National fintech associations are a great way to champion innovation within sovereign borders, build long-lasting relationships between entrepreneurs and regulators, and to ensure that the local fintech industry can act as a force for good both for workers and consumers. Many countries have their own, and they can wield significant influence.
So who are the major fintech associations in Europe? We’ve checked out the 10 most heavily populated countries on the continent and examined who represents local fintech startups, as well as asking what the fintech ecosystem looks like on the ground.
Total addressable market: 8.6m
Number of fintech firms: 584
One fintech for every: 14,726 people
Switzerland is an incredibly affluent country, which is probably best known for its mountains and its milk chocolate. But even before fintech, cities like Zürich and Geneva were already well-regarded for financial services such as private banking and insurance. Indeed, the landlocked country is home to banks like UBS and Credit Suisse (the former buying the latter back in March) as well as Zurich and Swiss Re. Perhaps this pedigree explains why Switzerland is home to one fintech for every 14,000 people – the highest ratio on our list. The country’s fintech sector is represented by a non-profit called SWISS FINTECH, which was founded in 2014 with the aim of creating synergies and driving innovation.
Total addressable market: 10.4m
Number of fintech firms: 339
One fintech for every: 30,678 people
The northernmost country on our list, Sweden, is home to roughly 10m people and regularly features inside the top 20 countries for average wages globally; salaries here top US$50,000 a year. Renowned for its relatively high taxes and good quality of life, Sweden has also made a name for itself on the fintech stage in recent years, with Stockholm in particular competing toe-to-toe with European peers like Berlin and Amsterdam. Fintechs in the Swedish capital include Tink, Brite Payments and Klarna – and the country’s fintech scene is represented by the Swedish FinTech Association, which itself has almost 100 members.
Total addressable market: 11.6m
Number of fintech firms: 155
One fintech for every: 74,838 people
Another market for good wages is Belgium, which boasts the fifth highest pay of any country on Earth. Indeed, the US$64,000 average paycheck is beaten only by Switzerland, the US, Luxembourg and Iceland. The capital, Brussels, is particularly well-connected to European institutions like the European Parliament and the European Council – meaning fintech startups have ready access to legislators and regulators. Local operators are represented by FinTech Belgium, which, since 2015, has been building a community of innovators across fintech, insurtech, regtech and other similar verticals.
Total addressable market: 17.8m
Number of fintech firms: 515
One fintech for every: 33,980 people
Take the intercity two hours north from Brussels-Centraal and you’ll arrive in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. It’s easy to see why the tiny Benelux region – with its plentiful graduate talent, high standard of living and solid public transport infrastructure – packs such a punch when it comes to the world of fintech. From a foundation of big banks like ABN Amro and ING, the Netherlands’ thriving and diverse capital has spawned fintech pioneers like Adyen, Mollie and Mambu. It regularly attracts young workers from overseas, who, when they arrive, will find a supportive fintech environment propped up by Holland FinTech, the Dutch fintech association, which regularly puts on meetups and fintech events.
Total addressable market: 37.7m
Number of fintech firms: 197
One fintech for every: 194,416 people
The largest economy in the former Eastern bloc (apart from Russia, which has almost four times as many citizens), Poland is indicative of the Baltic states in that – just like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – it is forging a name for itself as an emerging fintech pioneer. There are barely 200 fintechs in the country according to Crunchbase, amounting to the lowest per-capita ratio on this list, but that belies the progress it has made in recent years. Notable tenants include Ramp and Vodeno, while the country’s fintech industry is overseen by a couple of different associations including Fintech Poland, an independent not-for-profit specialising in digital finance.
Total addressable market: 48.3m
Number of fintech firms: 699
One fintech for every: 67,811 people
Sunny Spain has a thriving fintech scene divided fairly equally between the country’s two largest cities, Barcelona and Madrid. Indeed, of the 700 fintechs in the country, almost 400 are based in one of these two places. Championing the country’s fintech sector is AEFI – Asociación Española de Fintech, which is trying to drive Spain’s place as an international fintech hub and ensure that local fintech operators are able to prosper. It has almost 200 associates and 28 international alliances.
Total addressable market: 58.8m
Number of fintech firms: 393
One fintech for every: 150,636 people
Italy has the lowest ratio of fintechs per capita of any country on this list with more than 40m inhabitants – but, with almost 400 fintechs scattered throughout the country, it still deserves its relatively high placing here. Somewhat surprisingly, it is Milan that leads the way. Of the five Italian fintechs who have raised at least US$50m in their lifetime, three – Scalapay, Satispay and Fabrick – are based in the capital of Lombardy. ItaliaFintech, the country’s fintech association, has offices in both Milan and Rome, from where it advocates for the country’s fintech sector.
Total addressable market: 68.1m
Number of fintech firms: 745
One fintech for every: 86,577 people
Historically, La Belle France has been the third largest country in Europe by population – although, based on the most recent figures, it actually has a million more people than its neighbours north of la Manche (albeit the UK’s most recent data was from 2021, whereas France’s data is from this year). It has a sizeable fintech industry as well, arising out of France’s place as an important financial centre. Fintechs in the Paris area alone include Spendesk, Swan and Lydia – and it’s in the capital region where you’ll also find France FinTech, which works to promote a diverse cross-section of finance and insurance players.
Total addressable market: 67.2m
Number of fintech firms: 3,963
One fintech for every: 16,956 people
London is widely considered the fintech capital of Europe, regularly attracting more inward investment than its continental neighbours and playing host to some major financial firms – both in traditional finance, with Canary Wharf home to many big banks; but also in emerging finance. Indeed, the British capital is home to more than 25 fintechs who, according to Crunchbase, have attracted more than US$500m’s worth of funding since they were founded – including Monzo, Zopa, Checkout.com and Curve. It’s an unprecedented feat; such is the sheer scale of London’s fintech economy, there are several fintech associations, but perhaps the most well-known is UK Finance, which represents over 300 firms across the industry.
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Total addressable market: 84.4m
Number of fintech firms: 957
One fintech for every: 87,147 people
The largest economy in Europe and the most heavily populated country in Western Europe, Germany boasts nearly 1,000 fintech companies – meaning, with a population of 84.4m, there is a fintech for every 87,000 inhabitants. They include Wirecard, N26, Solaris, Raisin and Moss. It is in Germany, quite possibly, that the cultural shift effected by the rise of fintech is most evident; although Frankfurt-am-Main has often been considered the country’s financial centre, and is home to the German Stock Exchange, the vibrant capital Berlin is a much more popular choice for fintechs. Indeed, of the 10 best-funded German fintechs, six have their headquarters in die Hauptstadt. Many are represented by Germany Fintech, whose goal it is to foster ecosystems for financial innovation and increase access to financial services among the German population.
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