July 9, 2016
The focus on FinTech throughout the world is rapidly growing; FinTech projects have seen investments of $5.7 billion just in the first quarter of this year – an increase of over 80% from last year. This increase is due to the immense interest from the banking and financial systems in technologies that may serve them and their clients.
With such a climate, a FinTech hub opened yesterday in Israel – THE FLOOR, whose partners include four of the world’s leading banks: Banco Santander, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, and RBS whom, together with Intel, introduced their investment plan for its prestigious hub, alongside the international consulting firms Accenture and KPMG.
The new platform will provide companies with, among other things, access to investment funds, banks and strategic partners, who collectively manage a total of $1 billion globally.
The hub includes a collaborative workspace for FinTech companies, which is located at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. In addition, The Floor offers entrepreneurs access to financial institutions and investors in the field, professional mentoring by select senior bank executives, increased connections to Asian markets, a unique growth plan and initiatives in the field of technology development.
The company was founded by Avi Cohen, Gil Devora, and Moises Cohen, whose vision is to turn Israel into an international FinTech capital, doing so by fostering initiatives and entrepreneurs working in the fields of worldwide FinTech innovation.
Avi Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder at The Floor, commented We are thrilled that The Floor has reached this momentous point in time, which marks the official launch of the project. Together with our partners and our FinTech companies, we will begin to pave a new path that helps create exceptional commercial partnerships alongside strategic investments. Our unique location in the stock exchange allows us to provide an added value to The Floor’s bustling ecosystem.
Rémi Bourrette, Managing Director, Head of Strategic Innovation Investments at HSBC, said, "Globally, HSBC is an active supporter of innovation – fostering FinTech companies through innovation labs in Europe and Asia. We are looking at innovation hotspots around the world, and as such are very excited to be involved with the Israeli FinTech scene. HSBC has been operating in Israel since 2001 and is the leading international bank locally – so it is only natural that we will be one of the founding partners of the Floor. The Floor offers an interesting opportunity for us: to work with startups and mature tech companies, to get exposure to innovation, collaborate and experiment. HSBC also has an investment fund focused on later-stage startups that can potentially be a customer of the more innovative companies. This collaboration demonstrates our ongoing commitment to innovation, and will provide us with a platform to strengthen our contact with the vibrant Israeli tech scene alongside our existing operation in Tel Aviv. We look forward to working with companies and partners which can help HSBC become a better, faster and simpler business. Congratulations and best of luck to us all."
Dorel Blitz, Director, Head of FinTech for KPMG, commented, The Floor will become a hotbed of innovation that will enable strategic and substantial connections between startups and major financial institutions worldwide. We at KPMG, combining the strength of financial institutions with the technological advancements of the world’s top FinTech companies, will help companies to grow and develop in their initial phase, assist them in financial regulation, help them raise funds and support their project implementation in conjunction with the world’s financial entities.
Supervisor of Banks, Dr. Hedva Ber added, "In general, regulators are considered to be very conservative, love clear processes and procedures and known activities that have been tried and tested over years—the exact opposite of people in the startup industries. Even so, you have invited me to speak here at the FinTech conference.
At the Banking Supervision Department in the Bank of Israel, we have made a strategic decision to support innovation in the banking system and technological progress, and as part of this, to enable and promote cooperation between the banking system and the FinTech industry, since in our opinion, such cooperation can be a win-win-win situation—benefiting the banking industry, the FinTech industry, and customers. Innovation will contribute to greater efficiency of the banks, competition in the financial market, and the quality of the banking product from the standpoint of the customers.
The combination of the Israeli ‘start-up nation’ and the Banking Supervision Department's regulatory outlook encouraging the advancement of innovation are creating the productive groundwork for continued investment in, and activity of, the FinTech field in Israel.