Kent Petersen: Fintech investment is sensible and prescient
It is with the expectation of both economic returns and growth and jobs for members that Finansforbundet has joined Upfin, the country’s first dedicated venture fund focused only on investment in fintech.
The investment of DKK 75 million in the fintech fund Upfin is a natural consequence of Finansforbundet’s support and involvement in the development of the Danish fintech environment that began seven years ago.
This is what President of Finansforbundet Kent Petersen says.
‘In our view, Upfin is an investment that is completely obvious to us. Of course, we are going into it with the expectation that it will provide a financial return. But there is also a clear focus on helping create growth opportunities and jobs for the benefit of our members’, says Kent Petersen.
Upfin is the first dedicated venture fund aimed at the fintech industry based in Denmark. The goal is that Upfin will have invested DKK 225 million in 15-20 fintech prospects over the next three years.
Kent Petersen points out that the investment in the fund also makes sense from a broad societal perspective, because finance and fintech are some of the things that Denmark will live on in the future.
‘For us, it is simply a sensible investment on many levels and a natural extension of our efforts to create the best possible framework conditions for our members’, he says.
Successful office community
Finansforbundet’s support for the fintech environment began in 2015, when the association made premises available in the association’s headquarters in Applebys Plads in Copenhagen.
The association Copenhagen Fintech along with the associated office community Copenhagen Fintech Lab was founded here, where more than 120 startups have since been started.
"Since 2015, we have worked for fintech to be something that we can use to create jobs and growth. I also think that we have gotten results in that the assessment from Copenhagen Fintech now shows that we will hit 5,000 new jobs in 2023. So we’ve actually created a framework collective agreement in an entirely new area and probably the first fintech collective agreement in the world with the brand new employers’ association for fintech", says Kent Petersen.
Fintech and finance have been highlighted as a position of strength by the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, and, according to a report from Startup Genome, are in the top 20 strongest global centres.
Started with an element of threat
When the fintech start-up wave really got rolling, it also caused some frowns at first in some places in the financial sector. But Kent Petersen believes that in terms of both the industry and the members, it has been the right decision to promote development rather than oppose it.
'When the fintech environment started to take off, it was obviously something we kept a close eye on and discussed intensively. Without a doubt, there was also an element of threat to it in the beginning, because what would it mean for the more established part of the sector, which was of course our natural background? We obviously had those considerations, but I am convinced that it has been entirely the right approach to help strengthen the development and build bridges to the financial sector, because there is enormous potential in the cooperation between finance and fintech. Both for us and our members’, he says.
The investors behind the new fund include the pension company Velliv, the Danish Growth Fund and Finansforbundet.
‘I am proud that, in cooperation with the Danish Growth Fund and Velliv, we can take the next step towards even more workplaces and growth opportunities within fintech. And I am proud because a strong fintech environment is simply good for the entire financial sector, for our society and for our members’ job opportunities now and in the future’, says Kent Petersen.