London, Budapest, Prague; 12 October 2021 – Czech-based Banking Software Company (BSC) and Hungarian W.UP announced today that after receiving all regulatory approvals they have successfully completed their merger, forming Finshape. The new entity is the first digital banking solution provider combining low-code platform development expertise with data-driven personalization to catalyze the digital transformation of banks in the post-pandemic economy. Backed by PortfoLion Capital Partners, one of CEE’s leading venture capital and private equity firms, Finshape is the first step in a series of expansions planned across Europe, the APAC, and MENA regions.
The coronavirus pandemic has significantly accelerated the digitalization of the financial services industry and shifted customer preferences. Active online banking users are expected to reach 3.6 billion by 2024, yet many incumbent players in the European, APAC and MENA regions are still lagging in catching up to all-digital banks and tech giants. One fifth of CEE financial institutions still haven’t addressed how to go digital and only about a third of them have dedicated teams working on it.
Realising that fast time-to-market is key to speed-up the digital transformation of these banks, BSC and W.UP formed a new entity combining their knowledge of low-code banking software with data analytics centered around customer’s financial health. The former will help banks own and develop their digital platforms, while the latter will make sense of their vast customer data and how to engage with them better.
From the start, the 650-strong team of Finshape will serve over 100 clients on 4 continents, including Raiffeisen, BNP Paribas, Erste, Société Générale and Alfa-Bank. The company will be co-led by Petr Koutný, CEO of BSC and József Nyíri, CEO of W.UP. The two CEOs share over 40 years of fintech expertise among them with Nyíri having played an active role in the 2013 acquisition of IND Group by Misys, now Finastra. The deal will see Jenő Nieder, PortfoLion’s deputy CEO, join the post-merger entity as chairman.
“The CEE region is a hotbed of digital transformation with great technical talent, advanced digital infrastructure matching that of the Western world and budding entrepreneurship. I feel privileged assisting the merger of two exceptional teams with regional roots and a global vision as they tap into new markets organically as well as through future acquisitions.” – said Nieder.
This is what banks have been asking for. “Until now, these services have been fragmented and requesting specialized products from non-local suppliers was often complicated, lengthy and sometimes risky,” said Tomáš Zrna, Raiffeisenbank Czech Republic’s IT digital development director, adding: “Personalizing content, presenting relevant offers in real time in response to client events are all innovations that are moving the banking market forward and increasing customer satisfaction rates.”
“Our management teams have long known and respected each other as rivals in the space. I am thrilled we now stand shoulder to shoulder to help traditional banks catch up with digital leaders.” – commented Koutný.
“One of the main reasons why W.UP and BSC match up well is that our products and knowledge combined will offer banks a one-stop-shop in transforming into truly data- and experience-first businesses. But the strong strategic fit between our firms goes beyond capability building and the benefits it will bring to our now-shared customer base. Value, cultural compatibility and a shared vision have also been a key factor in our decision to merge.” – added Nyíri.