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.
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.