ECONOMÍA ABIERTA

FINNISH FINANCIAL SERVICES PROVIDER FOR SMBS PARTNERS WITH UBER: Finland-based banking service provider for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) Holvi — which was acquired by Spanish bank BBVA in 2016 — has partnered with ride-hailing giant Uber to provide its gig economy workers with access to financial services. This will allow Uber drivers to open business current accounts and use Holvi’s banking tools such as automatic invoice management and accounting services. This partnership aims to help Uber’s employees manage their finances more efficiently, enabling them to drive more and increase their income.

Uber re-launched in Finland in July, after the introduction of a new law. The company closed up shop in the country back in 2017, as Uber drivers were facing potential criminal charges or fines for not having the required taxi licenses. The new law deregulated the taxi market and loosened the qualifications for a taxi license. This likely made it easier for Uber to operate in the country, and also means that many of its Uber drivers there are still relatively new employees. This suggests that many of them don’t yet have access to financial services tailored to their needs, and indicates that Holvi probably has a large addressable market.

The gig economy is set to grow in the future, making apps like Holvi increasingly needed. The global ride-hailing market is expected to balloon to $285 billion by 2030, per Goldman Sachs estimates. This expected growth is spurring the interest of banks in fintechs that focus their services on this space. BBVA alone has already acquired two fintechs — Holvi and US digital banking platform targeting the gig economy Azlo — that aim to capture the market. It seems likely that fintechs focusing on these areas will continue to make attractive acquisition targets for banks looking to tap into this growing market, as well as helpful partners for gig economy companies looking to provide better services to their employees.

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