Raiffeisen Bank International published the second edition of the CEE Fintech Atlas with an overview of 19 fintech ecosystems in the region of CEE including Bulgaria. The report includes data on the scale, the most important companies and the biggest investors in the sector in the countries as well as the readiness of the population to use mobile banking.
The Profiles of Sofia and Bulgaria in CEE Fintech Atlas 2019
According to the edition, descriptions of Sofia as “one of the fastest growing fintech destinations in the CEE region”, “an evolving fintech hub” and “the most vibrant fintech destination in the SEE region” are not an overstatement because they are backed up by concrete data and trends that position the capital as one of the hottest spots on the CEE map in this sector.
The report refers to the Global Innovation Index 2018, where Bulgaria is the world’s third most innovative upper-middle income country and a leader in the SEE region in terms of innovation efficiency and achievement. Furthermore, in its latest ranking of the fintech locations of the future, the Financial Times named Sofia as the number one city globally in terms of cost effectiveness.
The companies cover all segments in the sector, with payments and billing (30%), capital markets solutions (15%) and personal finance (12%) being the most popular. Between 2014 and 2018 the number of employees in the sector has risen twice and continues to grow constantly as a consequence of both the emergence of new players and the expansion of existing ones.
The total operating revenue in the sector in 2018 is over 200 million euro representing an annual increase of 33,5% and a doubling in just three years. Each year the sector expands its share in the GDP of the country. The total net profit in 2018 is of more than 59 million euros, which is more than twice the figure for 2017.
Fintech Scope and Development of the Sector Forecast
More than 65% of the population in the CEE market is expected to be using digital banking services by the end of 2020 as a result of which digital markets will grow across the CEE region.
Data shows a new peak in the level of fintech investment in many CEE markets. Compared to 2018, the markets in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine showed a strong growth in investment. An example from Bulgaria is the investment of 17.8 euro in Sofia-based Software Group.
There is also a trend towards increased investment in fintech by local and regional VC funds, among which the Bulgarian Eleven Ventures and LAUNCHub.
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