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👌 Norway – the perfect test market for fintechs?


This week in fintech

June 21 · Issue #65 · View online

A weekly summary of the latest news in our world of finance, design, and technology.

  • 🧐 Stripe: Thinking Like a Civilization
  • 🌦 A changing banking market
  • 🎭 Optin theater
  • ⛓ Decentralized finance
  • 🛌 Work from home
  • 🤔 1000 glyph?

👌 Norway – the perfect test market for fintechs?
Norway is the perfect test market for fintech. It is well regulated and has a high level of digitization. The prerequisite for building something big is present in Norway, but a new report from Ontogeny Group shows a long way between the success stories. They found that the only company with stable profits among the 70 companies they analyzed was the accounting challenger Fiken. However, I wonder about the data basis when Stacc doesn’t seem to be among the companies in the report. 😉 But the answer is probably that Fintech is a hard word to define.
Interestingly, one of the findings is that fintech companies require several years of significant investment before they become profitable – often more than 4-9 years of investments. Read the full report here
🧐 Stripe: Thinking Like a Civilization
Many companies have a somewhat counter-intuitive cycle where they scale down product innovation as they scale headcount. Maintaining existing products at an increased scale while onboarding, incorporate people culturally, and training new employees takes up considerable time and makes launching new products hard. Stripe, the world’s most valuable fintech, has somehow built a foundation for continued product scale. Just look at how they have released products over time:
Here is also a similar comparison of Stripe to Adyen. Last week they launched their first hardware product, Stripe Terminal, along with a new global identity verification platform, Stripe Identity. The Generalist has done a real deep dive on Stripe and their products, culture, leadership, and even a bear case. Read Stripe: Thinking Like a Civilization.
🌦 A changing banking market
  • DNB now owns more than 90 percent of the shares in Sbanken. Only the Norwegian Competition Authority can now prevent Sbanken from being swallowed up by DNB. The verdict will come next Thursday. Link
  • DNB buying Sbanken doesn’t just have consequences for customers: Employees in Sbanken will now receive a bonus for staying in the job until the next year. Link
  • One in ten plans to change banks this year. Loyalty to one’s bank is lowest among the youngest in the survey. More than twice as many people in the age group 18 - 29 are planning a change than those who have passed 50. I wonder if this trend will continue as this age group gets older, or if they become more loyal as they age. Link
🎭 Optin theater
The ERP-company 24SevenOffice invested in Optin Bank last year as a shortcut to get a banking license. In April, Optin got a report from the financial supervisory authority of Norway concluding that Optin needs 100 million NOK before 30 June this year to continue operations. Long story short: 24SevenOffice had a plan to fix this but was voted down in favor of Nordic Corporate Bank (NCB) that now is buying Optin.
  • The bank investment of 24SevenOffice at stake after a crushing report Link
  • Scorching defeat for 24SevenOffice Link
  • Calls the general meeting in Optin a «theater performance.» Link
⛓ Decentralized finance
  • No matter where you live in the world, it is now possible to be “your own bank.” Decentralized finance and cryptocurrency challenge the current banking system. So far, all the banks in Norway have been rather passive in the decentralized finance space. In this article, employees at PWC claim that the lack of regulation is a challenge in decentralized finance and that this is a golden opportunity for banks. Delivering security and confidence in this new technology can be smart for banks to take a position in this space. Link
  • Case in point: Last week, the IRON stable coin collapsed: $262 million in USDC collateral is still locked in a smart contract due to an embarrassing programming bug. Link
  • The Wharton University of Pennsylvania has written a paper on explaining decentralized finance. The conclusion is that DeFi will ultimately succeed or fail based on whether it can fulfill its promise of financial services that are open, trust-minimized, and non-custodial, yet still trustworthy. Link
  • Fintech 1.0 = Better UX. Fintech 2.0 = Embedded Finance. Fintech 3.0 = Defi. Link
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee is auctioning off the source code for the WWW as an NFT on Sotheby’s. Link
🛌 Work from home
  • Andreessen Horowitz surveyed 226 CEOs in its portfolio of tech startups, asking their plans and expectations for remote work and the return to the office. Most would require people to be in the office only 1-2 days per week. Link
  • The University of Chicago has surveyed work from home productivity. They found that total hours worked increased by roughly 30%, including a rise of 18% in working after normal business hours. But average output did not significantly change, indicating that total productivity fell by about 20%. The reason? Time spent on coordination activities and meetings increased, but uninterrupted work hours shrank considerably. Link
🤔 1000 glyph?
James Grimmelmann
I had a great idea while sleeping last nigtht: a THOUSAND glyph, consisting of three stacked zeros.
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Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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