1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
I am leading the Swiss business for F10 Global, a Fintech and Insurtech-focused open accelerator, headquartered in Zurich with further hubs in Singapore and Spain. I am also in the board of our investment company, which invests in F10 startups. Besides that, I am representing F10 in the Swiss Green Fintech Network, launched 2020 to support and leverage the Swiss government’s ambition to develop the country into a leading hub for sustainable finance. With the Green Fintech Network I co-drafted the Swiss Green Fintech Action Plan, and with F10’s partner New Energy Nexus I work on our new global Climate Fintech Accelerator programming.
Prior to F10, I worked 10 years in banking (mostly at ABN AMRO Bank) and 10 years in tech (mostly fintech), founded one and worked with several startups at different stages and on topics ranging from mobile and micropayments to data and analytics.
Off work, I love any kind of outdoor sports (Switzerland being a perfect spot for that…), love(d) traveling and learning about different cultures. Due to the latter and an adventurous mind/heart, I left Germany in 2006 and lived since in The Netherlands, Colombia, Morocco and Ireland. Climate change and environment are major topics of concern and interest for me, thus I am excited that Sustainable Finance is picking up broadly now!
2. What are your focus areas, overall and within the FinTech space?
F10 is a corporate-funded accelerator, with the ambition to help banks, insurances and other financial service players to shape their digital future. We therefore also scout left and right besides fintech/insurtech, looking for common pains between our partners, mostly B2B or at least B2B2C.
Currently, Sustainable Finance and SME-focused solutions are top of our (partners’) minds, yet digital assets, open wealth/wealthtech, security and data and analytics are also on our active radar.
Additionally, with our early stage program (“Incubation”) we take on more investor glasses, and more independently look for scalable propositions in above fields, including B2C.
3. Any recent deals that you would like to share with us, and why you invested?
Most recently, we e.g. invested into Relio – a forthcoming SME-challenger bank (launched by a Penta founder), into Stableton – a fast growing alternative asset marketplace, into Troc Circle – an invoice netting and collection platform or into Aisot – an exciting AI investtech startup focused on trading signals for crypto or conventional asset markets
4. Which are the trends to watch out for in the next 6-18 months?
Clearly, a currently accelerating, emerging megatrend topic is sustainable finance. Among the vast universe of topics under this global term, we especially picked Climate Fintech which ranges from carbon footprint calculators for B2C services, to ESG rating solutions for non-listed companies or DLT-based carbon credit marketplaces. We see a tipping point where it doesn’t need a green conscience anymore to commit to climate change mitigation. Regulators make sure, exteralised costs or impact is being made transparent, risks are being better understood and with the huge transition costs projected, there are huge investment opportunities. More and more local and global financial service players are pledging to work not only on their own but also on the carbon footprint of their supply chains and product distribution and use. Currently we are still in a phase where significant work is required to collect more and better data, covering a vastly bigger space of the economy. Lastly, interpreting and communicating partly complex information is still a big need.
Additionally, digital assets and related services and products (trading-related, risk management, KYC, ..) are picking up speed, with maturing and fast(er) scaling players driving further interest, investment, and application. In Switzerland we have the luxury of a regulator that dared to pick up DLT early on, which is why we see a lot of new players setting up shop and starting from here.
5. Your advice to European founders looking to scale up and raise funds?
I see a more maturing (currently maybe a bit overheating) European market, meaning (also more) funding being more easily available, which founders should take advantage of as long as the momentum lasts. At the same time, due to the current growth of European fintech market(s), founders should even more aim to early on identify differentiating factors of their business. With the vast amounts raised by some of the “incumbent fintechs”, young businesses may have a harder time to gain traction/win market share, if they are too close to the ”incumbent fintechs” in their propositions.
Lastly, with COVID having solved some earlier remote work-related questions, founders have the great(er) opportunity to build great teams, less constrained by local talent availability. To succeed here, of course skillful and effective remote team development and management becomes a key success factor.
6. What’s on your bookshelf/ reading list?
Recently re-read Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, currently at Bill Gates’ How to avoid a Climate Desaster, and generally reading up on Climate-related regulation matters, next book: The great CEO within.
7. Your favorite place for a coffee and/ or a drink?
In Zurich Cafe Grande at the Limmat, for both, a small, casual place, easy to reach, also for anyone to meet.