Within the scope of the Startup Wise Guys program, 9 international startups will spend three months in a fast-paced learning environment, grow their business and connect to banking experts from the Baltic states and Sweden, as well as world-class mentors. Besides, the participants of the accelerator will receive EUR 20 000 funding for the further development of their startup.
”Wise Guys Fintech” accelerator will welcome startup founders from Latvia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Ukraine, Armenia, India, as well as the United States. Many of startups are curios to explore the possibilities provided by the Swedbank Open Banking platform. Startups represent broad spectrum of fintech – from payment services via Facebook Messenger to online currency exchange for companies, from online video identity verification service to mobile wallet and loyalty programs.
Along with the accelerator, the newly established co-working space "DoBe" of Swedbank are opened as well, with the first dwellers being the participants of the accelerator, while providing a home for various innovative projects in the future.
“This is the first time in Baltics when a bank opens its doors for fintech and takes an active role to become the bridge that connects ideas with experience and access to the international markets. The government takes an active role to develop startup ecosystem and regulation to help to attract local and international investors to achieve competitive startup growth. I’m very glad that the globally known accelerator “Startup Wise Guys” has been able to position Riga as the place where ideas can grow and fintechs can have the support to reach their ambitious goals. This is the next step that confirms building trust between fintech ecosystem and corporations by creating a platform for successful mutual cooperation,” said Arvils Ašeradens, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Economics.
Reinis Rubenis, Head of Swedbank Latvia: "I am truly delighted that Swedbank will become a home for the first fintech accelerator in the Baltics. When arranging the new co-working space "DoBe" to welcome the participants of the programme, we expanded the boundaries of the bank both literally and figuratively, by creating unprecedented possibilities for collaboration with startups. Pushing the boundaries of the traditional banking for the new world we are entering, means also changing our internal culture in the bank, by becoming more open to something not so common. We see the accelerator as a wonderful opportunity for finding cooperation partners among the startups, in order to create new solutions by joint efforts, thus building great customer value. Riga has all the chances for representing itself as a fintech-friendly city, where creative ideas are born and innovations blossom."
Cristobal Alonso, CEO of Startup Wise Guys: "The accelerator environment is ever changing, and the future definitely belongs to so called vertical programs, that focus on specific industry and often happen in synergy with large companies. Therefore, we are truly excited to launch the first such accelerator for Startup Wise Guys in collaboration with the largest and most innovative bank in the region. I suppose this will also be a great challenge for Latvia - whether we can make these international startups feel at home and stay for longer."
Besides, this week (March 5-9) takes place the Startup Europe Week with the aim to promote entrepreneurship and inform about the available resources for startups and people looking to start a business.