I attended the Finnosummit conference in Bogota this week. This is the best FinTech conference in Colombia and complements the Mexican edition that happens later in the year. More than 300 people attended representing startups, investors, regulators and traditional financial institutions from México, Peru, Chile, the US and of course Colombia. The conference was sold out and it was a much more robust attendance than previous editions.
Another confirmation that FinTech is a hot sector in Colombia and in the Latin American startup scene. Plenty of startup activity (although most at pre-seed or seed stage) is trying to solve problems like the low financial inclusion in the region, the general lack of financial knowledge in the population, or the limited traditional scoring systems.
One of the interesting takeaways from the conference is that several traditional financial institutions in the region are developing their innovations strategies that in most cases involve working with startups and in some instances also investing in them. On the other hand many of the startups are targeting the banks as clients rather than competitors by developing new productos that banks can offer to their existing or emerging customers. Several are already running pilots with banks.
So much activity is great news because FinTech companies have the potential to significantly increase financial access in the Latin American region, improving the life of millions of people. I am sure this FinTech ecosystem will continue to develop and I hope it will deliver on its promises.