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  • What Europe’s most exciting fintech innovators have in common – trends from Finovate Europe

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    By Hallvard Barbogen, Content Manager.

    Europe’s most exciting fintech innovators, as highlighted at Finovate Europe, owe much of their success to the same overarching ideals: making services simpler and more local. But the way the companies put these ideals into practice differ in very interesting ways.

    The six fintech innovators selected as ‘Best of Show’ at Finovate Europe this month – capitali.se, DriveWealth, EyeVerify, IDscan Biometrics, SwipeStock and Vaulto – all in their own way exemplify what’s exciting about European fintech right now. Ranging from a “Facebook for stock brokers” to a “Transferwise for businesses”, these are the three trends they all embody:

    Simple meets complex

    Capitali.se is a platform that turns simple ideas into complicated investments.

    Traders and brokers use it by typing a request into a text field – for instance: “If NASDAQ breaks 4200 and Apple shares break $100, buy 1000 shares but not higher than $100.75.” The platform then translates the request into an algorithm which executes the command.

    This way, capitali.se allows anyone to invest in complex strategies without having to closely follow the market or write intricate algorithms.

    In a similar vein, Valuto allows any company – big, start-up or sole trader – to manage the complex field of international business payments quickly and effortlessly.

    Seamlessly integrated with SaaS accounting, e-invoicing and e-commerce platforms, Valuto is like Transferwise’s more advanced B2B cousin. In our line of business working across international markets, it’s exactly the kind of service that would be right up our street.

    Capitali.se and Valuto both in their own way provide the type of democratising services that have made so many fintech companies popular. By taking advanced financial operations and making them accessible for a large audience, the companies spread financial literacy much further than ever before in history.

    Far away meets near

    Spreading opportunities out to a wider audience is also a key mantra for the two next ‘Best of Show’ companies.

    DriveWealth, is a mobile platform that allows anyone in the world to invest in the US stock market. With simple apps for beginners and advanced ones for seasoned investors, it lets people from all walks of life trade American stocks directly from their devices.

    Meanwhile, Swipestox, describes itself as a “social trading community”. Like a Facebook for stockbrokers, it allows traders to share their best trades with a large community. Other traders can then copy the best performing trades, without needing in-depth knowledge of the sectors they invest in.

    Together, DriveWealth and Swipestox make stock brokering accessible to those who are far away from stock markets – both geographically and socially. Just like the simplifying fintech innovations above, these companies make financial services that were once reserved for a select few available for a broader and more diverse public.

    Body meets machine

    Finally, EyeVerify and IDscan Biometrics are the two biometric companies on Finovate’s ‘Best of Show’ list, offering a slightly different take on innovation for the financial sector.

    Eye-recognition software has long been a feature in science fiction, but now it’s closer to becoming an everyday tool than ever before. However, where Tom Cruise relied on iris recognition in Minority Report, EyeVerify’s software mainly relies on the complex and unique pattern of veins in the eye.

    In the world of finance, EyeVerify has become an increasingly popular authentication system for high-value transactions and log-ins. The company has in recent years partnered with big financial outfits such as Digital Insight in the US and Vodafone Turkey.

    IDscan Biometrics, meanwhile, works with many of the world’s biggest financial institutions – including Santander, Barclays and American Express – to quickly authenticate complex documents, such as passports and utility bills. By cross-referencing facial images on personal identification documents, the service automatically detects whether a document is real or forged.

    While these two latter ‘Best of Show’ companies mainly cater to big businesses, the majority help individuals and smaller businesses reach their goals. And that is perhaps the most encouraging thing to take away from Finovate Europe this year.

    The trends of simplification and localisation look set to continue in 2016 – how will these innovations benefit your business?