Spain Hosts Europe’s Largest Fintech Census After UK and Germany
Spain ranks 14th in Europe with this indicator and in the world ranking it surprises with Estonia in the lead (238 fintech companies per million inhabitants), followed by Singapore (127), Switzerland (69), and Ireland (55), and largest markets are located at a distance: the United Kingdom (36), Canada (35) and the United States (17).
Neobanks, neobrokers, comparators, personal finance platforms, payment entities, crowdfunding, or hipotech…, the fintech universe is expanding as much as ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive to provide financial solutions with cutting-edge technological tools and systems allow. Their offer and entry are increasing, both independently and in collaboration with traditional companies, and they have found in Spain an extraordinary field of development.
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Spain has 977 active fintech companies
It is estimated that 977 fintech companies operate in the country, which represents the third largest census in Europe behind the United Kingdom (2,439) and Germany (978) and the sixth largest worldwide. At the top are the United States (5,730), India after the UK market, with 1,512, and Canada (1,376).
If the phenomenon is measured only by “national” projects, Spain climbs to fifth place on the world map and relegates Germany, with 664 Spanish fintech companies, only surpassed by the United States (4,910), the United Kingdom (1,728), India (1,233) and Canada (1,149).
These are estimates by Finnovating, the first global fintech collaboration platform that connects more than 60,000 startups and technology scaleups in the world with corporations and investors, in the first report of this kind to be carried out in an effort to measure a sector that is growing but difficult to measure due to the lack of official records.
What is the reason for this privileged position? “The reason is the great financial and technological talent in Spain, coupled with an open regulatory environment and an innovative sandbox,” explains Rodrigo García de la Cruz, CEO of Finnovating and vice president of the Spanish FinTech and InsurTech Association (AEFI).
To prepare the study, the company has used the information provided on the platform by operators when they complete their profiles to connect with clients, partners and investors, and has focused on the 75 most active countries. It excludes China, Russia and very small countries.
The almost 1,000 fintech companies registered in Spain compared with the 137 banking entities operating in Spain (10 large groups and 57 non-significant Spanish entities, the rest subsidiaries or branches of foreign entities). Their number increased last year due to the creation of up to 70 new fintech companies, according to the report, which detects the biggest increase in the payments, lending, embedded finance, and crypto & blockchain sectors.
“In terms of maturity, Spain has 21 fintech companies per million inhabitants. In terms of the size of the companies in terms of capital raised, Spain ranks fourth in Europe, behind the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Sweden,” García de la Cruz explained. To test the maturity of the ecosystem and its development, the study analyzes the number of fintech companies per million inhabitants, an indicator that shakes up all the rankings.
Spain ranks 14th in Europe with this indicator and in the world ranking it surprises with Estonia in the lead (238 fintech companies per million inhabitants), followed by Singapore (127), Switzerland (69), and Ireland (55), and the largest markets are located at a distance: the United Kingdom (36), Canada (35) and the United States (17).
“Although we do not yet have a fintech unicorn as such, several promising startups were acquired. However, some are expected to emerge this year. France, with 9 fintech unicorns, is an example for Spain to follow in the medium term,” says García de la Cruz.
Europe is the fintech companies factory
By country, the United States is the leading country with active firms on a global scale, even surpassing blocks or regions in North America and Oceania, followed by Canada and Austria. Europe is, in any case, the factory par excellence on a global scale.
With 10,549 operational projects, the Old Continent exceeds the 5,730 registered in the US market, although the latter still exceeds the 4,913 estimated in the countries analyzed in Asia, the 4,370 in Latin America (Brazil, Mexico and Colombia alone account for 55.15% of this total) or the 819 estimated in Africa. “The most digital countries with the most flexible regulations are those that generate the most fintech per capita, with a prominent leadership by Estonia,” the study highlights.
Funding, the remaining challenge
The fintech ecosystem is populated but suffers from a lack of mechanisms to raise capital. “Spain has a very extensive ecosystem in number, but we lack the size and funding to compete with the UK, Germany or France”, explains García de la Cruz, who points out that “for series C and E rounds, in many cases, we have to go to Europe or even to the US”.
In his opinion, having a fintech fabric benefits the country because “there is a multitude of fintech companies with SaaS (software as a service) and B2B (business to business) services that are an accelerator of digital transformation” since “any company today needs payment services, payroll, employee services, etc.”
(Featured image by jackmac34 via Pixabay)
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First published in elEconomista.es, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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