On April 26, Riga will host the biggest competition in the Baltics for startups developing financial technologies (FinTech). Rietumu Banka established the competition two years ago, and it is currently the largest event in the region. Thanks to the initiative of Rietumu Banka, many startups are now motivated to develop and improve the FinTech environment. The main prize on offer in the Rietumu Fintech Challenge 2017 is EUR 5,000.
Last year, 25 startups applied to take part in Rietumu Fintech Challenge 2016. The winner of the main prize was Nordigen, a startup from Latvia – a tool helping lenders to automatize the data analysis of borrowers’ bank printouts.According to Roberts Bernāns, Development Director of Nordigen, “The Rietumu Fintech Challenge is a valuable event, because FinTech culture in Latvia is very active. It is good that big companies are providing support for such initiatives. Especially so, when the support comes from Rietumu Banka which also helps startups to function using the platform it provides. In preparing for the competition last year, we had a defined technology, but we lacked a clear understanding of its applicability. However, the presence of many mentors from the banks and other large financial enterprises gave us the chance to understand whether our service was useful and appropriate for them. Moreover, the large number of foreign experts involved helped us to understand whether our service was viable beyond the borders of Latvia. Our success in this competition is our quality mark and a reference we often use in order to increase the credibility of our brand.”
This year, the involvement of more participants from all the Baltic States, Scandinavia and Russia is expected. As previously, the jury will assess the submitted applications. After all applications, have been reviewed, the strongest startups will be selected for the final. The finalists will have the opportunity to spend a full day working with FinTech industry experts and mentors. These experts will share their advice and experience to encourage the teams to formulate their future vision of their product and business in general as precisely as possible, as well as to prepare the startups for the presentation to investors at the end of the day.
The Rietumu Fintech Challenge 2017 is organised by the Latvian Startup association StartinLV in collaboration with Rietumu Banka. Both parties signed the collaboration agreement at the beginning of 2017. Previously, Rietumu Banka has actively supported different initiatives of startups, for instance, participating in FinTech Club – the series of closed events specially organised for startups working in financial technologies.
Jevgēnijs Djugajevs, Board Member of Rietumu Banka explains that, “Launching a successful FinTech project is complicated. The need to deal with real money and reveal private financial information means that user requirements in regard to new solutions are often high. While it is possible to create something unique, the company should not only be thinking about launching a product; it also has to ensure the product’s reliability and security. It is important to comply with regulations and to avoid bankruptcy. Sometimes companies launch an unfinished project expecting to deal with emerging problems on the go. In our field, this is almost impossible. Therefore, the Rietumu FinTech Challenge has a professional jury that can guide entrepreneurs in the right direction, help them find solutions to problems, and last but not least, to identify the leader amongst the crowd.”
Jekaterina Novicka Chairperson of the Board of Latvian Startup Association says, “We are truly glad that through the Rietumu Fintech Challenge, we can showcase Latvia as a platform able to attract financial technology industry teams from all over the region. It is also a unique opportunity for Latvian FinTech startups to learn, establish contacts and further cooperate with internationally recognized experts. The Rietumu Fintech Challenge is a fantastic chance to understand and exploit the advantages offered by banks.”
Rietumu Fintech Challenge 2017 welcomes applications from startups that already have working product or its prototype. The product must be appropriate for use in the FinTech field. From all the applications, the jury will select the strongest startups, which will then be invited to take part in the all-day mentoring session and compete for the main prize. Register* until April 7 here:
*In order to register for the Rietumu FinTech Challenge 2017, it is necessary to create a startup profile using the free platform http://f6s.com. Afterwards, you can fill in the questionnaire and to register for the competition. If you have any questions regarding registration, please do not hesitate to contact the project manager Aļona Beļinska by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org