This is a guest post by TheFactory FinTech Accelerator. Skandiabanken is a partner of TheFactory.
The Nordic fintech scene is growing fast in terms of number of startups and investments and innovative and ambitious startups are popping up in all of the major cities.
TheFactory – a Nordic Fintech accelerator and incubator based in Oslo, Norway, is observing the scene closely. Running 12-week accelerator programs tailored to fintech startups, TheFactory (aka FintechFactory) helps participating startups go to market faster.
The aim of the accelerator is to help ambitious Fintech entrepreneurs off to a good start.
Need help early on Starting and launching a successful fintech is an immense exercise, in particular due to heavy regulation and the complexity of the landscape. Startups approaching TheFactory are typically in the seed stage and one of two kinds. The entrepreneurs either have industry experience but lack startup experience or visa versa.
TheFactory has built a versatile rig of more than 20 partners, 60 mentors and 25 investors to help startups bridge the gaps. We find that acceleration typically occurs when you couple industry experience with outside thinkers. For example when a team of young and bold entrepreneurs is matched with a mentor that knows the banking or insurance business in and out and can guide them right and open doors to the decision makers. Similarly, when a team of industry dropouts – now entrepreneurs – are coupled with design thinkers and agile developers. It is these kind of cross-overs that spur innovation.
Leveling the playing field throughout the accelerator programs, TheFactory facilitates meetings and interactive workshops between the startups and the established industry. A few years ago it would be unthinkable for an early stage startup to spend time with top level management of a bank. But times are changing. Banks and Insurance companies are coming to realize that they are forced to innovate to stay in business, and more and more they are looking to source innovation through ecosystem partnerships. The startups on the other side often seek industry partnerships to get distribution fast.
At TheFactory, the startups get a chance to meet the decision makers face to face. Recently they met with the CDO of Skandiabanken, Christoffer O. Hernæs who carme to share insights on the banks open innovation efforts. Nordea's CEO, Casper von Koskull came for lunch – eating hotdogs with the entrepreneurs! Several of the Spring startups have already or are about to enter into (pilot) partnerships with a large bank after only few months in operation.
Industry focused hubs and accelerators like Stockholm and Copenhagen Fintech Hub and TheFactory in Oslo create arenas for exploration and innovation and shortens the distance between fintechs and incumbents.
TheFactory is open for applications through August 3rd. Startups seeking industry partnerships, mentoring and seed investments are encouraged to apply. For more info and application see www.thefactory.no