11 May 5 things London Tech Week can learn from Nordic & Baltic (Fin)Tech
Nordic and Baltic what…? Yes folks – you heard it right. Those small nations on the northern cusp of Europe can teach the world a thing or two about Fintech and tech generally for that matter (Skype, Trustpilot, Transferwise anyone – or a wee bit of Spotify perhaps?). The Nordic & Baltic nations are Denmark – Sweden – Norway – Finland – Iceland – Lithuania – Latvia – Estonia for those frantically searching google maps as they read this.
The invasion begins on June 11th @ London Tech Week
“Rise, the global FinTech platform created by Barclays, is on a mission to connect FinTech technology and talent and bringing the most up to date trends and insight to corporate players – with over 250+ companies in the global Rise ecosystem and a total of 400 alumni. We see so much amazing innovation coming out of the Nordics and the Baltics and are keen to bring these companies into the Rise network through our partnership withTech Nordic Advocates.”
If there’s an area of ‘tech’ you’re interested in, the Nordic contingent will have it covered including the best and fastest growing fintech, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, AI, analytics, regtech and insurtech startups and scaleups. London Tech Week is just the start – these guys are ready to take on the world and pitch to global investors, corporates and growth partners.
Here’s 5 things to look out for from the community in the Nordic-Baltic region:
1. They scale fast because they ‘have to’ (AND they’re great at English)
The 8 countries of the Nordic-Baltic region together represent just over 30m people. Not insignificant, but less than half the population of any of the ‘Big 3’ European Countries Germany/France/UK. It means that to scale, entrepreneurs are quick to look outside their ‘home’ markets at the bigger adjacent opportunities.
“Trustly has always harboured global aspirations. Starting with 3 founders in Stockholm, we have grown to 200 highly educated employees in the Nordics and millions of transactions per month. More recently, the business has expanded across Europe, adding another 100 employees. Importantly, the English speaking capabilities and international openness of our HQ has made this transition as simple as possible. Furthermore, we are confident this platform will deliver the next exciting stage of expansion, a truly global account to account payments solution”
John Zai, Founder and CEO, CENTI Group, Tech Nordic Advocates’ China partner:
“Nordic startups and scaleups build for global opportunities. In China, a substantial number of investors look for the latest opportunities in Europe, especially in the Nordics. CENTI group help Nordic/ Baltic startups and scaleups with fundraising, China market entry and expansion as one of the largest ecosystems between Europe and China facilitating the transfer of technology, ideas, and talent between the continents.”
2. Women in Tech isn’t a ‘thing’ – it’s a ‘fact’
Three factors significantly help women in the region lead the world in participation across industry. Firstly, legislation in the region is on the cutting edge of ensuring a fair gender playing field – from quotas on boards to equal paternity / maternity entitlements. Parenting is not a drag on having a career nor is it only a problem for ‘women to solve’. Secondly, working hours reflect family obligations as well as commercial ones. It’s completely normal for a Senior VP to leave at 3pm to collect a child from school before addressing email and working from home later when more convenient. Finally, the Nordics famed collaboration culture mean that workplace discussions are more suited to both genders – allowing talent to thrive through deeds rather than aggression and competition within the office.
3. Government gets involved, but doesn’t get in the way
Nordic and Baltic nations in particular have always sought to support local business by creating platforms for public and private sectors to mutually support each other. Small nations like Estonia (home of TransferWise) have taken a long view on tech, offering ‘e-residence‘ to citizens to access digital services and be subject to Estonian (therefore EU) regulations. Such initiatives were initially scorned by bigger countries… who then started to investigate the same approach as the idea became mainstream.
“What we see in Tech Nordic Advocates is the positive side of Nordic government involvement. For example, we’re delighted that many of the startups/scaleups coming to pitch at our events, including “The Best of Nordic /Baltic (fin)Tech Summit” in London, are sponsored by government agencies, including fx lnvest Stockholm, Startup Estonia, The Danish Embassy in London and so on, which makes a fundamental difference to their ability to travel to meet global investors and growth partners – this sends an important message about the strength of support startups and entrepreneurship enjoy in the Nordics”
As part of its Northern Lightsseries, Full Reach spoke to CEO’s, founder’s and backers of some of the regions top Fintech businesses. One immediate difference sticks out when interviewing a Nordic leader in the commercial space compared to the UK; the degree with which collaboration is stressed. It’s a genuine part of the culture where the success of one business is not seen as a ‘zero sum game’ to others within the tech space. Whereas VC provides a route to funding for most businesses in the UK scene, it is often the existing network of banks such as Nordea, Danske Bank that are behind the funding for tech entrepreneurs with big ideas. Some examples can be found here
“Innovation does not happen within a vacuum. Greater collaboration between diverse teams across different markets is critical if we are to create a digital future that serves the needs of everybody. Working with the Nordics is an exciting prospect not only because of the innovative and dynamic tech companies it has created but because of the outward looking stance that collaboration of this kind requires”
5. Hypergrowth can come in ‘high-tax’ countries
For some, the Nordic-Baltic region can be considered a socially driven, high tax haven, but that’s only one perspective. There is no other region of small & medium sized states that have successfully created as many globally renowned tech firms as the Nordics like Skype, Spotify, Trustly, Ericsson, Klarna, Revolut, Aryze, Transferwise and more. It simply wouldn’t be possible for these companies to grow if the taxation were as bad as perceived.
But a conducive tax system is not enough, startups/scaleups must protect their innovations, often a far more pressing issue than the general corporation tax rates. Such established companies, as well as start-ups, are actively protecting their IP as part of their plans to scale up and internationalise to make them attractive to international investors and partners, as well as protecting their investment in R&D.
David Clark,Potter Clarkson, international growth partner to Nordic tech companies, Tech Nordic Advocates partner and Summit sponsor.
“As a truly Anglo-Nordic IP firm, we see first-hand the remarkable levels of innovation that exist in the Nordics and Baltics. Impressively, 3 Nordic countries were recently ranked in the top 10 most innovative countries worldwide in terms of patent filings per head of population (according to WIPO Statistics)”
Who are Tech Nordic Advocates and why are they in London?
TECH NORDIC ADVOCATES is Northern Europe’s largest – and only pan-Nordic/Baltic – tech/startup ecosystem of over 750 startup/scaleup founders, entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, accelerators, corporates and policy makers. As the Nordic/Baltic arm of Global Tech Advocates, Tech Nordic Advocates is the direct gateway to other global tech/startup hubs.
Tech Nordic Advocates is the Nordic sibling of Tech London Advocates – London’s influential private sector-led tech network of more than 7,000 Advocates, instrumental to growing London to Europe’s leading tech /startup hub, and part of Global Tech Advocates, the world’s only global tech/startup ecosystem.
Is it time for you to network with a Nordic?
No need to fly there – they are flying to London! If you want to meet some of the senior leaders and many of the companies and organisation above, click to scroll the programme here.
If you’re Nordic /Baltic fintech, blockchain, cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, AI, analytics, regtech, insurtech startups /scaleups wanting to pitch: Apply here
For everyone else:Secure your place at this unique eventhere
BROUGHT TO YOU BY FULL REACH
Full Reach is a strategic and creative marketing agency specialising in Fintech – based in London and Copenhagen.
“We’re fascinated with companies that have a disruptive mindset, global growth and internationalization. If you look at most Nordic businesses, they are disruptive and looking globally from day 1 – we’re hoping to work with them.” enthuses Max, who leads the Nordic office.
Martin & Max started working together at WorldRemit – a money transfer Fintech company based in London. Founded in 2009, it now has 750 employees worldwide and is valued at more than $650m – being tipped to become the next UK tech ‘Unicorn’
For Martin, Danish companies are what gave him his global career – starting with GN Store Nord / Jabra and continuing with Carlsberg. Martin is now the Managing Director of the agency Full Reach, previously Head of Brand Marketing, EMEA Marketing and Global Marketing Partnerships for WorldRemit, where he delivered the global campaigns ‘Money in Safe Hands (2016) and A better way to send money (2017). In 2018 Martin supported WorldRemit’s expansion of mobile wallet services in Africa. Martin has an international career spanning several countries including Director of Marketing for Carlsberg Group, and several senior Director positions in Russia, Asia and Scandinavia.
3 ways we can help Nordic businesses scale & grow
There’re three things we can help with and we’ve proven it with the global growth achieved at WorldRemit and other clients in the UK & Europe.
Global Growth – when a company gets a wave of investment, the targets immediately rise but the team stays the same in the short term. Recruiting the team to scale up is not easy. We can support offering scale up strategy & project management to build out the plan and execute it across global markets.
Marketing Strategy – having worked in Fintech, e-tail, FMCG, sports and sponsorship, Full Reach can support proposition development and marketing positioning all the way through to a creative execution of the plan. “We can take the idea, and make it global product-market fit”
Creative – We have a Creative office in Central Europe with 35 team members. It gives us the possibility to offer London quality creative from TV to display and digital, at a cost scale up brands can afford. Making good creative need not be a £1m budget project these days!
TECH NORDIC ADVOCATES is Northern Europe’s largest – and only pan-Nordic/Baltic, not-for-profit, tech/startup ecosystem and women-in-tech community, with offices in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki. Tech Nordic Advocates is the Nordic/Baltic sibling of Tech London Advocates – the engine behind London’s tech hub, and the Nordic/Baltic arm of Global Tech Advocates, the world’s only global tech community, spanning 30 global tech hubs and 30,000 tech leaders from Tech Bay Area Advocates in Silicon Valley to South America, London/UK, the Nordics/Baltic, rest of Europe, China, India, South-East Asia and Australia/New Zealand.