Last week, a fintech delegation from Swiss corporates and academia visited India on a whirlwind, one-week fintech tour as part of the Swissnex initiative to connect Switzerland and India in science, education, art, and innovation. The fintech tour, included pioneering companies from Swiss fintech space like Qumram AG, investiere, B-safer and newly-launched ValUbot.
Dr. Balz Strasser, CEO of Swissnex, stated that the tour was a “door opener” for Swiss delegates to engage with multiple stakeholders in two key locations – Bengaluru and Mumbai. The Swiss startups met Indian fintech startups like Zestmoney, signzy and Razorpay, and delegates were able to engage with accelerator and incubator spaces in Mumbai such as Zone Startups India located at the iconic Bombay Stock Exchange tower and the recently launched RISE Mumbai. The delegation was led by Prof. Pieter Perrett, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland.
The Swiss team was exposed to the India Stack – comprising open API, Aadhaar, India’s advanced digital authentication system, which stands to change the game for digital payments. They also engaged with leading Indian banks and were able to witness global insurer Swiss Re’s work undertaken in their Bengaluru office. These discussions are meant to provide a basis for further Indo-Swiss collaboration in the fintech space.
Mike Hobmeier one of the Swiss delegates and CIO of one of Europe’s leading online startup investment platforms, investiere sees significant potential in combining strengths. He stated, “As a venture capital investor, I am impressed by the untapped potential of India. 95% of the startups financed in Switzerland don’t think of India as a target market. This is true across all industries, be it fintech, agritech, high-tech, medtech etc. Swissnex helps to bridge this gap in a pragmatic way.”
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During the tour, Mike was also able to showcase his own startup, B-safer, which helps consumers effectively protect their bank cards.
Mathias Wegmueller, co-founder and business development manager of Qumram AG, which supports banks in ensuring compliance, detecting online fraud and improving overall customer experience stated, “The digital infrastructure of India with Aadhaar, Jan Dhan and UPI will boost digital transformation and banking in India. With the smart use of innovative power of global digital fintech leaders, to secure compliance and security, India will excel in becoming a truly digital nation.”
Bakul Vincchi, cofounder and developer of ValUbot stated, “It’s crucial to crack partnerships in India to do business the Indian way. Swissnex must be a part of the goto market strategy for all Swiss entrepreneurs trying to see synergies in the Indian markets, as they have network access from the grass roots through to the C level executives with the spending power.”
Prateek Khare, Swissnex’s Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, based in Bengaluru, stressed that while this particular initiative focusses on fintech, Swissnex India has already provided opportunities for 37 Swiss startups to invest in the Indian market.
The fintech startup tour was organised by Sonia Wieser, Entrepreneurship and innovation manager at Swissnex India, Consulate of Switzerland in collaboration with SwissRe, Anthill Ventures and Zone Startups that included meetings with head of Innovation at six banks, three Indian fintech startups, six VC firms, among networking evenings in Bengaluru and Mumbai.
(Inputs provided by Prof. Pieter Perrett)