Events Jan 27, 2016

How do Fintech companies and traditional banking institutions coexist and collaborate? To address this question, Partech Ventures organized an afternoon of roundtables entitled Game Changers in Fintech on 13 January. For many entrepreneurs, this event provided an opportunity to meet the emerging fintech leaders financed by the venture capital firm and to discuss the future of the financial sector.  

To introduce the event, Romain Lavault, General Partner of Partech Ventures, described the development context of fintech companies, their advantages and their prospects for growth:

The decline in confidence in the traditional institutions and a decrease in regulatory barriers provide favorable conditions for the development of these new players.

Fintech companies are evolving in a large market: even niche businesses have significant potential.

The companies, which are often very specialized, are frequently based on highly-scalable, low-cost models.

The next step for fintech companies is integrating additional technologies: connected devices, machine learning, big data analytics, blockchain

 

Among the fintech entrepreneurs that came to present their solutions at the roundtables was Philippe Gelis, who highlighted the success of Kantox, a startup founded in 2011 and set to become the future French unicorn of fintech sector. This platform, which makes it possible for companies to exchange currencies directly, without going through a bank, has recently reached two billion dollars in transactions and is now aiming for one billion dollars per month. Kantox has already helped its clients save 50 million dollars.

Lendix, which has become number one in online lending to SMEs, was also represented by its founder Olivier Goy. The French crowdlending platform has already made it possible to finance 47 projects led by SMEs for a total of 8.5 million euros by offering borrowers a quick, unconditional loan. The company is now focusing on the Spanish market.

Frederico Travella, founder of startup Novicap, presented the defining features of the company’s platform, whose technology helps facilitate financing of companies by investors via purchase invoice transactions. Based in England and Spain, Novicap raised 1.7 million dollars this past September.

Hugues Le Bret came to present Compte Nickel, a solution launched in early 2014 that is now showing strong early traction. This company proposes a simplification of the customer experience by making it possible to open an account in less than ten minutes at a newsagent. According to Hugues Le Bret, Compte Nickel signs up over 700 new clients per day, with an objective of 500,000 accounts opened in 2016. The company’s ambition is to allow clients to ‘regain control of their money’.

 

The afternoon of discussions wrapped up with a debate between Philippe Gelis, CEO of Kantox, and Natalie Michel, Head of Innovation, International for BNP Paribas Retail Banking. This debate, which was moderated by Philippe Collombel, Managing Partner at Partech Ventures, highlighted the competition, coexistence and cooperation between traditional banks and new players. ‘The banking sector has moved from an attitude of dismissal to one of coopetition’, Philippe Collombel reminded participants.

While Philippe Gelis highlighted the numerous competitive advantages of the fintech sector compared to traditional banks with less apparent room to manoeuver in the short term, Natalie Michel pointed out the significant advantages of historic banks, particularly in terms of rate of return, banking security and customer databases. She also spoke of the future of digital banking through future uses of robot advisory, marketplace banking and digital payment by major banks.

The question of open architecture and data access was also addressed by Philippe Collombel and Nathalie Michel. While different viewpoints were raised on this type of issue, all of the participants  agreed on the importance of open innovation and the necessity of more extensive cooperation between banks and fintech companies.

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