Money 20/20, possibly the world’s largest Fintech event, opened its doors in Copenhagen on June 26. The Luxembourg House of Financial Technology played a significant part in the conference, representing the country’s formidable position in European finance and growing Fintech industry. Among the 3500 delegates, the 400 speakers and the 120 sessions, the LHoFT team cast a wide net – and here is their report on the action.
It was a friendly and energetic atmosphere at the LHoFT stand, which was a focal point for attendees curious to hear what Luxembourg has to offer for Fintech. In addition to the conversations about local advantages and infrastructure, another draw to the stand was a contest where attendees could win a trip out to Luxembourg.
Day 1: Meet the Community
Day one at Money20/20 was a warm-up day, and after settling the booth, the LHoFT team explored what was on offer and stopped by to chat with the other hubs also looking to build international partnerships.
Amongst the many displays already drawing a crowd, two stood out: ZondaTech, a Polish startup that has developed a modern take on the piggybank, designed for a cashless world. You set the amount you want to save, monitor progress with the device, and use the smart bracelet for contactless transactions. The second was the Russian startup Rocketbank, who offer a simple banking platform aimed at millennials, which includes gamification features and access to a dedicated collector shop.
Jack Dorsey, Founder of Square, opened the main stage with a fascinating dissection of their success from day one. His message focused on agility and a rapid build/learn cycle in the early stages of product development – something which may run contrary to established thinking. He was followed later in the day by Mike Barnett, President of Mastercard UK & Ireland division, who talked about the massive growth of sharing economy services and how that has impacted their partnership and product strategy.
During the evening, the team enjoyed an outdoor party and BBQ organized by the incredible Copenhagen FinTech community, followed by a boat party organised by payment technology providers Wirecard and the AI powered fraud fighting Fraugster.
Day 2: Whose hub is it anyway?
Day two started with a nice breakfast for the Fintech ladies, where diversity in payments and education of the young generation were top of the agenda. LHoFT CEO Nasir Zubairi participated in a panel called “The politics of FinTech: Whose hub is it anyway?”, focused on the differing strengths of regional Fintech hubs.The key word of the discussion was collaboration, and in summary, “Fintech Hubs are about people, not politics”. The panel was led by the legendary Ghela Boskovich, Founder of FemTechGlobal and Head of FinTech for Startupbootcamp, who drove debates brilliantly throughout the conference.
During the afternoon, the LHoFT had the privilege to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with LATTICE80, the world’s largest Fintech Hub located in Singapore. The memorandum represents the strong desire of both hubs to enable the expansion of Fintech startups in both directions. Where LATTICE80 provides access to the Fintech infrastructure in Singapore and local expertise for operating in Asia, the LHoFT opens up the Luxembourg ecosystem and enables growth throughout Europe. Money20/20 was the perfect backdrop to sign such an agreement, surrounded by representatives from hubs all over the world.
The keynote stage stayed strong on day two, with Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, President of Samsung SDS, sharing insight on blockchain based use-cases for business, and Moola CEO Gemma Godfrey making the point that customers hold much more power than ever before.
The day ended with the LHoFT team at the industry party hosted by Google at the famous Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the World. Food, music and rollercoasters were on the menu.
Day 3: Fintech in Asia
Day three of Money20/20 was a fitting follow-on from day two for the LHoFT, revolving around Fintech in Asia – including many success stories, and mentions of the upcoming Money20/20 Asia. Later in the day they announced the winner of the startup pitch competition: NewBank, a company that offers blockchain based KYC/AML solutions took home the prize.
The closing acts on the keynote stage included great presentations by Rita Liu, head of EMEA at Alipay who talked about their expansion strategy in Asia, and Sopnendu Mohanty, CFO of the Monetary Authority of Singapore who forecast the death of ‘plastic’ within five years.
The end of the day was spent wrapping up loose ends and final meetings. Another Money20/20 complete, and another two or three thousand more people who are more familiar with Luxembourg’s strength for financial services and Fintech.
Back in Luxembourg, the other half of the LHoFT team were busy with their own startup competition. The annual Fintech Awards Luxembourg also took place on Wednesday the 28th of June, hosted by the LHoFT and KPMG. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gave a rousing speech about the need to combine the best of finance and technology. The winner of the evening was AIFMaps – a regtech startup aimed at decision management around governance and compliance. Blanco Services took home LHoFTs “Women in Fintech” award for the pitch by their CFO Bernadette Wijnings.