London calling

London calling

Belgium is making overtures to London’s fintech scene as it looks a build a bridge between both communities.

Innovate Finance, a UK-based fintech membership association, held talks today (11 January) in London with a delegation from Belgium’s digital finance community led by the Minister of Finance Johan Van Overtveldt.

As part of this meeting, Overtveldt announced the launch of B-Hive, a collaborative innovation platform. The new platform is the result of a recommendation made by an expert group on the future of finance in Belgium, which Overtveldt put in place in 2015, and led by Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC Bank and Insurance Group.

B-Hive is the successor of Eggsplore, founded by Jurgen Ingels and with Wim De Waele as CEO, a platform in which a number of major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players started working together on common innovation challenges and making connections to the start-up and scale-up community. B-Hive says it builds further on Eggsplore, with support from the Belgian government by means of a federal investment fund – and a number of other additional partners.

A co-operation agreement between Innovate Finance and B-Hive has also been signed to strengthen and establish closer ties between the two hubs – such as discussing issues on regulation, investment and cyber security.

The Belgian plan is not to compete with London. B-Hive will scout technology companies that want to establish additional offices in continental Europe. London serves also as an “interesting” destination for Belgian technology companies that are looking to expand their activities into the UK.