7 Questions

7 Questions with Erik Podzuweit, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Scalable Capital

1. Who are you?

I am the Co-CEO and Co-founder of Scalable Capital (we love the Co-thing).

Prior to this I worked in e-commerce (Co-CEO of Westwing Germany) and finance (Executive Director at Goldman Sachs in the Sales & Trading division).

2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?

We manage your money for you.

A description of our service in three sentences:

We provide you with a personalised, globally-diversified portfolio designed to create long-term wealth. To do this, we select the best and most cost-efficient Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

We monitor and manage your portfolio continuously using our proprietary risk management technology, to ensure your risks stay under control.

Our biggest competitor is the old way of doing things, i.e. people either asking their bank advisor (read: salesperson) or not doing anything with their money.

3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you finance your startup?

The idea was not a Eureka moment, it rather came gradually and was almost the natural consequence of what we have done and seen before, i.e. to build a truly customer-centric financial institution.

We thus looked at the investment management process and redesigned it from ground up.

We replaced everything that is not needed for good money management, with technology, e.g. branches, salespeople, or even fund managers. We looked at the whole value chain and automated everything that should not be done manually.

The more scalable your business is, the more will your customers benefit from these efficiencies: a better quality service at a low price.

We think the timing is perfect for a modern, fair and professional investment service aimed at a digital-savvy target audience.

We are backed by high-profiles investors, including Holtzbrinck Ventures, Monk’s Hill Ventures (backed by Peng Ong, founder of match.com), German Startups Group, Rahul Mehta (Partner at Digital Sky Technologies), Dr. Steffen Pauls (former Managing Director of KKR) and Reiner Mauch (founder of Consors).

4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?

Finding people with both the right attitude/mindset but also with a very high degree of domain expertise. In FinTech, domain expertise is absolutely crucial; you simply won’t get a license from the regulator, know how to deal with partner companies or how to build your operations. Launching with a “Minimum Viable product”, which is seen frequently in e-commerce and social networking startups, does not work in FinTech. People don’t appreciate you testing your product with their hard-earned money.

5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?

The area of Investment Management by far. It is the area in FinTech that has seen almost no customer-driven advances over the last twenty years. The way money is being managed and the way financial products are being sold is pretty much the same it has been for a long time. It is time investment management services are no longer “sold” and are rather “bought”.

6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in the DACH region, and how can we help to accelerate it?

The big opportunity in DACH FinTech is twofold:

Firstly, in most areas, FinTech has not really started in the DACH regions.

Secondly, there is a big demographic change happening. There is a new generation which values and consumes services in an entirely different way from the baby-boomer generation.

Their trust in a company comes when they believe in the company approach and values; not because they have a fancy office or a long history.

Similarly, they trust recommendations from friends and their online communities, not a salesperson delivering a sales pitch.

They don’t want to pay extra for convenience, they expect it.

This generation’s demand for a technology-driven and customer-centric, rather than sales-driven, approach is the main force behind the big changes we will see in the coming years and decades.

7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?

If you do FinTech, do it properly, i.e. become a real Financial Technology company and not just another “distribution 2.0” model that sells old-world products through a nice web or mobile interface.

If you want to build a lasting and truly disruptive business you have to fully embrace both finance and technology and keep clear of the temptations and gimmicks of the traditional industry.

 

Scalable Website: https://scalable.capital