If you happen to work within fintech in Sweden, the name Erika Eliasson has not escaped your notice. Erika is the deputy CEO of Lendify, a Swedish fintech company founded in 2014 as one of the first players in the Swedish market to build a so-called peer-to-peer platform, allowing private individuals to finance each other's loans without the involvement of the traditional banks. With almost 20 years of experience in the financial industry, Erika is also a chairwoman of SweFintech, the Swedish FinTech Association. As of recently, she has been appointed the chairwoman of the Wellstreet Fintech Board.
Fintech Loft, Wellstreet’s fintech builder, aims to facilitate the conversation between the two sides of fintech – financial and technological actors, with a goal of creating a common ground in moving forward, thereby introducing the much-needed changes to the infrastructure and regulation. Besides Erika, who acts as a chairwoman, other members of Wellstreet Fintech Board are Lena Apler (founder of Collector), Carl-Viggo Östlund (ex CEO of SBAB and Nordnet) and Kenneth Nilsson (ex CEO of Resurs Bank).
As the fintech industry faces a new era, we spoke to Erika about the emerging developments in the field.
The Fintech Industry Needs a Real Change for All the Parties Involved
It is no secret that Stockholm is becoming the next fintech hub in Europe. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 63% of the Swedish fintech startups have experienced an increased transactional volume. However, what is often forgotten is that fintech does not only comprise of the tech part, meaning technological companies building solutions for consumers. In reality, this is a highly regulated market, where the financial side is represented by the banks whose infrastructure has not caught up with technological developments. As such, the system is in great danger of a collapse.
For that reason, the industry needs a transformation. Institutions like Finansinspektionen, Sweden's financial supervisory authority, should aim to introduce more innovative financial infrastructure and promote competitiveness. But in order to do this, regulators, politicians and companies need to come together and collaborate, should we want to introduce the much-needed change. By collaborating, we are creating an understanding between both FIN and TECH parts, as the former is easy to be underestimated.
“I want to be a part of a wave that brings more effective and consumer-friendly financial products. That is why I approached the Lendify founder back in the time, and that is why I want to join the Fintech Loft now. All startups, especially fintech ones, are an important part of the society, and I am both a fintech enthusiast and a citizen”, said Erika.
The Chairwoman of the Wellstreet Fintech Board
After having met Wellstreet’s CEO Mikael Wintzell, and got acquainted with just how cool The Factory is, Erika got to know a bit more about Wellstreet’s focus on technology and fintech through Armando Coppola, Head of Fintech and Partner at Wellstreet. With an amazing team behind Fintech Loft and the Wellstreet’s grasp of the emerging changes in the field, Erika felt that this is a new way forward. Being the person who has earned the trust and gained knowledge on both sides of fintech, having worked with regulators and politicians, as well as the tech startups, makes Erika just the right person to bridge the conversation in moving ahead.
"The financial industry must be made more efficient. Much has happened in recent years but it takes time to change an industry that is heavily regulated. The potential for change is enormous when cooperation between fintechs, traditional banks, decision-makers and authorities is deepened", states Erika.
She has always been interested in how we can improve society and the business industry in general by introducing real changes where they are needed. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that everything related to fintech is being fast-forwarded. In a sense, the fintech adaptation has frog leaped a bit this year already. However, with the occurring economic crisis caused by the pandemic, it became apparent that it is easier to spot the difficulties in the more traditional industries, like the hospitality sector, and prepare suitable solutions. Whereas, when it comes to the fintech industry, understanding the root of the problem is not as obvious, and consequently, delivering a solution might be harder to do. That is why there needs to be an ongoing collaboration, and here at Wellstreet and Fintech Loft along with our partners, we want to facilitate the conversation between all the actors in the fintech field. The core is all about efficiency and user-friendliness; these two need to go hand in hand.
“I am very much looking forward to the chairmanship of the Wellstreet Fintech Board. I intend to bring in my insights and look forward to working with the Wellstreet team and colleagues in the board,” said Erika.
“With the exciting changes ahead, I couldn’t be any happier that Erika decided to join the Fintech Loft as a Chairwoman of the Board. I am looking forward to working with Erika and the rest of the Fintech Loft on creating a better future in the fintech industry for all”, says Armando Coppola.