OFFICIAL LAUNCH BELGIAN FINTECH PLATFORM IN LONDON
IN ATTENDANCE OF THE BELGIAN FEDERAL MINISTER OF FINANCE JOHAN VAN OVERTVELDT
The leading voices of the Digital Finance Community of Belgium led by the Minister of Finance and B-Hive build bridges with the London Fintech Community.
January 10, 2016 – London, UK: A delegation of leading voices of the Digital Finance community of Belgium led by the Minister of Finance Johan Van Overtveldt and B-Hive are visiting London today to initiate building a bridge between the Fintech communities of London and Brussels.
A number of different Belgian Financial and Governmental players - from the Minister of Finance to the founders of Eggsplore, from Belgian banks to international infrastructure players, from financial start-ups to the National Bank were in London to strengthen & establish the collaboration between two major Fintech hubs: London and Brussels. A Memorandum of Understanding between Innovate Finance and B-Hive, was signed tonight, Tuesday January 10, at the Belgian Embassy in London in the presence of the Belgian Minister of Finance Johan Van Overtveldt, CEO of Innovate Finance Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Eggsplore Wim De Waele, founder of Eggsplore Jurgen Ingels, Fabian Vandenreydt from SWIFT Innotribe and Xavier De Pauw from FinTech Belgium and start-ups Swanest, Silverfin, Qover and Monizze and the City of London Corporation.
London is one of the most important Fintech hubs in the world and since the news of the Brexit, many European countries, capitals or other cities have sprung up as places that aspire to be the most important Fintech Hub and want to compete with London. That’s not the purpose of B-Hive. As a country of natural born diplomats and centrally located within Europe, Brussels - Belgium wants to build close ties with London. For B-Hive, it is both interesting to scout technology companies that want to establish additional offices on the continent. London serves also as an interesting destination for Belgian technology companies that are looking to expand their activities into the UK. Today, B-Hive is signing a cooperation agreement with Innovate Finance as one of the first steps in the further deepening of its international ties.
About B-Hive – Where Finance meets Technology
B-Hive is the successor of Eggsplore (founded by Jurgen Ingels and with Wim De Waele as CEO), a collaborative innovation platform in which a number of major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players started working together on common innovation challenges and building bridges to the start-up and scale-up community. B-Hive builds further on Eggsplore: The Belgian Government - by means of the federal investment fund - and a number of other additional partners added their weight to the project. The initiative was one of the recommendations of a high-level expert group called together by the Minister of Finance Johan Van Overtveldt and led by Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC Bank and Insurance Group. The list of companies supporting the initiative include all the major sector players: AXA, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, KBC, Belfius, Euroclear, SWIFT, AG Insurance, Baloise Insurance, P&V, Isabel and Mastercard with more to follow. B-Hive will also maintain the existing partnerships with existing Eggsplore partners such as McKinsey and Partners, CRESCO, Proximus, Ingenico, Timelex.eu, the Solvay and Vlerick Business Schools as well as add new ones.
B-Hive will be the platform where different actors can meet and:
- Explore the opportunities offered by digital transformation;
- Jointly promote their digital platform know-how;
- Provide the key elements of infrastructure, funding and education;
- Attract technology companies to use Brussels as a gateway to the European market;
- Collaborate with broader initiatives supporting the start-up community.
Eggsplore – Wim De Waele, CEO: “Economic growth and innovation in the network economy is strongly dependent on collaboration and exchange of knowledge. With the B-Hive initiative we are connecting the different local and global actors that can contribute to that growth. I am pleased we are getting such a broad support for this vision and I am convinced it will make a difference for our region as a digital financial centre.”
Eggsplore - Jurgen Ingels, Founder: I’m very excited and honoured that the Eggsplore initiative is serving as the base for the B-Hive platform. This was exactly what I envisioned when I conceived Eggsplore 18 months ago. Together with my team, I’m looking forward to continue building bridges and putting Belgium on the international FinTech map as a key player, where I believe it belongs.
Cabinet of Finance Belgium – Mr. Johan Van Overtveldt, Minister of Finance: “I am very pleased to announce the launch of B-hive, a collaborative innovation platform where finance meets technology. The new platform is the result of a recommendation made by a High-Level Expert Group on the future of finance in Belgium, which I put in place in 2015, and led by Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC Bank and Insurance Group.”
“B-Hive will put Brussels on the map as the gateway to Europe for international FinTech & SmartTech companies, taking advantage of its central position close to the decision-making centres of Europe and the presence of major financial infrastructure players & talent. The platform will build bridges to other FinTech hubs such as London and focus on cybersecurity and identity management, market infrastructures and back-end automation.”
“B-Hive will be a facilitator to the growing start-ups to keep growing in Belgium, and matching with talent and expertise. Which is sometimes hard to find on their own.”.
Innovate Finance - Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO: “Brexit will not get in the way of FinTech advancing in the UK and Europe. Today, we are welcoming the Belgium hub B-Hive to build a new “FinTech bridge” with the UK. Many continental FinTechs continue to see London as an attractive destination, and we are keen support future collaborations for our members on the continent with B-Hive. Belgium is at the heart of the European Investment Management scene and has a number of global infrastructure partners such as SWIFT, Euroclear, BNYMellon and Mastercard."
SWIFT – Fabian Vandenreydt, Global Head of Securities Markets, Innotribe & The SWIFT Institute: “Being at the forefront of global and collaborative innovation in financial service technology for many years now, SWIFT Innotribe is delighted with the launch of B-Hive. As a client-centric, inclusive and international platform, B-Hive is going to be instrumental in further developing Brussels as a key digital financial centre in the heart of Europe.”
Euroclear - Luc Vantomme, Managing Director and Global Head of Innovation: "B-Hive has taken the proper steps in becoming a truly collaborative environment, fostering creativity and new ideas. Euroclear is proud to be part of this ecosystem, which is aligned to our innovation strategy. We work with third-party innovators in ways that reward their innovation while simultaneously giving us both agility and flexibility to deliver client value in new ways."
Mastercard - Valerie Nowak, Belux Country Manager: “We are happy to help improve the Belgian financial services infrastructures by bringing all great products and solutions our Digital & Labs team has developed over the past 50 years. As FinTech innovations continue transforming our lives, this is a great opportunity to develop joint programmes to further connect consumers to the digital future”.
Qover – Jean Charles Velge, Co-Founder:"Eggsplore has played a critical role in the fast traction and development of Qover. Their extensive network, real entrepreneurial knowledge and continuous drive to move the Tech scene is impressive. We are convinced that with the launch of B-Hive in London, they will contribute substantially with our rapid Scale-Up on the European scene."
Swanest – Silvan Schumacher, CEO: “B-Hive connects FinTech players and puts the ecosystem in Belgium on an international agenda. As a start-up, this helps us to get access to knowledge and supports our vision to provide investment services across Europe.”
Silverfin – Joris van der Gucht, Co-Founder: “As co-founder of Silverfin it’s a pleasure to work together with Eggsplore on the further expansion plans of Silverfin”. The combination of opening the network by the experienced management team & Getting helpful input to scale the company is a great opportunity for our company. Eggsplore has proven to deliver a good format to help scaling FinTech companies.
Monizze – Jean-Louis van Houwe, Founder: "New e-payment methods are just booming in fintech in the world in general, in Belgium in particular. The local context can make the difference, whether consumer readiness, or legislation such as the unique migration to 100% digital meal vouchers: this has allowed the birth of Monizze!"
City of London Corporation - William Russell, Sheriff: “London has long been regarded as one of the world’s most innovative FinTech hubs. “Its supportive regulatory initiatives, government programmes and tax incentives provide ample opportunity for firms both large and small to grow. “Working with European counterparts provides even greater chance for growth. “That’s why we’re delighted to welcome the B-Hive hub – an initiative that will boost collaboration between Belgium and the UK.”
FinTech Belgium – Xavier De Pauw, President: “FinTech Belgium is very excited to continue the work it started 2 years ago for the FinTech community within this enlarged setting. We believe that B-hive, the collaborative platform for financial services and FinTech communities freshly created under the impetus of the Minister of Finance, has the potential to boost FinTech innovation, benefit the broad financial sector and ultimately improve the products and services available to the clients.”