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Nov
29
2017

Startup Wise Guys announce "Wise Guys Fintech" - the 1st Fintech accelerator in the Baltics

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The accelerator program will be hosted by Swedbank in their premises in Riga, Latvia. 10 international teams will spend 6 months in the program. 

Startup Wise Guys, the leading B2B accelerator in the region with a proven track record of success, has announced their first vertical accelerator program - the "Wise Guys Fintech" program. It will be the first Fintech accelerator in the Baltics, and is intended to be a permanent program in the Baltics. 

The program will accept 10 teams to work over 6 months. It is set to begin in spring 2018  with applications for startups ready to build the future of finance opening this month. The program will be run by a dedicated team from Startup Wise Guys and Swedbank. Teams will be provided with excellent facilities, resources, knowledge from banking experts and world-class mentors, as well as funding for further development of their company.

Mentors for the program include:

  • Juan Alonso Villalobos, serial entrepreneur and former CMO and CFO of National Nederlanden and ING Direct
  • Johan Lorensen, former CEO of Holvi
  • Loretta Joseph, just named one of the top worldwide female leaders in Fintech
  • Farid Sigh, former Telefonica VP Product Management and Collaboration Onlife Networks

The first "Wise Guys Fintech" program will be hosted by Swedbank, in their facilities in Riga, Latvia. The head of Swedbank Latvia, Reinis Rubenis, has stated that he believes that it will be a mutually beneficial partnership, as the accelerated startups will have the opportunity to innovate on top of Swedbank's Open Banking platforms and will have access to working with Swedbank's 7 million customers. R. Rubenis believes it's an opportunity to create innovation-based value for their customers.

Riga is an appropriate location to host the first Baltic Fintech accelerator. Over 70% of all founded startups in Latvia are related to the Fintech industry. Blockchain is laying the foundation for a technological revolution impacting all verticals, but especially FinTech and InsureTech. Fintech is among the top 3 verticals in terms of VC investment in Europe. The development of the open data regulation creates new opportunities for collaboration between financial institutions and startups and new business models to be made.

Cristobal Alonso, CEO of Startup Wise Guys, hopes that this initiative will help solidify the Baltics on the map of Nordic startup founders:

"Running accelerators in this region for more than 6 years now, we see that the Baltics have a lot to offer to startup founders. Tech savvy and innovative environment goes hand in hand with comparatively low business and living costs. We also see a great benefit from close collaboration with corporations, like having a fintech accelerator with one of the most innovative banks in the region, Swedbank. That allows pairing forward looking founders with industry experts, as well as carry out some exciting pilot projects for both sides."

Applications for the program are not yet open, however the Startup Wise Guys team is actively scouting startups. If interested, they welcome interested startups to get in touch at fintech@startupwiseguys.com.