Europe is home to some of the world’s most famous FinTech cities. The likes of London, Berlin and Stockholm are well known for their leading roles in the sector. But for some cities on the continent, FinTech is just getting started. We’ve taken a look at what Europe has to offer and put together our top seven emerging FinTech cities.
In some cities, FinTech is completely new and in others it’s been around for some time. Either way, there’s plenty to suggest their futures in FinTech are bright.
The Catalonian capital has stepped onto the scene as one of Europe’s big up-and-coming FinTech cities. It’s seen a recent surge in new tech and a shift away from traditional banking.
The Covid-19 pandemic inspired a move towards fresh technologies like mobile contactless payments. And rises in crowdfunding and cryptocurrency platforms are helping to shape a digital banking future for the city.
Barcelona has the ideal foundations to grow in the world of FinTech. It possesses a high number of start-ups with headquarters in the city, including major players like Verse, NoviCap and Typs. It’s attracting plenty of investment, too.
The FinTech sector in Barcelona saw €135m of funding in the first nine months of 2020, according to figures from ACCIÓ (the Catalan Government’s agency that promotes foreign investment and business competitiveness). This was an increase of 104% compared to 2019.
With plenty of well-trained tech professionals and an ideal metropolitan environment, Barcelona is quickly becoming a European FinTech hot spot.
Brussels has a robust finance sector. It’s home to the headquarters of financial services giants like Euroclear, SWIFT and Euronext. And, using its strong core, Brussels is expanding in the world of FinTech to become a key name in Europe.
The Belgian capital possesses all the necessary components to explode on the FinTech scene. It has specialised financial infrastructure, state-of-the-art knowledge about payment services and cutting-edge cyber security expertise.
It’s also packed with 92 established banks, successfully merging new FinTech players with traditional institutions.
Brussels is well known for its multicultural population. Its diversity could be a crucial asset in creating a vibrant FinTech future that attracts individuals and businesses from all over the world.
Despite being in the shadow of its big brothers Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, Hamburg is up and coming in the FinTech sector and has its sights set on taking the national crown.
A 2020 study by Comdirect shows that Hamburg is home to 89 FinTech start-ups which is less than its three older brothers. However, since 2018, its introduced 17 new start-ups, more than Frankfurt and only three less than Munich.
Hamburg also received €139m of investment in the FinTech sector between 2019-2020 with the figure expected to grow in data for 2021.
As a city, it has a strong track record of innovation and reliability in financial services and is a popular working destination for natives and expats.
With investment in FinTech continuing to grow, and more businesses launching every year, Hamburg is undoubtedly one of Europe’s brightest FinTech cities.
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Consistently ranking as one of the Europe’s top cities for quality of life, Geneva is also a growing FinTech hub.
The city, like the country it resides in, is synonymous with strong, reliable finance. And in keeping with the times, Geneva has pushed on with developments in areas like digital currencies and payments.
Switzerland is not a member of the EU and is in total control of its own privacy laws. This means it’s less restrictive in some areas which may be appealing to FinTech start-ups. Also, Geneva has low tax rates for businesses, adding to its popularity among start-ups.
Its sturdy financial roots give Geneva the ideal foundations to build on to become a force in European FinTech.
Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city with a population of over 15 million. It also has the largest proportion of internet users of any Turkish city (90%). It has a healthy financial sector for FinTech companies to build on and a young, tech-savvy population to cater for.
Turkey has seen a considerable jump in FinTech investment in the last few years. According to Necip Fazıl Kaymak (Vice President of Turkey’s Finance Office), the nation has increased its annual FinTech investment from $12m in 2016 to $64m in 2021.
As the country’s FinTech flagbearer, Istanbul is reaping the rewards of the extra funding and is expected to continue its growth in the sector.
Turkey is seeing traditional banks recognise the potential of FinTech start-ups and the move towards digitalisation. As a result, Istanbul and Turkey as a whole are witnessing strategic partnerships form between the two, supporting one another.
The city has plenty of potential for newcomers to make a name or themselves in the FinTech world.
Milan has taken the reins as Italy’s FinTech frontrunner. It claimed 61st place on Findexable’s Global FinTech Index 2021, and 22nd in Europe. The next Italian city was Rome, ranking 143rd on the global list.
In 2020, the city played host to over 150 FinTech start-ups – a considerable leap from 32 in 2017. The surge in new businesses was likely inspired by the introduction of the Milan FinTech District in 2017. It aims to help aspiring start-ups, entrepreneurs, financial institutions, investors and universities to foster development and growth.
With a refined FinTech focus, Milan is on the up and getting attention from the rest of the world.
The Lithuanian capital has taken the FinTech world by storm. It’s seen a meteoric rise in FinTech companies, employees and student-related programmes.
In the Global Fintech Index 2021, Lithuania ranked 10th for best FinTech country in the world and 6th in Europe. Vilnius is the nation’s FinTech focal point and has received impressive recent investment.
In 2019, figures from FDI Intelligence showed that Vilnius received the highest number of greenfield Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects per capita from start-ups in the software and IT services sector of any city in the world. It claimed the scalps of Berlin, Singapore and London on the list.
It has become one of the world’s leading destinations for ease of hiring, start-up attraction and cost-effectiveness in FinTech.
With its highly skilled workforce, welcoming business environment, warm regulatory system and well-structured ecosystem, Vilnius possesses all the qualities to be a European FinTech giant.
FinTech at Privalgo
At Privalgo, we’ve faced all the challenges that come with being a FinTech start-up. We’ve continuously developed our tech and solutions to jump every hurdle and give our clients the optimal experience when they exchange currencies.
And one area we’ve never overlooked is the human aspect of our business.
Privalgo’s people are at the centre of everything we do from front of house to back office and beyond. We’re getting recognised, too.
Privalgo’s Financial Controller, Dawn Knaggs was commended for her contribution to financial services by featuring on Innovate Finance’s Women in FinTech Powerlist 2021.
All of our clients receive the help of our Foreign Exchange Specialists when they make international payments. There is always someone on the other end of the phone to offer solutions and guidance on how to manage your payments and protect your money from market risk.
To find out more about how we can help, request a callback from a Privalgo Foreign Exchange Specialist.