporates.”

“Sometimes, when a big corporate refuse a project on the local level, then a few weeks after, the headquarters can say “you really need to do this, do this now!” And the deal is finalized.”

“In the big corporates, innovation regularly comes from inside, they put the resources, or create separate dedicated teams.”

 “A lot of banks or big companies in general buy successful start-ups not only just for the idea, but also to get the team that developed it.”

“I think the Romanian banks in general are a bit ahead in terms of customer experience compared to the average European banks.”

:: Sonia Cissé, lawyer, Linklaters

I advise my clients with anything related to IT agreements, data protection, blockchain, artificial intelligence… And that’s how I started working with Fintechs….”

“From a legal point of view, what we need in Europe is more practices procedures that can apply to Fintechs.”

“The game is changing both ways. We see a lot of start-ups pushing to be noticed in order to be invested in, and also large corporates establishing labs, R&D centers, in order to be able to be more competitive and to integrate new technologies.”

“If you buy a start-up at the beginning, the only thing you’re interested in is their IP. And the younger the start-up is, the less ego they have. So, they’re very happy and excited to be bought, and quite ready to give absolutely everything for nothing…”

:: Andrei Benghea Malaies, cofondateur, maillon.io

“We started a consumer credit marketplace that’s available for points of sell’s financing. We democratize access to credit solutions for small and specialty retailers via an app connected to banks, neobanks and other potential lenders and that is able via solutions such as Docusign and KYC solutions to gather data & information on the physical buyer and send information on credit needs and credit history, and then allow the final client to sign the lending contract electronically on the spot, and leave with the product they want to buy. 

We are basically digitalizing the whole credit process and offering options to smaller retailers to help them grow and become more competitive. This is really a chance for those smaller retailers to survive and also sell better quality products!”

“If progress is motivated either by fear or greed, the banks and large companies are slowly getting there, but the speed in more mature countries is significantly different than in Eastern Europe. From a regulatory perspective, Romania is a bit slow and this is not always in the interest of the consumer. So, we hope we will convince everyone to invest in this ecosystem, because at the end it will benefit to the consumers and to the European Union economy as a whole and will address the competitivity issue with other big markets on the planet.”

“In terms of market, generally speaking, the start-ups are pushing and trying to get notice and try to get partnerships with big corporates from the beginning. And for Fintech, we are seeing some progresses: the BCR accelerator is a good example, currently leading to products and POCs.”

“Romania is big enough market to start, you validate your product but also get some revenue from it. And there’s openness to try new things. We are courageous enough, so overall the start-up ecosystem in Romania is receiving a great boost, and the Fintechs can benefit from this entrepreneurial culture.”

“It’s important to partner with banks, and to understand that you have to grow in that ecosystem!”

“Fintechs, for sure, won’t be able to replace banks, mainly because people want to have a bank they can talk to, and Fintechs are rather made to address specific segments.”

Manifestation organisée dans le cadre de la Saison France-Roumanie

Comité des mécènes