Proximity Shopping & Payment Experience Day

The Proximity Shopping & Payment Experience Day was held on the 16th of June in the B-Hive HUB Brussels. During the event innovative startups and scaleups had a chance to pitch to established financial players and relevant consulting companies. The Experience Day had a positive impact fuelling the networking and further partnerships between the participants. 

5 Successful College Dropouts in Fintech

Laurentius de Voltolina; Liber ethicorum des Henricus de Alemannia; Kupferstichkabinett SMPK, Berlin/Staatliche Museen.

Laurentius de Voltolina; Liber ethicorum des Henricus de Alemannia; Kupferstichkabinett SMPK, Berlin/Staatliche Museen.

By Marilia Assis (B-Hive)

In 1158 the Bologna University, one of the oldest in the world, signed a document that secures the academic freedom, the authentica habita. This document grants several rights to the academics. One of them is the freedom of travel to study. However, many of our contemporary students need more freedom than that. They are focusing on the outside world rather than classrooms to reach their goals. Based on this observation, we selected some successful stories of students that dropped out of universities and colleges to create companies in the fintech sector.

1 - David Zalik was born in Israel and raised in Alabama, skipped high school and enrolled in Auburn University. Not feeling fulfilled with his studies, he decided to drop-out of university and open a computer assembly company. Years later this entrepreneur becomes the co-founder of GreenSky, offering fast and paperless solutions and financial services to businesses of all sizes. According to Crunchbase his company already raised more than $350 million.

Via Steve Lyerly twitter account.

Via Steve Lyerly twitter account.

2 - The Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, founders of Stripe, gained a huge visibility this year after being highlighted by Forbes as being two of the richest people of the planet. The young men are also two of only four self-made billionaires in their 20s. What most people don’t know, is that they had to quit the college to fully commit to their company. Patrick left MIT and John left Harvard. Their risky action was not in vain: Now Stripe is worth
$ 9 billion and is providing a set of unified APIs and online payment tools all over the world.

Via Stripe

Via Stripe

3 – Alexa Von Tobel is a graduated in psychology and literature. However, in 2009 Alexa Von Tobel dropped out of Harvard business school to open LearnVest, a $350 million empire that is helping people to organize their finances. Furthermore, she published the bestseller “Financially Fearless”. This multitasking professional is also an inspiration for other women tempting to open their own business.



4 - Hany Rashwan is an Egyptian who realized the dream of many of his peers, being accepted in a prestigious American university. Nevertheless, he decided to take an unusual way, dropping out of Columbia University to pursue his dream: Using technology to make the world a more efficient, prosperous and equal place. He was very successful staying true to his intentions. Becoming the founder of, he is providing lenders with tools to integrate and streamline payouts.

Via Deborah Svoboda

Via Deborah Svoboda

5- Ryan Breslow was a dedicated and participative Stanford student. He was one of the creators of the Stanford Bitcoin research group. Studying hard, he discovered the limitations of the payments system, which inspired him to make his decision: Dropping out of Stanford and opening his own payment platform.  In 2014, together with his fellow student Eric Feldman, he founded Bolt, allowing users to make payments through digital currencies such as bitcoin.



Banking Tech for Millennials

Banking Tech for Humans

By Frédéric Olivier (B-Hive) and Trendwolves

Artificial intelligence (AI) will become the primary way banks interact with their customers within the next three years, according to three-quarters of the 600 US bankers surveyed by consultancy Accenture in a recent report. 

The hype surrounding AI, blockchain and data intelligence in finance is only going up, fueled by fintech and the big tech companies that are developing AI technology at top speed. AI could be the holy grail, the solution to personalised and instant customer service, the answer to the question of how to survive in a fast-changing world. 

Some of the AI examples out there are Capital One’s co-op with Amazon Echo’s Alexa, allowing people to check their accounts and pay credit card bills via the Echo device, and HSBC’s virtual assistant Olivia, who answers questions about credit cards or current accounts.
So far, so good. One would agree that bankers are finally getting the point that tech companies have long since understood: putting the consumer first - designing products and services starting from their interests, behaviour and moods -  is the key to success. It’s no coincidence that Millennials trust tech companies more than they do banks. Believe us, youngsters know that tech companies are no holy saints, and that the Googles and Facebooks are not using the knowledge they gather in consumer’s best interests. Even so, they trust banks even less and a big part of the explanation is that the apps and the services banks provide their young consumers, aren’t as user-centered as they should be. 

In order to design in a way that truly taps into human behaviour, banks need to start using their data to analyse human behaviour. There are fintech out there that match financial transactions with personality traits through HR, so banks would know how, when and with what products they have to approach that specific consumer. 
Introducing AI to fully understand customer’s needs and goals will be a game changer for the banking industry, if banks will put the same amount of effort into designing apps, services, products and communication that fit their consumers’ life, desires and needs. 

As easy as 1, 2, 3... Three major pieces of news from the B-Hive community

This week’s spotlights were all shining towards the UK fintech scene, and we’re happy to say that the Belgian ecosystem shared the limelight.

On wednesday, the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, noted that the fintech sector, which represents about £7 Billion and 60,000 jobs for the UK alone, needed to be recognized as a driving force of economical growth for the region. The comment was made during the Treasury’s first fintech-oriented conference, which piggy-backed on the Global Summit organized for the second time by Innovate Finance, taking place on Monday and Tuesday.

B-Hive announced its partnership to Innovate Finance beginning of January, and has been growing its ties to the FinTech Hub for quite some time now, which is why, naturally, the Belgian ecosystem chose to take part in the summit. Beyond exhibiting at the summit and having a seat in the judge panel of the #Pitch360 contest, B-Hive was delighted to welcome some of its start-up members to the summit as well. Furthermore, two of our members, Guardsquare and Juru, had been selected to partake in the finals of the #Pitch360 contest taking place on the second day of the summit, thus belonging in the top 24 of all submissions.

This brings us to the three pieces of news we couldn’t wait to share with you all:

1)    Belgian cybersecurity company, and B-Hive member, Guardsquare, was declared overall winner of the #Pitch360 contest of the Innovate Finance Global Summit and Belgian blockchain company, and also B-Hive member, Juru, was declared track winner of the blockchain track at the contest.  

We are really proud of the recognition attributed to these well-deserving companies, proving to the world that beyond great beer and amazing chocolate, Belgium now counts an additional export product: qualitative startups and impactful technology. We consider this acknowledgment, together with news like the decision made by the reinsurer Lloyd’s to move its European hub to Brussels, as early but lasting signs of Brussels and Belgium being able to better position itself as a next generation financial hub. At B-Hive, we look forward to keep on contributing to this ascendance, and play the role we were created to play.

2)    Building further on this point, we are extremely excited to announce the establishment of our permanent representation in London.

As no ecosystem or community can suffice on its own and thrives on further, beyond-borders, connections, an international expansion of B-Hive can only be seen as a logical next step. Speaking of next steps, we have planned to open offices in the following cities in the months to come: Tel Aviv, New York City and Singapore, and we’re looking forward to tell you more about it. But first things first, if you’d like to get in touch with our London office, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Thomas, or come by for some free beer (everyday from 2PM onwards, yes, we choose our offices wisely) at the WeWork in Moorgate.

We are extremely excited to announce the establishment of our London office.

3)    “But how do they do it?”, we see you wondering already. Well, it’s quite simple, it’s all thanks to the incredible support provided by our shareholders and partners, which brings us to our third piece of news. We are happy to announce B-Hive has finalized a capital round of €5 Mio, provided by 13 major financial players and the Belgian Government.

We couldn’t be prouder to welcome AXA, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, KBC, Belfius, Euroclear, SWIFT, AG Insurance, Baloise Insurance, Allianz, Isabel, BNY Mellon, Mastercard and the Belgian Government (by means of the federal investment fund) on board. B-Hive will continue to benefit from the support of existing partners, such as Cresco Law, Ingenico, McKinsey&Company, Proximus and Time.lex. You can find our full press release right here.

So, it really was quite the week, and we look forward to the times to come, and are excited to keep on growing this flourishing community with your help.