1. Who are you?
My name is Bartosz Burclaf and I am the founder and CEO at MoneyVane.com.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
My team and I are working on the first financial “robo-adviser” based in Switzerland. Our direct competitors across Europe are companies like Nutmeg (UK) or Vaamo (DE). Our indirect competitors are of course traditional financial advisors and – to some extent – banks.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you finance your startup?
We got the initial idea few years ago. We were struggling while investing and allocating our own savings. Unfortunately we were unable to pursue it back then. We’ve got back to the subject last November (still struggling with our savings) but this time we decided to build a team and to push for it.
Currently we are financing our start-up completely from our own resources.
4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?
The biggest challenge for us was (and still is) the regulatory law and processes which we need to fulfil in order to operate i.e. documentation requirements, wet signatures or even confirmations that we’ve met the customer in person.
The second one would be the complete lack of standardised technology (APIs) to integrate different bank accounts’ with our platform.
And the third challenge is the seriously outdated and long-term-investor-unfriendly brokerage fees with required minimums and penalties for not trading regularly. All of this is unnecessarily boosting up the overall investment costs and significantly lowering returns from the investment.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
I find the idea of banks and brokers/custodians as integrators very exciting. I would definitely love to build a discounted, API-based brokerage/custody service in Europe and allow smart, European developers to build their apps on top of this foundation.
It would most definitely spark so much innovation – I can’t even imagine. Look what happened when Apple opened their platform to the external developers. I am actually looking forward to how Fidor Bank will evolve with their developers programme.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in the DACH region, and how can we help to accelerate it?
I think that we still need more flexible, more transparent day-to-day banking solutions (especially in Switzerland). Better personal finance management (less about data and more about information) and higher pressure on mobile technologies.
How to accelerate it? Well.. We need: more accessible banking/financial technology (open APIs), more FinTech startups and more pressure on authorities to keep lowering the regulatory bar and to waive some seriously medieval laws.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
Running a startup is a roller coaster (especially for startups operating in heavily regulated markets). The days are either super-good or extremely bad. When you feel that you have enough of the struggle, you want to drop everything and resign, this actually means that you are really getting close to the finish line – regroup and push forward with even more power.