Launching your fintech product in a new market – regions of Europe
There are several crucial factors that can make or break the launch of a new financial technology product, and the market you choose is an important one. Whether you’re focusing on a continent, region or country – getting to know the specific trends, niches and challenges will help you make the right decision for your product and your company.
Launching a lending product in a new market doesn’t have to necessarily be a long or costly process. Using a loan management system (LMS) can offer a lightweight way to speed up market testing, allowing companies to better understand product and market fit. FIS.solutions offers an LMS that can be fully customised to meet your business needs – whether you require an end-to-end or simply specific lending process modules.
“Building a minimum viable technology solution to test new products or markets should ideally be as fast as 4-8 weeks. With a lightweight solution you can leverage most of your existing infrastructure, if you already have it. If you’re on a tight budget, quick testing ensures your company doesn’t experience major losses if the project turns out not to be successful.
Even if you’re not currently testing new markets, it’s a feature you definitely want to think about for when your business decides to scale up in the future. A modern LMS shouldn’t force you to choose between lightweight testing opportunities and full functionality,” says FIS.solutions CEO Armands Liseks.
Europe witnessed the birth of 85 new tech companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more in 2021, taking the total unicorns in Europe to 132, and registering a unicorn growth rate more than twice that of the US, according to Tech.eu. This explosive growth was in line with global pandemic-related economic trends and the dramatic increase in online shopping and services.
Most European countries abide by overarching European Union (EU) and European Economic Community (EEC) legislation when it comes to the lending industry, such as the Consumer Credit Directive. There are, nonetheless, still a variety of national regulations and regional microcosms that can be defined by completely distinct values and trends when it comes to the lending practices.
The Nordics are quickly moving toward a cashless society, with Sweden leading the way. However the fast and uneven pace of change has led to much debate, as well as questions pertaining to security. Consumers in the region are uniquely open to online and digital financial solutions, making it the ideal testing ground for innovative lending products.
Although society in the Nordics is very open to new technologies, it’s only recently that the stronghold of commercial banks is beginning to diminish. The global pandemic has seen an increase of capital investment in disruptive payment and lending services in the region, according to ComputerWeekly.com.
When it comes to concentration of startup unicorns (startups valued at 1 billion USD), Sweden comes in at a close second behind the famous Silicon Valley, according to Business Sweden. This high concentration transfers over to other areas necessary for launching innovative products – investment, workforce, as well as cooperation networks with other companies and government institutions.
A 2021 report by Google for Startups, Atomico and Dealroom.co confirmed that among the rapid startup growth throughout Europe, it was the Baltic country of Estonia that raised the most investment per capita of any country in Europe. But they’re not alone. A Change Ventures report revealed record-breaking capital investment in the Baltics as a whole for the first half of 2021. The €649m raised is a whopping three times the amount raised during the same period of the previous year.
While Estonia leads the world in terms of unicorns per capita with its population of 1.3 million and nine unicorns, the Baltic neighbours are doing their best to catch up. Lithuania just got their second unicorn company in 2022, while Latvia got their first unicorn in 2021. The influx of investment is definitely paying off, and the presence of unicorns tends to breed more unicorns.
Although the tech-savvy Baltic countries stand out in terms of lending companies, the region itself suffers from high lending interest rates. Most local lending companies operate beyond the region, with Latvia’s Sun Finance ranking third on London’s Financial Times FT 1000 ranking of fastest growing fintechs in Europe.
While Spain and Portugal experienced a startup boom already before the pandemic, especially in the fintech sector, the growth hasn’t lost steam over the past few years. Both countries have put forward significant effort in developing startups. The Iberian peninsula also has very close ties to fintech ecosystems in Latin America. In this way the region can also be considered a great springboard for launching products in markets outside of Europe.
Although Spain hasn’t traditionally been a top fintech player, the country is opening up in terms of opportunities and investment. Along with the UK and Netherlands, Spain is one of the only European countries that has a regulatory sandbox that help startups develop and adapt to regulations. It also helps that traditional institutions have also been undergoing a long-awaited digital transformation.
Portugal’s fintech scene revolves around the well-established Fintech House community, which allows startups to interact with regulators, legislators, consultants, banks, investors and other relevant entities. The state government also made a big move in 2018 by launching a €200 million venture capital fund and the country welcomed its first unicorn in 2021. Several outside companies have also opened offices in Portugal over the past years.
While Brexit may have scared away a few fintech companies, access to talent, expertise and capital in the UK remains unmatched throughout Europe. The progressive thinking, in terms of legislation, is what breeds innovation in financial services and saw the country experience a boom in P2P lending and challenger banks. In fact, the UK was the first country to adopt open banking legislation, with the EU following suit.
The fintech sector in the UK is also aided by historical ties to global financial markets in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, South Korea and Australia. Such ties are possibly a large factor in mitigating the possible negative consequences of Brexit. London especially stands out – a Deloitte report shows it has the highest concentration of financial services in the world. 94% of the UK’s FinTech venture capital came to the city in 2020, amounting to $4.1 billion.
The lending industry has seen significant expansion in recent years and the sector is now ripe with start-ups, small private lenders, SMEs, and large established organisations. Loan providers must embrace digitalisation if they want to remain competitive and profitable in the fast-paced finance sector. A loan management system streamlines lending processes, improves the customer experience, and eliminates the need for a dedicated IT department, thus saving time and resources.
Get in touch with our team of specialists if you would like to learn more about how our loan management system could take your business to the next level and maximise efficiency and profits. We also offer a free demo so that you can see how our system works in a live setting.