How Finshark gained its payment institute license, as told by Kristian Sternros.

In the early days of Finshark, I remember the blend of excitement and uncertainty that flowed through our small team. We were embarking on a journey to transform the fintech landscape through open banking, but first, we needed to secure a license from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.

This pursuit, which now seems like a defining chapter, was a tale of resilience, learning, and determination.

The dream and the challenge.

Our dream was simple yet ambitious: to redefine financial processes, making them more efficient and user-friendly through open banking. However, dreams demand not just vision but also validation, and for us, it was obtaining the regulatory license. This was our rite of passage, a necessary ordeal to prove our commitment and capability.

The journey was far from smooth. Our first application, meticulously prepared with expert legal advice, was met with rejection. This was a jarring moment, one that could have derailed our aspirations. The lack of feedback from the regulatory body added to our frustration. It was a test of our resolve, and we had to decide whether to persevere or pivot.

Choosing to persevere, we embarked on a phase of intense introspection and reevaluation. We questioned every aspect of our application. It was during this period that the true spirit of Finshark emerged. We rallied as a team, foregoing vacations and personal time, channeling our collective energies into understanding and aligning with the regulatory expectations.

Adnan and me, in the early days of Finshark.

The second attempt and revelation.

Our second application was a product of evolved understanding and refined strategy. We awaited the decision with bated breath. Yet, history seemed to repeat itself as we faced another rejection. The reason, albeit minor, felt monumental. It was related to our interpretation of ‘customer’ in the payment institute context. This setback, instead of disheartening us, ignited a fiercer determination. We realized that true innovation doesn’t just lie in technology but also in navigating the complexities of regulations.

Embracing our learnings, we refined our approach and filed for an appeal. This time, our efforts bore fruit. The moment we received the approval, it was a mix of relief and euphoria. It wasn’t just a license we had obtained; it was a validation of our belief, our approach, and our potential.

Reflections and the road ahead.

Looking back, I realize that this journey was more than just about acquiring a license. It was about building the character of Finshark. Each setback taught us resilience, each revision made us more aligned with our mission, and the final success was a testament to our team’s passion and tenacity.

In the ever-evolving fintech landscape, this experience has been a cornerstone. It shaped not just our business strategy but also our approach to challenges and innovation. It reminded us that in the world of finance, trust and compliance are as crucial as groundbreaking technology. As I pen down these memories, I feel a sense of pride and gratitude towards my team and a renewed commitment to our vision of transforming the fintech world with open banking.

The journey of securing our license was more than a regulatory milestone; it was a foundational chapter in the story of Finshark, setting the stage for our future endeavors in the fintech realm.

This story is part of a series of articles and videos celebrating Finshark’s 5-year anniversary.

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Kristian Sternros | Co-founder & COO

Fintech entrepreneur and chairman of the board. Have founded and managed several companies to significant growth, multiple successful exits.

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