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  • Writer's pictureKoen Vanderhoydonk

Scaling New Heights: Top 10 FinTech Expansion Tactics for European Startups in 2024

Explore how European FinTechs leverage these cutting-edge FinTech expansion tactics to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

The FinTech scene in Europe is as dynamic as it is challenging, with the continent's startups continuously pushing the envelope to stand out in a crowded market. Amidst a macroeconomic environment that has seen asset values dip and access to financing tighten, FinTechs are doubling down on innovative expansion tactics to scale and grow. As these companies navigate a landscape marked by regulatory diversity and rapid technological change, adopting the right strategies is more crucial than ever. 

In this post, I will delve into the top 10 strategies FinTechs across Europe employ to soar to new heights, all while keeping our finger on the pulse of the latest tech and consumer trends. 

Also big thank you to our partners for making 2023 an amazing year. We look forward to 2024 and meeting you in person. Happy holidays everyone. 

1. Embracing Open Banking

Open banking has revolutionised the financial industry by granting consumers more control over their financial data. In the UK, a frontrunner in this domain, over 5 million users are reaping the benefits of open banking, indicating a significant technological milestone.

The adoption, although slower than expected, is accelerating. Open banking allows for a seamless integration of third-party applications with bank accounts, enabling smarter saving, spending, and personalised financial management. European FinTechs like Plaid and Stripe are at the forefront, using open banking to facilitate payments and drive innovation.

Datavillage is a pioneering company specialising in personal data control and privacy. With a user-centric approach, DataVillage empowers individuals to connect their personal data with private or public organisations, facilitating collaboration without compromising sensitive information. Grounded in the principle of data privacy, DataVillage offers a unique solution that enables seamless interaction between organisations and individuals while ensuring the utmost data protection.

2. Pioneering in Payment Innovations

The way we exchange currency for goods and services in Europe is morphing before our eyes. With over 60% of European card transactions being contactless in 2022, it's clear that tapping a card is no longer a novelty but a necessity. And in places like Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, this isn't just a trend; it's the standard. 

The UK is not far behind either, with a projected 16 million proximity mobile payment users by 2026. This shift has been propelled further by consumers’ growing preference for digital wallets and mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Centiglobe is a front-runner in providing secure, instant cross-border payment solutions, leveraging the power of distributed ledger technology (DLT). This transformative approach eliminates intermediaries, offering businesses innovative payment solutions and increasing operational efficiency. With a unique tokenisation process and deposit-backed tokens, Centiglobe stands distinct from competitors and is aligned with banking and regulatory frameworks.

3. Utilising AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning are no longer just buzzwords but indispensable tools for FinTechs looking to scale. These technologies transform customer service by enabling more personalised interactions and improving product offerings with predictive analytics. 

Moreover, AI excels in risk assessment and fraud detection, providing FinTechs with the robust security measures essential in today’s digital world. By incorporating AI, FinTechs streamline operations and gain a competitive edge in delivering user-centric services.

Praxis Digital: Praxis Digital is your trusted partner to navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape. With their expertise in harnessing artificial intelligence, they have the power to predict and manage risks effectively. Their extensive experience in AI development spans finance, insurance, and real estate, with thousands of hours dedicated to perfecting their craft. Their top-tier team, comprised of active PhDs from leading AI and computer science research institutes, sets them apart, positioning them at the forefront of AI innovation.

Cleo AI: UK-based Cleo’s AI financial management tool uses AI to analyse users' financial data and provides personalised financial advice through a chatbot interface, helping users with budgeting, saving, and investing.

Fraugster: A German startup, Fraugster employs AI to help e-commerce retailers and payment services minimise fraud, with recent additions to its toolset aimed at protecting Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services from fraudulent activities.

OakNorth: This challenger bank uses its AI platform, the ACORN machine, for credit risk analysis to inform its loan decision-making processes, demonstrating AI's significant role in financial decision-making.

Lucinity: Lucinity has introduced "Human AI" to enhance fraud detection and AML processes, using AI to support and amplify human investigative efforts with tools for transaction monitoring and generating reports for fraud and money laundering investigations.

4. Focusing on Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion in the European market is essential for fostering economic growth and reducing social inequalities. Europe can drive innovation and inclusive prosperity by ensuring that all individuals and businesses have access to affordable financial services.

In Europe, enhancing financial inclusion is vital to building a more equitable and resilient economy. It empowers underserved communities, supports small businesses, and lays the foundation for a more inclusive financial ecosystem across the continent.

Take Monzo, for example. They've created communities within their customer base to address and solve real-life issues, like their innovative 48-hour cooldown mechanism for gambling transactions. This feature directly resulted from engaging with customers who have firsthand experience with the issue. 

Similarly, Papara in Turkey responded to the needs of the visually impaired by developing a new app in just one and a half months, demonstrating the agility and responsiveness of FinTechs in addressing the needs of all consumers, especially the marginalised.

APIX: is an online global marketplace and sandbox for collaboration between financial Institutions and FinTechs. APIX facilitates a collaborative environment for FIs and FinTechs to exchange ideas in a community-led environment and co-design new financial products and services within a cloud-based, secure sandbox. The platform will enable financial institutions to launch new products and services, expanding access to finance for the underbanked population and driving greater financial inclusion.

AQRISK: is not just a banking solution for optimising credit and banking operations; it's a catalyst for financial inclusion and enhanced credit discussions. Its commitment to providing banks with the tools to be more efficient and profitable is a step towards a more equitable and inclusive financial future for all.

Better Trade Off (BTO): is a groundbreaking company that has undertaken the ambitious task of revolutionising how people approach financial planning. Their innovative solutions empower individuals and families to make better-informed financial decisions. Using advanced technology and intuitive design, BTO provides tools that simplify complex financial information, making it accessible to everyone.

5. Prioritizing Cybersecurity Measures

Cybersecurity in the FinTech sector is not just about protecting data; it's about safeguarding trust. With the finance and insurance sectors being the most targeted by cybercriminals, FinTechs are on high alert. 

The reputational damage and the hefty fines from data breaches can be devastating. That's why leading firms invest heavily in cybersecurity, with the global market projected to reach $366.10 billion by 2028. 

Ventures like IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence are at the frontline of this battle, identifying ransomware as the number one threat and advocating for end-to-end encryption and advanced cybersecurity measures.

6. Investing in Blockchain Solutions

Blockchain is a game-changer for FinTech startups looking to ensure secure transactions and reduce operational costs. Its decentralised nature offers a robust security framework, critical in building user trust. 

European FinTechs harness blockchain to drive innovation, with use cases ranging from payments to smart contracts. The transparency and efficiency of blockchain transactions make it a prime area of investment for FinTechs eager to offer cutting-edge solutions to their customers.

1inch: Operating across Europe, 1inch is a decentralised exchange aggregator that helps users find the best token trade prices. It aggregates across different liquidity pools and suggests the most efficient trading routes, supporting well-established blockchains and solutions. Based in France, offers an open-source cross-chain network with a decentralised database that supports decentralised apps and protocols in moving towards a fully decentralised architecture, crucial for the Web 3.0 era.

Humanode.ioMostly operating in Eastern Europe and Georgia, creates a financial system based on consensus between equal human nodes, with a high level of decentralisation, utilising biometric validation for creating nodes.

zkSync: This protocol offers scalable, low-cost payments on Ethereum using Zero Knowledge Rollup technology, aiming to solve the problem of high transaction fees and limited network scalability.

Nexus Mutual: A UK-based digital cooperative that operates as a decentralised insurance mutual on the Ethereum blockchain, offering cover against hacks in smart contract code and promoting the safety of Web 3.0 apps.

7. Leveraging RegTech for Compliance

The RegTech sector in Europe is a mosaic of innovation, providing solutions spanning data management to risk identification and regulatory change management. 

Companies like NapierAlyne, and ComplyAdvantage lead the charge by integrating AI, analytics, and real-time monitoring to ensure compliance with the evolving regulatory landscape. 

With RegTech's help, firms can stay ahead of the curve, ensuring transparency, integrity, and alignment with the latest regulations. These solutions are not just about adherence; they're about setting a new standard for compliance in the digital age.

Harmoney offers an end-to-end digital solution to automate compliance, reduce workloads, and deliver high-quality data, ensuring complete adherence to regulations and multiple jurisdictions. Built with the end customer in mind, the Harmoney platform is probably the only solution with a truly end-to-end perspective: clear visibility from the end user to the compliance teams and the organisation’s core systems. 

RealCGR is a technology and service provider focused on helping organisations become more sustainable, resilient, and compliant. Real CGR offers Regulatory Technology as a Service (RegTech) that uses as-a-service technologies to streamline, embed, and automate regulatory, compliance, and risk management processes.

The merger of NextAuth into ITSME represents a significant step forward in streamlining user authentication processes. By combining their strengths, the unified entity can offer more frictionless authentication experiences, enhancing security and user convenience. This integration underscores a commitment to simplifying digital identity verification, making it more accessible and efficient for users across various platforms.

Clausematch is an award-winning global regulatory technology (RegTech) Software as a Service (SaaS) provider that assists organisations in operating safely and bringing compliant products to market. Clausematch offers policy management, change management, and policy distribution services with real-time collaboration, complete audit trails, and live insights. Their platform allows companies to collaborate, create, manage, and review different compliance documents in real time, providing a complete audit trail and live insights. It also offers advanced metadata, AI-powered mapping and tagging, intelligent suggestions and workflows, enhancing governance.

8. Engaging Through Personalized Services

Let's take the example of personalisation in marketing. Because, let's face it, who doesn't like feeling special? 

Data analytics is doing wonders in this space, turning every click and swipe into a story that FinTechs can use to tailor their services to you, the customer. It's what's driving targeted campaigns, transforming them from a shot in the dark to a precision strike. 

The result? Campaigns that not only capture attention but resonate on a personal level. And it's not just about bombarding you with ads; it's about creating a transparent, statistics-driven culture that fosters genuine engagement and conversation.

Personalisation will continue to be the driving force in 2024.

DACX offers a suite of tools to enhance the customer experience with a human-centric approach. DACX has developed its psychological model for constructing personae, utilising a blend of open and company data. This unique method ensures that DACX's interpersonal profiles capture the authentic nuances of individuals. The goal is simple – Human experience at every stage of the customer's journey.

swissQuant is a top provider of tech solutions for private banks, wealth managers, asset managers, and clearing houses. They empower financial frontrunners with cutting-edge finance solutions, blending traditional expertise with tech and data innovation. swissQuant focuses on personalising wealth experiences, using data for growth, and promoting ethical finance practices to serve discerning clients.

9. Expanding Through Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships in the FinTech world are like the alliances of old—bringing together different kingdoms (in our case, banks and FinTechs) for mutual growth. 

Europe has seen a slew of successful team-ups, like Nexi's five-year agreement with IBM to overhaul its payment processing platform or Klarna joining forces with Ingenico to expand its buy now, pay later service

These aren't just handshakes and photo-ops; they're strategic moves that accelerate innovation and growth, leveraging each other's strengths to create something more significant than the sum of their parts.

BBD is a custom software solutions company with 39 years of expertise and a team of over 1200 highly skilled IT professionals in the Netherlands, Portugal, UK, South Africa and India. BBD assists organisations in achieving business objectives through innovative tech solutions. They collaborate with several companies in the Benelux: ING, Rabobank, Nationale Nederlanden and BMW. 

Delubac & Cie and Finastra: French bank Delubac & Cie launched its instant payments offering with Finastra's Payments To Go, enabling access to Europe's TARGET Instant Payments Settlements (TIPS).

Deutsche Bank and Taurus: Deutsche Bank partnered with Taurus, a Geneva-based digital asset technology provider, to establish digital asset custody and tokenisation services.

Intesa Sanpaolo and Nexi: Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo teamed up with Nexi for the launch of SoftPOS, allowing merchants to accept contactless payments using Android devices.

Libra Internet Bank and Temenos: Romania's Libra Internet Bank is enhancing its payment capabilities with Temenos Payments to facilitate ISO 20022 cross-border payments.

Lloyds and Fiserv: Lloyds Bank partnered with Fiserv to offer wholesale FX rates to UK and European merchants for dynamic currency conversion on card transactions.

Saxo Bank and Mastercard: Saxo Bank joined forces with Mastercard to implement open banking payments, streamlining the process for customers to transfer funds into their investment accounts.

10. Last but not least, creating a more Sustainable World

As the world increasingly pivots towards Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, the banking sector finds itself at a critical juncture in embracing sustainability. FinTech plays a pivotal role in this transition towards a net-zero future. By integrating sustainable practices and technologies, banks and financial institutions respond to growing environmental concerns and shape a more responsible and resilient financial landscape for future generations. 

Setle is a comprehensive renovation application that simplifies the home improvement process in line with sustainability objectives. With a focus on optimising budgets and successful planning, Setle provides all the necessary tools for a smooth renovation journey. The platform assists users in making better judgments during the renovation process, ensuring that every decision contributes to the successful completion of their project and improving their ESG score.

Sopiad is revolutionising the investing experience, built on years of academic research guided by esteemed business and academic experts. The platform aims to enhance investment decision-making, boost sales efficiency, increase customer loyalty, and attract new clients. Sopiad offers a unique proposition for wealth management clients: simplifying the investment product selection process while enhancing their financial literacy.

Sealing the Deal with Innovation

As we wrap this up, remember that the strategies we've discussed aren't just steps; they're leaps towards a future where FinTechs aren't just part of the economy—they're driving it. 

FinTechs in Europe are not just growing; they're evolving with intent and innovation at their core. Each of these FinTech expansion tactics is a testament to the sector's resilience and commitment to being at the forefront of financial technology. The fusion of these strategies illustrates a path forward for FinTechs aiming to scale and thrive in today's competitive and fast-paced market.

These FinTech expansion tactics are the DNA of FinTech's evolution, from harnessing data to securing cyberspace, from the collaborative growth of partnerships to bold strides into new markets. Adaptability and innovation are the twin engines propelling FinTechs to survive and thrive in Europe's financial ecosystem's rich and varied landscape.

Your Next Chapter in FinTech Growth

Are you intrigued by the FinTech expansion tactics we've journeyed through? Are you eager to turn the page to your own growth story? Step right to us: The Connector., where the pathways to FinTech scaling and expansion are demystified. 

Please contact us to discuss how we can elevate your FinTech venture, leveraging the strategies that have reshaped the financial sector.


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