A Norwegian delegation led by Schibsted met the Fintech District at Copernico Isola for S32 in the past days to see with their own eyes how the Italian fintech ecosystem is evolving. For the occasion, a presentation session was organized: Vipera, Plick and Credit Data Research presented themselves to Norwegian visitors telling their activities and their goals. In this interview Erik Kristiansen (Schibsted – Norway ) describes the current Norwegian fintech landscape and tells about the activities of his company that can relate to this sector.
What were your expectations for the Fintech District? What did you find?
As Milan is becoming the new Financial Center in EU we were very curious about how far you have got when it comes to financial focus. And obviously you are ready for the new financial era. We were very impressed by the concentration of fintech companies in the same location and also the expertise with which they are operating. The startups that were presented to us during our visit were really inspiring. I’m sure the Fintech industry in Milan and Italy will do very well in the future.
As Schibsted Group, what do you care about in the Fintech sector? Do you have an Open Innovation strategy and have you activated industrial partnerships?
Schibsted Group is a media company. We are divided into two main areas; online and offline newspapers in Norway and Sweden, and Marketplaces in 22 countries. You probably know about Subito. We have Marketplaces like Subito in Europe and South America. In many of the Marketplaces we have partnered up with the financial and insurance industry. In Norway we are working very close with all the main banks and insurance companies. We help them both with advertising and customer acquisition. I think Schibsted have a unique position – marketplaces where people sell and buy houses and cars are the reason for the financial existence. This is certainly the reason why they are so eager to make partnerships with us.
Is the Norwegian market receptive to Fintech solutions? What are the “hottest” areas?
The Norwegian market is a bit slow when it comes to startups and Fintech solutions compared to the Swedish market for example. On the other side some of the large banks succeed within new (fintech) services. The main focus in the Norwegian Fintech industry is payment.
What advice would you give to an Italian Fintech who wanted to try to enter the Norwegian market?
My advice is to look at the regulations. The Norwegian financial market is regulated a bit too much. After that, you have to understand the Norwegian market which is a little different from the Italian. For example, 6.4% of all payments are made in cash and all the rest by card or mobile. There are a lot of cooperation and joint ventures in Norway. The biggest Fintech success in Norway at the moment is “Vipps”, a payment solution where more than 100 Norwegian banks have an ownership.
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