It has been a while since I wrote here. But inbetween all of the time passing by I had the honor to travel to Riga, Latvia and participate at the finfellas Riga 2023 event. The event proclaims itself as “Europe’s flagship P2P investment, crowdfunding and fintech event” – let’s see what they can make out of it.
To be honest and clear from the start: I am somehow related to finfellas. In the past I moderated several panels of their online events. Additionally I also made some 1:1 interviews, which are also published on their Youtube channel. This work is great fun, but on this blog I am writing about my personal experience as an interested investor.
Table of Contents
1st day: Visits and Pre-events of finfellas Riga 2023
After arriving pretty late on tuesday evening I was happy to travel with Lars. He was the one who organized a taxi to collect us from the airport. And – what an experience – the car was one of the Debitum Teslas driven by Henrijs Jansons, CEO of Debitum.
So it started the right way, as the whole event was especially about networking and meeting people again in person.
After a proper sleep I needed to work through my schedule the next day. By lunchtime I went off with Lars to visit Hanzas Perons, which was the location for the event. If you ever have the chance to visit it – do it. It is a really nice place. From my point of view tradition and the current times are perfectly combined.
While checking the stage we met Nikita from Lande there. He invited us to visit his office, which is only a 5-10 minutes walk away. Personally I am not invested on Lande, but I met Nikita before at one of the finfellas online-events. So it was great to connect. And pretty impressive to see the Lande-team in person, have a chat and visit their office.
Meeting the finfellas team and Debitum
The moment we stepped out of the building, was the moment I realized I need to work on my networking skills. It took Lars only a short call and 5 minutes time, until I was collected to visit Debitum Network. Also Riga is the capital of Latvia and has about 630,000 inhabitans, everything seems to be around the corner.
I had the honor to participate in a meeting from circlewise and Debitum. Also the topic was not related to me, it gave me the chance to visit the Debitum office. I met with Toms and Henrijs again, but also the chance to look around. It seems like fintechs offices are always pretty fancy and flexible 🙂
The area around the offices was nice and some kind of modern industrial. So it gave me a nice idea what Riga is like beside the touristic places.
Pre-event on the rooftop with viainvest
After I found out I need to improve my networking skills, I followed the invitation of viainvest. The company is located in the same building as Lande, which I visited earlier that day. There was nice music, good drinks and some fingerfood on the rooftop, but it was also damn cold. When I left Germany it was 28 degrees. In Riga we had like 10 to 15 degrees and I of course forgot to take my jacket with me.
No problem at all, as there was also a location on the inside. I had some nice chats with Claus from P2P-kredite.com, Angelo who started his Youtube channel 2019 after the first event and some more. I was especially thrilled to meet Tatjana Kulapina from viainvest, who would be one of the participants on stage during one of panels.
After having some drinks and really good talks it was time for me to prepare for the next and get a good nights rest.
2nd day: Event starting off and meeting a lot of people
The next morning started pretty early. But that gave me the chance to be relaxed about everything what was coming up. As a moderator I was able to access the event quite early, but from 9 am on everyone else was able to enter. It was – to be honest – like a huge family get together. Of course investors joined the events to get to know persons and platforms they might invest with and platform people were there to attract new investors. In the end everyone was happy to hug each other again and see more that just investors, platforms and marketing.
My personal highlight was to meet Steffi and Kimmo from Income Marketplace, but also Anna from Robocash. Over the last months I have not been their most reliable contact in terms of blogging, but it was great to find out about each other in person.
So the event kicked off with a short intro from Lars and Karlis. A big thank you goes to Karlis and Rolands – two faces of finfellas, who were probably the main drivers to organize the finfellas Riga 2023 event.
I will recap the panels over the next weeks a bit more, so there is no need to dive deeper into the topics. But I am pretty sure the panels will be on Youtube soon. So if you are interested in the discussion, you will be able to rewatch them there.
Stepn and evening event
As huge fans of the move-to-earn app “STEPN” Lars and I took every distance to cover by foot. Honestly the hotel and event location were only like 1.5 km in distance from each other. So why take a bus or taxi, when you can walk. Acting like that it also gave me the chance to explore a little bit more of Riga.
After the first day of the event ended the whole P2P crowd was invited to a bar and have some time together. It was nice, but also pretty loud to be honest. This was also why I left quite early and hit the bed soon.
On the evening event itself I had the chance to talk to Ali Celiker, CEO of Britsh Pearl. We already connected before through the finfellas online-events. But meeting him in person was quite impressive. The day I had the honor to moderate a panel he joined on stage. And it was great to talk a little bit more privately with him in the evening.
3rd day: Time to connect
Due to the event plan I had a busy first day, but a relaxing second day. Until the moment I arrived at Hanzas Perons 🙂 One of the speakers was will and I was asked to help out. In the end Tina joined the stage herself and I ended up as the backup-solution in case her voice will disappear. It does not and I was really happy about it, because she is the expert about regulation in Latvia and moderated a stunning panel.
The rest of the day I listed to some of the panels, but also joined several presentations on another stage. There were especially two stages, which impressed me. First it was Robocash – company dealing with several issues of the last months and years. They held a presentation about their future plans and what they are working on. As an investor whos biggest investment is with Robocash this as nice to know.
Secondly Lande managed to get one of their farmers on stage. He was talking in a very entertaining way about how he found out about Lande and what impact the platforms made for his personal business. Santa Liepina from Lande made a great job to moderate this “interview”. For me as a listener and mabye soon-to-be-investor this was marketing at its best. Not only I was able to understand how it works, but also see where investors money goes to and which results are achieved.
Unfortunately I was not able to visit a farm on saturday, what Lande was offering to organize. But regarding this behaviour I really need to excuse myself to the platform. Back two years in time I refused to invest on Lande, because I did not had a good feeling investing into agricultural loans. This was mainly driven by the problems several (scam) platforms had at that time.
Overall review of finfellas Riga 2023
As I already mentioned I tried to wrap up the finfellas Riga 2023 event out of the investors perspective. I was hopefully able to stay with it and shared some interesting points about it.
Coming to an end of todays post: I really enjoyed it and I would be happy to see more investors next year. Quite some platforms complained about only a small share of investors among the visitors. I completely agree, but also would like to think about the point, that only those investors travel to Riga, who are really interested in P2P lending.
Let’s not compare the event to the INVEST fair in Stuttgart, where P2P is only a small part of it. The finfellas event is the get together of the industry and not really supposed to be a fair where people might collect pens, stickers and stuff like that. It is more to have a coffee with people, who are working with the platforms.
What do I learned from the event?
Networking is nothing to worry about :p The more you network and connect, the better your information will be. Next time I will stay one more day to also participate on the evening event of the second day and join all kind of offers on saturday.
So, thank you very much to everyone being involved in organizing the event, having a talk with me or listening to the panels Carmen, Tina, Lars and I moderated. It was a pleasure meeting you and I am really looking forward to Riga 2024