First Baltic fin-tech accelerator opens up
Swedbank headquarters in Riga has become the home for B2B [business to business] accelerator Startup Wise Guys start-up support programme. Nine start-ups from nine corners of the world were picked from 80 contenders, as reported by Swedbank representatives.
As part of Wise Guys Fintech programme, the nine international start-ups will spend the next three months in a dynamic and educational environment, developing their businesses, founding contacts with banking experts from Baltic States and Sweden, as well as other world-class mentors. In addition, participants of the accelerator programme will receive EUR 20,000 to further develop their business.
The bank explains that the programme gathers young businessmen from Latvia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Ukraine, Armenia, India and USA. Ideas from participants of the accelerator programme are aimed at financial solutions, such as payment services using Facebook Messenger, contribute to the development of money saving culture, make currency exchange more efficient for businesses, video identification for clients, etc.
Aside from the accelerator programme, Swedbank has also created additional space to accommodate participants of the programme. In the future, it will be home from all kinds of innovative projects. «This is the first time in Baltic States when a bank opens its doors for fin-tech solutions and serves as a bridge to connect innovative ideas with experience and access to international markets. The government is actively involved in development of the ecosystem for start-ups and appropriate legislation to help attract local and international investors for competitive growth of those companies,» said Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.
Continuing, he adds: «I am happy to see the global accelerator Startup Wise Guys had picked Riga as the location for development and support of goals set by start-ups. This is the next step to demonstrate trust between fin-tech environment and large corporations, creating a platform for mutual cooperation.»
«We see the accelerator is a great opportunity for finding cooperation partners and solutions with added value for our clients. Riga has all opportunities to present itself as a city fintech-friendly and a place where creative ideas and innovations bloom,» says Swedbank Latvia manager Reinis Rubenis. «Accelerator environment is changing – the future belongs to programmes that work in specific industries and create synergy with major businesses. This is why we are happy to start cooperation with the largest and most innovative bank in the region. I think it will be major challenge for Latvia – can we even get international start-ups interested in staying in Latvia,» says CEO of Startup Wise Guys Cristobal Alonso.