Meet the Winners of the European Fintech Awards 2017

Held on September 27, the European Fintech Awards & Conference was a full-day event packed with forward-looking keynotes and exciting pitch battles for the top three companies in each of the nine categories: Alternative Finance, Blockchain, Challenger Banks, Financial Inclusion, Innovative Banking Software, InsurTech, Payments & Transfers, PFM Robo Advisory and Risk, Intelligence & Security. Four of our members – Connective, SettleMint, Doccle and Cybersprint – bested 600+ other startup nominees and battled it out at the finals. Aimed at promoting the European fintech ecosystem, B-Hive was excited to be a main partner of the event.

Ingenico Fireside Chat Brings Together Startup Stories

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Last week, B-Hive hosted with Ingenico a fireside chat about the fintech industry and startup culture.

The CEOs of Contract.fit, dFatkto, Sweepatic and Thanksys shared their stories of building their startups, finding product-market-fit, working with larger corporations, agile development and more. Four different stories with one thing in common: passion! 

Meet the participants:

Thibaut De Vylder, Founder & CEO of dFakto
With more than 15 years of experience, dFakto is a company that specialises in sourcing and collating data so that senior managers can more easily identify actionable insights to drive their business forward.

Stijn Vande Casteele, co-founder & CEO of Sweepatic
Sweepatic is a young and ambitious cybersecurity company that delivers innovative solutions and services in the domain of cybersecurity and more specific in everything related to "reconnaissance"

Bertrand Anckaert, co-founder of Contract.fit
Contract.fit makes it easy to save time and money for what truly matters. We automate personal finance tasks based on powerful artificial intelligence and an unparalleled digital customer experience.

Jan De Meester, CEO of Thanksys
Thanksys provides the technology to bring the digital revolution to the small and local merchants, lifting the traditional retail model into the new era of 'brick & click', and extending the traditional customer relationship to a true contextual community-centric service. 

Interested in learning more about our community?

Facts & Figures on the 2017 European Banking Sector

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The European Banking Federation (EBF) brings together Europe's banking community on a drive for banking regulatory excellence. As the voice of European banking sector, it unites 32 national banking associations in Europe that collectively represent some 3.500 banks – large and small, wholesale and retail, local and international – employing some two million people. 

Below you will find some interesting facts and figures gathered by EBF on the 2017 European Banking Sector:

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Interested in learning more about the European banking sector?

Three B-Hive Members as Finalists for the European FinTech Awards 2017

The European FinTech Awards is a yearly showcase of the most promising fintech companies in the region. Three B-Hive members – Settlemint (Blockchain), Cybersprint (Risk, Intelligence & Security) and Connective (Innovative Banking Software)– are making their way to the finals. They have bested more than 600 other start-ups in the selection round and are rightfully considered one of the top three companies in their respective categories.

B-Hive Strengthens the Bridge Between Europe and the Americas

B-Hive had a successful and productive first edition of its Fin & Tonic in New York: How to stay ahead of the competition & successfully expand to Europe. The event featured a fireside chat with Andrew Boyajian (TransferWise), moderated by Peter Vanham (World Economic Forum) as well as pitches from member companies.

The audience learned the dos, don'ts and lessons learned through the process of expanding a business abroad. Overall, the event included interesting pitches, a good atmosphere, lots of networking and of course, delicious gin and tonics! You can see the entire gallery from the event here.

On that note, as we're committed to building a strong global fintech ecosystem, B-Hive will officially open the doors of its US hub in New York on October 12.

With the opening of its New York hub, B-Hive continues to build bridges between Europe and the Americas by providing US-based fintech companies with easy access to B-Hive’s diverse and valuable global network. It will also help American fintech companies unlock the vast potential of conducting business in the Eurozone – from enabling them to pursue technological collaborations with the most important players in the European market to providing them with opportunities to participate in content programs focused on specific innovation themes.

American companies willing to land and expand in Europe can find in B-Hive a strong hand that provides both support and guidance through the help of dozens of partners including traditional financial actors, dynamic startups and government decision-makers.

Here’s what members have to say:

 “B-Hive is the missing piece of the puzzle – the very one that connects the right people with relevant industry players, not only from a perspective of creating a bridge to Europe, but also from a perspective of global networking.” – Jeremy Boutillier, Xpenditure, North America Manager

“We are delighted by the support of B-Hive here in the US. Through their cooperation, we are able to utilize the bridge between Europe and the US and further our goals and our vision for NGData.” – Luc Burgelman, NGData, CEO

As one of its first initiatives, B-Hive New York is organizing a matchmaking morning on October 13 to provide US-based fintech companies with an invaluable opportunity to network and pitch to the decision makers of SWIFT, Euroclear and ING and other premier financial institutions based in Europe. A selection of the most relevant AI, data analytics, identity management and cybersecurity startups will be invited to the event, offering both American fintech companies and European corporates alike the opportunity in the event itself to pursue potential bilateral business partnerships.

London Fintech Week – perspectives on Insurtech

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By Thomas Depuydt (B-Hive)

A full week of interesting panels and presentations happened earlier this month at Fintech Week London. We were on sight for the insurtech panel, as it’s one of the up and coming innovation verticals.

The current state of the insurance industry was described by the entrepreneurs on stage as…

·         Lacking customer centricity

·         Intermediaries in the value chain that add huge costs and limited value

·         A rise of data to allow better priced, tailored products

Or, in other words…

The perfect storm for disruption

We have been hearing that for a while now, but it’s about time someone actually does something about it. The entrepreneurs in the panel representing companies such as Homelyfe, hiBob and Yu Life are planning to do exactly that. One of the founders said he does not like the word disruption, as it sounds too negative. He claims, “there will be a better experience at a much lower cost” - same same, but different.

A first innovation wave will target distribution channels, cutting out middlemen – a practice stylized by e-commerce. Lower premiums for consumers and more individualized knowledge (data) of the consumers should be the outcome. The second innovation wave is likely to be on the risk and product side, where individualized offerings replace plain vanilla products and in a later phase, “protection-as-a-service” will be replacing existing insurance products altogether. This comprehensive protection will be data-driven and link to actual life events and behavior.

Several startups are jumping on the insurtech bandwagon, but entering the insurance industry is complex, and a deep knowledge of industry dynamics is crucial to succeed.

Disrupting within the existing value chain is a challenging task, as the integration points are often inflexible, due to regulation and legacy IT infrastructure.

The entrepreneurs are strong believers in creating a parallel channel straight to the consumers (i.e., a B2C approach). They link directly to re-insurers, creating direct competition with incumbents. They clearly expect that the pricing of risk will be commoditized in the future.

Is there a place for collaboration with incumbents?

According to the entrepreneurs, insurance companies are faster to react to the digital insurtech threat than their banking counterparts to the fintech wave of companies a couple of years ago. There is a clear willingness to collaborate and learn, although this brings its own challenges:

Incumbent insurance players often…

1.       Struggle to identify the right partners to innovate with

2.       Do not always have the technical capability to integrate easily

3.       Have legal and risk constraints that impede collaboration

An area in which large corporates are surely looking for synergies with digital companies is the SME market segment. Like in banking, this huge market segment is poorly serviced and incumbent insurers are looking for the right digital channels to reach the SMEs. While the business imperative for collaboration with digital channels to service the SME segment is a no-brainer, the legacy architecture makes it a big challenge to make that happen due to e.g., a lack of open architecture/APIs. The move towards the cloud that is slowly taking off in the insurance industry could help alleviate some of these concerns.

The B-word.

There isn’t a single panel discussion in London without a Brexit question these days. The entrepreneurs’ worry seems to be more on the talent side (finding full-stack developers will become even harder if no EU citizens can be recruited) and slightly less on the regulatory side, where regulatory stability is almost more important than the nature of regulation itself. The entrepreneurs kept their cool and approached the topic with pragmatism or, to quote one of the founders, “I am far more worried about hiring my next developer than I am about what Theresa May will or won’t do.”

Are you struggling to identify the right partners with which to innovate?