The Mayor of Bergen, Marte Mjøs Persen, officially opens Bergen's new fintech incubator. Photo © Marthe Sivertsen, Finance Innovation

Bergen welcomes new fintech incubator

The Bergen region has just seen the launch of a new startup incubator with a difference.

The Fintech Room, opening early next year, will be the first incubator in western Norway to focus solely on the financial technology or ‘fintech’ industry.      

Fintech is a new and rapidly growing sector, where companies use the latest technology to develop new services within banking and finance.

Bergen’s newest incubator was recently launched at an evening event, during which companies were challenged to pitch their business ideas to the audience in under three minutes.

Among those pitching were Sperretkonto, a startup that offers a simpler way for landlords to collect deposits from their tenants.

Also presenting were Investio, who are behind a new peer‑to‑peer money-lending platform, as well as Tjommi, who want to help consumers to cash in on the price guarantees they see in the shops.

Oddvar Spjeld makes his three-minute pitch for Investio, a company that provides peer-to-peer lending services. Photo © Marthe Sivertsen, Finance Innovation

New jobs, new opportunities

These startups weren’t the only ones pitching on the night – instead, they were joined by two special guests.

The Mayor of Bergen, Marte Mjøs Persen, and Bård Sandal, Hordaland’s County Director of Regional Development, were present and each gave a three‑minute ‘pitch’ about the benefits of the new incubator.

Bård Sandal said: “Our long‑term work on creating a holistic ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation has now gained a new frontier.”

“The goal is to create new jobs, develop new ideas and work systematically to speed up the growth of this important industry.”

(L-R): Atle Sivertsen, chief executive of the Finance Innovation business cluster; Bergen’s Mayor, Marte Mjøs Persen; Bård Sandal, Hordaland’s County Director of Regional Development, and Hilde Indresøvde, leader of innovation and incubation at BTO. Photo © Marthe Sivertsen, Finance Innovation

The Fintech Room is slated to open in January 2019, and will provide a space for dozens of founders to develop their business ideas.

Startups taking part in the incubator will receive access to workshops, mentors, training, investors, as well as a network of industry experts within the financial technology sector.     

The new fintech hub will be based in the Media City Bergen building, and will be run by the city’s Finance Innovation cluster, along with the Bergen Technology Transfer Office (BTO).

Guests at the Fintech Room launch event were treated to wine and snacks, and also got the chance to try out virtual reality (VR) headsets. Photo © Marthe Sivertsen, Finance Innovation

Ringing in the new incubator

The opening of the new incubator was marked both by the cutting of a ribbon and the chiming of a bell.

The bell was presented as a gift to the Fintech Room by BTO, and can be rung by the centre’s startup companies to celebrate special milestones in their journey.

During the evening, startups and industry members mingled and shared their experiences over glasses of sparkling wine, while in another corner, guests lined up to try a VR booth.

Trygve C Nøkleby, Managing Director of the marine insurance firm Gard, was one of those attending the event.

Trygve said: “I think that the new incubator is a good example of the importance of sharing knowledge and working together, instead of keeping to yourself. We need to bet on Bergen.”