It’s just over a week since I got back into my timezone from the first leg of the 2023 Money20/20 World Tours – Stockholm. And WOW. We set the bar high!
When the idea of visiting Stockholm in February was first floated, I was a little skeptical. Not, IDK, Miami? Or Rio? No, we were heading to the land of reindeer, ABBA, and very short days in midwinter. For Valentine’s Day. Why, you may ask?
Well, Stockholm is arguably the epicenter of all things fintech in the region, and beyond. We worked closely with the wonderful folks from Sthlmn Fintech Week and they suggested that we provide something of a coming out party for their conference. I really can’t thank Anna, Love, and Lana enough for their hospitality and friendship – our global fintech family is populated by some of the most lovely, generous, and dedicated people, and I’m honored to be a part of building these bridges.
Stockholm is truly a cashless city. Most locations make it explicitly clear that cash is not welcome there, including Restaurant Prinzen, a Stockholm institution since 1897 (I had their meatballs with lingonberry sauce and I can safely say that IKEA, your meatballs are dead to me now). The cashless exercise seems to be working pretty well in a city where cash is not only archaic, but problematic to handle with gloves on. Contactless cards are universally accepted and the UX is well understood by merchants and consumers alike - however, cash isn’t quite ready to be shuffled off to Shady Pines Home for Retired Currencies.
Our short panel discussion at our World Tour touched on the “Cashless Cupid”, as I blogged about the other week, with a consensus among panelists that despite efforts from entities both public and private, cash has a tenacity that isn’t diminishing. Okay, so it’s seen as dirty, cumbersome, a theft magnet, hard to handle with cold hands, and frankly way overstaying its welcome, but while there are unbanked and underbanked, as well as jobs that can pay cash in hand, it’s got a home.
The event itself was a huge success, even if I am a little biased. We aimed for the stars in terms of the venue and attendance, and I think we nailed both. The weather held out for some stunning sunset views of Stockholm and TAK Restaurant didn’t disappoint as one of the hottest venues in Sweden. Cocktails, canapes, and conversation were in abundance with 200+ of Scandinavia and the Baltics movers and shakers in fintech. One lady even came from Estonia JUST for our event (Eia - thank you so much!!!)
So, we’re back for a few weeks to catch our breath and plan the next trip. Next stop, Berlin on March 30th - details incoming shortly… if you’d like to attend, drop me a line at email@example.com
More postcards coming soon.
Wish you were here ;-)
Global Head, Insights and Networks