Miami hosted its first ever FINNOSUMMIT, the leading and most successful Fintech conference in Latin America, on November 9. The gathering of more than 300 attendees featured discussions from Latin America’s most prominent financial institutions, fintech startups, VC investors and policy influencers.
The driving theme at this year’s FINNOSUMMIT was the importance of collaboration between Fintech startups and traditional financial institutions to innovate banking in Latin America. “We are pleased that, in its four years of existence, FINNOSUMMIT has become a place where financial institutions and Fintech’s brightest startups come together to shape the future of the financial industry in Latin America,” said Andres Fontao, co-founder of Finnovista and organizer of FINNOSUMMIT.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) currently counts over 700 Fintech startups in Latin America and three out of five were established in the last three years. The race for Fintech superiority is on with Mexico recently overtaking Brazil as it saw 50% growth in the sector in 2017. According to the IDB and Finnovista, Latin America has experienced an accelerated emergence of Fintech companies in the past two years. All of this rapid change is starting to catch the attention of traditional financial institutions and collaboration is the single most important challenge to tackle in this rapidly growing sector.
“Traditionally, financial institutions have been slow to innovate and an open collaboration with startups in the region is paramount for the survival of banking and payments in Latin America,” said Fermin Bueno, managing partner of Finnovista and organizer of FINNOSUMMIT. With this in mind, this year’s FINNOSUMMIT teamed up with VISA for its Everywhere Initiative, a startup competition designed to boost innovation in payment methods and financial services.
One of the key moments of the event was the pitch presentations from the startup finalists of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative. Increase – an Argentinian startup that simplifies and modernizes the way in which merchants control, manage and reconcile their credit card operations – was selected as the winner of the first edition of this competition for Latin America, receiving $50,000 USD, as well as earning the possibility to collaborate with Visa in the development of the future of payments.
During one of the most poignant panel discussions at FINNOSUMMIT, experts conversed on the new role financial institutions play along with their startup counterparts to efficiently drive innovation in the sector.
Speaking on the panel, Ruben Salazar, Visa’s Senior Vice President of Products for Latin America & the Caribbean said, “Our largest competitor is cash, and there are still inefficiencies in the ecosystem both in developed and developing countries so for us it is key to partner and collaborate with Fintech startups that, through digitalization, have the ability to close gaps, create a competitive advantages and partner with financial institutions in the region.”
Likewise, other topics discussed in FINNOSUMMIT Miami covered the importance of including and integrating new technologies in the development of solutions for the industry, the two cases of Fintech legislation in the region (Mexico and Brazil) and gender diversity in Fintech in the region. Speakers also addressed how Fintech can help eradicate the widespread problem of unbanked and underbanked populations in Latin America. According to Jonathan Whittle, Partner at Quona Capital, nearly 400 million people in the region fall into these categories.
FINNOSUMMIT, the largest meeting place for Fintech leaders from Latin America, has become the go-to event for financial institutions and fintech startups in the region to connect. It is supported by global leaders in the world of finance such as Visa, Scotiabank, IFC, and technology leaders such as Microsoft, NovoPayment and Rápido y Fácil, among others.