Memories are not stored in our brains like books on library shelves, or even as a collection of self-contained recordings, but may be better thought of as a kind of collage or a jigsaw puzzle. Looking back to the 1st Annual Phoenix FinTech Conference, all I can think of is how much fun it was and all the things I could write about it. But, here we are and my mind is stuck between my mental jigsaw puzzle and notes, post-its, audio recordings, picture and videos. So, where should I begin?
The Ignition of Phoenix
As Tolga Tavlas from UniCredit Bank Austria said on his presentation: “Innovation would be our only chance to survive”. But Phoenix was not only about survival. It was about collaboration, establishing symbiotic relationships and co-existence between fintech startups and banks. On June 9 and 10, more than 110 fintech enthusiasts and representatives from the banking world, came together in Prague to attend the 1st Phoenix FinTech Conference focused on the CEE region.
The first day of the event was full of case studies, success stories and presentations from big banks and also startups, coordinated by chairman Aaron Whitehead from Western Union Bank. During the morning, attendees got a taste of the brave new digital world. Jadrzej Iwaszkiewicz from D-Raft gave some examples from successful fintech startups in the CEE region and how they created successful partnerships with banks.
Mario Brkic from Erste Group talked about George, the new financial platform in the heart of Erste Bank, its journey and how every other project is build around it. Together with Gorkem Cokcetin from YapiKredi and Jiri Manas from Erste Bank, they discussed about the way banks are reacting to disruptions and what is the best strategy to foster a culture of innovation in your workplace.
After this eye-opening panel discussion, Gorkem Cokcetin took the stage once more to elaborated further on the negative effects of regulations regarding innovation, with examples from Turkey and specifically from YapiKredi. Dennis Hettema from Nordnet talked about the rules of happiness. As he mentioned: “Unleashing the power of happiness in banking organizations is important. Let’s put it simply, happiness equals money”. Later on, Jiri Manas presented the success story of Erste Bank and how working together with fintech startups actually paid off.
Meanwhile, startupists had the opportunity to master their communication skills by attending two tailor made workshops by Alena Huberova, trainer and speaker, and Katarina Kovalcik from Silny Recnik, who showed attendees how to present and sell themselves and their ideas to investors and customers.
Successful Adoption of New Technologies
Following our delicious meal provided by the Costa Praga Restaurant, Aaron Whitehead described the innovation process of Western Union Bank and how it positively affected the relationship with their customers. The purpose of the customer lifetime value and its many types was the main focus of Pawel Turczynowicz, founder of Ybanking. He talked about effective strategies to implement innovation on your organization and why adopting new fintech solutions should be done cautiously.
If you think ladies were not part of the plenary sessions, you are mistaken. Monika Palczynska from Alior Bank was one of them and during her session, she presented Alior’s strategy on uncommon partnerships and the way banks can benefit from them.
Balancing innovation and customer habits is important but what about moving forward? Thomas Labenbacher from Life.SREDA, Damjan Obal from bwin.party and Pawel Stezycki from Citi unfolded the challenges, tools and strategies in order to launch a new product to your exciting customers.
During the afternoon, two startups had the opportunity to present their case studies and success stories. Pavel Matveev from WirexApp and Vladyslav Syhanevych from Cream Finance shared their startup story and what helped them become well known and well respected despite competition. Of course, blockchain could not be left out of this event. Clement Francomme from Utocat explained in simple words what blockchain is and in what way it can help banks with data storage and digital confidence.
But the 1st Annual Phoenix FinTech Conference was not all about presentations. The Il Giardino Terrace of the NH Hotel Prague City, with its breathtaking view of Prague and its relaxing surroundings, was there to welcome our guests with delicious finger food, refreshing drinks and inspiring conversations.