LFP203 – Fintech in Scandinavia/Nordics – Deep Origins and Reasons for Success w/Erik Bennerhult, CEO Naktergal

Scandinavia (Sweden/Norway/Denmark) and the Nordics as a whole (Scandinavia +Finland +Iceland) have massively outperformed most parts of the world in Tech and Fintech when considered compared to the relatively small sizes of the populations. Why is this and where is it all going?

In this episode Erik who was part of creating the world’s first online mortgage bank in the late 90s, has been a CTO of many leading regional banks and is now founder and CEO of Naktergal discusses not just where the region is placed now in Fintech but the deeper origins of tech success before wrapping up with the outlook for Fintech in the region.

Naktergal offer a range of digital lending platforms for banks and Fintechs as well as modular add-on solutions for the inevitable weak-points in different existing legacy/big-brand tech solutions in banks.

Topics discussed include:

  • summer in the Swedish archipelago
  • Crimes of Passion series by Maria Lang set in 1950s Sweden
  • escape porn on YouTube – Kyles Cabin, Gone with the Wynns, Sailing La Vagabonde
  • lessons and parallels from round the world catamarans and the tech world in general
  • building the worlds first online mortgage bank in 1999 0 a world first
  • differences then and now and mentality needed and generated – both weaknesses therein as well as strengths
  • being a pioneer versus following on – comparisons of the first round the world pioneers with the ability of average folks these days leveraging improvements in tech to do the same today
  • the commercial challenges of being well ahead of the market
  • attitudes even in IT towards early adventures into Fintech
  • Erik’s background and experience inside banks as a CTO
  • the shift in ~2004/05 when software development became all about adapting to regulation not to improving consumer offerings
  • complex mutual history of Norway/Sweden/Denmark
  • how the Nordics went from great poverty 200 years ago to some of the greatest prosperity today
  • the key role of tech in this and the creation of tech high schools
  • the huge number of technology companies whether Volvo or Nokia through to Techs and Fintechs
  • Skype was founded by a Swede Niklas Zennström
  • the natural co-operation with the Baltics was set back by the USSR decades
  • Sweden has the leadership in Fintech in the region
  • geographic reasons behind the trajectory and the approach to tech
  • low population density leading to a need for distribution in general
  • note how key Scandinavian technology companies solve this one way or another Volvo (travel over large distances and very solidly built), Nokia (talk over long distances), Spottily (share music over long distances)
  • why the UK has been so creative – the role of common law versus continental law
  • the small size of local markets leading to the need for international expansion at an early stage
  • the ability to rapidly test on a small market before expansion
  • the important role of culture and motivation in leading to regional differences – the leveling out of these factors by neoliberalism
  • the importance of the Swedish banking sector large and local as a platform for the Fintech-ing
  • key players in regional Fintech – Tink, Klarna, iZettle, Luna, Swish, Vipps
  • no one common theme amongst these market leaders
  • Erik’s perspective on future trends
    • building on the shoulders of giants – every new generation of tech enables the next generation to proceed ever-faster
    • economic pressures leading to changes in behaviour and investment – not just crises but opportunities
  • Naktergal’s end-to-end product suites, regional footprint and future plans
  • an amazingly fast 142 day complete installation of a full banking system

And much more 🙂

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