Twelve FinTech startups took the podium last week in Kirchberg in an attempt to win over a room full of international investors, peers and industry experts. Despite the growing number of financing sources, lack of funding is still the number one culprit behind a startup’s demise. Pitching opportunities like the Investor Day, held on June 9 at BGL BNP Paribas, remain a crucial and necessary element of the startup journey.
The event, a joint effort between lux future lab and EBAN E-Xcelerator, welcomed 150 attendees, of which half were investors. Mature FinTech startups traveled from the UK, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium and from lux future lab, just down the road, for the opportunity to garner funding.
Because Luxembourg sees a growing annual number of general pitching events, lux future lab and EBAN instead focused purely on FinTech, a sector that encompasses 60% of the lab’s members. This overarching theme was then broken down into three categories: big data, payments and investments, each one supported by a panel of relevant experts.
“At some point, payment service providers weren’t banks anymore…We couldn’t treat them like banks, so regulatory changes were necessary.”
To help orient the audience before pitching began, panels introduced their respective sectors with their views on industry trends. Startups had five minutes to inform and dazzle, which was followed by high-paced questioning from the panel and the audience.
Nadia Manzari, Payments panelist and CSSF Head of the Innovation, Payments, Markets Infrastructures and Governance Department, contributed her regulatory perspective, a valuable piece to the FinTech puzzle.
“At some point, payment service providers weren’t banks anymore…We couldn’t treat them like banks, so regulatory changes were necessary. We really got into the process and decided to get involved with these companies from the beginning. Our challenge with FinTech is to make the business model fit into our financial regulations,” Manzari said regarding the evolving regulator-startup relationship in Luxembourg.
“FinTech events in general are very important as they allow regulators to keep in touch with technological evolutions on one hand and on the other hand enable us to raise awareness of the importance of financial regulation for FinTechs, depending on the business model they intend to put in place,” she added.
Active angel investor and E*TRADE UK co-founder Julian Costley attended as keynote speaker and panel member. With the successful sale of E*TRADE UK, reported to be at a valuation in excess of $230m, 17 company investments under his belt and many more under his mentorship, Costley knows both sides of the fundraising game.
When it comes to the value of a company, he has a healthy appreciation for those that push the envelope. “I’m not talking about social value, or monetary value, I’m talking about disruption. I love companies that are going to change the market,” Costley said.