1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
As managing director of Loanboox GmbH, I am responsible for running operations in the German market. Previously I worked in the internal consulting department of Zurich Insurance Group. During this time, I had the opportunity to get experience in the areas of finance, business transformation and operational improvements in various countries. Among others, I have worked in Switzerland, Russia, the United States and Brazil. At the time, it was the perfect opportunity to combine my private enthusiasm for traveling with my job. That is also the case today at Loanboox. I am traveling constantly to meet clients and I work in close interactions with my colleagues in the 4 European countries where Loanboox is active today.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
Loanboox is the independent online credit platform for public sector borrowers, institutional investors and banks. On our Internet-based platform, borrowers are given the opportunity to make loan enquiries. Institutional investors get all the documents and information they need to perform a credit check on the platform and can make an offer based on their own loan contract. If both sides agree, borrowers and lenders conclude a loan contract on the platform
In Germany, there are other platforms that pursue a similar approach. With a requested credit volume of over 14 billion euros in demand and more than 1250 customers we are the clear market leader across Europe.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you go about launching it?
Loanboox was founded in Switzerland by Stefan Muehlemann. He came up with the idea while on holidays. He was lying on the beach, reading a good book, as the challenges of digitalization in finance crossed his mind. Today everything is handled online. However; the money and capital markets for big ticket debt, essentially function as they did 50 years ago. Credit enquiries are still made by fax, telephone or e-mail. To change this, Stefan Muehlemann – together with Andi Burri (Managing Director Switzerland) and Dario Zogg (CTO) – founded Loanboox. The platform went live in Switzerland in September 2016. We are active in Germany since October 2017. Before launching the platform in Germany, we first evaluated the market and talked extensively to borrowers and lenders to understand the differences in demands compared to Switzerland. We then added the required additional functionalities to the platform and hired a strong team.
4. How did you finance your startup, and what learnings would you like to share from the fund-raising journey?
After seed rounds, in which capital was primarily raised from sources close to the company, we completed our Series A in mid-2017. We are pleased that we were able to win business angels with great expertise and valuable networks. The Series B financing round is currently underway to finance further European expansion.
Right from the start, it was important to us not just to raise money, but also to get it from the right investors who would support us as partners with advice and support.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
Apart from Loanboox, I find the area of credit platforms in general very exciting. Why? Because such platforms help to make complicated processes more efficient, give customers a better market experience and provide access to credit to people or organisations in need.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in Continental Europe, and how can we help?
The continental European financial market offers attractive opportunities for Fintechs. There are still inefficiencies in many areas that can be solved by digital technologies. However, Fintechs should not try this alone. Personally, I am convinced that a cooperative approach towards established financial institutions is the key to success. That is why platforms like the FinTech Forum are so important, bringing together different players with the same interests.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
Founders and Fintech managers should not only think about what is technically possible, but how technology can create the greatest customer benefit.