For someone who is far from being an expert in the global fintech market, the Scandinavian region is not the first one to come up in mind when thinking about the world’s financial technology hubs. Although Silicon Valley, vibrant Singapore, London, and Berlin
remain to be the traditional places that one thinks of when discussing fintech, Scandinavia is in no way less interesting.
With countries like
Sweden and Norway being committed to going completely cashless within the next 3-10 years, it is no surprise that Scandinavian countries have a lot to offer for those seeking to find new and exciting fintech solutions. In the article below, you will find
what we picked as the most influential, fintech start-ups that originate in Scandinavia and have already managed to establish themselves in both the regional market and within the EU.
1. Denmark - Tradeshift
The Danish fintech startup scene has grown significantly over the last few years. With the government’s support, local entrepreneurs are encouraged to bring about innovation and contribute towards making Cophangen into the new international fintech hub.
In 2019, the country has witnessed the rise of its own fintech unicorn - the Tradeshift. Tradeshift is a cloud-based platform that connects apps, marketplaces, and supply chain payment systems from all over the world. As of right now, the Tradeshift is working
with over 300 companies worldwide and processes billions upon billions of USD worth of transactions.
Today, the Tradeshift is estimated at 1.1 billion USD, which makes it the pioneer fintech unicorn that originated in Denmark. The enormous success of this startup has inspired the Danish government to pay closer attention to the aspiring fintech entrepreneurs
in the country and work towards establishing an environment where the fintech innovations could flourish.
2. Norway - Vipps
In following Sweden’s lead, Norway too is striving to create a cashless society. As of right now, the Norwegian market is flooded with various fintech solutions to mobile payments and online banking. Many of those are developed to cater to the needs of the
Norwegian citizens who wish to access the
Norwegian mobile gaming sites that are otherwise banned in the country. The rapid growth of the variety of mobile payment service providers in Norway is unlikely to decrease in the near future, as the local government is constantly updating the regulations
to limit gambling, and new fintech players appear to provide a way around them.
Nevertheless, Norwegian fintech has more to offer than merely a way around gambling regulations. Vipps is the country’s largest fintech, and, ever since being first created in 2015, has been the main app that the Norwegians use to proceed with mobile payments
safely and quickly. Although the company is not yet listed as the region’s fintech unicorn, its ever-growing popularity shows that it has the potential to become one in the near future.
3. Sweden - Klarna
Sweden is the undoubtful leader of the Scandinavian region when it comes to fintech innovations. The country has an ambition to completely abandon the use of cash in the next three years, and is, therefore, encouraging the vibrant fintech startup environment
that could speed up this transformation. Sweden has long been known to produce some of Europe’s most impressive unicorns - and Klarna is one of them.
Klarna was first created 15 years ago in Stockholm and has now grown into the online bank that handles 40% of the total financial transactions carried out in Sweden. This fintech company acts as an agent between the buyer and the seller, and, when the latter
claims the payments, Klarna proceeds it for the former. In September this year, Klarna was estimated at 10 billion USD, which made it
Europe’s largest fintech unicorn of 2020.
4. Denmark - MobilePay
As the extensive usage of mobile payment systems has spread over the Scandinavian region, Danish banks have come together to create the country’s own mobile payment provider.
MobilePay was created in 2013 and offered the swift and secure proceeding of the transactions made via the mobile phone. Today, more than 3 million people in Denmark use MobilePay services, however, the ambitions of this fintech company go beyond Denmark,
MobilePay aims to become the leading Nordic mobile payment provider, however, so far, its attempt at gaining popularity in neighboring Norway failed, when the local banks chose to back up Klarna.
5. Sweden - Cyborg payment
The last Scandinavian innovation to discuss here might not be on the same scale of popularity and outreach as the ones discussed earlier, however, it is arguably much more impressive due to its futuristic nature.
Cyborg payments, or otherwise referred to as the
radio frequency identification (RFID) chips were originally developed by Biohax International, and have since seen more than 6000 people inserting them into their bodies.
If this fintech innovation gains enough popularity, then the nature of how we proceed with our payments will change once and for all. If an individual will be able to pay for the goods and services that they purchase with a simple wave of the hand then a
large chunk of the global fintech market will be demolished as its solutions will no longer be necessary.
It is yet unclear what the future of the global fintech market will look like, however, one can already see the pivotal role that the Scandinavian region will play in shaping it.