Q&A- Startups

7 Questions with Gian Reto à Porta from Contovista

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.

My name ist Gian Reto à Porta, Co-founder & CEO of the Zurich-based Fintech-Startup Contovista. I studied computer science and before founding Contovista I worked as a management consultant for the banking industry. When I’m not working I love spending time in nature, doing sports, reading (or listening) books and going out with friends.

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

We offer a comprehensive data-driven banking platform to financial institutions. The platform includes services in the areas of Data Enrichment, Personal Finance Management (PFM), Business Finance Management (BFM) and Data Analytics. Our competitors are companies like Strands or Meniga.

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

We were inspired by Mint.com in the US but realized quickly that we needed a different business model to be successful in Europe. That’s why we built a B2B solution and worked with banks, not against them.

We initially funded Contovista with angel money and later raised additional funding from a strategic investor.

4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?

The biggest challenge was to sign a first bank as customer. When we started, FinTech was not yet a hot topic for banks. As a consequence it took a lot of persuasion effort to motivate a bank to be first customer of a startup.

Meanwhile, that is not our main challenge anymore. With an increasing number of banks working with us, we now can focus the discussions more on the technical and commercial matters.

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

Data Driven Banking and Blockchain. At the moment think those to areas will have the biggest impact on the financial system in the next 10 years.

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

We see that Fintech becomes a really important topic for Financial Institutions in Continental Europe. This will open up great opportunities for B2B and B2C fintechs.

Continue to write and organise events dedicated to Fintech innovations. I personally think: the more attention the topic gets the better for the whole ecosystem.

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

  1. Partnerships: The financial services industry is complex and demanding, therefore build strong partnerships and aim at win-win situations in which both, you and your partners benefit in the case of success.
  2. Team: The team causes success or failure of a startup. Therefore it’s critical to build a functioning team – key responsibility of the entrepreneur.
  3. Focus on the Essentials: As an entrepreneur you could participate in an event every day. Many of them don’t get your company forward. Therefore, as an entrepreneur you always need to ask yourself: what are the top priorities for our company, and where do I invest my time accordingly. If you prioritise your tasks according