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Interview with Nikola Tchakarov, Head of Market Expansion at Noda




In the latest episode of Hipther Talks titled ‘Navigating Fintech’s Future: Compliance & Expansion with Nikola Tchakarov‘, Head of Market Expansion Nikola Tchakarov shares his insights on the topic. Read a written excerpt of the interview below.

Nikola, can you share a bit about your journey to becoming the Head of Market Expansion at Noda? What has been your most memorable experience in the Fintech industry so far?

I started as a sales representative at a printing company in Bulgaria. This is where I started gaining some experience in the sales field. I joined Language Bear – a content writing and translation company, a few years later. Together with the team there, we managed to take the company from only three people to about 20 and into the millions of turnover. This was where I got my first experience in business shows and expos, which have proven invaluable experiences, opening up countless professional and personal opportunities. It was actually at an exhibition where I met with my current CRO. After around three years at Language Bear, it was time to move on to something more challenging. This was when I contacted my current CRO to see if there was an opportunity at their company. As it turns out, there was, and here I am, a year later at Noda.

How has your past experience in sales and digital marketing informed your approach to market expansion at Noda? What significant changes have you observed in the Fintech landscape since you first started in this field?

Experience in sales and digital marketing can inform a results-oriented approach to market expansion. This approach involves setting specific goals and metrics for success and developing strategies to achieve them. It can also educate the importance of research and analysis in market expansion. This involves conducting thorough research to understand the new market, customer needs, and competition and using data analysis to develop effective strategies.

How does Noda distinguish itself in the highly competitive Fintech space? What are some innovative strategies Noda has implemented to stay ahead?

We have been at the forefront of the open banking movement, allowing customers to securely share their financial data with third-party providers. Noda’s open banking platform enables merchants to receive direct bank payments from customers via a secure and instant one-stop open banking payment solution as a card alternative, providing direct integration with banks in most European countries. This has opened up a new world of possibilities for companies, enabling them to offer more personalized and innovative services.

We have also adopted the white-label model to speed up market expansion. This model allows us to offer products under another company’s brand, creating a “triple-win” solution for all parties involved. This has helped Noda to expand its market presence and reach new customers.

And last but not least, we have a great team of experts developing successful strategies for entering new markets. This expertise has helped us to identify potential business opportunities and build relationships with key stakeholders.

As someone who has worked with diverse industries, how do you adapt your approach when expanding into a new market sector, such as iGaming, finance or retail?

When expanding into a new market sector, such as iGaming, finance, or retail, it is essential to adapt your approach to navigate that sector’s specific challenges and opportunities effectively.

A thorough research must be conducted to understand the new market sector’s dynamics, trends, and customer preferences. This will help in identifying potential gaps, competition, and opportunities.

Gaining a deep understanding of the target customers in the new market sector is crucial. This can be achieved through qualitative and quantitative research and direct conversations with potential customers. We can tailor our offerings and marketing strategies to resonate with them by understanding their needs, pain points, and preferences.

After analyzing our existing products, we determine how they can be adapted or customized to meet the specific requirements of the new market sector. This may involve developing new products.

Forming partnerships with local businesses or industry experts in the new market sector has proven to be an invaluable asset as well. These partnerships can provide valuable insights, distribution channels, and credibility. Collaborating with established players can help navigate the market more effectively.

Last, we continuously monitor the market, customer feedback, and competition in the new sector to be prepared to adapt our strategies and offerings based on the evolving landscape. Flexibility and agility are vital in staying ahead in a new market.

Can you talk about some of the biggest challenges in market expansion for a Fintech company like Noda? How does the company plan to overcome these hurdles?

Expanding into new markets can be challenging for fintech companies like Noda. Fintech companies must comply with various regulations and standards in each market they enter. This can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires expertise and resources. This can be overcome by partnering with local experts or regulatory bodies to ensure compliance and investing in compliance automation tools.

Also, financial institutions must implement robust security measures to protect customer data and prevent fraud. To overcome this challenge, advanced security technologies such as biometric authentication and AI-powered fraud detection must be adopted.

Raising funds for market expansion can be lengthy and challenging for fintech companies. Noda can overcome this challenge by developing a clear business plan, building relationships with potential investors, and exploring alternative funding sources, such as crowdfunding or government grants.

Customer needs and preferences vary significantly across different markets. Noda can overcome this challenge by conducting market research to understand customers’ specific needs in each market and by developing customized solutions that meet those needs.

Lastly, the fintech industry is highly competitive, and new players are entering the market daily. Noda can overcome this challenge by continuously innovating and improving its products and services, building strategic partnerships, and investing in marketing and customer acquisition.

How has Noda leveraged Open Banking solutions for online merchants and what impact has this had on e-commerce businesses’ growth and evolution?

Noda has leveraged Open Banking solutions to provide online merchants in Europe with a secure and instant one-stop payment solution that allows them to receive direct bank payments from customers. This has had a significant impact on the growth and evolution of businesses in the following ways by making transactions more secure. Open Banking solutions provide a more secure payment option for businesses. By leveraging Open Banking, Noda has created a secure payment solution that eliminates customers needing to share their card details with merchants. This has helped to reduce the risk of fraud and increase customer trust.

It also enables shorter payment processing times than traditional payment methods. This has helped to improve the customer experience and reduce the risk of payment delays.

Open Banking solutions can be more cost-effective for merchants than traditional payment methods. This is because Open Banking solutions typically have lower transaction fees, which can help merchants to increase their profit margins.

The technology also provides merchants with access to customer data that can be used to create more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns. This can help businesses to improve customer engagement and increase sales.

And finally, Open Banking solutions help businesses comply with regulations and standards related to payment processing and data protection. This can reduce the risk of legal and financial penalties.

How is Noda positioned in the Fintech industry in terms of responsible and ethical financial practices?

Noda is positioned in the fintech industry as a company that values responsible and ethical financial practices. This is evident in the company’s commitment to integrity and ethical behavior, collaboration with AI-powered transaction monitoring technology, Open Banking innovation, and payment strategies expertise.

Public speaking is a powerful tool for thought leadership. Can you share some key takeaways from your speaking engagements about payments and digital marketing strategy?

Regarding public speaking engagements about payments, several vital takeaways exist. Make sure to focus on the Big Idea. Focusing on the big idea that will resonate with the audience is essential. Expos want speakers who can provide valuable insights and actionable takeaways that can help their employees or customers.

It is also crucial to craft a compelling description highlighting the audience’s key benefits and takeaways. This description clearly communicates how your presentation will address their pain points and provide value.

And, of course, record your performance. Recording your performance can be a valuable tool for marketing yourself as a speaker.

Can you shed some light on how Noda plans to grow and evolve in the coming years? What are some of the key goals and milestones the company is targeting?

We plan entry into various markets, including Brazil, Australia, and Eastern Europe (starting with Romania and Bulgaria). Regarding Brazil and Australia, we are leveraging our Open Banking solutions to enter these markets. Open Banking provides a more secure, faster, and cost-effective payment option for merchants, which can differentiate Noda from competitors. We aim to revolutionize payments in these markets, enhancing the payment experience for merchants and customers. The plan is similar to our expansion on the Eastern European Market. We recognize the tremendous potential in the Eastern European market. The region is experiencing growth in digital channels and customers, creating opportunities for fintech companies like Noda.

Lastly, what advice would you give to those who aspire to make a career in the Fintech industry, especially in roles related to market expansion and development?

To make a career in the fintech industry, especially in market expansion and development roles, it is essential to start networking early, develop relevant skills, stay up-to-date with industry trends, gain industry-specific expertise, and be open to learning and adaptation.

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Stockify goes fully Digital, offers Mutual Funds and Dematerialization of shares




In a strategic move to expand its offerings and provide a comprehensive suite of financial services, Stockify, a leading platform for Unlisted and pre-IPO shares in India, has announced plans to venture into the Mutual Fund space.

This development comes as part of Stockify’s mission to assist High-Net Individuals (HNIs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in accessing various investment opportunities in India via the pre-IPO route and maximizing their wealth. The company is also set to facilitate the Dematerialization of Shares. (Conversion of Physical Share to DEMAT account.)

Founded by Piyush Jhunjhunwala (CA, CPA) and Co-Founded by Rahul Khatuwala (CA) both seasoned finance professionals with decades of experience in global conglomerates.

Stockify has already carved a niche for itself in the Indian Financial landscape. The platform primarily focuses on providing access to Blue-Chip Stocks before their listing on the Indian Stock Market (via the Pre IPO Route) enabling early investors to potentially achieve significant returns. While expressing the company’s intent behind expanding its services, Jhunjhunwala said, “Mutual Funds are the backbone of the Indian Equity market, and we believe it is important that NRI and retail investors in India can greatly benefit from our new offering and this will help them in creating long-term wealth.”

The recent announcement of Stockify entering the Mutual Funds market follows the company’s successful acquisition of a Mutual Fund license in the first quarter of 2023. Alongside Mutual Funds, Stockify intends to offer an array of other financial products, like Start-up Funding, fixed investment products like Bonds and Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) and Insurance-Linked Investments, in the coming months. Notably, Stockify plans to make all its products and services 100% accessible online, aligning with the Digital India vision of our beloved Prime Minster Mr. Narendra Modi.

Currently, Stockify boasts 70 Unlisted/pre-IPO companies on its platform, with in-depth research conducted on all of them as stated by Jhunjhunwala. It offers a simple online process where transactions can be completed online, and shares get transferred to the clients DEMAT account on the same day.

Stockify’s global presence was recently showcased at the Dubai Fintech Summit (DFS). The two-day event brought together over 5,000 C-suite leaders, 1,000-plus investors, and 150 speakers from around the world. Stockify was selected as one of the proud exhibitors at the summit, solidifying its position as one of the world’s largest providers of pre-IPO and Unlisted Stocks in India.

With its ambitious expansion plans and commitment to innovation, Stockify is set to continue revolutionizing the way investors access and engage with financial opportunities in India and beyond.

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VerifyVASP Wins Hong Kong’s IFTA Fintech and Innovation Awards 2022/23: Regulatory Technology Award




VerifyVASP was awarded the Institute of Financial Technologists of Asia (IFTA) Fintech and Innovation Awards 2022/23 for Regulatory Technology. The awards exhibit the extraordinary achievements made by companies and individuals in the finance and technology industries.

The IFTA Awards, themed “Game Changers: The Rise of Next Gen Fintech”, celebrates ground-breaking ideas and technologies that are shaping the future of finance. The distinguished Guest of Honour presenting the IFTA awards was the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury for Financial Services in the Hong Kong SAR, Mr. Joseph Ho-Lim Chan.

VerifyVASP has established itself as a comprehensive Travel Rule solution provider catering to Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) worldwide. Its commitment to facilitating full compliance with Travel Rule regulations across multiple jurisdictions has earned it this prestigious recognition.

This accolade comes at an opportune time, as VerifyVASP supports the Hong Kong Virtual Asset Trading Platforms (VATPs) in adhering to the regulatory framework set forth by the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission, which came into effect on 1 June 2023. VATPs are granted a grace period till 1 January 2024 to ensure compliance with Travel Rule requirements.

The IFTA Fintech and Innovation Award underscores VerifyVASP’s capabilities, including:

  • Facilitation of counterparty due diligence: VerifyVASP assists VASPs in counterparty due diligence before the first transaction, to stringent standards akin to that observed in correspondent banking. This is achieved through VerifyVASP’s own rigorous due diligence process, encompassing over 100 VASPs.
  • Immediate and secure transmission: Leveraging a scalable architecture, VerifyVASP ensures immediate and secure transmission of required information, alongside verification of such information. To date, the platform has processed over 5 million transfers.
  • Adherence to international data protection laws: VerifyVASP complies with international data protection law thanks to its decentralised, end to end encrypted architecture. This dedication to data security and privacy sets it apart in the industry.
  • Asset agnostic: VerifyVASP’s capabilities extend to accommodating any type of virtual asset, having processed over 400 cryptocurrency variants on its platform.
  • Integration of third-party screening solutions: VerifyVASP seamlessly integrates third-party solutions, allowing for efficient screening of originators or beneficiaries before blockchain transactions.


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Nagad’s Digital Bank on cards, Sadaf to lead the side




Nagad, Bangladesh’s leading Mobile Financial Service (MFS) provider, is gearing up to establish the much-anticipated digital bank, as it is going to secure a licence from the Bangladesh Bank within a couple of months.

Sadaf Roksana, a co-founder and executive director of Nagad Ltd., has been entrusted with the responsibility of leading her company’s transformative venture that will bring greater convenience to the lives of millions of Bangladeshis, reducing their reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

The MFS provider earlier applied to secure a digital bank licence following the central bank’s call for applications through its website. The Bangladesh Bank also formulated necessary guidelines to widen and accelerate financial inclusion, which will also create jobs for young IT workers.

The world’s fastest mobile money carrier is going to venture into the digital banking era at a time when the financial landscape across the globe is fast evolving towards digitalisation, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences.

Taking on the new assignment, Sadaf, a seasoned financial executive with a remarkable track record in the fintech industry, is poised to steer Nagad’s digital bank towards success. Once Nagad gets the digital bank licence, it will provide its consumers with innovative and convenient banking solutions.

“We are very excited that we are going to introduce digital banking services to the people of Bangladesh within a couple of months,” Sadaf said, adding, “This endeavour aligns perfectly with our vision of enhancing financial inclusion and ensuring easy access to all financial services also at affordable prices.”

Nagad is already well-equipped to launch a digital bank. It will start serving customers soon after getting the licence, Sadaf assured.

Under its digital banking platform, Nagad will introduce many new services, such as single-digit and collateral-free loans for small informal businesses and farmers who now are to take loans from moneylenders even at 40% interest rate per day, she pointed out.

“Thus, we will encourage them to come under financial inclusion, thus putting their money into the formal channel,” she expressed her optimism.

To assess one’s creditworthiness, Nagad has created an AI-based credit rating system that will analyse all transactions-related data available on public domains using one’s NID and mobile number, Sadaf Roksana added.

As Nagad goes ahead with its plans, all eyes will be on Sadaf Roksana and her team as they will embark on this exciting journey towards a more digitised and inclusive financial future for the country.

SOURCE Nagad Limited

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