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Member Spotlight: Five Degrees

Connecting the fast-growing fintech ecosystem with customers, empowering financial institutions to enter modern digital banking, and providing a digital banking platform are just a few of the activities Five Degrees is associated with. Being a winner of the Dutch Fintech
Awards in the Banking IT category, Five Degrees today is a leading and competitive digital banking technology provider in the banking industry. “Indeed, we would like to see ourselves as a leading digital end-to-end banking platform provider’’ says Bruno Macedo, Product Evangelist at Five Degrees. Keep on reading to learn more about what Five Degrees has to offer the international market.

“We provide solutions based on our Matrix Platform that can connect to any existing core banking system or can replace it.’’ Bruno summarises: “Start-up banks may not have a core banking system yet, so we provide them with an end-to-end banking platform if needed, as well as all our banking
knowledge.” Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Amsterdam, Five Degrees’ current team consists of fintech engineers, software developers and banking professionals, all tech-savvy people with business understanding and knowledge. “Myself, I started with economics and management, with a master’s in information systems.’’ says Bruno. “I am currently doing my PhD in Information Systems and Management.”

When asked about the challenges Five Degrees has encountered while positioning itself in the market, Bruno confirms that as a new company Five Degrees had to prove itself first. This was followed by the challenge of convincing traditional banks, who used to have big corporations
providing them with systems, to work with a fintech like Five Degrees without them having to worry about being proficient enough security-wise and compliance-wise. The pattern is different these days, however. “Today, it’s mid-size and startup banks who are under pressure from GDPR and PSD2 that are contacting us and who want to switch to digitization quickly.’’ He continues, “they usually reach out to us concerning specific ideas, such as development of a new digital bank or mobile app. They already have an innovative theoretical background for this” he explains, “and we just guide them. Big banks on the other hand usually reach out to Five Degrees to get help with their core business, new launches, or compliance concerns. Five Degrees mostly attracts banks and financial institutions, but they also provide services to other industries such as non-financials who want to
provide financial services to their customers”, Bruno says while explaining the diversity of Five Degrees’ target markets.

With regards to one of the hot discussions in the fintech industry – how to survive in a technologically and legally challenging atmosphere, Bruno believes that the answer lies in providing scalable solutions that can be used and adapted by financial institutions. End-users have
been pampered by the customised offerings of companies such as Amazon and Google; fintech firms have realised this and transferred this approach to the banking industry, Bruno observes happily. “If one wishes to launch a mobile app that connects you to your bank, better make sure it
‘knows you’ and that it is customised to you, basically acting like an Amazon buying cycle. This is part of what we call ‘cognitive banking’’’, he continues. “Fintechs also need to help to move the focus from the product to the end-customer whom they attempt to sell their product to’’. According to him there are two main challenges in the fintech industry: “Firstly, how to enable banks to quickly adapt to reality, which is more complex than just customer experience or compliance, and secondly, how to do it, not by merely focusing on the technology itself, but by adding some human touch.’’

Finally, when asked about his views on the Dutch fintech market, Bruno remains positive: “The Netherlands is a country with great entrepreneurs, proficiency in English and links to other countries, all of which enables the easy export of innovative solutions to the UK, USA and elsewhere. It’s a true multicultural society, hosting international talent, and the tax system is also
favourable. In the eyes of the world, Amsterdam is a hub for technology and business.’’

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