Why Budapest is the place to accelerate your venture in fintech

We, at MKB Fintechlab, think our city is a perfect place where a fintech startup can accelerate itself. In Budapest, funding is abundant, banks believe in partnerships and the level of talent is prominent. We want to become a hub and help our startups benefit the whole ecosystem through our acceleration program. Apply to our program if want to level up HERE!

Budapest is the beautiful and exciting capital of Hungary. It has always been a top city when it comes to architecture, sciences and education. However, it had to come a long way in tech and digital during the last few years. It was not too long ago when the administrators would have asked you to move out of the line if you asked whether you can manage your affairs with the help of an e-ID card. Since then, we have became a proud country that is working hard on transforming itself and that embraces digital and looks for role models in countries like Estonia and Singapore.

Startup, innovation and entrepreneurship have became central topics in the mind of decision makers, companies are being built, money is flowing into great initiatives, regulation is getting up-to-date and even corporates are entering this sector like crazy. In a country where entrepreneurship was not promoted but forbidden for almost 50 years, building an entrepreneurial culture will take time. We know that and that is one of the main reasons we are inviting international entrepreneurs to start their journey here. Thanks to all the developments from recent years, our startup ecosystem is as healthy and strong as ever and we are on the way to become a top-tier startup hub for our region.

Just recently Budapest was spotlighted on 150sec and thenextweb as up-and-coming startup hubs as well.

As we heard from serial entrepreneur and best-selling author Patrick Vlaskovits (currently running Superpowered) at a recent event: “When I first started speaking at meetups in Budapest, there were like 5 people in the room. Now there are hundreds, and multiple events every night. The ecosystem has really blossomed in the last 5 years.” — great to see successful entrepreneurs acknowledge our progress.

As we heard from serial entrepreneur and best-selling author Patrick Vlaskovits (currently running Superpowered) at a recent event,

In one sentence: it’s good to live and start a company here.

But only a few realize that in this startup ecosystem there is an even shinier treasure, the Budapest fintech ecosystem.

Without stealing the jobs of tech and startups sites, I just want to highlight the things that makes Budapest stand out when it comes fintech:

  1. Progressing regulator: The National Bank of Hungary has been preparing the first regulatory sandbox for fintechs in the CEE region and plans to implement it next year.
  2. Open and innovative banks: Banks are not just open to partnerships: we have incubation and acceleration programs (MKB, OTP, KBC), live partnerships and the first API sandbox in the region by MKB Bank.
  3. Accessible money: Funding and VC money is abundant: hundreds of EUR millions are available through private, state and EU funds for talented founders. Good news: even more is coming to the market next year.
  4. Role models: We have our own Skype and Paypal stories in fintech — we have founders who have built companies and now give back their knowledge to the community: IND Group was built in Hungary, was accelerated by VC money and was sold to Misys 3 years ago for around 60m EUR. Some of the founders have teamed up and launched their own investment company and others have started mentoring and funding fintechs on their own. Proud to have Roland, IND’s previous Executive Chairman as a mentor onboard at MKB Fintechlab. And the exits and success stories don’t stop there: EPAM grew into the 8th fastest growing publicly listed IT company on the Fortune list with roots in the Central Europe and Bits of Proof was acquired by one of the biggest blockchain startups in the world, Digital Asset Holdings.
  5. Talented co-founders and first employees: I don’t know if you have noticed but Hungarians are super-smart. Inventions like the Rubik’s cube, Vitamin C or the electric motor was lead by Hungarians and Hungary gave “the greatest CEO ever” to Silicon Valley, Andy Grove. All joking aside, the level of talent in Budapest is prominent and we are happy to have organizations that contribute to this trend as partners: Corvinus Fintech Center, CEU Msc in Finance, and the region’s first blockchain hub, Blockchain Competence Center.

Click HERE if you interested in joining our mission, apply to our next program by 1 December and discover the Budapest fintech ecosystem during our Selection Camp in the middle of December.

MKB Fintechlab is the CEE’s leading banking innovation lab, driving digital transformation and enhancing digital capabilities within the MKB Financial Group.