Balázs Vinnai (born 3 October 1977) is a Hungarian entrepreneur, investor and mentor for growth stage companies, and a well-known expert in the digital banking industry, including digital transformation, retail banking, financial software business and educational technology.
Vinnai is the founder and president of Codecool, an international coding school that prepares students with no prior experience to become full-stack junior software developers. In September 2018, he became president and investor of W.UP, a financial software developer and digital banking sales company, headquartered in Budapest, Hungary. In collaboration with the local government of Tokaj, he also established Tokaj.hu. He is Vice President of the Committee of Software Development and Innovation of the Hungarian Association of IT Companies (IVSZ).
Education[edit | edit source]
Vinnai graduated with a Master’s degree in Law in 2001 from the University of Miskolc, Faculty of Law. His thesis focused on digital signatures for the civil law.
Career[edit | edit source]
In 1997, as a university student, he founded his first company called Interactive Net Design (IND) with his friends, IND Group operated in the market of financial technologies, focusing on online banking software development in the early years as a partner of Brokat (one of the largest German Technology story of the dot-com bubble, and soon became an award-winning enterprise. In 2002, IND was ranked 1st on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Central Europe list. In 2003 IND acquired the e-banking part of the bankrupted Brokat. In 2013 IND has been appointed in FINTECH 100 member.
In March 2013, Misys, a leading financial software company, acquired IND Group to enhance its core banking capabilities and deliver comprehensive retail banking solutions. Vinnai served as general manager in charge of digital channels.
In 2017, Misys and DH Corporation (D+H) merged, creating Finastra, the third largest financial services technology company in the world, and Vinnai became its Chief Digital Officer and Vice President. Finastra provides a broad portfolio of financial services software, spanning corporate banking, retail banking, investment management, managed services, and treasury and capital markets.
Balázs Vinnai is co-founder and investor of Codecool, a leading coding school network in the Central and Eastern European region. Codecool is an alternative, privately owned programming school, aiming to address the increasing demand for digital skills in today’s job market. The school has campuses in Budapest, Miskolc, Warsaw and Krakow. Students are taught both soft and hard skills, and are trained using real-life workplace scenarios so they can be easily integrated into a corporate environment after graduation.
Working together with friends and former colleagues József Nyíri and Viktor Bálint, he launched BnL Growth Partners Ltd in 2015. BnL Growth Partners is a private equity and smart money advisory firm, committed to boosting innovation in the fintech sector by funding and advising companies on product and market growth. The company provides early stage funding of €1–5M and connects startups with financial technology buyers and technology partners.
In January 2017, BnL Growth Partners launched its B2B-focused startup incubator called BnL Start Partners Ltd. With a total of €2 million investment fund, and as a subsidiary of BnL Growth Partners, it focuses on helping early-stage projects and startups prepare for entering the international market.
In September 2018, Vinnai joined W.UP as investor and president. Based in Budapest and London, W.UP was established in November 2014 to help financial institutions boost user experience and improve digital sales through their AI-based solutions.
Awards and recognition[edit | edit source]
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Balázs Vinnai has received a number of awards over the years, including Entrepreneur of the Year by EY in Hungary in 2003 as well as in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County the following year. He was ranked the 5th most influential entrepreneur of the year in 2004 and was selected as one of the 50 most promising people of Hungary. He received the prize of Young IT Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005, EY’s Promise of the Future award in 2006 as well as the Kalmár Prize in the same year. In 2009, he was honoured with the Knight’s Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. In 2013, he received the Entrepreneur of the Year award for the second time in Hungary.
- Entrepreneur of The Year in Hungary by EY
- Entrepreneur of the Year in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County
- 5th most influential entrepreneur of the year
- 50 Most Promising People of Hungary
- EY’s Promise of the Future award
- Kalmár Prize
- Entrepreneur of the Year in Hungary by EY
References[edit | edit source]
- "Former Finastra Chief Digigal Officer Joins Fintech Startup W.Up" (Press release). W.Up. 12 September 2018.
- "Misys Acquires IND Group to Create Power House in Retail Banking Solutions" (Press release). Misys. 10 February 2014.
- "Chris Skinner's BNL Growth Partners Joins $100M Life.Sreda Banking Fund on Blockchain". HedgeThink. 21 July 2016.
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