Paris Fintech Forum has established itself as one of the main global events of the sector in only a few years. In January, the 2019 edition confirmed this reputation, and the upcoming 5th edition is on track to do the same. Held over two days, on 28 and 29 January 2020, at the Palais Brongniart in Paris, the forum aims to gather, as usual, 2,700 attendees to listen to more than 250 international speakers, almost all CEOs from global financial institutions, regulators and, of course, Fintechs from all over the world. Most of the participants come from outside of France, with 70-plus countries present, Luxembourg being always in the top 3 of the participants number. For two years in a row the event has sold out a week before opening. Laurent Nizri, is founder and CEO of Altéir Event, which organizes the Paris Fintech Forum: we asked him what we should expect from this fifth edition.
How would you describe Paris Fintech Forum to someone who hasn’t attended yet? Why is this event so unique?
Paris Fintech Forum is the most exclusive European event on digital finance in the Fintech age. There is no other event gathering as many international CEOs from across the industry, both among the audience and on stage.
Another thing that sets us apart is that we purposely limit our capacity to 2,700 attendees to leverage real networking in a club format. We are a kind of ‘Davos of digital finance’.
We have no keynotes and all the speakers participate in strong added value fireside chats and panels in order to debate and exchange opinions on the future of finance. We are used to receiving numerous ministers, governors of central banks and other regulators involved in the industry. As an example, last January, among our 280 speakers were Christine Lagarde, MD of the International Monetary Fund; Bruno Le Maire, French minister of the Economy and Finances with Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance of Luxembourg and their Belgian, and Lithuanian counterparts; and so many others.
One more key characteristic of this event is that we gather people together from a diverse range of sectors in all verticals. Indeed, we have tracks and sessions on credit/alternative lending, payment and neo banks as well as InsurTech, RegTech, wealth management, blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Lastly, a key purpose of the Forum is to foster business meetings between key players. With more than 150 exhibitors, eight thematic lounges for conducting business and many side events dedicated to networking (VIP lunches, parties, etc), our attendees get multiple opportunities to strike up new partnerships or imagine future collaborations.
Last edition, 80 per cent of the 180 Fintech CEOs on stage were not present the year before. What is your selection process?
To be honest, it gets harder and harder. In the last four years we have already had more than 800 unique speakers, including the vast majority of the key Fintechs’ CEOs, globally speaking. So, finding new top successful voices of the industry is not that easy!
What we aim for at the Forum each year is a real expert selection to offer our participants an up-to-date and state-of-the-art vision of what Fintech is in the different geographies and in all financial domains. We do not claim that we select the «best» Fintechs; rather, we choose those that, at the time of the Forum, are the best representative players in their sector, bringing real innovation and/or being at the center of a strong commercial traction.
As a result, we don’t have a lot of early-stage companies because one of the objectives of the Forum is to enable partnership between historical players and new entrants. This is possible only for startups that have already successfully taken the first steps in their company journeys and are strong enough to face the unavoidable hazards and timelines accompanying collaboration with big groups.
Our selection is a mix of international unicorns and a plethora of startups, sometimes less known to the general public, which apply to be on stage via our online platform. This year, we expect to exceed the 900 applications for the last edition.
You also have many speakers from incumbents – including key CEOs. How do you get them to join the debate?
We all have our secret recipes! However, what I can tell you is that when a company is already engaged in a real digital transformation, their leaders are quite easy to convince to come and share with the crowd their vision of the future. Of course, some financial institutions are quite late in that process, so you don’t really see their top leaders on stage.
Any scoops you can share with us on the already confirmed speakers for next January?
We just started to share our first confirmed speakers and among them you can find: Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING; Carlos Torres Vila, Chairman of BBVA; Frédéric Oudéa, CEO of Société Générale; Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union; Javier Pérez-Tasso, CEO of SWIFT; Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard; Nicolas Huss, CEO of Ingenico Group; Nikhil Rathi, CEO of London Stock Exchange; Valentin Stalf, CEO of N26; Kathryn Petralia, President of Kabbage; Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple; Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank; Osama Bedier, CEO of Poynt; David Gurlé, CEO of Symphony; Brandon Krieg, CEO of Stash; Arik Shtilman, CEO of Rapyd, Julian Teicke, CEO of Wefox Group, Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of Aza Finance, … among many others and still big surprises to be announced!
So, can you sum up why people should be in Paris in January?
There are three main reasons: to learn, to network and to do business.
LEARN: With more than 130 panels, fireside chats and pitches, gathering mainly CEOs and chairpersons from the whole finance industry together, you will without doubt learn more about the future of finance in the digital era than you will anywhere else.
NETWORK: In the intimacy of the former French stock market exchange in the center of Paris, everything will be done to enable you to meet and interact with other attendees and our astonishing speakers: through our lounges, dedicated apps and the many lunches, dinners and parties that go on around the Forum.
DO BUSINESS: Our partners and attendees come to do business together. Over two days you will mainly meet decision-makers from banks, insurance companies, regulators and investors, as well, of course, as countless Fintechs from all over the world. Three months of international business meetings, packed into two days! And, of course, the opportunity to spend a few days in the heart of Paris is in itself a very good reason to join us!
The fifth edition of Paris Fintech Forum will take place on 28 & 29 January 2020 at the Palais Brongniart. You can find information and book tickets to the event via the website, www.parisfintechforum.com.
Interview by Ali Paterson
Publié le 06 janvier 2020