The Nordic region is home to some of the most influential fintech ecosystems in Europe and the world. One in every ten of the world’s leading fintechs listed on the Global Fintech Index by Findexable have their roots in the Scandinavian countries of Northern Europe.
The region is referred to as a global leader when it comes to digitised finance and boasts of one of the earliest transits from cash to digital currency in the entire world. A shared commitment towards the digital economy between governments, private players and infrastructural entities has resulted in multiple collaborative models contributing to the growth and distribution of financial services in the Nordic region.
With the onset of digitisation and a steep rise in the number of investors, the Nordic region has seen a giant leap in the number of start-ups and companies in the FinTech segment. Some of these game-changers are continuously reshaping the FinTech market, making the region a self-sustaining embodiment of digital-led growth.
Axo Finans is a leading fintech company working as a digital broker for personal lending in the Nordic region. Aimed at helping customers fill out and send loan applications to multiple banks with ease, the company is currently represented in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The services of Axo Finans are not just adding value to customers but also helping them save more time, money and the complexity of handling multiple applications.
Established in Oslo during the financial crisis of 2008, Axo has since grown to have a revenue of 250+ MNOK with proven results. The company’s founders Stig Arff and Morten Armand Johansen sold Axo to US-based private equity company Corsair Capital in 2019, after Axo Finans recorded magnificent growth in such a short time.
What makes Axo unique in its premise and offering is the array of advantages to its customers in terms of non-binding offers and friction-free service. Although the interest rates vary from bank to bank, Axo makes sure that they cannot increase the rates through Axo’s service. This brings in an element of trust and transparency for Axo’s users, who now have a secure platform for dealing with the best banks in the industry.
Vipps is the largest FinTech in Norway, which provides access to Norwegian mobile gaming sites that are otherwise banned in the country. Created in 2015, the one-of-its-kind platform also provides a secure portal for the Nordics to handle instant and secure digital payments. The company’s ever-growing popularity is a testimony to the wide acceptance of mobile payments and online banking in the region’s day-to-day operations.
The leading smart payments platform has always relied on new technology while collaborating with market leaders. Vipps recently declared a merger with three companies to create one common digital wallet. The platform aims to leave a clearer footprint in the competitive market of global payments, and the merging of three strong wallets and brands on its robust technology platform is just the right stepping stone in this direction.
The Norwegian business platform is backed by many of the country’s banks. It started as a DNB app and has since evolved into a separate company, yet majorly owned by DNB. Vipps can be used both for payment transactions as well as bank transfers – the latter being the more preferred use case of the platform due to the added convenience for customers. Vipps also offers an API with English language documentation for developers who are interested in interfacing with Vipps. Developers would have to obtain the appropriate Vipps solution to obtain the developer access in case they are interested in partnering with the platform.
When it comes to FinTech innovations, Sweden and its online banking solution Klarna can easily be termed as world leaders. The company was started 15 years ago in Stockholm and has grown into a banking giant handling over 40% of the total financial transactions that take place in Sweden today. Going by numbers, Klarna happens to be Europe’s largest fintech unicorn of 2020.
The Swedish bank offers an array of online financial services to its customers, ranging from payment solutions for online storefronts to direct payments, post-purchase payments and more. Founded in 2005 by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson, Klarna has grown its operations to the US, Australia and Canada apart from notable European nations.
When Klarna was started, it envisioned making online shopping a more hassle-free experience for people. While this mission remains as relevant as ever for the FinTech giant, it has come up with many more flexible and smart financial solutions for more than 90 million active consumers across 250,000+ merchants and 17+ countries. The Klarna Group is backed by leading investors such as Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake, Bestseller Group, Dragoneer, Permira, Visa, Ant Group and Atomico.
Tradeshift is a Danish FinTech startup that has registered significant growth in the last few years, thanks to the constant support of the government. The FinTech unicorn provides a cloud-based platform for connecting applications, marketplaces and supply chain payment systems globally with the help of local entrepreneurs in the field.
Tradeshift began its journey in 2005 when entrepreneurs Christian, Mikkel and Gert started on a mission to connect every business in the world with an open business platform for the whole world, not just Europe. Today, more than 95% of Danish businesses use the platform as their partner for growth. Their idea has grown into a large trade technology platform with over 800 people working at offices in 13 countries.
Tradeshift helps businesses connect with all their suppliers digitally, remote paper and manual processes across procure-to-pay, and manage supplier risks. The disruptive trade technology platform has won multiple awards in the last few years for its work in the fintech segment, including the TMI Technology & Innovation Awards 2017 and the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017.
The Bigger Picture: Nordic FinTech
The Nordic region is known for its incredible digital maturity and advancement in the FinTech segment. Despite the myriad complexities associated with the regulation, management and growth of the sectors, Scandinavian countries have so far displayed tremendous prowess in the collaborative development of both sectors.
It is, therefore, no surprise that FinTechs are the fastest growing branch of startups in the Scandinavian countries, offering innovative products and services for their millions of users worldwide. As per a special review by Deloitte, FinTechs are the fastest growing branch of startups in the Nordics, accounting for over 11% of the total capital invested in the region.
As the numbers continue to impress and the FinTech hub of the region continues to snowball, the future of global finance also seems tied with the Nordic region. In the bigger picture, the segment seems to not just showcase a steady growth, but to also have many more opportunities for innovative models.