1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
I was born in Saint-Petersburg and hold a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Saint Petersburg State University. I have more than 10 years experience in management and marketing as well as 6 years in Digital Payments. I am a fan of Zenit St.Petersburg FC and prefer to play football when I have a time for this.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
SDK.finance is the Core Payment Platform wrapped into 290+ APIs. It enables payment providers, FinTech entrepreneurs & banks to launch payment or loyalty products 5 to 10 times faster compared to the current industry standards, and decreasing 90% of CAPEX. Those are our crucial advantages relative to the in-house teams of developers which is our primary competition.
Multiple payment products can be built on SDK.finance platform – Payment Services, E-wallet, P2P Money Transfer, Currency Exchange and many others. In addition, our clients get the full flexibility to customize and manage their own solution through our APIs.
We provide service to clients from a range of different countries including Singapore, Azerbaijan, Spain, Ukraine, Ghana, Ireland, UK, Canada, USA, etc.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you go about launching it?
Prior to starting SDK.finance, my partner Pavlo Sidelov and I launched a payment system in the Czech Republic (EMI). Being in the shoes of a Fintech Entrepreneur we encountered the whole range of challenges in fundraising, business development and regulation. Those areas effectively took all our time and resources. But another big challenge for a FinTech entrepreneur hides in product development since the cost of retaining IT talents is incredibly high. Even more difficult is to find a team which has a decent experience in digital payment software development. Since my partner’s – Pavlo Sidelov – core competence was exactly in that area we realized we could fill in the gap and lessen the burden for FinTech entrepreneurs. A business owner or manager can focus on the business tasks while we take care of the IT part. We like to compare FinTech entrepreneurship with Formula One World Championship where there are two competing grounds: one for drivers, another for constructors. Even an ace pilot cannot compete without a first-class car. So, it was the dawn of SDK.finance and the beginning of a challenging yet extremely exciting journey.
4. How did you finance your startup, and what learnings would you like to share from the fundraising journey?
We received a pre-seed funding of $25K and the rest were our personal savings. The key lesson we have learnt while seeking for funding is that “no” is the best thing you can hear. It makes you work ruthlessly, refine your solution and ultimately opens new opportunities which would otherwise be out-of-reach. So always be grateful to those who say “no” to you. We are devoted to building a long-term value rather than earning quick cash, which was not always the top priority for investors we were negotiating with. Since the foundation of the company in 2014, we have made five releases of our product and won clients from four different continents.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
Machine learning used to prevent fraud in payments and e-commerce is the area worth increased attention. Another important area encompasses cross-border instant payments and building value-added services on the top of that architecture, like e-Invoicing.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in Continental Europe, and how can we help?
There are so many areas that need improvement beyond finance and banking. I think insurtech and pension-tech should be the areas of particular interest.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
Think positively, work ruthlessly and never take “no” as a misfortune. Most of the time it turns out to be quite the opposite.