All over Europe, hundreds of tech companies submitted their applications to compete for the title of Shift Money Challenge Winner 2018.
Shift Money selected a group of 10 tech companies, including us at Fractal, to pitch in Zagreb, Croatia. Other notable competitors were focused in medi-tech solutions, cyber-security solutions and family banking platforms.
John White, Commercial Director at Fractal, represented us in Croatia and successfully brought home first prize.
He was able to win over a highly experienced panel of judges, which included Helen Joyce, Finance Editor at The Economist and Tsafrir Attar, Head of Citi Accelerator at Citi Bank.
John presented a five minute pitch on the Fractal story which included why we exist, the challenge small businesses face and the Fractal solution can help.
Some memorable points from the pitch:
Fractal is working with global banks to unlock entirely new funding opportunities for their small business clients - the end goal is to empower small business who are the lifeblood of any global economy.
Most banks define SME as ‘the segment’ - thereby assuming over 5 million businesses in the UK have identical needs. 59% of SME's feel banking services aren't tailored their needs and believe the services provided are “one size fits all”.
Commercial Banks make 85% of their revenues from just 25% of their commercial customers. The other 75% is left untapped due to a lack of data, intelligence and understanding of SMEs needs.
We want to empower banks to shift this 80:20 thinking.
Data around the UK SME funding gap is getting clearer. In 2016, Access to Finance,
House of Commons Report 2016 stated that there was a £39,000,000,000 funding gap. In 2018, SME Magazine stated that there is a £59,000,000,000 small business funding gap.
We live in the “anticipate my needs” era and the “Next-Product-to-Buy” experience and the small business banking experience needs to change accordingly.
We left Zagreb on a high - and it wasn’t just the city’s exuberant vibe and winning the title that captivated us, the people living, working and visiting Zagreb that we spoke to were very open to embracing technological innovation that could positively impact the economy.
At the event, keynotes and panels with notable individuals from Raiffeisen Bank, Deloitte and various global fintechs focused on the change that is expected to happen over the coming years for, what looks like, an already growing fintech and tech community in Croatia.
Topics included, how Open Banking can improve small business banking in the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) - Miljenko Graovac, Head of Digital Channels at Raiffeisen Bank International, said: “PSD2 is the first stepping stone to the new global banking ecosystem”. Although Open Banking is yet to be implemented into legislation in Croatia, we were told that there are hopes that it will happen around late 2019, early 2020.
Furthermore, it was apparent that there have been major advancements in creating a cashless society in Zagreb, which coincided well with Daniel R Doderlein, Founder of AUKA’s talk on how the tech giants have started to change the world into a cashless society: “Years back, people laughed when I said that banks and financial services will be challenged by Apple, Google and Facebook”.
Europe is leading the way with events like Shift Money. Although still in its infancy, Shift Money were able to bring together forward-thinking, authoritative people and position Croatia as a space to watch as a new hotspot for the tech community.