One of the main panel discussions during day two of Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
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Istanbul Fintech Week 2023 in Pictures

Istanbul Fintech Week, billed as the largest regional financial technology event in the region, hosted more than 50 sessions on 13 and 14 April.

Supported by the Financial Innovation and Technology Association (FINTR), the summit united entrepreneurs and companies active in the field of financial technology for the first time since 2019. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2022 editions were virtual.

There was much excitement about returning back in person this year, with leading names of the industry on the billing for two days in Fişekhane, a redeveloped mixed use area just in the outskirts of the city’s historic city walls.

The event encompassed three separate summits: Blockchain Fest, Digital Finance Summit and Women in Fintech Summit.

Fintech focus

Prior to the event, FINTR chairman and KOOP Ventures co-founder Demet Zübeyiroğlu, said (translated from Turkish): “We see that the fintech industry takes its place among the strong sectors in Turkey. In this context, we think that bringing together international stakeholders in Istanbul with such an organisation is very valuable both for the development and globalisation of the financial world and for Istanbul to become a center of attraction in the field of fintech.

“On the other hand, we believe that the event will provide important opportunities for Turkish startups to meet with global stakeholders and expand abroad.”

The host, Turkey, has a very vibrant and interesting fintech landscape. Turkey is a high-middle economy that has a large population and Istanbul itself being a major financial centre in the Middle East and Africa (MEA). Its unique historical and cultural bridge between Europe, the Middle East and Asia puts the country in a favourable position with respect to economic growth.

Participants were from not just from Turkey but also others from across the region and the rest of the world.

Istanbul Fintech Week in photos

The entrance leading to Istanbul Fintech Week in the upscale redeveloped mixed-use area of Fişekhane (below) as well as a selfie of the same entrance.

The entrance leading to Istanbul Fintech Week
The entrance leading to Istanbul Fintech Week
Taking a selfie outside of Istanbul Fintech Week
Taking a selfie outside of Istanbul Fintech Week
Areas for networking
One of the networking areas at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
One of the networking areas at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
Some of the exhibitors at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
Some of the exhibitors at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
Other exhibitors at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
Other exhibitors at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
Talks and events throughout the two days
Day one of Istanbul Fintech Week 2023 - Image from Istanbul Fintech Week
Day one of Istanbul Fintech Week 2023 – Image from Istanbul Fintech Week

Participants and speakers were not just from Turkey but across the MEA and the rest of the world

One of the speakers at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023 - Sandra Ro - Image from Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
One of the speakers at Istanbul Fintech Week 2023 – Sandra Ro – Image from Istanbul Fintech Week 2023

The event made its triumphant return in person since the pandemic

Istanbul Fintech Week 2023 - Image from Istanbul Fintech Week
Istanbul Fintech Week 2023 – Image from Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
One of the main panel discussions during day two of Istanbul Fintech Week 2023
One of the main panel discussions during day two of Istanbul Fintech Week 2023

I took part in day two as a panelist titled Is digital-only banking possible? This included moderator and co-founder of Koop Ventures and FINTR Mustafa Baltaci and other fellow panellist Sinem Canturk from KPMG Turkey. 

Panel: Is digital-only banking possible? Image from Istanbul Fintech Week
Panel: Is digital-only banking possible? Image from Istanbul Fintech Week

There were also a series of roundtables throughout which I also partook in. One was called Future Readiness in Finance.

One of the various closed-door roundtables during Istanbul Fintech Week
One of the various closed-door roundtables during Istanbul Fintech Week

And of course a trip to Istanbul cannot be complete without a bit of sightseeing!

There is of course the famous Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque (pictured)

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

There was also a bit of exploring in the Taksim area as well

Taksim in Istanbul
Taksim in Istanbul
Taksim in Istanbul
Taksim in Istanbul

And last but not least – a lot of amazing Turkish food!

Author

  • Executive Economic Development Advisor (Emerging Markets) | Contributor

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