The fintech scene in Norway is growing at an accelerating pace, and if we learned anything from Londons success is that a strong fintech ecosystem is a catalyst for growth in the sector. While the fintech sector in Norway is still at an adolescent stage, a lot have happened since its infancy only a couple of years ago.
The sheer number of fintech startups alone shows that something is happening. Every time I sit down to catch up on the fintech scene, I discover at least one new company. In addition to companies being founded, we have also seen some notable transactions in the last couple of years. 2015 was a breakthrough year for fintech in Norway, and 2016 shows no signs of slowing down with Allclear ID acquiring Encap Security and Seamless acquiring Meawallet just to name a couple success stories.
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.
FintechFactory officially launched the first accelerator program last month. FintechFactory is a 12-week long, mentor driven accelerator program where they will invest in your startup and help startups develop concepts, find customers and partners, and scale your business.
Nordea recently invited 35 startups to their Oslo office for the launch of their second accelerator program which takes place the next 12 weeks in Stockholm and Helsinki.
Fintech Mundi has chosen Oslo as their hub for their global accelerator program. Currently incubating several promising companies within fintech, insurtech and regtech.
Fintech Forum is a fintech industry organization hosted by ICT Norway in collaboration with Finance Norway. The goal is to create a fertile breeding ground for fintech in Norway by encouraging collaboration between startups, incumbent banks and established banking software vendors such as Evry and Banqsoft as well as proposing a regulatory sandbox for fintech similar to the UK.
In addition to a thriving fintech community, the external conditions are favorable for digital innovation in the financial sector.
Norway is ranked as number one in terms of digital infrastructure and the financial system is cost-effective, reliable and secure. BankID is wholly owned by the banks and provide a digital identification solution which can identify 3.5 million Norwegians. That means you can carry out secure transactions and enter into and sign binding agreements digital and compliant. BankAxept provides a cost efficient payments through a national payment scheme, and curates their own fintech news feed on payment trends. The central bank is also considering blockchain for real time clearing and settlement for domestic payments among other things. Norway has a highly digital population with an 80 percent smart phone penetration, creating a compelling case for rapid user adoption. The Norwegian startup scene as a whole is booming, and immodestly speaking it is an awesome country to live in.