Fintech Success Factors: The Development of the Danish Fintech Sector

Mads Frederik Kristensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose – The purpose of this study is twofold. The first purpose is to gain an extensive overview of the development of the Danish fintech sector from 2017 to 2020 (cf. Appendix 3 and Section 5.1), including identifying and assessing the developmental stage and trajectory of the sector as a whole. Second, the study identifies critical success factors with the purpose of contributing to the theoretical lens of CSFs for fintech companies; by testing and increasing the explanatory power of Nicoletti’s (2017) framework of CSFs (cf. Section 3.2) as well as extending it.

Methodology – Theoretically, the study is intended to test and/or improve the framework of Nicoletti (2017) to increase the theoretical exploration within the fintech area and gain a sufficient understanding of critical success factors in the context of fintech. Empirically, the research is divided into two separates but still intercorrelated studies. To explain the above-mentioned development, Study 1 is based on an extensive review of domestic and foreign-based companies that were operating in Denmark as of 2017; this includes a self-created database of all the companies using only secondary data (cf. Appendix 3). Then, to identify and classify critical success factors, Study 2 is based on an extensive review of nine case study companies using only secondary data as well.

Findings – Following the extensive secondary research in both Study 1 and Study 2 was it possible to answer the research question. Study 1 created an extensive database with the development of Danish fintech companies from 2017 to 2020. This resulted in an output where 14 of the 107 identified companies in 2017 had failed, while the remaining 93 saw a substantial growth of 166% (DKK 1,229 million) in gross profit and 279% (DKK 13,825 million) in the level of funding, and 17 of the remaining 93 companies were acquired. In addition, it was clear that companies operating within the categories of payments and enterprise financial software were more developed and mature, than those working within other categories. Study 2 identified eight critical success factors within the nine case studies, with some variation in the degree of explanatory power. The identified factors are innovation, scalability, customer centricity, organisation, agility, low profit margin (funding), simplicity, and products and services.

Research limitations – While the critical success factors identified and classified in this study could help fill a gap in knowledge by increasing the explanatory power of critical success factors for fintech companies, there is nevertheless room for further research to test the current findings of critical success factors and contribute with additional new factors. Qualitative research with both customers and fintech practitioners would be a particularly valuable contribution to this study to conclusively determine the critical success factors of fintech companies.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages89
SupervisorsJonas Hedman