Get to know our new partner — Fintech House

Railsbank is delighted to be partnering with Portugal Fintech’s Fintech House. Their physical space — a stunning 19th century former palace in Lisbon — is only a part of what they offer the industry. We thought the best way to introduce our new partners was to hear in their own words how The Fintech House came to exist. So we sat down to talk to Marco Nigris, Fintech House’s Managing Director.

The beautiful Fintech House in Lisbon

The Fintech House idea started in 2019. It’s an initiative of Portugal Fintech, and it was a natural step to keep developing this ecosystem after all of the initiatives we’d been doing over the last few years: the Portugal Fintech Report in its 2017, 2018 and 2019 editions, the Portugal FinLab program with the 3 regulators, the Fintech Pitching Competition at Web Summit and different events of the industry.

We opened our doors at the beginning of 2020, because we saw that a physical space was needed to keep developing and fostering collaboration between all of the actors of the ecosystem: from startups to financial institutions, investors, universities, and experts in different verticals like marketing, UX, UI that work in fintech. It’s the place where the whole ecosystem can meet.

It was very smooth to set up. The community already created by Portugal Fintech was very big and so it came very naturally. We asked Portugal Fintech’s startup community if this step made sense, and it was a big yes. We partnered with Sitio, one of the biggest coworking operators in Portugal, to have one of the highest quality spaces through their experience of giving companies the best conditions to work. Of course having a 19th century palace in the centre of Lisbon has its challenges, including maintenance! But the partnership allows the structure to be looked after whilst we work on what we do best: developing the fintech industry’s ecosystem.

Even during COVID-19, this stumbling block created opportunities to give value in another way. We went virtual 100% as a response to this unique global situation.

Back then in March when the reality hit about coronavirus, we asked ourselves: what’s our purpose, why are we here?

The answer was: we are here to help the startups. So we tried to find new ways to help them during these times. We created a task force to work closely with other institutions here in Portugal, including the government, to create special conditions for startups to go through this period. COVID-19 made us realise even more that our purpose is to work 100% for the fintechs. We started the virtual community, and a virtual membership, and it grew organically in a great way. People from all over the world came to us through word of mouth, wanting to be part of this community especially during a time like this.

These difficult times do present opportunities. This is the 4th economic crisis I’ve experienced (I am Latin American) and I’ve learnt that now more than ever people need to focus on the core business, not the product or service but the business. Maintain a good relationship with your partners. Take care of your team. And trust your instincts — don’t be afraid to change and adapt to the situation if you identify new opportunities. You will have to put a lot of energy into making things continue to move, and that’s the only ‘magic’ way to survive.

Starting a partnership with Railsbank for one!

The growth is definitely something to be proud of. We opened our doors in January with five main partners, in different verticals. Within three months we already had 85% occupancy at the Fintech House. And now with Railsbank we have one more partner to support that journey — that is great, and makes us feel really good.

Our partnership with the Fintech House has been a long time coming, an incredible group of individuals that has impressed with the drive and clarity of their vision and how they want to take the Fintech community in Portugal to the next level.

We expect to work very closely with this community, providing support and the platform to test, launch and scale any type of financial product

— Alejandro Murcia, Railsbank Sales Executive

It was a very natural occurrence, as our objectives are very aligned. As an initiative of Portugal Fintech we work every day to give startups everything they need to grow better, faster and Railsbank is a powerful ally to keep developing this ecosystem. With the tools Railsbank provides, any company can evolve into a fintech in a very short amount of time and with almost no effort.

There are some startups that start as 100% fintechs but I see a new trend of startups that are in other verticals and are getting into the fintech vertical. Railsbank is a key part of that. I think becoming partners was a natural consequence of what we both pursue

Railsbank’s core mission is to enable anyone to become a Fintech, and Fintech House is helping us reach out and help the community to understand how they can achieve this. We look forward to partnering even deeper with the existing Fintech companies as they expand into Portugal and for Portuguese companies expanding their business to Europe, Asia and the US with the Railsbank platform.

— David Rhoades, Global Head of Marketing.

I see a future where every company that has a good base of customers has its own ledgers, managing payments in a very easy way, and being able to issue cards. We are already seeing that trend and it will be the future of the industry to have all of these services as add-ons to core offerings. All of this will make it much easier to make payments and receive money.

Head to the Fintech House’s website for more information on their beautiful space and wide-ranging fintech support and community.

Go to the Railsbank website to learn how we can help any bank, business or brand rapidly become a fintech.

Railsbank, the world’s leading Embedded Finance Experience platform. #ExperienceEmbedded