This is the way: Luxembourg gives Innovation easy access to Money

One thing I never quite managed to wrap my head around is the way financing for start-ups works. Well, yeah – I understand how it works and why it works like that. But fact is: A start-up and it´s visionary leaders, taking personal risks to move it forward, should focus on their business entirely and push it towards success. Instead they struggle to get to the next finance round and pay for the essentials.

Markets which make it easy to access funds to grow a business, from my point of view, got it right. It should be easy for small businesses to finance innovation and growth and when a local government is supporting that in a relevant way, thats even better.

In that sense: great initiative in Luxembourg these days, with a deal between the European Funds for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and BNP Paribas in Luxembourg for lending cheap money to innovative SMBs in the marketplace. EFSI pretty much is a tool of the EU Commission to boost innovation and jobs. So say something that the EU is a bad thing. It is not. You can read how good it really is on the EU Commissions website.

Full details on the Luxembourg deal can be found here.

 

Could new payments authentication rules scupper European Digital Single Market?

Peter Bayley, EVP Risk Management at Visa, asked this question on Politico. This is about the plans of the EU Commission to enforce strong user authentication for payments transactions with PSD 2. Its a great read and shows good alternative paths, which do not cause frustration and additional steps for the consumer. While this is sponsored content (and I guess it is sponsored by Visa), I still believe it is very relevant in the discussion.

Has Pokemon Succeeded Where Retailer Loyalty Apps Failed?

paymentssourceI admit, I have adopted this headline – because I could not possibly come up with a better one. Great job, Payments Source! They published an article which reflects on a phenomenon which has greatly annoyed me some 15 years ago or so – actually I never got it, to be frank. But now, the phenomenon is back and finally I DO get it. Just in a much different sense than a stupid electronic toy that you „pay attention to“, apparently when you lack any other social interaction. :-)

Today Smombies follow their phones and not seldom are a true traffic hazard – now being steered by an app called Pokemon Go. First of all the good news: You have to move your body to play this app so give it some benefit for fighting obesity. But: you have to stare at your screen constantly which will probably boost the sale of power banks as well as it is in fact a traffic hazard. Anyway, the key thing it does is to make you search – or hunt for – Pokemon, epically ugly manga pieces of crap which you can do whatever with. This treasure hunt is what gets folks on the hook with it.

So why not place the ugly critter in a store, next to the items you want to sell? Not sure this is actually happening but Payment Source does have a point. This might be what all those loyalty apps failed about for so many years – and if thats true the current boot in market valuation for Nintendo is well deserved. Highly interesting and they got ME on the hook with it (while I refrain from playing Pokemon Go). Read for yourself here.

Addition (actually not sure it works) there was this Video on Facebook (in German) which brings back some (ugly) memory. :)

 

Bitcoin-Exchange fully licensed in Luxemburg

bitstampThis is something I knew was coming and now that it is there I am happy about it. I like the concept of alternative currencies but never felt quite comfortable with them being entirely outside the regulation – or beyond anyones control rather. This has filled the gap now. And I believe there is much more to come.

Forbes.com reports about Bitstamp to have obtained the license in Luxembourg which allows it to operate in 28 European countries.

Bitstamp Becomes First Nationally Licensed Bitcoin Exchange

EY-Study: FinTech is gaining traction and young, high-income users are the early adopters

EY LogoFinTech is booming, no doubt – and latest developments like with the UK unicorn Powa cannot change that picture much or at all. But repeatedly the question of quick enough user adoption of fancy new stuff in the world of financial services has been raised – and rightly so. I personally always had the point of view that the good new things will be there for good when a broad cross-section of the society is adopting them. Not only in the big cities, not only the early adopters, hipsters and novelty hunters in urban environments – the young crowd of Metropolis.

A new study by Ernest & Young seems to show that yes, FinTech is booming and yes, the early adopters love it: Today, according to the study (which you can find here), 15.5% of the digital users have adopted FinTech in one way or the other – with a projection for this possibly to double within the next twelve months. When you look closer, they found, its more interesting: When you look at high-income individuals the adoption rate is north of 40% . EQ concludes, that „that some of the most economically valuable customers for banks and insurers are already FinTech customers“. For traditional banks this means that they should open their eyes a bit wider, I believe.

But when we look at this: all the people with less of a mobile or digital affinity are apparently less likely to adopt FinTech offerings – which is not surprising. They are most likely still going to their banks branch to get a loan or call their insurance broker for an updated coverage. For me, it is still a very valid and interesting question how long it will take until we have that broad acceptance of FinTech throughout the society which is necessary to make it a lasting mass phenomenon and to raise from being a (very strong, promising) trend to something to really revolutionize how the people in general do their business in finance matters of any form and shape. Many FinTech businesses, if not most, build on an economy of scale which requires just that: broad adoption of the service across all parts of the society. If this takes long, its actually looking much brighter for the banks as they will have time to pick and select and swallow. Which ultimately, lets be optimistic, would make their very traditional offering better.

It will stay an interesting industry to be in. :-)