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Brexit: an opportunity for small countries to attract large FinTech companies

The title is one of the conclusions from the meeting of financial technologies industry representatives in the third discussion organized by 'Rietumu FinTech Club'. This time, the subject of the discussion included the alternatives to bank services in the 21st century and the financial technologies that make bank and non-banking financial experience more convenient and modern. 'Rietumu FinTech Club' is organised by Rietumu Banka in cooperation with the Latvian Startup Association 'Startin.LV' and the co-working space 'TechHub Riga'.  

The special guest was Mr. Andrius Biceika from Lithuania. He is the business developer of the startup company Revolut. 'Revolut' is considered to be one of the fastest growing startup companies in the UK in the 21st century. It is an alternative banking solution that has attracted over 600,000 users in nearly two years and raised investments of EUR 17 million. Moreover, this happened with no marketing budget! In addition, to date 8,000 clients have applied to purchase a new product not yet presented to wider audiences. “Our success is based on several factors. What matters most is people working on the implementation of the project and their efficiency. Secondly, the product has become the main marketing instrument. It is important to create the image that through using this product, they [customers] will have special privileges. The next factor of success is speed – we have the experience of introducing a new solution suddenly copied by another service provider within a few weeks, but for the bank, it has probably taken several months. Another thing that one should respect is the culture of the company. All the employees have to share a common purpose and do everything to achieve it,” said Biceika in revealing the factors underpinning his company’s success. 

The second part of the event consisted of panel discussion involving all stakeholders of FinTech industry. Startups were represented by Valdis Bergs (Mtrx), Roberts Bernāns (Nordigen) and Jevgenijs Novickis (Swipe). Jevgenijs Djugajevs from Rietumu Banka represented the banking sector. The opinion of the state bodies was expressed by Arnis Lībenzons, Head of the E-commerce department (EKUKMAD) of the Tax Control Office of the State Revenue Service. The main subject of the discussion covered the issues related to alternatives to banking services of the 21th century and financial technologies that make the financial experience of the banks and non-banks more convenient and modern. Toms Kreicbergs, a business coach and financial consultant moderated the debate.

All the participants in the discussion expressed the same opinion that Brexit is a big opportunity for small countries to attract FinTech companies. Even 'Revolut', which is currently based in the United Kingdom will soon be looking for an EU country to move to in order to continue the operations in the free market using its license. “Naturally, Lithuania is very interested in cooperation with us, because I am a Lithuanian. And my advice to other countries is to show the same attitude – instead of waiting for a startup to come and apply for residence, be proactive and look for rising stars in financial technologies,” says Biceika. Jevgenijs Djugajevs, the representative of Rietumu Banka agrees: “It is a great opportunity for our country. However, we have to move and provide easy operational conditions for companies seeking a new country of residence in order to continue their operations in Europe. We have the labour force and technologies. In comparison to many other European countries, the infrastructure of our banking sector is new and modern, and almost every bank works with multi-currency accounts. The most important thing for our country is to be smart enough to take advantage of the current situation, to try new opportunities and create new jobs. In Europe, the battle for startups is already under way.”

The Rietumu FinTech Club is a meeting club for representatives of the financial technologies industry, who are willing to discuss trends and share their experience. Three successful meetings confirm that the FinTech industry seems interesting and promising to young business enthusiasts. The initiative is currently being implemented by the Latvian Startup Association ‘Startin.LV’ in cooperation with Rietumu Banka.

Photos with the best moments from the event are here.

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