Jun 22, 2021



JETRO holds online pitch event for British fintech companies aiming to enter the Japanese market

On June 22, JETRO held an event titled "UK Fintech Startup Online Pitch" to introduce trends in the UK fintech industry and promising startups (supported by the Fintech Association and the FSA). The event was attended by more than 100 people, mainly from Japanese financial institutions. The event confirmed the high level of interest in the UK, which is home to the international financial center of London and has produced many unicorn companies as a leading fintech nation.

Mr. Shuhei Kataoka, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in the UK, opened the event with a lecture on the UK's fintech ecosystem. Regarding industry trends, he pointed out the shift in business models from B to C, to B to B, due to factors such as increased competition in the industry, commoditization of carriers (making differentiation difficult), the increase in the number of sole proprietorships, and the drop in consumer spending caused by the new coronavirus disaster. He believes that companies that provide behind-the-scenes support for large corporate demand and services that do not rely on specific apps or devices may grow in the future. In addition, he pointed out the lack of interest in the Japanese market among British fintech companies, the strong presence of Chinese investment funds in providing funding to the industry, and the depth of the funding market, where not only IPOs but also venture capital and private equity firms in the UK are participating in large-scale fundraising. He also pointed out the strong presence of fintech investment funds. Regarding institutional fintech promotion trends, he noted that nearly 150 startup projects in the UK have received support through the "regulatory sandbox" (*1) and that this policy is spreading to Japan and other countries around the world. As a suggestion for Japanese companies interested in British fintech companies, he explained that it is important to take a proactive approach from the early stage when British companies are seeking support and other assistance.

Next, four fintech start-ups from the U.K. aiming to enter the Japanese market made pitches. Featurespace, which provides a platform for detecting financial crimes such as fraud and money laundering, followed by Tribe Payments, which provides a platform for payment solutions such as digital wallets. Reinfer, which provides a platform for analyzing and automating communications with business partners, such as emails and chats, using cutting-edge machine learning, etc., and "Datactics," which provides a platform for managing and measuring internal data, including data cleansing (*2) using artificial intelligence (AI). Participants asked many questions about the features and strengths of each platform, as well as whether or not they are available in Japanese, indicating the high level of interest among Japanese companies.

Eriko Nonaka, Secretary General of the Fintech Association of Japan, took the stage at the end of the session. She gave an overview of the association and its initiatives and expressed hope for the future development of fintech companies through overseas collaboration and business matching.

(*1) By permitting temporary deviations from current regulations, the Fintech Association allows regulators and supervisors to gain knowledge about new digital financial technologies and allows companies to demonstrate services that utilize the new technologies, while ensuring investor protection and financial stability.

(*2) Correcting corrupted data, shaky notation, etc. and improving data integrity and quality.