Belgian fintech ecosystem set to go down a storm abroad


The official collaboration between ::projective and B-Hive has been launched at the festive opening of new, agile designed office spaces in Brussels. With a significant international footprint in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, and Paris, ::projective is B-Hive’s associate partner and will assist in expanding their fintech innovation platform on an international level and support delivery of innovation programs.

Brussels is internationally recognised as a robust fintech hub where all stakeholders come together. Besides banks, European decision-makers and insurers, Brussels is home to market infrastructure players such as Euroclear or Swift. In recent years, B-Hive has supported the growth of the fintech scene by building up a strong reputation through community building and strategic digitisation programs within the banking and insurance sectors. In just 18 months, the B-Hive network has grown to 170 members and some 40 partners, many from outside Belgium. The further development of a pan-European fintech platform is the logical step to take next.

Wim De Waele, the CEO of B-Hive, explains: “The huge advantage of an international platform is co-creation between non-competing parties that are nonetheless very similar. Banks are under enormous pressure to innovate today. They can increase their innovative clout by working with international parties that are not directly competing in their home markets. Through our platform, they will exchange knowledge and set up innovation programmes together.”

Acceleration by internationalisation

Projective, which already has a significant international footprint with offices in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Amsterdam and activities as far away as Singapore, will support B-Hive in its internationalisation. Projective has an extensive and relevant network within the financial sector. It is on this Projective network that B-Hive intends to draw, to set up a pan-European, and even global, platform.

The advantage of a robust international network is that B-Hive’s partners will find it easier to access the expertise that is rare in their regions but stronger in other hubs. For example, Israel is traditionally a strong player in cybersecurity, while Singapore mainly concentrates on being a regulatory and logistical tech hub. As a pan-European platform, B-Hive aims to bring these geographical strengths together. Wim De Waele continues: “We have already taken steps towards internationalisation, with satellites in London and New York, but this collaboration with Projective will significantly accelerate our expansion.”

Stefan Dierckx, the CEO of Projective, takes up the story: “In the meantime, Projective has set up a significant international fintech ecosystem that includes The Glue and SmartfinCapital. That offers great added value for our clients. It is a way to assure them that we always bring the best parties to the table for each project.” Projective and B-Hive aim to connect five international banks and fifty fintech players by the end of 2019.

Opening new agile offices

The announcement was made against the backdrop of the opening of Projective’s brand-new offices, furnished according to the New Way of Working principles. In addition to modular workspaces, one-third of the space is occupied by a lounge and bar. The make-over of Projective’s offices reflects the company’s business case:

“In an agile, knowledge-driven company like ours, creativity and a good knowledge flow make all the difference for our clients,” says Stefan Dierckx. “The fluid layout of the offices stimulates this sharing of expertise. Our offices are also an expression of the flexibility of our ecosystem: our partners can use them as a base when needed, the rooms adapt to the context of meetings, and the bar can be used as a networking space.”

The offices are also a tactical move in the increasingly fierce war for talent. Stefan Dierckx: “By 2020 millennials will represent 70% of the labour market. Millennials prefer more informal working conditions, in a knowledge environment that encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. Projective has always a strong proponent of this, but our new offices make it tangible for our employees. And, of course, the ‘Friday in the Office’ drinks at our bar are an added bonus,” he grins.