To use the map feature, you need to accept cookies that are necessary for its functionality. You can manage your cookie preferences by clicking on the cookie settings button.
Are classic financial centers strong attractors for the fintech industry?
At first sight, it seems as if the classic finance industry in London or New York is the driver for the development of the local fintech industry. In our view, however, the strong startup landscape at the two locations is the root cause for the success of fintechs. Financial centers with a weaker start-up scene such as Frankfurt, Singapore, Paris and Dublin also develop rather weakly. On the other hand, the absence of the financial industry does not prevent the development of a strong fintech scene as we see in the Valley (negligible banking industry) or Berlin (a municipal savings bank and a few smaller banks).
Offshore centers such as Luxembourg, Switzerland, Cyprus, or various Caribbean states are important habitats and pro forma headquarters of the financial industry but can not attract many fintechs with their mix of low taxes and low regulation. In future the quality of regulation may play a greater role – the active, supportive stance of the UK’s FCA towards fintechs may give startups in London an extra boost, while for instance the more passive and bureaucratic approach of the German BaFin will maybe curb innovation in Berlin. However, the rather restrictive approach of the different authorities in the US towards financial innovation was not able to stop the local, fintech industry from gaining leadership.
Beyond the Valley
While most of the world's top startups are headquartered in the Valley, the fintechs are much more spread across the globe (admittedly, the Valley is still the top player). One reason is the local regulatory and political framework: Fintechs in China and other emerging markets are predominantly targeting their local market, which is often difficult to access from Western countries.
However, most large and successful players in Europe and North America address a number of markets with a very heterogeneous regulatory environment - still being able to adapt their service to a variety of local markets. In our view, the Valley has lost its dominance mainly because the fintechs are latecomers in the startup business. The big picture we see - a multicentric landscape - could be the future landscape of the whole startup industry.
Still, at the moment there are only five countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Australia) with a significant number of fintechs with a really international focus. Will that stay so? It is an open question, if the big players of the emerging markets will and can go international. And whether the existing fintech hubs in other western cities like Tel Aviv, Vancouver, Toronto, Paris will grow fast enough to catch up to with the top hubs.
A fintech in our definition?
A fintech provides products or services in one of the following fields:
The business model of the fintech relies heavily on the internet.
The age of the fintech is not a criteria.
We love innovation and enjoy talking with change makers. Therefore we created a space where we share articles and interviews with everyone like-minded.
Köpenicker Str. 18-20, 10997 Berlin