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London has emerged as a mecca for fintech in the last few years, with more than half of top startups there in financial services or payments. When the U.K. voted in a national referendum on Thursday to leave the European Union, it created a lot of uncertainty for these startups. Here FemTech leaders share their views on how the referendum affects the relationship between banks and fintech and their appetites for collaboration.
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Andra Sonea, solutions architect for a bank innovation lab and fintech mentor
"Banks need to focus on being able to operate in the current climate. When your stocks go down 30% in two days, the priorities change. It will not be a lack of willingness to collaborate but rather a lack of attention span and resources."
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Dora Ziambra, head of business development at online remittance service Azimo
"Banks and fintech companies are in the same post-Brexit boat since they all benefit from the same EU regulations. I predict that they'll collaborate more by joining forces to lobby for more favorable terms – the Leave vote is a threat to everyone in the financial services sector."
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Guste Sadaunykaite, head of brand and marketing communications at TransferGo
"In the case of TransferGo, the only thing that saved us from crashing during the Brexit was the extensive partnership with banks and unique infrastructure, which enabled the company to manage the risk and high volatility. That shows me that probably in the face of something like that, only connectivity and cooperation can be a key to success."
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Paulina Sygulska, founder of GrantTree
"Pools of EU funding such as Horizon2020 we tap into are protected for at least two, and probably four years to come, regardless of the political situation. However, the overall impact of Brexit on EU funding available for technology and science definitely isn't looking good."
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Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor
"The way people want to use fintech won't change. What could change is the territory into which those banks want to invest."
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Nicole Anderson, chief executive officer of FinTech Circle Innovate, a network that connects financial services companies and fintech firms
"Creativity and agility will be even more necessary and this may even increase the opportunity to come together."
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Leda Glyptis, director at Sapient Global Markets
"U.K. banking institutions were very hard hit immediately and they know that the ride ahead will remain rough. The potentially destabilizing effect of several months of uncertainty over how, when and if Clause 50 will be invoked, Scotland will secede and Ireland will be unified, means that the mindshare and available budget dedicated to aspirational experimentation will be curtailed."

While the uncertainty is being sorted out, "a lot of proof-of-concepts and experiments run the risk of being seen as 'side projects' that may be consequently paused until the situation settles. That doesn't mean they will be killed. But a six-month hiatus is a very long time for a young startup."

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