Emerging European Fintech Cities
Europe is home to some of the world’s most respected and established fintech cities.
London, Berlin, and Paris are well known for their leading roles in the sector, but many other cities in the continent are emerging as fintech hotspots.
Previously, we looked at Europe’s top 5 fintech hotspots. In this article, we will investigate what we believe are some of the top emerging European cities:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Munich, Germany
- Manchester, United Kingdom
- Vilnius, Lithuania
Catalonia’s capital Barcelona is set to become one of Europe’s fastest growing fintech cities, thanks to its recent surge in new technologies.
The city has been ranked as leader in exposure to the technology sphere, with a 48% ranking.
Strong growth prospects
Savills’ recent report identifies that Barcelona has strong growth prospects for technological employment and development.
The Spanish city attracts more venture capital investment in the fintech sector than any other ecosystem, having received 182 million euros of fintech venture capital in the last 5 years. This is due to the large access to professional talent in the sector and a favourable regulatory environment.
Barcelona also has competitive labour costs which are significantly cheaper than other established fintech hotspots. This is desirable to fintech start-ups that may have lower initial budgets or fintechs who are looking to start their expansion journey.
Revolut has recently been labelled as the ‘fastest-growing fintech in Spain’ after surpassing 1 million customers in the country. Set for European expansion, Revolut is now looking to open a headquarters in Barcelona.
The encouragement of the entrepreneurial ecosystem
The Catalan government has begun encouraging Barcelona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by focusing on new technologies for the financial sector.
BME and Adevinta helped open the doors to a fintech hub back in 2021 in the Barcelona stock exchange headquarters.
It has become the new meeting for Barcelona’s innovative fintech ecosystem focused on new financial technologies. Its goal is to become a major European landmark in the financial services industry.
But it’s not just Barcelona benefiting from the growth of fintech. Many of Spain’s cities are becoming home to some of the largest names, like Revolut, in banking and financial technology.
According to the 2021 Global Financial Centre’s Index, Spain’s capital city, Madrid, is a renowned financial centre and is becoming known as one of the top financial centres in Southern Europe.
The fintech sector in Switzerland is booming! The number of fintech companies growing to 1128 in 2021 from 960 in the previous year.
Full of history, Geneva is one of Europe’s oldest financial sectors with over 500 years of banking tradition.
Today, the region is home to 39 fintech companies ranging from blockchain and crowdfunding to regtech and wealthtech – including the likes of Taurus, Temenos, and WeCan Group.
Commitment to accelerated growth and development
The Geneva Financial Centre has assured its commitment to accelerate the growth and development of fintech companies and start-ups. They’re set to do this by:
- Maintaining an attractive business environment.
- Increasing promotional and communication initiatives, such as supporting Ukraine in its financial recovery.
- Emphasising continuing professional development for employees in the financial sector – for example, by furthering their education in the industry.
Geographic location & high-quality of life
According to a recent study from Teleport, Geneva is one of the top 10 cities with high ratings in safety, healthcare, and environmental quality. Thus, making it a desirable place for fintechs to settle and place their headquarters.
Geneva is also well-positioned, being at the centre of Europe. There are direct trains that can take residents to other fintech centres like Paris, Lyon, Milan, and Venice, along with direct flights to all other major cities in Europe. Making it easily accessible for fintechs to visit their various European headquarters.
Germany is becoming ‘home’ to a growing number of fintechs.
A recent survey unveiled that more than 1000 companies in the sector who received venture capital investment in fintech and insurtech reach 3.767 EUR in 2021.
Munich has become one of the top locations for fintech and insurtech start-ups in Germany. According to the GTAI, the Bavarian region capital is in 2nd place behind Berlin.
One of the largest tech hubs in Europe
It is said that Munich is on track to become one of the largest tech hubs in Europe, and we agree!
Global tech conglomerates are now starting to scale their businesses in the city.
In March 2021, Apple announced that it would be expanding its European chip design centre to Munich, investing a whopping 1 billion euros by 2024.
Google is also building new offices in Munich and has plans to double its workforce in the city, which is currently at 1200 employees.
Strong level of funding
Munich receives a strong and steady level of funding.
In Savills European Fintech Occupier Outlook 2022 report, Munich made it in to the top 10 due to great levels of venture capital funding into the sector and established universities.
Tangany is a Munich-based fintech start-up that has recently had a great surge of growth. They recently raised €7 million in C3 venture capital funding to continue the expansion of their wallet-as-a-service growth strategy.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Manchester is developing a strong reputation within the fintech community.
With the highest proportion of scale-ups in the UK, Manchester has become the UK’s largest fintech hub outside of London.
Rich in specialist talent and skills
The city of Manchester is rich in specialist talent and skills that financial technology businesses need to thrive.
There are 86,000 people currently employed in the city’s creative, digital, and technology industries – all of these employees could help accelerate the growth of the Mancunian fintech sector.
With large stations such as Manchester Piccadilly, the city has become one of Europe’s largest commuter markets. It has a central geographical location, placing it at the centre of the Northern labour market. Making it a great place for start-ups’ headquarters as they commute to other hotspots.
Increased education in fintech
Fintech education in the region has evolved and increased in a variety of ways, including an increase in academic courses, research, and business engagement.
The Alliance Manchester Business School MBA alumnus recently received £2.5 million to support the University of Manchester’s understanding and sharing of fintech expertise across communities locally, nationally, and globally. Helping to further allow fintech to scale in the city.
Lithuania is probably one of the most unexpected and underrated cities playing host to fintech innovation.
The number of fintech companies in Lithuania reached 265 at the end of 2021 – it is home to one of the most prominent global fintechs, Revolut.
Investing in fintech has been a key component of the success of Vilnius, a city with a vibrant and innovative culture, as well as a great talent pool.
A favourable business environment
Vilnius has become an attractive city with a favourable business environment.
The Head of Technology at Invest Lithuania says, “Lithuania’s flat 15% corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in the EU and is in line with new guidelines by the OECD. This makes Lithuania a perfect place for headquarters operations.”
Companies, start-ups especially, can benefit hugely from the cost-saving opportunities; with office space in Vilnius being almost 8 times cheaper than in London.
Progressive growth of regulatory policies
The growth of Lithuania’s fintech ecosystem has been due to the progressive regulatory policies set by the Bank of Lithuania.
The Bank of Lithuania is strategizing to boost the development of the country’s financial market.
It is implementing rules and regulations to strengthen existing financial market participants and attract new ones, promote sustainable fintech development, and implement capital market development measures.
Regulatory advances and increased access to talent has been game-changing for players in the fintech space, helping with rapid growth of these fintech hotspots. We’re excited to see these players continue to grow!
straight to your inbox
Sign up to the Carta Worldwide newsletter
to get the latest insights and news