As STHLM Fintech Week kicks off Full Reach took a trip to Stockholm to speak to two of the organisers about Sweden, Fintech, Community Building and starting a movement in the Nordic region to be proud of. Meeting two energetic women furiously preparing for the 5 day event was exciting and motivating.

Firstly, they are not (technically) Swedish…

Full Reach grabbed a late night beer (+ wine, + another beer) with Anna Blyablina and Lana Brandorne – two young women that are taking a break from the long hours building a new event on the Fintech circuit. (image: co-organiser and driver of the event, Love Dager also in shot) Like all good Swedes, neither are in fact originally from Sweden but both have deep roots in the city. Anna has an impressive 9 years and Lana 4 living studying and working in the country. What unites them is a keen sense of community building in Sweden and supporting up-and-coming Fintech businesses connecting in the city. For the first time ever, Sthlm Fintech Week will host a five-day conference, presenting nine events that gather the best of fintech from across the Nordics to address different challenges and opportunities for the fintech ecosystem.

We’re both really into the Fintech community – we felt that we knew what the community wanted so we built the agenda from there. We’ve built a community here the event is the way to engage it. We’ve been really pleased with the support and engagement so far from everyone – not just in Stockholm but across the region. The calibre of speakers shows that there was potential here to bring this event to life. We never doubted that – we just made it happen!

In a classically Scandinavian way the two are keen to stress the event has been a success because of collaboration and support from many others – both formally and informally.

With the level of interest it kind of exploded and now we have a whole week of events, huge companies coming, international focus. It’s great – and we’ve had to get a lot of help from the Fintech community in Sweden to support us, which they’ve been happy to.

Swedish Fintech – less about government support, more about local collaboration

Foreigners can often assume all Scandinavian countries are the ‘same’ and work in a similar way. While that’s definitely true to some degree – all share a desire to collaborate and favour consensus – there are still differences between the models of community building. Having seen others like Copenhagen Fintech and Baltic partnerships at close hand, both see a slight difference in Sweden.

Sweden is a bit bigger and the Swedes have a bit of a different mentality. For example in Copenhagen they work really closely with the government and the region – it’s a really well planned systematic approach. Here its not quite like that – government is less involved and the collaboration and planning is a bit more informal. We also noticed that companies here are more likely to help each other out, but regions are less proactive in helping local Fintech companies. Both systems work, but ours is more reliant on everyone getting involved rather than being driven from the centre.

Sthlm Fintech – for the Start-ups and the Scale-ups

Through the conference 50+ start-ups will meet with banks, representatives from the Government Offices and the Central Bank of Sweden, along with investors to discuss Fintech, Nordic Collaboration, as well as investment opportunities and fintech acceleration.

Stockholm accounted for nearly 50% of total fintech investments in the Nordics in 2018. By being an active community partner and supporter to Sthlm Fintech Week, we’d like to welcome talents, startups and investors to meet, co-create and innovate in our open city. Together with the community, we aim to make Stockholm the financial capital of northern Europe

Anna Gissler, Acting CEO of Stockholm Business Region

Many of these companies will have high aims to become the next Klarna, iZettle or simply to get the next wave of funding to scale.

We really wanted to make a community everyone feels a part of – big or small. That’s the good thing about Sweden – the bigger guys are happy to help out the smaller ones and support with ideas and inspiration.

The conference is supported by a number of partners, including Amazon Web Services, WirecardItelloTrustlySEBNorrsken Foundation, and Stockholm Business Region.

Our partners have been great – they are not just sponsors, many have put hours into making real things happen – spaces to present, press releases, logistics and more. It’s only going to get bigger!

After 3 drinks and the clock hitting 10pm the two ladies headed back to the office. It’s might be -2 degrees outside but the Fintech plans were hotting up.

We’ll relax on day 5, for now – no rest!

Regular updates on partners, speaker and thought leaders can be found on the official page here

To read about Swedish Nordic Lights in more details here’s some in-depth articles from Full Reach’s Nordic Lights series >>

Hedvig (Insuretech, AI)

Minna Technologies (B2B / Banking / Subscription Management)

The author of this article, Martin Best is the Managing Director of the agency Full Reachand CMO for Social Shopping scale-up WeShop. Martin is a London-based global Fintech expert, and was previously Head of Brand Marketing, EMEA Marketing and Global Marketing Partnerships for Fintech superstar WorldRemit, where he delivered the global campaigns ‘Money in Safe Hands (2016) and A better way to send money (2017). In 2018 Martin supported WorldRemit’s expansion of mobile wallet services in Africa. Martin has an international career spanning several countries including Director of Marketing for Carlsberg Group, and several senior Director positions in Russia, Asia and Scandinavia.