“Not a single WTF moment” — Fintech Spacerace 2018
Ready for take-off: A total of ten young companies had been well prepared to participate at Fintech Spacerace — the start-up pitch at BANKINGCLUBs conference INNOVATIONSforBANKS.
“We are thinking about debt collection in a new way”, the start-up PAIR Finance has chosen as its slogan. Robert Witte opened Fintech Spacerace at INNOVATIONSforBANKS 2018 in Cologne and explained how his company wants to convince its partners and customers with the help of digital communication, a self-learning algorithm, an easy implementation process and full transparency. Afterwards, Salvador Severich described how Signaturit’s solutions help companies to digitize their documents and processes. There is no need to install software, he emphasized. Arne Horn, CEO of b1.ai, started his pitch with a seemingly simple notice: “More data is an advantage for achieving individualisation.” Slightly similar to e-commerce-shops which offer their customers suitable products on the basis of their shopping behaviour, his company tells banks which financial product suits which client best. He pointed out that it is a misconception that customers do not want to be addressed by their bank, but only with the right product at the right time. The next speaker, Christian Ropel, co-founder of WeAdvise, admitted that there are already some robo advisors in the market but usually with a B2C orientation. Unlike these competitors, his team follows a B2B white label approach.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the subject of Stefan Soehnle´s lecture and is also the key to his company´s business model. With self-learning algorithms 5Analytics provides both the customer and the bank advisor with appropriate product recommendations and helps banks with process automation. Tobias Angehrn, previously a Credit Suisse employee and now with Advanon, noted that international corporations often have to handle liquidity shortages. Especially SMEs state that liquidity is one of their biggest worries. The Swiss fintech wants to use its platform to remedy this problem and to position itself in the market as an alternative to traditional factoring.
“Do you know the financial blood count of your customers?”
Jan Wichmann, co-founder and CSO of BANKSapi, compared the relationship between banks and their customers with a visit at the doctor´s. A doctor can arrange the appropriate therapy after anamnesis and diagnostics. A bank already has the data for the diagnosis of its “patients”. According to Wichmann, the customers´ data which are held by the banks are better and more valuable than those that Google collects from its users. The next competitor at Fintech Spacerace, Robert Kröber, founded Forexfix with the intention of helping companies to minimize exchange risk at foreign payment transactions and offering them foreign payments at a lower rate than a bank could.
LABESTonline started with the vision of making assets accessible that are literally just lying or standing around: goods in stock. For banks, goods worth billions of Euros in total stay invisible behind warehouse doors and their values remain unused. With his solution, co-founder Dirk Piethe wants to harness this financing potential for both retailers and banks and make use of it for the matter of business financing. Financing and loans are the core of Loanboox´s business too. In contrast to LABESTonline the Swiss fintech that now reaches out to enter the German market provides a platform not for corporations but for cities and municipalities. Loanboox´s digital platform connects them with institutional investors and banks, CEO Andreas Franke explained.
What else did happen at INNOVATIONSforBANKS?
Beside the pitches, there were presentations by innovation experts from the financial sector. Patrick Düpmann, Team Leader Innovations at DKB, for example, sees enormous potential for both sides in cooperations between banks and fintechs. The start-ups bring in fresh ideas, and the bank can judge from their experience whether these projects are feasible at all, for example with regard to regulation. In addition, cooperating with fintechs in his opinion is also profitable for the public image: customers perceive a bank that works with young, innovative companies as innovative and forward-looking as well.
„More than coloured sticky notes and workshops”
Patrick Steiner from DZ BANK emphasized in his presentation that innovation management should not only be about “coloured sticky notes and workshops”. Katharina Berger, Innovation Evangelist at Deutsche Bank, confirmed his statement. She initially drew the disappointing conclusion that ideas like Design Thinking sometimes do pop up in workshops but get dropped almost instantly and then everybody involved returns to business as usual. However, in order to use this method in a company in a meaningful way, it is necessary to realize that Design Thinking is not just a singular workshop format but a fundamental mindset that has effects on the entire way of working and dealing with new issues.
“Cryptocurrencies are not about drugs and guns, but worldwide financial freedom”
Jan Heinrich Meyer, CEO of Dash Embassy D-A-CH, stated that his organisation has overcome some of bitcoin´s issues and created the first cryptocurrency which really works like coins and notes. And this is what Dash stands for: digital cash. He hopes that Dash, other cryptocurrencies and DLT in general will soon step out of the niche into the mainstream.
Who crossed the finish line first at Fintech Spacerace?
The jury, consisting of Katharina Berger, Innovation Evengelist at Deutsche Bank, Jana Koch, Head of comdirect Start-up Garage, and Sven C. Sixt, CEO of Sixt Management Holding, had a hard decision to make. According to Sixt, there was not a single “WTF moment” and all ideas presented had their right to exist and real opportunities in the market. The most convincing for the jury, however, were the business models of b1ai (3rd place), LABESTonline (2nd place) and Loanboox (1st place). Not only the jury but also the audience could choose one winner each of day 1 and 2 by using the mobile event app on their smartphones. The choice fell on b1ai and Advanon.
The jury winners can look forward to individual coachings by experienced company builder crossbuilders. The two audience winners are invited by BANKINGCLUB to introduce themselves to a wide audience via various formats in BANKINGNEWS as well as at other events. And if you, dear reader, would like to experience the two winners — b1ai and Advanon — live on stage, we recommend the event “Digitale Transformation” on June 19th 2018 in Berlin. In addition to a fintech session and lectures by digitization experts from banks, associations, consulting and IT companies, interactive workshops will be held there, which will strongly involve you as a participant. You can discuss topics such as platform economy, working in the digital age and the future role of the IT department with colleagues from other banks and fintechs.
Finally, we leave you with an interesting thought Jana Koch brought up in her lecture:
“How much money would I have to pay you to forego search engines for one year? And how much to forego your bank?”
Be honest to yourself: What would be your limit?