Emma Strömfelt, Head of Digital Innovation, Swedbank, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO Klarna, Birgitte Bonnesen, CEO Swedbank, Roelant Prins, CCO Adyen, Jacob De Geer, CEO iZettle.
Emma Strömfelt, Head of Digital Innovation, Swedbank, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO Klarna, Birgitte Bonnesen, CEO Swedbank, Roelant Prins, CCO Adyen, Jacob De Geer, CEO iZettle.

Banks teaming up with startups

Banks are facing a huge transformation. Teaming up with startups is one way to meet this. That was one take away from Sthlm Tech Fest.

Since 2013, the Swedish startup ecosystem has been on fire and people everywhere are taking notice. This is celebrated this week with a big gathering in Stockholm. 14 tech conferences, more than 50 events and 36,000 expected guests are coming to the inaugural Sthlm Tech Week.

A part of the week is the one day event Sthlm Tech Fest when founders, investors, designers, developers, and journalists come together to share, be inspired and talk about the new emerging economy. It is a big event where the future of Virtual Reality, design, games, mobility, energy and, of course, AI are highlighted.

Future of finance

The future of finance and banking has its place on the stage when Birgitte Bonnesen, CEO Swedbank, meet Jacob De Geer, CEO and Founder of iZettle, Sebastian Siemiatkowski CEO, Klarna, and Roelant Prins, CCO, Adyen in a talk on how the ecosystem of banks and startups can thrive together.

A few years ago, there was another debate on the stage at Sthlm Tech Fest with more of an arguing between banks and startups. After that, a new time has come for collaboration in the ecosystem, and this year there was a clear signal from the stage that it is a necessity to work together and that banks and startups are getting closer.

Getting closer

“Yes, it is a natural step, says Jacob De Geer, CEO and Founder of iZettle. iZettle is a financial technology company for small businesses, founded in 2010, and with an astonishing growth. This year PayPal was paying $2.2 billion for iZettle.

“It was a more heated debate a couple of years ago, but one of the topics then was also how can we collaborate. In most industries, this is the natural progress that can happen,” says Jacob De Geer.

Biggest transformation

“The biggest transformation ever in banking is right now. We hear a lot of AI, machine learning and so forth, I think that banking will be one of the industries that will be severely affected by this transformation; it will have a massive effect,” Jacob de Geer continues.

The transformation of banking that is foreseen is important to handle and one way is collaboration between banks and startups. One example of this came in October 2017 when the startup company Minna Technologies, helping customers manage their subscriptions, was integrated in Swedbank’s app. In a collaboration with Swedbank, Minna Technologies is offering the bank customers the opportunity to see which subscriptions they currently have linked to their bank accounts.

“Banking is going through a huge transformation and we really don´t know where this will end.
You need to figure out what your own assets are. And then be humble enough to understand that you are not the smartest kid on the block,” says Birgitte Bonnesen, opening up for aggregating more startups onto Swedbank’s platform.


Text by: Mikael Hansson

Photographer: Mikael Hansson

Published: 4 September, 2018



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Mikael Hansson

Mikael Hansson

4 September, 2018