1. Who are you?
My name is Stefan Krautkrämer and I am co-founder and CEO of FintecSystems. For the past years I have helped to built up an international payment system called SOFORT as its COO. After being acquired by Klarna I left the company and founded FintecSystems together with SOFORTs former CIO Dirk Rudolf.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
FintecSystems is offering an online-banking based information- and payment system. That means that we connect payment service provider, banks and others with their consumers online-banking account so that they can pay or receive financial statements of their consumers. Therefor we enable e.g. loan applications in real-time as we deliver all needed financial information about the applicant, directly, trusted and in realtime right out of their online-banking-account.
There are some companies out there in the market that also focus on online-banking-access. To name one of them Yoodle, an american based API provider. Our benefits are a long-term experience in the european online-banking-driven market as well as a much more deeper approach while our competitors more or less just connect. We see ourselve more as a solution provider than as „just“ a banking-API.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you finance your startup?
FintecSystems started out of a team of experienced experts in the online-banking-driven market. It’s not just us as the founders but also the development and sales team who have been working in the market for many years. Over that time we had the chance to get a deep look into how the market works and where we see gaps to be filled. That’s why after leaving our former companies we put our heads together to look after the opportunities we want to get into.
In the very early beginning Dirk and I have financed the company. Some months later we have been joined by business angels. In September last year we closed our first round of financing with Berlin-based Heilemann Ventures and MenschDanke Capital.
4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?
I think for me it personally was the challenge of getting out of the comfort zone. I mean having a good salary, a big car, a big and great team is something which is nice. But what I see in 2014 has been that there are so many opportunities in the Fintech Market and that my company can bring an added-value to many other companies. In a combination of my professional track record and my network I was convinced really fast to start my own business.
In terms of the company I think the bootstrapping, low budgets and the missing sales experience, finding a product and market fit as soon as possible was something that was really challenging. But we managed quite quickly to build the MVP and spread the idea with the help of our team what I’ m really grateful for. Speed is important. The market is changing quickly and you have to follow the trends and pivot fast whenever needed.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
I am interessted in everything which brings more automation, better processes and less fraud. You can see lots of processes out there which should have been better and which could also bring lower prices to the consumers in the end. But honestly there still has to be a lot of persuasion to be taken.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in the DACH region, and how can we help to accelerate it?
Having done a lot of sales pitches over the past 2 years I can definitely say that there is a lack of process automation out there which should be covered by Fintech startups. Disruption is a big word but mostly you can not really disrupt but through regulatory issues many fintechs need to have a bank in charge. „Co-opetition“ is the buzzwords which – from my perspective – should be the fintech word of the year.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
Be creative, research the market as long as possible prior to get out of the comfort zone. Find the niche in the financial market, go deep inside, built a product and expand out of it.