2016 has been another memorable year when it comes to fintech in Norway, where fintech caught mainstream interest. Where 2015 was a busy year for fintech investments in Norway, this is by no means slowing down and the sheer number of fintechs emerging out of Norway is accelerating at an incredible rapid pace.
2016 also kickstarted an expected consolidation in the payments space. Swedish mobile payment specialist Seamless acquired Meawallet for 5 MUSD in order to broaden their offerings in the contactless payments space . Encap Security was another acquisition case in 2016, where US-based AllClear ID, a provider of identity theft repair and credit monitoring services, has acquired Encap Security late July 2016.
The mobile payment battle wages with mCASH, Vipps and Mobile Pay going head-on in the battle to dominate everyday payments. Earlier this year, Nordea and Danske Bank announced that they will be joining forces on the mobile payment platform Mobilepay as equal partners. The initiative welcomes all Nordic banks to join in the collaboration effort. mCash from SpareBank 1 stepped up the competition by enabling payments within any social network or messaging platform. The largest retailers in Norway unveiled their plans for mobile payments with the company Retail Payment teaming up with IBM, Capgemini, Forgerock and Verifone to build a payment platform to better serve the retail industry at Money 2020 in Las Vegas this fall.
Crowdfunding also received a lot of attention, with several new platforms emerging. I was a part of developing and launching a community based crowdfunding platform from SpareBank 1. Finnish equity-based crowdfunding platform Invesdor expanded to Norway in collaboration with Signicat and has been utilized by insurtech startup Cloud Insurance to raise 1,7 MNOK as well as Bad Norwegian to raise 1,5 MNOK. MyShare.live launched an equity-based crowdfunding platform as well as the arrival of French equity-based crowdfunding platform SparkUp.
2016 was an overall exciting year for insurtech in Norway, where P2P-insurer Tribe raised 1 MNOK from various investors, and low-cost retail chain Rema 1000 moved into the insurance industry by launching an insurance line.
Several Norwegian fintechs are targeting savings and investments. Spiff unveiled their plans to deliver a mobile savings services targeted at women, Fronteer solutions launched Harvest.online, an automated factor fund and Huddlestock raised 1,5 MUSD and announced that they are making money and entered a partnership with Saxobank just to name a few developments.
The venture industry in Norway is also picking up pace, and Northzone just closed their biggest fund to date with fintech as one of key verticals. The fintech ecosystem is also shaping up with a wide array of supporting players. Fintech Factory finished their first accelerator program with several new fintechs being born out of the initiative. The banks have really opened their eyes to fintech in 2016, Nordea invited 35 startups to their Oslo office for the launch of their second accelerator program in Oslo, SpareBank 1 opened their APIs and hosted a hackathon in Trondheim and DNB is launching their accelerator program DNB NXT in collaboration with Startuplab.
Even the goverment got onboard the fintech bandwagon with the announcement that Norway will follow UK in establishing a regulatory sandbox for new fintech services.
These are just some of the developments in the Norwegian fintech scene the last year in addition to more fintech events than I am able to count. I expect 2017 to raise the stakes even further with less talk and more action from both challengers and incumbents.
I’ll let this be my concluding blog post for 2016 and will be back with my predictions for fintech in 2017 as we enter the new year and I embark on the next phase of my career in Skandiabanken.