Latvia's Rietumu invites applicants for third fintech startup contest

Source: Rietumu Bank

This spring the international contest of startups Rietumu FinTech Challenge 2017 will be held in Latvia for the third time.

Its participants can be young companies which intend to change the way people and businesses operate with money in everyday life - make purchases, pay bills, transfer money to each other, invest and save, as well as how tasks of businesses and banks are automated, how new financial technologies receive an unexpected application. It is planned that the project, which is acknowledged as the best, will receive a grant for business development.

The general partner of the contest is traditionally Rietumu Bank. This time, the business contest is held in cooperation with the Latvian Association of Startups StartinLV.

In recent years Rietumu Bank has been actively supporting the initiatives where technologies are used for finance - payments, settlements, payment cards, integration and API, artificial intelligence, data processing and aggregation, identification of people and companies, investments. At the previous Rietumu FinTech Challenge, the main award was received by the Latvian company Nordigen, which today actively provides scoring services to banks and non-banking structures in different countries for qualitative assessment of the creditworthiness of their customers. Nordigen also entered the Top 20 winners in its nomination at the largest European contest of startups Slush.
Technological projects in the area of financial services are considered to be among the most promising and attractive trends. Cooperation between the fintech field and traditional financial institutions has been actively expanding. Both sides see prospects in it. Thus, at the end of last year, for example, the British financial markets regulator FCA and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) signed a cooperation agreement on promotion of financial innovations. For FCA, it became the fifth agreement which was the key initiative for promotion of fintech projects.

In countries such as Israel, Australia, Singapore, South Korea and China, hundreds of new perspective projects appear every year. The Baltic states and, in particular, Latvia, seeks to take its prominent place in the industry of financial technologies.
"Cooperation of the Association and Rietumu Bank is a great example of how it is possible to share knowledge with young companies and have a positive impact on the overall situation with the development of startups in Latvia," said Chairman of the Board of the Association of Startups StartinLV Ekaterina Novitskaya.

Today, a clear trend is emerging - traditional financial institutions change and keep up with the development of new technologies, thus remaining leaders on the financial market.

According to the Board member (IT) Eugene Dugayev,
"Quite recently, as it seems, we were witnessing how first fintech projects were originating in Latvia. Today everyone understands: we have enough talented people who are able and want to create something new. By providing support from Rietumu Bank, we stimulate the development of the whole industry of financial technologies in the country.

Launching of a successful project is not an easy task because users have high requirements for the new solution, as it often goes about real money and personal financial information. You can come up with something unique, but your company should not only make a product, but also instil trust and confidence in its reliability, think of how to meet the regulatory requirements and not to go bankrupt during this period. It also happens that companies launch a crude project hoping to fix problems as they come. In our area, it is not permissible. Therefore, the Rietumu Challenge FinTech contest has an expert jury capable of targeting entrepreneurs, helping them with solution of their problems and, of course, selecting the leader.

Young entrepreneurs should understand that the role of banks in the development of the fintech industry is overwhelming today - banks are both donors and consumers of the solutions, and they are also the infrastructure, which is to be found a beneficial way to interact with.”

All contestants will also be able to get advices from professionals and establish contacts with potential investors.

The geography of the contest encompasses the Baltic and CIS countries, Central and Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia.

Applications can be submitted up to 7 April. Anyone interested whose projects meet the specified criteria can participate in the contest.

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