The promising future of fintech in France
France’s fintech environment keeps on evolving. In 2018, €365 million were raised in the sector, this represents a growth of 15% in comparison to 2017. Thus, France is carving out a prime position for itself on the fintech scene. This has motivated the new edition of the Paris Fintech Forum held the 29th & 30th of January.
Paris Fintech Forum, the place to talk about the future of finance
More than 60 countries were represented at the event. 250 fintech CEOs, representatives of national banks (including Stefan Ingves, the governor of the central bank of Sweden) and other key executives such as Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, relayed one another to talk about the challenges and prospects of fintechs. This Forum aims at creating a greater connectedness among the different actors of the field.
“[France] will not miss the blockchain revolution”
France is decided to actively take part in the financial revolution. To prepare the ground for this revolution, the French government introduced a clear and ambitious set of regulations providing legal certainty to the start-ups. Such mechanism had already been put into place for ICOs and cryptocurrency. Indeed, the French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, has taken a strong stance in favour of cryptocurrency earlier in 2018. He stressed on the importance of blockchain technology for France’s future: “We will not miss the blockchain revolution” – Bruno Le Maire, 2018. Additionally, the French government, in partnership with several actors of the private sector, created the platform Swave. This platform is dedicated to the business incubation of the fintech industry.
The fintech in France, a booming industry
In this context, France seems thus to be a particularly interesting place to host this event. Thanks to a continuous flow of innovation, a skilled workforce and a growing attractiveness for investment France has a vibrant fintech ecosystem. France is a one of the top recipients of venture capital in fintech. The amount rose by 185% since 2016. Moreover, France is a welcoming destination for startups. On the one hand, the French government has launched a few reforms to facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation, and the financing of start-ups. For example, they are several public fonds and help accessible, “the bursary for new investors”, bursaries distributed to new innovative companies, “EnterNext” a subsidiary dedicated to finance and promote SMEs on the financial markets, etc. There are also some financial incentives with the tax credit for research (CIR) or employment (CICE). On the other hand, France has a high number of skilled employees to fill the positions of these new startups and other fintech companies. France is ranked 12th in the human capital and research pillar in the global innovation index notably thanks to its top universities (White paper on international rankings 2018). These two elements combined participates to make France an attractive destination for the fintech industry.
Nordic countries well represented at the Forum
A few Nordic companies attended the Forum such as Tink, the Swedish banking app developer, Mash, the Finnish payment solution provider, and also Spiff, the Norwegian savings app developer. The Nordic region is a major player of the global fintech hub. For example, Sweden is home to a large number of unicorns (multi-billion-dollar tech companies) like Klarna and Izettle. Therefore, not only new partnerships between France and the Nordic countries could get these countries closer together, but by combining their expertise they could also bring the fintech industry even further.