Fintech

Taking a Closer Look at Norway's FinTech Landscape: Startups, Investors and State-Wide Supportive Initiatives

MEDICIGlobal Head of Content

Scandinavian countries are known to be some of the most prosperous and developed ones in the world. The financial services industry in the region is no exclusion as some of the most innovative and promising companies that have expanded internationally despite obstacles come from the region. Not so long ago, we reviewed 50 Scandinavian companies powering region’s leadership in global innovation, and now, let's take a closer look at Norway – a highly developed nation which is ranked sixth in the list of countries with the most business-friendly regulatory environment. The county’s FinTech ecosystem has an advantage – it is developing in a supportive environment, where transparent regulations and overall level of technology adoption allow prosperous opportunities.

As emphasized by the Oslo Business Region, Norway is an egalitarian society with flat hierarchies and power structures that do not keep management and employees estranged. Norwegians often work across hierarchies rather than imposing boundaries. The leadership style is informal and is based on employee freedom with responsibility. Norway also has transparent business and governmental processes.”

IKT-Norge is one of the networks strongly supporting entrepreneurial talent. The organization represents the full range of the spectrum from the major players down to small entrepreneurial companies. It offers the most extensive network of the industry. IKT-Norge works every day to enlarge the market and remove obstacles to its members; increase value for the industry; help with internationalization and capitalization; help reduce risk exposure for its members. It also offers R&D cooperation, and access to capital and consortiums.

Among Norwegian advantages, professionals note:

  • Adventurous people
  • Early adopters of new technology
  • Mature Internet infrastructure
  • Rapidly growing startup community
  • Strong international performance and reputation of the economy
  • Governmental support for early-stage companies
  • Talented, highly educated population
  • World-leading clusters in high technology industries
  • High score in digital economy areas
  • Highly productive and efficient workforce

Moreover, another reason Norway is recognized as a country with one of the best ecosystems for businesses is the network of supportive stakeholders. The investor community counts venture funds such as:

Nationwide initiatives are also playing a critical role in supporting the startup community:

The above-mentioned industry stakeholders participate in strengthening Norway’s position on the global scene, bringing the best out of the talented workforce and creating a fertile ground for the best ideas to take off.

Norway’s FinTech landscape representatives

Auka built a payment app that lets people pay friends from their smartphone or pay merchants in-store straight from the app. It has an exclusive deal with Norway's second largest bank Sparebank 1 and has 500,000 customers in the country.

BankAxept is the national payment scheme in Norway. Nine out of ten card payments with the Norwegian cards occurs with BankAxept. At the end of 2015, there were more than 7 million BankAxept cards in circulation, and almost 1.5 billion transactions. BankAxept develops new payment solutions in new channels on a commercial basis; this includes contactless payment, online payment and P2P payments among others.

BankID is a personal and simple electronic ID for secure identification. The solution can also be used to sign documents and notifications online.

Banqsoft develops and implements financial services software. The company’s core business is retail banking solutions for banks and financial services operations. In addition to a comprehensive suite of products, Banqsoft offers a wide range of services, including support services from professional support organization; application operation; hosting expertise through professional hosting partners; Application Service Provider (ASP). The company was acquired by KMD in 2015.

Bidra.no is Norway's leading platform for crowdfunding of both social and commercial projects. Since starting in 2014, Bidra has helped over 500 projects raise 5 million NOK.

Cloud Insurance is a modern and efficient Software-as-a-Service for the insurance industry that was founded in 2012 with a mission to facilitate the insurance industry’s transition into a more lean, customer-focused and fast-moving way of doing business.

Crypho is a privately-held Norwegian company that builds encrypted real-time communications solutions for the web. The company’s mission is to make confidential and encrypted communications available to everyone everywhere.

DropGifts is a web-based platform that enables its users to send gift cards from a variety of brands via Facebook and mobile applications.

dSafe delivers electronic receipts, gamification-based loyalty programs and a real-time analytics engine to retailers both physical and e-commerce. The company was acquired by Bambora in 2015.

Edgefolio is a platform that connects institutional investors and hedge funds. Hedge funds can market themselves to would-be investors while institutional investors can easily shop around to find the best deal for them.

Encap is a technology company which provides mobile phone-based products for user security services. It develops security based software, two-factor authentication and digital signing for the telecom, bank and finance industries. It replaces hardware and one-time password authentication solutions such as tokens, card readers, SIMs and SMS with a mobile client linked to a smart device.

Forgerock secures digital identities for people, devices, and connected things online. The platform verifies who users are and what they can access. ForgeRock Identity Platform was designed from the outset as a unified model to integrate with any personal digital services. The platform offers end-to-end capability designed to scale into the billions and support users not just now, but years into the future.

Fronteer Solutions is an asset management firm that offers a portfolio of savings and investment solutions based on predetermined criteria. The firm obtains stock information using the global index “MSCI ACWI” which consists of approximately 2,500 companies across 46 countries.

Gamecoin is an open platform for microtransactions between gamers.

Huddlestock is a patented crowd-trading platform that gives users powers and lets them tap into investment ideas and strategies usually only available to professional investment managers. Huddlestock was part of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) FinTech Hackcelerator in 2016.

JoyStream is the world’s first bitcoin-based BitTorrent client with faster speeds, streaming and paid seeding.

KolibriFX offers an automated Forex trading in the cloud solution. The company was founded on the belief that algorithmic trading should be more about actual trading and risk management strategies, and less about complex programming.

mCASH was acquired by SpareBank 1 on October 15, 2015. mCASH was a Norwegian startup developing an approach to mobile payments. It's based on an infrastructure connecting banks, merchants and consumers for smart mobile payments. mCASH increases revenue for banks enables multichannel sales and data services for merchants.

MeaWallet is a cloud-based payment, HCE, and mobile wallet platform for payment, access, ID, tickets, loyalty/coupons and receipts. SDK for simple integration to any app.

Myshare.live is the world’s first platform for Live Crowdfunding, enabling folksy investors to invest in common sense entrepreneurs in real time, while still in the comfort of their own recliner chair, bed or bubble bath (watch the electrical socket).

NewJelly is an online project funding platform that allows everybody with a creative idea to showcase their talent on the website – in search of funding and fans. The project creators only see the number and persons supporting their project and also the amount of money collected. If the project ends successfully, all the emails from the supporters are given to the project manager so that information regarding rewards can be shared.

Precise Prediction has developed innovative credit scoring systems that help financial institutions across the globe to maximize the performance of underwriting operations providing a cutting edge in highly competitive markets. The company enables credit portfolio optimization, credit portfolio valuations and online lending operations solutions.

Promon offers security software developed on a business-to-business basis for companies dealing with sensitive information.

Prosessor AS provides retailers and shopping malls with tools to run their loyalty clubs and gain customer insight. It also offers personalized marketing and CRM for customers in the physical space and introducing new micro-moments for mobile communications.

Protectoria Secure Mobile Platform is a channel-independent authentication and authorization solution. It combines great user experience with the highest, PSD2-compliant security level on a single mobile device. The platform is able to dynamically and continuously deploy server-controlled, personalized and tamper-proof mobile apps. All parts of the running code across all individual installations of the app maintain a high level of entropy.

Risk-Partner offers low-cost and high-performance solutions for improved credit management to everyone. The company’s solutions provide clients with better decision making through machine-based learning and equal parts external and internal data.

Signicat provides electronic identity and electronic signature solutions in Europe. The company, founded in 2007, delivers online trust-based services to the public and private sector globally. The solutions fulfill operational capabilities in line with international standards and requirements, such as privacy, AML and anti-terrorist legislation and regulations, as well as KYC requirements for onboarding of new users.

Spiff is a simple and fun social saving service that aims to bridge inequality in the world of finance. The company wants to change this by providing a service that makes planning, saving and investing easier and more accessible than ever before.

Spleis is a Norwegian crowdfunding platform where users can share what they need money for, set goals and share the progress with supporters.

Tribe is insurance based on social mechanisms that enable users to form a Tribe group or a personal friend group. It is where Facebook meets insurance. It’s a group consisting of experts on digital customer journeys, brand building and insurance. Planned launch in Norway by the end of 2016.

Vester is a startup based in Oslo and is building a banking platform for the collaboration economy. Its vision is to enable banks to compete in product categories such as P2P consumer finance, P2P SME lending and marketplace solutions. Vester’s approach is design-driven and its ambition is to create the end-user experience delivered to banks either as a custom installation or a white label solution.

Vipps is a Norwegian mobile payment application developed by DNB for individuals and businesses. Users can send money through Vipps from any Norwegian bank, provided that they have a bank debit card and a bank account. Vipps also offers in-app payment service for online shopping and allows paying invoices with the app.

Zwipe is a fingerprint authentication company, developing, producing and marketing technology that, through the analysis and matching of an individual’s unique fingerprint, verify the person’s identity.

The companies mentioned do not comprise an exhaustive list as there are also such players as Maincard, SPN, Strex, Evry, Banq and more. If you have noticed incorrect information or would like to be included in the list, please reach us out at follow@letstalkpayments.com.

Elena Mesropyan

MEDICIGlobal Head of Content

Global Head of Content, MEDICI

Elena is a research professional with a background in social sciences and extensive experience in consumer behavior studies and marketing analytics. She is passionate about technologies enabling financial inclusion for underprivileged and vulnerable groups of the population around the world.