The first International Fintech Mission hosted in Sofia was held at the end of February. At the invitation od the Bulgarian Fintech Association, RoFin.Tech organized the event with the support of Eleven Ventures.
The economic mission aimed to increase the exposure of Romanian fintech companies in Bulgaria and promote collaboration between the two national ecosystems in the industry aimed to bring innovation in the financial industry.
This delegation was the first one in a series of actions planned in the internationalization program that RoFin.Tech intends to implement in order to support the efforts of Romanian companies to approach foreign markets. The Romanian team present in Sofia included representatives of the companies Symphopay, FintechOS and Finqware.
On the first day of the trip, February 26, 2020, the Romanian companies had the opportunity for private work meetings with local or subsidiaries of international banks present in Bulgaria. These meetings were facilitated by the investment fund Eleven Ventures, which also organizes a regional fintech accelerator: VISA Innovation Program ( whose applications for the second cohort are opened and fintech startups from Romania and CEE countries are invited to apply until March 15, 2020).
In the evening, the Romanian companies promoted their solutions on stage, within the “Romanian Fintech Meet-up”, organized by the Bulgarian Fintech Association as a special event. More than 70 participants, representatives of the local financial services industry, managers from Bulgarian banks, founders of local fintech companies as well as investment funds interested in the Romanian fintech innovation market were present for networking and ideas exchange on banking innovation.
On the second day, February 27, 2020, the Romanian delegation was invited to the Annual Fintech & Insurtech Summit, the most relevant event in Bulgaria for financial services innovation.
An important moment in this event was the discussion within the panel dedicated to the challenges and perspectives of the local fintech environments in Bulgaria and Romania. The Romanian fintech ecosystem was represented on the stage by two speakers, Cosmin Cosma – member of the board of the Romanian Fintech Association and CEO of Finqware and Marc Ferguson, Head of Business Development at FintechOS, one of the most promising financial technology scale-up company in the region.
“For Symphopay, participating in this trip to Sofia was extremely productive. In addition to the meetings we had during the mission, we took the opportunity and met with partners and potential local clients, having promising discussions regarding the expansion of the company in the Bulgarian market. Obviously, you do not sign commercial contracts on the spot, but the on-site travel and the context offered by the two fintech associations gave us a very good exposure on the Bulgarian market,” summarized Mihai Paraschiv, Chief Marketing Officer at Symphopay, one of the participating companies.
“As fintechs, we cannot explore and create trust on a local CEE market only remotely. In order to try to collaborate with local fintech companies and prospects we need to meet and visit the local ecosystems in person. The Fintech mission in Bulgaria has been an excellent experience that encourages us to continue with such actions, especially in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe,” says Cosmin Cosma, member of the board of the Romanian Association of Fintech.
“We are very pleased to have invited and welcomed the Romanian delegation from RoFin.Tech. The meet-up we organised was an excellent occasion to bound the two fintech communities in order to kick-start collaboration. We are looking forward to honour the invitation to Bucharest to do a Bulgarian Fintech Meet-up in Romania,” says Gergana Stoitchkova, Executive Director of Bulgarian Fintech Association.
The action in Sofia was the first step in increasing the collaboration between the two Fintech Associations and will continue with various events and activities. The date for a mirror event in Romania was established on May 11, 2020, an invitation for the Bulgarian fintech companies to a present their solutions at a special RoFin.Tech meet-up in Bucharest. This will be also an opportunity for the Bulgarian fintech enthusiasts to attend the Future Banking event (12-13 May), one of the most important fintech events in Romania.