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The Rise of Fintech in CEE: A Mapping of 60+ Startups and Companies Across the Region

The Rise of Fintech in CEE: A Mapping of 60+ Startups and Companies Across the Region, TheRecursive.com
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Countries across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have been experiencing a significant boom in fintech startups and companies in recent years, which in turn have been revolutionizing the financial industry with their solutions and changing the way people manage their finances. Bulgarian fintech companies alone reached revenue over $800M in 2021, with these numbers likely to grow in the next few years.

These companies offer a wide range of products and services, including digital banking, expenses management, e-commerce, peer-to-peer lending, payment processing, and much more across several different verticals.

In this article, we will take a dive into the fintech landscape in CEE and present an overview of 60+ fintech companies operating in the region.

We are only at the start of our mapping of fintech startups across the region so please feel free to give us a shout at [email protected] with updates or startups and companies that we could add to our list.

Digital banking

Name: Aircash (Zagreb, Croatia)

Solution: The first Croatian fintech platform Aircash offers a mobile wallet with instant deposits, withdrawals, payments and money transfers, a one-click credit card via Aircash app and A-bon, a printed e-voucher for easy and secure online purchases using a 16-digit PIN code. The startup has more than 250 thousand users and aside from Croatia it is also used in Austria and Slovenia.

Name: Oradian (Zagreb, Croatia)

Solution: The Croatian fintech provides a cloud-based core banking system that is used by over 10 million people globally. The Oradian system enables financial institutions to become more efficient, know and control their portfolios and serve more clients.

Name: Mobi4Me (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: Mobi4Me is a cloud-enabled core banking application for banks and financial institutions, offering mobile banking applications for loans, deposit and savings accounts, money transfers, and more.

Name: NF Innova (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: NF Innova is a software development and digital transformation company that focuses on digital banking. The company offers an omnichannel banking solution based on company’s four-pillar business model consisting of Digital Branch, Dual Brand, White Label Banking and Partner Ecosystem, providing immediate solutions for companies looking to adapt to the digital world.

Name: AvaFin (Warsaw, Poland)

Solution: AvaFin is an online platform for personal loans that assesses applications by analyzing online data and credit intel from traditional sources and utilizes advanced algorithms and machine-learning capabilities to quickly evaluate and score.

Name: Spoko (Warsaw, Poland)

Solution: Spoko is an app-based wallet for cross-border money transfers which allows users to send and receive funds overseas through Mastercard and VISA cards. The app offers exchange rates for enabling cash and online transfers in multiple currencies.

Name: Paynetics (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: Paynetics offers an issuer processing platform for B2B and B2C payment solutions. The company’s solution offered includes the issuing of prepaid cards and e-wallets. Their e-wallet is used for money transfer solutions between the users and a virtual prepaid card Payoo card is linked to the e-wallet for offline payments.

Name: Phyre (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: Phyre app is a mobile payment application where the user can register and load the account using payment cards. Itoffers loyalty cards which can be scanned using the app to complete payments, and there’s also the possibility for splitting bills.

Name: FintechOS (London, UK)

Solution: The Romania-founded FintechOS platform simplifies and accelerates the launching, servicing, and expansion of financial products and services, helping businesses recognize value up to 5 to 10 times sooner than with other approaches: with FintechOS, companies can get up and running with new financial solutions in as little as 12 weeks.  FintechOS connects with any ecosystem tech or service – financial and non-financial – and can plug anywhere in the tech stack/

Name: Finqware (Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Finqware provides open banking API solutions for banks and financial institutions. It enables the integration of financial products into existing retail products. Enterprises can get updates from across multiple bank accounts with insights through custom-built data enhancers.

Name: Symphopay (Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Symphopay is a payment platform acting as a digital layer on top of bank systems, helping merchants and banks to integrate and use payments as a business tool to create customer engagement while optimizing the costs.

Name: Bankata (Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Bankata is a comparison platform for credit cards and loans. It offers comparisons for cards such as installment cards, cashback cards, premium cards, travel cards, and more. It also offers comparisons for personal loans and investment accounts.

Name: Pago (Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Pago is an app that offers users to manage their payments in one app, organized by due date in one screen, and pay them in just a few seconds. The app offers over 380 service providers all over Romania, and 5 million payments were made through the app since its launch in 2017. It also includes mobile top-ups, local taxes payments and the possibility to buy several types of insurance, including the mandatory car insurance (RCA) and travel insurance.

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Name: Finloup (Athens, Greece)

Solution: Finloup is a provider of purchase financing solutions for customers. It enables consumers to make interest-free installment payments for online/offline products at partnered stores. Users can make installment payments via credit/debit cards.

Name: Viva Wallet  (Athens, Greece)

Solution: Viva Wallet provides payment processing solutions to European SME merchants. The neobank offers an app-based wallet, online payment gateway, and hardware-based terminals to businesses that can be used for accepting online/offline payments.

Name: Wysely (Athens, Greece)

Solution: Open banking solutions for banks and financial institutions. The solution enables credit risk management, customer onboarding, and more. Wysely’s machine learning algorithms produce risk insights and rank customers into risk categories, and also provides solutions to leasing companies, real estate and proptechs, and more.

Name: EveryPay (Athens, Greece)

Solution: EveryPay is a payment gateway solution provider that builds payments infrastructure and provides the economic and legal ecosystems to help small startups and companies grow their online business. EveryPay is a fully licensed PSP, regulated by the Bank of Greece. According to the Greek company, the payment gateway (PGW) is the most advanced in Greece and one of the fastest in Europe.

Cryptocurrencies and NFTs

Name: Tribute Brand (Zagreb, Croatia)

Solution: Tribute Brand is an online marketplace for buying and selling fashion-focused NFTs. It is a B2C digital fashion brand producing 3D-designed digital goods for use across the photo, AR/VR, gaming & the metaverse. It also develops software and applications for the new digital fashion economy and collaborates with luxury fashion brands.

Name: UNQ Club (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: NFT-based platform for asset management that offers solutions for buying and selling digital assets including art, music, and collectibles from different chains.

Name: Osmium Investment Coin (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: OiCoin is a cryptocurrency backed by Osmium metal, where token holders are offered a share of revenue generated via the global crystallized Osmium sale, based on their token holdings.

Name: Unloc (Wroclaw, Poland)

Solution: Uloc is a financial products and consumer services platform on Solana that aims to provide NFT holders with better rights and more opportunities in Web3 than are afforded to owners of art, collectibles and property in Web2 or the real world.

Name: Ramp (Warsaw, Poland)

Solution: Ramp is a decentralized platform for fiat-cryptocurrency exchange. The platform uses decentralized escrow mechanisms to enable fiat to crypto trades, where the seller creates a smart contract to lock a digital asset in escrow, and the buyer sends a direct wire transfer to the seller and a payment oracle verifies the buyer’s payment using open banking protocol.

Name: EnterDAO (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: EnterDAO is a decentralized autonomous organization for crypto-based product development. The organization allows users to build core products LandWorks which enables period-based renting of land in Web3 metaverse games.

Name: BitLendingClub (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: BitLendingClub is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin lending platform which helps borrowers get Bitcoin loans online for competitive rates and low transaction fees. The lenders compete in an auction where they can assess the risk of each loan and offer the lowest possible rate for a given borrower.

Name: Coinzix (Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Online platform to buy and sell cryptocurrency. The platform allows users to trade via bank transfer, debit card, and more, offering seamless mobile and desktop experiences. It allows users to stake their cryptocurrency, provides market analytics, security against hacker attacks, and more.

Name: Vulcan Forged (Athens, Greece)

Solution: Game development studio focusing on blockchain-based games. The company offers blockchain games which include “VulcanVerse” a multiplayer online role-playing game and “BlockBabies” with collectable babies. Also, it offers an NFT marketplace to buy and sell digital assets in-game.

Name: Nous (Zagreb, Croatia)

Solution: Nous is a DeFi hedge fund platform that aims to provide access to automated asset management technology, hence building a quantitative research and development lab that serves a decentralized network of investors. It aims to provide security, transparency, efficiency, and reduced counterparty risk.

Name: Ambire (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: Ambire is an online platform offering a non-custodial DeFi wallet, which provides secure email authentication, allows users to connect a hardware wallet, and is available on Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche, and BSC.

Accounting

Name: Fonoa (Zagreb, Croatia)

Solution: The Croatian fintech company provides a global tax automation platform, surpassing over 300 million tax transactions per year. Its platform solves the global tax calculation for companies so they can focus on their growth instead.

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Name: Akauntera (Skopje, North Macedonia)

Solution: Akauntera provides online invoice management software for businesses. It features solutions for creating and sending invoices, customer management, tracking expenses, reporting, sales & purchase management, invoice tracking, and more.

Name: BIDIFEX (Skopje, North Macedonia)

Solution: BIDIFEX is a financial data and business registry portal. It provides a regional business registry portal that includes real-time business intelligence data, statutory and financial information of companies in Southeast Europe in different languages and currencies from the official registries in the specific region.

Name: Finspot (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: Finspot is a Serbian fintech company that provides an easy-to-apply solution that ensures validation of business transactions in support of the invoice financing process.

Name: HLB T&M Consulting (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: The Serbian fintech offers tax regulation software for small, medium & large businesses. Their app offers accounting, bookkeeping, tax consulting, HR consulting, business consulting, and more.

Name: Moja firma (Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzergovina)

Solution: Moja firma is an application for creating invoices, tracking billing and costs, intended for freelancers and independent entrepreneurs. The app aims to enable users to easily create invoices, automate the process of issuing invoices, monitor billing, view the current balance of the account in real time, and monitor costs incurred during business.

Name: Elorus (Athens, Greece)

Solution: Elorus is an online invoicing software and billing application for SMEs and freelancers. It allows users to issue invoices and manage sales and purchases. The software also allows monitoring cash flow and an overview of the performance of your business over the course of time.

Name: Instant Factoring (Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Online platform for invoice factoring that allows users to sell their invoices in advance for cash. Users need to create an account, provide their basic details, and upload their invoices to apply for invoice finance.

E-commerce

Name: Booste (Warsaw, Poland)

Solution: Booste is an online marketplace for revenue-based financing for e-commerce, which provides access funds for online marketing, inventory purchasing, advertising, and more. The platform also provides tools for connecting e-commerce and marketing accounts in order to register for loans.

Name: Phos (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: Phos offers an app-based platform to merchants for accepting payments. It accepts payments via NFC-enabled credit/debit cards. The platform also offers a dashboard to monitor transactions.

Name: ViaBank (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: ViaBank is an e-commerce platform, where customers can add immediate bank transfers to the checkout section for their online businesses, through an app or website.

Name: Ebriza (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

Solution: Ebriza is a cloud-based mobile POS solution provider for offline retail businesses. Features include the ability to process multiple transaction methods (cash, credit card, etc.), customer loyalty management, inventory management and monitoring, product information management, and report generation for sales and performance management.

Name: Beez (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

Solution: Provider of a POS lending platform for online shopping. It offers consumers to purchase online with EMI plans for multiple e-commerce providers. It provides installment payments for consumers.

Expenses management

Name: Payhawk (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: Payhawk is an expense management startup that fills the gap between traditional banks and accounting systems. The Bulgarian fintech startup enables finance teams to provide company cards to their employees, avoid manual processing of expenses, control budgets in real-time, and fully automate payment and expense approvals regardless of the payment method.

Name: Atlas (Skopje, North Macedonia)

Solution: Atlas provides web-based financial management software for small and medium-sized businesses. It features solutions for invoicing, statistical reporting, recording revenues and expenses, inventory management, financial reporting, customer management, etc.

Name: TakeFin (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: TakeFin provides cloud-based bookkeeping and expense management software for small businesses and freelancers. It features solutions for tracking receipts, receipt digitization, expense analysis, reporting, and more. It offers an app-based platform for Android and IOS platforms.

Name: Symmetrical (London, UK)

Solution: Symmetrical is an online platform for employers to provide financial benefits. The platform provides an API-enabled lending platform for employers to provide financial benefits to employees, such as cash advancements, loan tracking, risk management, and more.

Investing

Name: Finqup (Skopje, North Macedonia)

Solution: Finqup is a startup that is working on digitizing investment and retirement funds, giving them dedicated apps and integrating them into one platform. The platform is envisioned to be the first marketplace in the world for investment and retirement funds.

Name: Metabeta (Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Metabeta is a platform for managing early-stage startup investment. Its features include deal flow CRM, communication management, deal evaluation, reporting, metrics tracking, mentor engagement, deal messaging, fund management, and more. It is available on multiple subscription bases.

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Name: Plum (London, UK)

Solution: Plum is a European smart money app that aims to grow people’s wealth through automation. With a Greek-Cypriot founder, the app aims to improve financial outcomes for everyone by helping customers save, invest, budget, and spend. The company currently has over 1.3 million customers in Europe and has raised more than $24 million in investment.

Insurance

Name: Amodo (Zagreb, Croatia)

Solution: Croatian InsurTech startup Amodo enables insurance companies to create, promote, and distribute new categories of Insurance Products built on Customer Behavior and Usage data. The company has launched 50 telematics programs on six continents, working with major names in the insurance industry.

Name: Go2insure (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Solution: The Slovenian startup provides an online insurance comparison platform for individuals. Its coverage includes transparent insurances for death, accident, health, natural disaster, epidemic, pandemic, and more with multiple pricing options. It also offers claims processing services.

Name: Hellas Direct (Athens, Greece)

Solution: HellasDirect is an internet-first platform that provides automotive insurance. Users can select among different policies, receive quotes, pay online to book the policy and more.

Blockchain

Name: Eligma (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Solution: Eligma is a blockchain and AI-based financial solutions for cryptocurrencies. It provides product recommendation and matching algorithm, value prediction algorithm, decentralized loyalty, blockchain database, crypto-payment gateway etc.

Name: Oxcert (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Solution: Oxcert allows individuals to create, own, and validate unique digital assets on the blockchain. The digital assets created are stored as certified non-fungible tokens on the blockchain. These tokens are called Xcerts and are created through a custom minting process. They hold information about a real-world digital asset. With Oxcert protocol, users validate proof of existence, authenticity, and ownership of these digital assets without third-party involvement.

Name: MultiversX (Elrond – Bucharest, Romania)

Solution: Elrond is a highly scalable, fast and secure blockchain platform for distributed apps, enterprise use cases and the new internet economy. Recently the startup rebranded itself MultiversX to reflect its pivot to Metaverse exploration.

Name: Blockchain EcoToken (Skopje, North Macedonia)

Solution: Blockchain EcoToken is a decentralized crowdfunding platform for ecological projects. Transactions are facilitated via Ecotoken and secured via smart contracts. Token holders receive a share of revenue generated via token sales and via the platform.

Digital identity

Name: Blinking (Belgrade, Serbia)

Solution: Blinking is a startup that provides KYC solutions for banks and financial institutions. Its solution features customer onboarding, identification & verification, biometric authentication, transaction monitoring, and more.

Name: EvroTrust (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: Еvrotrust is a provider of qualified trust services that helps regulated businesses and government institutions to digitize their services. The company offers a technology solution for remote identity verification and secure qualified electronic signatures. The platform enables organizations to remotely identify, onboard, and provide services to their customers in a fast and convenient way.

Name: TypingDNA (Oradea, Romania)

Solution: TypingDNA is a behavioral biometric authentication solution that analyzes typing behavior or pattern of users and uses the same for authentication. The solution acts as an alternative to SMSs in two-factor authentication, and is extended via an API suitable for login, enforcing reset passwords, and online biometric authentication of cloud-based web apps, eLearning(LMS), and ePayments.

Real estate

Name: Elements Estates (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Solution: Elements Estates is a decentralized platform for the real estate industry. The company maintains a portfolio of real estate derived from banks’ distressed assets. The platform allows users to purchase and rent properties in platform ownership via ELES tokens. Transactions are secured via smart contracts and token holders can rent or purchase commercial & residential properties and rent tourist properties.

Open banking

Name: Iris Solutions (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Solution: Iris Solutions is a payment institution that offers open banking solutions and services. The company’s solutions such as IMOHUB and Digital Print provide a secure and accessible environment for the business and clients.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL)

Name: Leanpay (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Solution: Slovenian BNPL (Buy now, pay later) scaleup Leanpay solution provides instant installment payment solutions in Slovenia and Croatia for online purchases. The solution is much more flexible than traditional loans, as it allows users to spread the repayment over a longer period of time, and includes fully digitized processes.

Education

Name: Woli (Athens, Greece)

Solution: Woli is a financial education platform that enables children with their very first digital banking tool, money app and smart prepaid bank card, allowing them access to digital payments along with a great tool to help them learn good skills on money management.

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https://therecursive.com/author/bojanstojkovski/

Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.