Europe Fintech

Review: Amsterdam Fintech Week

September is proving to be a busy month for European Fintech events, despite everything else that is going on in the world. The latest one is the Amsterdam Fintech Week (XFW20), taking place from Friday 18th – Friday 25th September. 

The event is aimed at showcasing Amsterdam as an innovative, collaborative & up-and-coming Fintech Hub, whilst providing a venue for learning, discussion & interaction between various Fintech companies and start-ups.

XFW20 is organised and hosted by Holland Fintech. Holland Fintech are an organisation aiming to help make Amerstdam a place that’s much more like London’s well-developed fintech ecosystem, by leveraging the tools that the Netherlands and Amsterdam already are providing. Holland Fintech’s network consists of 507 Member Companies, and they have so far arranged 250 Fintech-focused events.

Maximising online event value

As is expected, XFW20 is a fully online-focused event, as opposed to the in-person panel discussions, showcases & keynotes that were all a feature in previous years. The online event will see a mixture of fireside chats, panel discussions, and the possibility for online networking in-between and after these events.

In order to make this all possible, they have utilised a platform provided by the startup Hopin. Hopin are a London-based company who provide a platform for online events. Thanks to their innovative solutions that stand out from the rest of the industry, and the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the entire world to go ‘remote’, they are currently making waves within the space, and the Fintech world in general. In June, they raised $40 million through a Series A funding round, whilst adding more employees and clients every month.  

So what is Holland Fintech offering attendees of XFW20? In this article, we will cover some of the key highlights so far, and take a look ahead to what is still to come. As well as hosting their events live online, Holland Fintech will also be sharing select highlights from XFW20 on YouTube and social media platforms.

What’s happened so far

After kicking off on Friday 18th, where the sessions were focused around introducing the event and its main participants, each day has a different, unique focus. So far, we have seen:

  • Monday 21st: Financial Inclusion
  • Tuesday 22nd:  Collaboration 

The structure of each day is fairly straightforward. First thing in the morning, Holland Fintech hosts a ‘Breaking the Ice’ event, aimed at setting up the themes & events for the day ahead. Then, there are one or two Online Events held by companies such as Funding Options, InterWorks & HUBUC. Finally, Holland Fintech hosts another event, a panel discussion, which tackles a specific issue within the overarching theme of the day.

Fintech Collaboration – a way out of Pandemic struggles?

The two tracks that we have already had the pleasure of experiencing are Financial Inclusion, and Collaboration, two hot-button topics within the wider Fintech space. Collaboration is, of course, something that Fintechs and Start-ups are known for, and indeed specialise in. During the current climate, this is a trait that is more important than ever. The survival of many companies within the Fintech ecosystem may rely on efforts to work together in order to overcome the myriad of issues that Covid-19 has thrown up. The collaboration track featured representatives from companies such as Rabobank, Startupbootcamp, The Banking Scene, and Plug&Play.

Financial Inclusion – More important now than ever

Financial Inclusion is an area which is more of a B2C issue, and is forming an ever-growing part of the conversation within the Fintech community. The question being posed is, how can we create technological solutions that level the playing field when it comes to finance? To discuss this topic, and perhaps find a solution to that question, Don Ginsel, Founder & CEO of Holland FinTech, was joined by Menno van Leeuwen, Double Impact Innovator for MoneYou, ABN AMRO and Impact Nation. 

There is often a societal nature aspect to Financial Inclusion too, leading to discussions regarding the role that Fintech companies are expected to play, especially during periods in which many people are facing daily challenges. Don was of the opinion that this is something that: “Financial services companies are becoming more aware of, that there is a need for them to steer public/society in the right direction… it’s a balance between societal needs, and what makes sense when running a financial services company.” This is especially true for consumer-facing companies, who have a much closer relationship to the ‘public’. It’s an area where Fintechs have been positive & innovative so far, but there is of course room for them to do so much more. 

Menno pointed out as well that, even if companies aren’t feeling too altruistic, “if you are a financial services company, it is a bad business model to let your customers overspend.” He went on to explain that, as a result of this, a financial services company could end up with less customers, and the ones that they are left with, would be less willing to fully utilise all of their services. This theme of financial inclusion, and the role Fintech companies have in promoting it, was discussed in further detail during that afternoon’s panel discussion.

What to look forward to 

So, now we are at the midway point in the Amsterdam Fintech Week. For those who have managed to participate as yet, there are still plenty of events & discussion left in the week. Still to come:

  • Wednesday: Financial Innovation & Policy
  • Thursday: Digital Transformation
  • Friday: New Technologies & Innovations

As you can see, the emphasis for the final straight of XFW20 will be on innovation and digital solutions. This is, of course, the bread & butter of the Fintech world, especially in a time of crisis & upheaval, which perversely is often the best time for new technology solutions & exciting developments. The rest of the event is freely accessible on the XFW20 website, Eventbrite, with the events being hosted on the Hopin online platform – unless you are lucky enough to be in Amsterdam, and can attend one of the few in-person events that are running.

Author

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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