Money2020 Digest Day #3

As curtains draw on Europe’s biggest FinTech extravaganza, and as thousands of influencers, business leaders and budding entrepreuners disperse from Amsterdam, here is our final digest of the key topics, trends and talks that caught the attention on the final day of Money20/20 Europe.

“AliPay is not a payments company!”

Alipay’s profile has grown substantially in Europe in recent years, and the continent’s FinTech leaders were keen to learn more about the business courtesy of a tour de force keynote speech from its Head of EMEA Li Wang. If there is one thing we learnt today, it was that Alipay is NOT a payments company.

Instead Alipay considers itself to be experiential lifestyle app. The company began as a payment platform to support online on Alibaba’s online marketplace, and subsequently acquired hundreds of millions of users in China. The brand is rightly seen as one of the sector’s leading innovators.

Li started by providing an overview of Alipay’s business. In China itself users can use their Alipay wallet to pay for practically everything, even at basecamp of Mount Everest, and Li assured the audience that anybody visiting next year’s Money 20/20 in Hangzhou would be able to use an Alipay wallet to pay for almost anything in the city.

While this extensive payment network is an obvious source of pride for Li and the business, Li boldly announced that Alipay is not actually a payments company and is in fact a digital marketer. While the brand facilitates payments via its mobile wallet, it also offers Chinese customers services ranging from foreign exchange to GPS. Alipay uses this as a gateway to partner with big and small merchants, who are able to offer exclusive promotions via the mobile wallet which drives increased footfall and spending.

These benefits aren’t just limited to merchants in China, either. Li explained how Alipay also partners with merchants in Europe, Asia and America, who are able to take advantage of growing numbers of high spending Chinese tourists travelling further and further afield.

Grandhood: The new startup solving pension problems for SMEs

Over the past three days 10 budding entrepreneurs, handpicked from a shortlist of 200 startups from Money20/20’s Academy, pitched their wares and business propositions to an esteemed panel of experts, vying to be crowned the winner of Money20/20’s ‘Startup Pitch’ contest in partnership with Mastercard.

In just three minutes, business leaders had to make their case and convince the panel their ideas, innovations and inspirational plans were worthy of the startup pitch crown.

This year’s winner was Danish startup Grandhood, an exciting company whose goal is to solve the occupational pension headache for SMEs. Taking centre stage in the Big Top, founder and CEO Jon Lieberkind shared the inspiration for the world’s first 100% digital pension solution for small business – his barber who found traditional pension plans often confusing, complicated and opaque. Jon saw a new model that propels the traditional way of managing pensions into the 21st century – through a potent combination of smartphones, machine learning and asset management theory.

With the startup pitch title firmly under its belt, the future looks very bright for Grandhood and they will be one to watch in the future. Perhaps next year, Jon will be delivering his own keynote address.

Open Banking…the phrase on everyone’s lips

With the onset of GDPR last month, it is no surprise that it was open banking that was biggest topic shaping the agenda over the past three days and driving debate, alongside related themes such as data privacy, identity and security.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given Steve Wozniak’s show stopping appearance, the rise of AI was another topic that generated huge amounts of buzz around the RAI in Amsterdam, with sessions examining everything from machine learning and the impact on banks to a fascinating session featuring Goldman Sachs, Jumio, and KPMG debating whether AI could really stop another financial crisis.

Interestingly, while blockchain was again a hugely discussed topic it didn’t drive the agenda in Europe in the same way it did at Money20/20 Asia. This is perhaps a sign of blockchain finally moving beyond the hype, with proof of concepts moving out of trial stages and into real world applications.

That’s all from us in Amsterdam. Phew. Breathe… stop Hangzhou for the first Money20/20 China later this year. We hope to see you there.