1. Who are you?
My name is Guido Sandler. I am the founder and CEO of Bergfürst. Previously, I founded and led as CEO the Berliner Effektenbank and E *Trade Germany.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
We are the first crowd-investing platform in Germany. We offer young growth companies the option to place shares or real voting capital funding from € 2 million upwards onto our platform. We trade the shares on an electronic trading platform, which works similar to a stock exchange.
We provide investors with quarterly reports and annual financial statements as well as ad hoc communications, and we lead the annual general meetings for our issuers.
For private investors, our platform is like an online bank: they have a regular and trading account, see the performance of their investments, and can subscribe to and trade in shares. Transactions are confirmed with a mobile TAN while users are logged in.
There are no competitors in the market.
3. How did you get your start-up idea and how did you finance your start-up?
Crowdfunding has become so huge in recent years that even corporate financing has become realistic now. We have understood that and built up a transparent and honest offering for the self-determined investor.
My founding partner, Dennis Bemmann and I have funded it ourselves.
4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?
The foundation was not an obstacle for us. Dennis and I have done this many times over.
The development of a core banking software, and applying for and getting a license as a securities trading bank from BaFin were the major challenges in the construction phase of the company.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
The possibilities of web-based technologies offer new possibilities to connect issuers and investors. Via BERGFÜRST an issuer knows at all times who are its shareholders, can access them at any time and can also incorporate the own business development into its social marketing activities.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in the DACH region, and how can we help to accelerate it?
In their current television advertising Commerzbank asks the right question: Do we really still banks today?
I am convinced that the real economy finance functions will shift further to the Web in the coming years. I expect a development similar to e-commerce. The opportunities are great because the development is still in its infancy.
It will be important to set up programs in accordance with the regulatory authorities such as the BaFin. Only when we move within the regulatory space, will we have a long-term opportunity and can count on the necessary acceptance of customers.
The interactions of the young FinTech industry with these supervisory authorities should be supported just like the lobbying of these regulators, so that an understanding of these new developments is created.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
Whoever has to do with regulators and has no experience in dealing with them should keep in mind that these authorities have no regard to economic issues and concerns.
This can claim impact the schedule, cost and nerves dramatically.