Holland FinTech blew out its first birthday candle in October. This past year, the Amsterdam initiative has proven that it can bring fintech companies in contact with potential customers, their peers, investors and new talent. “Holland FinTech’s networking function seems to stand out”, says Don Ginsel, the company’s founder and Director.
Ginsel came up with the idea for Holland FinTech in the summer of 2014, and after a very busy September, the first event took place in October 2014. Ginsel: “We began with an ideal opportunity. There was still a lot of profit to be had in the Netherlands where innovation drift in the financial sector was concerned, particularly in the area of serving society better.
Holland FinTech’s most important function is connecting expertise and parties active in fintech. The digital world consists mainly of specialist companies that are strongly inclined towards collaborating with other specialists. This makes them dependent on the quality of the other players in their supply chain to create the strongest service possible. The full eco-system approach proved to be the most effective way of connecting fintech parties with each other and with the necessary resources. Holland FinTech has now realised hundreds of introductions for its members and has also generated awareness within government and the regulatory authorities.
In contrast to most pressure cookers and accelerators, Holland FinTech’s eco-system has a wider focus. “That broader view led to programmes with activities that more parties can benefit from. Our goal is to make essential knowledge accessible to all parties who want to join. Regardless of whether you are a talent, start-up company, investor or corporate business, and regardless of what you’re looking for, technology, services, customers, talent or capital, we search the system thoroughly for players who can contribute to a competitive climate.”
Ginsel is delighted with the more than 100 members that Holland FinTech now has. This year has been a challenge; building and simultaneously looking for partners. “The fact that KPMG, IBM, Innopay and Van Doorne came on board immediately and stuck their necks out says so much. Things have gone well up to now, but we, with our members, still have a big ambition to realise in the next few years.”
20 to 25% of the members are large corporates. Aren’t the bulky oil tankers terrified of those disruptive upstarts in the banking sector? That seems to be a misconception: 75% of fintech start-ups see a financial institute as a partner or a client. “And in the long term, that will cause financial institutions to distinguish themselves more from the competition; on user-experience, for example.”
Another high point was the trip to New York, where contact was made with the local eco-system of start-ups, investors and of course Wall Street. Holland FinTech has also been part of a number of trade missions. Isn’t the name Holland FinTech too local for that? “Ultimately it’s about the global context; technology is relevant all over the world. We are striving for a network of technology and services that’s available worldwide, and we want to grow from being a local to a worldwide proposition – with the Netherlands as the starting point.”