The Pioneers Festival attracts over 2500 attendees, selected startups and investors to Vienna’s Hofburg every year. Now, Pioneers has started a series of smaller events around Europe with a focus on selected topics. Venionaire recently attended the Fintech.Pioneers event in Berlin 16-17th February 2017. Fintech.Pioneers started in a relaxing ambiance on Thursday in a former brewery and soon to open as bar location in Berlin. It was great to meet the event’s participants in such a relaxed manner. On Friday the Fintech.Pioneers Bootcamp Day started with full speed in the following format: 3 fintech expert speakers would present briefly on their topic, followed by 4 startup pitches with Q&A aided by Piobot, whom the audience could send their questions to.
The audience was lead through the most important Fintech topics in a very organized manner: the kick-off was given by an introductory session on the disrupting nature of Fintech, with co-founders of Wikifolio Can Ertugrul, Bitcoin.com co-founder Adam Stradling and Augur’s Perry Despeignes. All three speakers stressed how their innovations gave users the power for more transparency, central to the rise of Fintechs.
Then 4 startups pitched on stage: Italian Euklid presented its AI-powered decision making trading algorithm; Bitbond, one of the three finalists, explained how it enabled worldwide small business loans via Bitcoin transfers; Crediwire provides banks with a tool for credit ratings for small businesses and FinTecSystems provides banks with its client’s real-time data for financial transactions. After the first session participants were given a two-hour time slot for meetings, which could be neatly organized through the event’s platform.
In the next session, Adizah Tejani from Token.io explained how the new PSD2 directive (Payment Services Directive to come into effect 2018) – which obligates banks to provide third-party providers access to their customers’ accounts through open APIs – will enable third-parties to build financial services on top of banks’ data and infrastructure. He argued, that through Token.io this could also be an opportunity for banks as they could be effectively led to comply with the new regulation. Alexander Graubner-Müller and Erki Kert from Big Data Scoring both presented their solutions for small business loans. In the second session of the startup pitches, Enterprise Bot presented its white label solution for banks to chat with their customers; Hufsy is a simple accounting system for startups; finalist Telleroo enthusiastically shared how through its payment solution platforms could pay large numbers of vendors and zuper shared how it wants to become a personalized financial advisor to users through comparing different providers and providing users a neat oversight over one’s finances via app. The session ended with a panel discussion on how the retail bank of the future would look like – Maximilian Tayenthal from N26 spoke of a “democratization of financial services”, where customers would receive better services at better prices.
After a short break, fintech investor Marc Bernegger explained how there are several fintech hubs across the continents yet that the European market is an opportunity for Fintechs. In the following session speakers went into how banks and startups could collaborate using the blockchain technology. Digital strategist Axel Apfelbacher, Bruce Pon from Bigchain DB and Joshua Scigala from Vaultoro went on to share their view on how blockchain allowed for entirely new solutions – such as Vaultoro’s bitcoin/gold trading solution – which not only were unthinkable before, but added immense value and transparency for users. In the last startup pitching session we heard about Quantoz’ blockchain based solutions for banks; Blockchain Helix’ blockchain based KYC solution; Plutus’ payment gateweay for bitcoin holders and last but certainly not least as the startup won the best of prize: Bitwala’s solution as the fastest global bank transfers paying with bitcoins and cashing out to debit cards or bank accounts.