Small but advanced fintech-centres
I guess the first thing that occurs to many people when discussing technologies and their centers of development is Silicon Valley. Certainly such cities as San Francisco, New York, Singapore, London are the hubs of the industry, but today we won’t talk about them. We’ll discuss small, but very promising countries of the world fintech. The countries where a suitable environment for development was established: the combination of growth-promoting government regulation, competitive environment, talents and capital.
Israeli regulators pursue technological progress together with the business. The country is interested in the success of financial development, AI, big data analysis, blockchain, etc. This is what allowed Tel Aviv, with the population of less than 500 thousand people, to be 18th among the world fintech hubs. Tel Aviv is considered to be a giant of the industry with an excellent startup ecosystem, entrepreneurial culture, and a local talent pool. The country's relatively small domestic market means Israeli entrepreneurs create ideas and product designs that can be scalable for the global market. A great fintech event, Fintech Week Tel Aviv, is held in Tel Aviv, where world players share their experience and look for ways of cooperation. Israel is ranked fifth in terms of foreign investment in local fintech, accounting for 5.1% of global investment in this sphere.
Lithuania is a country that has literally put its heart and soul into creating a favorable ecosystem for fintech companies and startups. The country with a population smaller than the population of Kiev is now one of the leading centres of European fintech. Over the past 10-15 years, Lithuania has radically changed its thinking: it has updated the legal and business environment, created a number of regulatory sandboxes, and carried out a progressive banking reform. Lithuania is currently ranked 11th in the world ease of doing business ranking. The Central Bank of Lithuania is the main development catalyst for the fintech sector in the country,it is open to innovations and technologies. In particular, such companies as Revolut, TransferGo, etc. have already received a banking license in Lithuania. But favorable legal and banking frameworks are not the only magnets for fintech companies. It's also a matter of tech talent: 31.5 thousand people work in IT and almost 85% of them have a command of English.
Estonia is among the top ten leading fintech countries. When it comes to Estonia, we are talking about a cashless society in which over 98% of financial transactions are digital. The Estonian market is attractive: the most advanced country in cyber security, suitable government regulation, talent pool, innovation centres and digital infrastructure. Fintech is represented by many companies in Estonia. TransferWise, a fintech unicorn created by Estonian entrepreneurs, is the main international money transfer competitor to Western Union, Revolut and Monzo. The capital of Estonia, Tallinn, is called the European Silicon Valley, as the city has the highest number of startups per capita. And this is not surprising, since the state greatly supports and encourages the creation of new projects, not only by informative and regulatory mechanisms, but also financially.
Of course, it is worth discussing the success of the Ukrainian fintech. Our country has a great number of distinguished and successful representatives. The government leans toward liberalized regulation. Today we already have something to be proud of.To start with, the first Ukrainian mobile bank was recognized as the fastest-growing bank in the world and attracted the attention of the major investment fund from Silicon Valley. Secondly, we are proud of Kiev, which has become the fifth city in the world where it became possible to pay for a metro with a card through the mechanism on a turnstile. Over the five years since the launch of the Mastercard contactless payment technology, more than 100 million payments with cards and NFC gadgets have been made. Every day up to 240 thousand contactless payments are made in the Kiev metro, more than half of which are made using NFC gadgets (smartphones, smart watches). It confirms that Ukrainians have a positive attitude to innovative solutions and quickly adjust to them.
I am glad that once I started my career in the fintech sphere, because it is very unpredictable. In this industry, one success story can redefine the development vector of an entire country. It is difficult to imagine the financial services industry without technological solutions. Its future depends on them.