Most experts agree: FinTechs need demand, talent, capital and regulations.
In other words, end-user demand must exist for their services -- in Belgium, particularly in payment services, there is user demand, but adoption of FinTech solutions is low. Belgians are looking for better customer experience, perhaps because customer service from traditional financial services
Talent is available in Belgium: look at the human resources from a country with
Belgium lags behind other countries in Europe for capital that is available to startups, but this is changing, with an estimated doubling of funding between 2015 and 2016, but the total amount of funding is still low compared to other European countries. Seed funding is available but further funding is harder to find, which is one reason that Belgian FinTechs often expand to the US. In the following sections, we note Belgian FinTechs which have succeeded in getting some reasonable seed funding, Series A funding or been acquired.
Government policies and laws are not conducive to startups. Administrative and tax burdens remain high. Taxation rates are close to 60%, which makes it difficult for startups to hire and grow.
Most Belgian FinTechs are located in Brussels, but there are a few spread around the periphery of Brussels in towns such as Mechelen or other Belgian cities like Antwerp, Ghent and Liege. Also, as mentioned in the introduction, some Belgian FinTech entrepreneurs have left Belgium altogether for opportunities in the UK and US.
Here are some of the hot names in Belgian FinTechs.
Monizze was founded in 2011. Monizze provides solutions to digitalize meal vouchers, eco-cheques and gift cards. In June 2015,
Founded in 2013,
SilverFin claims to help accountants work smarter by increasing efficiency, reduce human error and become a trusted advisor. Silverfin provides an online platform for accounting. SilverFin's platform is used by more than 50.000 companies and also links with accounting firms. SilverFin was funded
After three rounds of funding to the tune of 10 million dollars,
Founded in 2015, The Glue has developed a solution that is based on in-memory grid computing and is a framework for banks. The Glue has recently (early 2017) received funding of 5 million euros. The goal of The Glue is to allow banks to develop new services based on a customer-centric focus. The services are offered by overlaying traditional, legacy systems within the bank.
IbanFirst was founded in 2012. IbanFirst offers foreign currency payments for international companies at
IbanFirst had an investment round of 10 million euros in late 2016.
Sign2Pay was founded in 2013 and provides a mobile payment solution. The app allows payments based on bank account number and signature for online payments. The goal
Created in 2007, Gambit Financial Solutions focuses on business solutions for investment advice. From academic roots at the University of Liege, Gambit continues to work with academia for innovation. The solutions are used by institutions in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France.
So while you find exceptions to the rule, most Belgian FinTechs focus on the payments arena. As mentioned, this is due to Belgian user demand coming in payment services, and especially the B2B market. Besides payments, Belgian FinTechs are providing solutions for investment advice or, more rarely, in InsurTech.
--> See an overview of the current Fintech job openings in Belgium