Finland. Home of the once so proud telecom and mobile phone gigant Nokia. Sweden. Home of the once so proud telecom and mobile phone gigant Ericsson.
Sweden and Finland share so many similarities. We have historical bonds that go back to the middle ages. We share the love for the sport of ice hockey, as we do for the the little room where we go to sweat and drink a cold beer during the long and bright summer nights in the North. What is called bastu in Sweden, sauna in Finland. We also both claim to be the home of Santa Claus…. perhaps the truth lies closer to Canada given the colours Santa wear?
Back to technology. In the wake of the failing consumer mobile industry, both countries has managed to return as two new shining stars in the European tech sky. The capitals of Stockholm and Helsinki are today two hubs for the tech, gaming and fintech industry where new exciting business are popping up like sprouts from a keyboard office prank.
Examples of this is our own company Trustly, which was founded in 2008 in Stockholm and today provide an independent and innovative online banking payment solution for e-commerce in 8 European countries. and with offices in 3. Trustly processed over 7 million million online transactions year.
A Finnish example is Holvi which is disruptive online banking solution for SMEs that aims to replace the bank account altogether.
Both companies are on the Fintech50 list that are the European Fintech companies, destined as game changers for the world of financial services.
We just had to go to east. We wanted to hear the buzz from the Finnish e-commerce scene and to talk to the merchants and understand the challenges they face on a market that are increasingly shifting towards being European, rather than domestic. The event was the “e-commerce Helsinki 2015”.
Speaking to merchants we found that the differences are not that big between Sweden and Finland . But two things stood out that is good to mentioned as two key differentiators.
We found that Finnish merchants are particularly interested in neighbouring countries to the south. Finland’s e-commerce catchment area is not the other Nordic countries but rather the Baltics. It’s logical since the distance between Finland and Estonia is close and the fact that countries are members of the eurozone.
Secondly, online banking payments is a must if you want to operate in Finland. Market studies show slightly different figures but the consumer usage / preference is always high for OBeP.
The expo itself was a bland experience compared to other Finnish events we have visited like Slush. Easyfairs, which is the organiser, should next time solely put their focus on e-commerce. This venue was also simultaneously shared with a retail and a food expo. It just didn’t have the genuine focus on e-commerce where all visitors are share the same challenges which in turn didn’t allow the really interesting conversations to take place in the corridors.
We are sure that Trustly will come back to Finland soon!