Finland is a country of forests, but also of technology – and I don’t mean just a giant such as Nokia. Thanks to some great regulations and a huge number of talents, this Northern European country has a vast landscape of FinTechs. Let’s take a closer look at it to find out how they function!
Table of contents:
- FinTech in Finland
- All of the interested parties
- Major player: Fintech Farm
- Other accelerators
- Top 10 Finnish FinTechs
- Local, yet global
FinTech in the land of lakes and forests
Finland may seem like a big country with a small population, but it doesn’t matter in the world of business. The number of FinTechs per capita is extremely high there, regulations are clear and ideas are popping up with a fast pace. Right now, there are over 200 companies that identify themselves as FinTechs in Finland and their revenues exceed 1.3 billion euro a year.
Finnish FinTech industry has its roots in back-end technologies and software for financial institutions. Right now, though, startups and scaleups do literally everything related to money and technology.
Who is who and why
Our analysis of the Finnish FinTech environment should start with defining who shapes it and how these companies work together to make the country a perfect place for startups.
Fintech Farm – where success is grown
Independence, pride and hard work are what make the Finnish people achieve successes. In the spirit of these values, a community called Fintech Farm was created. This financial technology hub has been connecting banks, FinTechs and digital finance services providers for over 5 years and is a part of HUB12 Ltd. Right now it has over a hundred members.
The organisation is built as a partnership accelerator and calls itself an “ecosystem”.
FinTech Farm offers a number of opportunities that allow startups and mature enterprises to grow. First of all, there is FinStack – the FinTech venturing toolkit. This network and community of enthusiasts focuses on helping innovative solutions to scale from day one. As an open service and a programme for creators of technologies based around finance, it combines and distributes resources from partners of FinTech Farm.
FinStack is for new entrepreneurs who need guidance, for established FinTechs that are looking for new ways to grow and learn and for financial institutions that are thinking about creating new, innovative services.
Based on the new partner’s needs, the organisation can provide custom tailored training, but it also runs regular 2-day bootcamps. During a FinStack Bootcamp, you can get to know everything you need about technology and regulations, so you can jump into the world of FinTech or update your knowledge. The list of partners that cooperate with FinTech Farm to make FinStack effective is vast and includes giants such as Amazon Web Services, Danske Bank, Nordea, Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority, Visa, Google Cloud, Citi Group, HubSpot and more.
No business can scale from day one without networking. This is why FinTech Farm focuses on matchmaking so much. As a hub, the organisation obviously hosts a number of events, but the most attractive service they offer are the Introductions. The idea is simple, yet grand. You can contact FinTech Farm using a form on a website, where you state what you need and who you need to talk to and they will arrange a meeting for you.
There is more to it, though. Banks can use FinTech Farm’s Matchmaking service to screen their potential clients. Thanks to a partnership with NewCo Helsinki, the institution has launched a Screening Program which shortens the distance between FinTechs and banks. Just by using a simple form, you can get your idea delivered to Aktia, Danske Bank, Nordea or OP and be sure that it will be treated seriously – all thanks to the authority held by FinTech Farm.
Deal Flow is the organisation’s service responsible for helping its members increase their fundraising and sales effectiveness. Not only it enables new connections with potential partners and financial institutions, but also supports growth in other ways. The Deal Flow programme consists of three components:
- Enabling new connections
- Due diligence support
- Business development coaching
Participants receive tickets to events, support from the FinStack partners and free onboarding to the DD-Ready platform. Moreover, they are introduced to numerous partners from the hub’s structure. This is no charity, though. FinTech Farm makes money on referral fees.
The hub also hosts the largest and most accurate database of FinTechs operating in and from Finland.
Other FinTech accelerators in Finland
Besides FinTech Farm, which is an incredible institution and supports FinTechs in a complex way, there are still quite a few accelerator programs there.
Vendep Capital is a multi-stage venture capital and accelerator company from Espoo. It focuses on geographies like the US, the UK and Finland. Typically invests €0.5M-€1M in companies.
Startup Sauna is a startup accelerator which runs a 7-week long program. Accepts startups working on a wide range of technologies and sectors. Since 2010, many startups have graduated from 15 batches and 222 startups who have raised over $200M funding. One of the major success stories of Startup Sauna was Bonusway, one of the leading cashback programmes in Europe.
Nestholma is a startup accelerator which runs a 3-month long accelerator program. The firm invests €10k to €150k to selected startups as a part of the program. It also offers 4 partnered accelerators and accepts startups working on a wide range of technologies and sectors. Thanks to Nestholma, we can use Ethical Capital, a service that helps investing in ethical businesses.
FasterCapital helps in creating and/or reviewing business plans and pitch decks to start a business in Finland. They help in funding the idea and building a product. You can check their programs Idea to Product and Tech Cofounder for early-stage startups and startups that are still building an MVP.
TOP 10 FinTechs in Finland
Let’s find out more about the most important players on the FinTech market of Finland and what they do.
An international provider of mobile financial services. The focal point of Ferratum are automated banking processes with a centralised technology infrastructure.
A global leader in automation of account payable processes. The company transforms their clients’ operations by helping them minimise exceptions in their systems, making their workflow more efficient and automating all processes.
Now a part of Cognizant. How Samlink introduces itself says everything: Samlink enables synergies, growth and business development through ICT. The company is a large-scale developer of IT solutions and services for financial institutions.
UKKO.fi allows everybody to be an entrepreneur, even without registering a company. Their Light Entrepreneurship service works as an umbrella company, so you can work and issue invoices without the hassle of running an official business. UKKO.fi also makes being a trader simple by handling all bookkeeping.
ePassi has one product, but it makes a huge difference both for employees and employers. The ePassi app lets you keep all of your employee benefits in one place, and pay for services and products.
Saldo is a responsible lender who invests in the development of its own financial technology with the help of innovative and multidisciplinary staff. The company provides financial services to consumers and SMEs in Finland, Sweden and Lithuania. What makes Saldo special, is the goal. They constantly work on making their cutting-edge systems as fast as automated, as possible.
Finago creates all-in-one digital accounting solutions for companies of all sizes. Their product family, Accountor Finago targets both businesses and accounting offices, which makes it a swiss army knife of finance management.
Crosskey combines big-league IT capabilities with flexibility, engagement and a personal touch, as the company introduces itself. By the means of open banking, Crosskey builds banking systems and applications in a friendly, yet efficient manner.
Mash is a buy now, pay later solution provider present in Northern and Central Europe. By using Mash, you can pay with a delay of 14 days and with no interest charged.
Profit Software is an independent software development company with a focus on banks and insurance companies with offices in Finland, Estonia and Sweden. They may be our competition, but still couldn’t be omitted in this list.
FinTech in Finland is global
The fact that Finland is not a large market itself means that it needs to go global to grow. The local community of entrepreneurs understands it well and it encourages everyone to join. It is clearly visible in the FinTech Farm’s policy, as the hub cooperates with similar groups in other countries and strives for internationalisation – not only by close cooperation with other Nordic countries, but even with Japan, represented by Tokyo FinTech. Will you join too?