A year from today – we will see many more Danish fintech unicorns (they are even publicly listed!), Denmark is an AI superpower and … even the sky is no limit.
In DLA Piper Denmark we continue to be excited about our collaboration with Copenhagen Fintech. With our global commitment to fintech, the ambition is to use our long-standing association with the Danish financial sector, our global presence and our in-depth knowledge about fintech to contribute to a strong development of the Danish fintech industry.
Technology is dramatically changing the world and reshaping financial institutions as we know them, because digital disruption, however challenging, opens the door to new opportunities. For instance, the story is no longer about fintechs beating banks, but banks partnering with fintechs to stay ahead. Now the story relates to models of partnership: how to partner and how to collaborate.
“That resonates also with the development in the Norwegian market where we have seen a lot of partnerships being formed lately between the established players and the fintechs, especially now triggered by the move into Open Banking and by the growth of the equity and lending based crowd funding platforms and within the area of wealth management” – Camilla Wollan, Partner and leader of the fintech area in DLA Piper Norway.
From our DLA Piper offices worldwide, we know that cross-border collaboration is fruitful and thinking about commercial, financial, regulatory and corporate matters in a global context provide for many benefits to reap. This also goes for the fintech industry, and DLA Piper is there – whether in Silicon Valley, Hong Kong, New York, London, Singapore or the Nordics – to support the startups who look to scale up.
DLA Piper has always supported the startup ecosystem. For example, we mentor startups from all around the world, i.e. startups built on Hedera Hashgraph Platform at the Helix Accelerator, and we advise brilliant entrepreneurs who develop their businesses using cutting edge technology.”
Frankie Tam, DLA Piper Hong Kong
Our work in this space encompasses much more than the “meet and discuss” opportunities that we regularly facilitate, we are at the cutting edge in regulatory analysis, transaction documentation and project delivery. As a product of our longstanding engagement with startups in the broader tech industry, and reflective of our supportive approach to early stage businesses, we have launched “a starter pack” that facilitates early stage startup advice and legal documents at competitive rates to get ideas launched as quickly as possible.
As part of our pro bono commitment to the nascent industry, DLA Piper is playing a major role in leading the development of community driven best practice standards, providing legal guidance, offering practical support, facilitating open access networking opportunities and linking international fintech clients and contacts together to collaborate, build and grow the community.”
Bryony Widdup, Partner DLA Piper (UK) LLP, London
Investors and fintechs alike benefit from our broad network, as we help introduce investors to innovative businesses to produce mutually beneficial relationships. This goes for foreign investors and foreign fintechs going to Denmark as well as Danish investors and Danish fintechs going abroad.
Working with fintechs
Arising from our commitment to fintech, we have implemented daily rotation of stationing legal staff members in the Copenhagen Fintech Lab to discover and support new forms and methods of collaboration. This hands-on experience has taught us that the technological development also has an extensive influence on our own (from society’s point of view ancient) legal industry resulting in both disruption and synergies. The future will provide new digital solutions for our clients directly and for the everyday work of lawyers, when AI, robotics, machine learning etc. are not just the talk of town but conveniently implemented in all – big or small – law firms. The Danish Bar and Law Society has set up a committee to designate the most important trends and how its code of conduct applies to these trends. Based on DLA Piper’s experience from our close lab study of the rapidly developing fintechs, we urge the committee to keep up a solid pace, otherwise the committee conclusions will risk being outdated before being launched.
A b(l)ooming fintech scene
Fintech investments are among the fastest-growing investment fields, and in Denmark investments in fintechs more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, including in particular foreign investments in Danish startups. This emphasizes that available capital remains one of the key elements of growing a local fintech hub into a global player and that access to risk capital is critical to fund the establishment and growth of innovative businesses such as fintechs.
Denmark is in the forefront in many ways, we are about to start building a “European Silicon Valley” on nine artificial islands off Copenhagen, we are by Forbes ranked seventh best country in the world for doing business, we have a strong tradition of EU/government programs supporting innovation, and, generally, we are a progressive nation welcoming innovative technology.
This would all lead one to think that risk capital is readily available in Denmark, but we are not all that business friendly compared to our fellow Scandinavian countries. Denmark has a strong tradition for fostering small and medium-sized businesses, but it is key that more companies have the market opportunities to grow into large businesses.
“While fintech companies in Silicon Valley continue to garner significant attention and investment, our data reflects the increasing percentage of investment dollars directed to fintech companies outside of Silicon Valley and confirms that fintech companies can grow anywhere – as long as the environment is hospitable.” – Brad Gersich, Co-Chair DLA Piper LLP’s Corporate Practice in Northern California.
Copenhagen – a global fintech hub
Danish interests aside, globalization has helped the access to foreign risk capital and strategic partnerships in foreign markets. Thanks to a transparent judicial system, high legal protection in respect of intellectual property rights and financial services as well as a professionally organized fintech scene, Danish fintechs look attractive for global investors.
Matching that with regulations on passporting of licenses, free movement within the EU and the general Danish readiness for change, Danish fintechs can go Nordic or go global as it may fit and the investor may match.
The future of fintech is exceptionally bright!