Finovate Europe, one of Europe’s oldest finance events focusing on new product showcases, occurred between March 14-15. The Fintech Istanbul team, consisting of Soner Canko, Aylin Alkan, and I, was there to report the event live.

Hundreds of participants traveled London to learn the state of FinTech but instead found themselves discussing a potential banking crisis due to the Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.

While the SVB developments were still hot, the news about Credit Suisse got announced in the middle of the event, making the conversation more heated.

Finovate Europe hosted many participants and speakers recognized by Fintech Istanbul readers. Hilal Tasabat from Global Relay, Murat Onsekizoglu from MPEQ, Derya Duner from QNB Finansbank, Ekmel Cilingir and Guven Aytas of EMBank, Ilkey Yoney from EBRD were present at the event. In addition, Zehra Cataltepe and Okan Yeniceri from TAZI AI were exhibiting, and Taner Akcok of Deutsche Bank AG was a panelist, discussing open banking innovation.

Interesting new books were introduced during the event, including Steven van Belleghem’s “The Internet of Customer Value; How Web3 and The Metaverse Are Changing the Game in Customer Experience” and “Bankers Like Us” by Leda Gyptis.

Read more to learn about the highlights of the event, as well as Chris Skinner’s take on the SVB topic:

  • Michael Ramsbacker of Trulioo was one of the first speakers to take the stage after the welcome speech by Greg Palmer, arguing that verifying identities is a global challenge, primarily due to the inefficiencies and the overlap between different solutions. He mentioned that the current solutions are very costly, and there is a general dissatisfaction with the state of the solutions.

Ramsbacker believes that identity is a workflow problem rather than a data, tool, or resource problem, and it can decrease costs and drive customers to a particular product. The interruptions that could prevent customers from completing the identification Michael Ramsbacker believes and therefore suggests a single identity platform with all native services.

According to the CPO of Trulioo, customers need a simpler, better, all-integrated identification process. Visualizing the steps on the platform can transform the business and allow businesses to have more profound customers with their customers.

  • Chris Skinner’s talks are usually the most crowded sessions of physical events, and Finovate Europe was no exception in that sense. However, the speech attracted exceptional interest this time due to Skinner’s last-minute Silicon Valley Bank thematic addition to the agenda.

Chris Skinner started his speech by stating that the SVB collapse does not represent a financial system collapse like in 2008. He added that SVB had bad management, and we are seeing the results of the management challenging the basics of banking. Skinner mentioned that the market spotted the bank’s short-term strategy after the fundraising announcement and pulled their money in panic.

According to Skinner, the collapse of SVB is a very American issue due to the lack of Basel III implementation preventing these incidents. During his speech, he mentioned that the FDIC and FCA would sort this mess out, which is currently the case; however, he also announced the issues Credit Suisse is facing, which was shocking for many people from the audience.

“I thought the pandemic represented a market depression, but in reality, it was a happy time for digital businesses. Unfortunately, we see the depression we expected back then just now,” concluded Skinner, adding that the next one to two years will be challenging, but better times will return.

  • Following of the alarming news about Credit Suisse, Nick Kerigan, MD & Head of Innovation of Swift, shifted the mood with his CBDC insights. After talking about how the trust in money has evolved, Kerigan spoke about the new opportunities CBDCs are unlocking. Kerigan believes that CBDCs are the continuation of money’s evolution from analog to digital.

According to Swift, 114 countries are exploring CBDC, and 11 are currently live with their pilot projects. Although Swift does not advocate for or against CBDCs, the institution believes there is a need for preparation.

During his speech, Kerigan revealed that the national banks are each developing their digital currencies with different use cases, standards, protocols, and technology. According to him, the lack of interoperability creates a friction risk. Although Swift doesn’t claim to have all the answers, they want everyone to know that they have sufficient expertise to find the answers, and they want to remain a part of the conversation.

Kerigan finalized his speech by mentioning that 18 banks already use Swift’s Sandbox. The results can be explored through the report that got published recently.

The Finovate Europe team checked the entrepreneurial pulse between the sessions. An online poll inquired where the event participants would set up their company if they could anywhere, and the results disclosed that Western Europe is still in demand, followed by the US or Canada.

Finally, Finovate Europe, as usual, excelled at introducing start-ups to the ecosystem through the +30 demos scheduled during the event. Among the long demo line-up, 10x Banking, Best of Show, FinovateEurope 2023, FinTech Insights by Scientia, NayaOne, TAZI AI, and Your Juno received the Best of Show award.

  • 10x Banking for its technology that enables banks to move from monolithic to next-generation core banking solutions with its cloud native SaaS core banking platform Supercore.
  • FinTech Insights by Scientia for its competitive analysis tool for banks and fintechs that offers all the data companies need to outsmart the competition.
  • NayaOne for its technology that enables institutions to 10x their digital transformation with single-key access to 200+ fintechs to discover, evaluate, and scale new solutions to production.
  • TAZI AI for its technology that empowers experts and data scientists to create, update, and deploy ML models with a no-code platform, making smart decisions in dynamic environments.
  • Your Juno for its solution that engages more than 50,000 users around financial education.

During the event, we also had the chance to interview Zehra Cataltepe, the CEO & Co-Founder of TAZI AI and 3x Women Entrepreneur of the Year, about the AI buzz.

According to Cataltepe, the customers who start using Machine Learning in their processes for the first-time act like a customer that had a fortune telling seance. “After realizing the power of automated and data-driven decisions and seeing what it means about the business, the customer has no turning back. They get excited with every new data-related discovery following the initial ML contact,” she states.

Zehra Cataltepe explains that Machine Learning is great for differentiating the low and high-risk customers for financial institutions and insurers while making realistic cost assumptions. Financial institutions and insurers typically make cost calculations based on human-based or hybrid decision-making. Still, the actual (and long-term) costs can only be revealed after a systematic data deep dive via ML, claims Cataltepe. According to the AI expert, identifying the high-risk customers hiding among the premium pile early on can become a game changer.

Wrapping up, we also asked Cataltepe about the myths around AI. Will AI replace us? She answered that AI is just a vehicle to bring us from point A to point B and the real struggle is to develop AI-based solutions due to the layers between use cases and the AI experts. She believes the industry should evolve to a point where we don’t need Phyton and an intermediary to develop AI solutions, which could make the industry more diverse and vivid.

Gazi University Faculty of Law graduate Ş. Elif Kocaoğlu Ulbrich has degrees in Private Law from Galatasaray University and MBA from WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, and is also a fellow of Jean Monnet, Joachim Herz Stiftung. After working as a lawyer in various international law firms in Istanbul and Ankara for more than six years, Denizbank A.Ş. She started her banking and finance career in 2013, specializing in business development, project management, FinTech regulation and lobbying activities at FinTech startups (FinLeap, Cringle, Lendico) in Hamburg and later in Berlin. Co-author of The PAYTECH Book, The AI ​​Book and The LegalTech Book, which are planned to be published in 2020 in cooperation with FINTECH Circle and Wiley, Kocaoğlu Ulbrich has been providing consultancy, training and publishing services since 2019 through Berlin-based Contextual Solutions, which she is the founder of.