1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
I was born and raised in Berlin and I am currently the CEO of wevest Digital AG. I have spent my entire career in the banking and financial services industry – first at a large consultancy firm and afterwards as project manager for the group of German cooperative banks. Privately, I enjoy going to the theatre and cycling. Once I made a trip cycling from Berlin to Barcelona in 30 days. That required good planning and endurance. The same holds true for starting your own business.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
The mission of wevest is to combine the essential domains of an investment bank, such as wealth management, corporate finance and the offering of security tokens through a digital platform. The focus of this platform is the mediation of corporate transactions between flexible, financially sound investors and corporations, belonging maximally to the SDAX. As from today, those clients are widely “unbanked” with respect to equity investments.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you go about launching it?
Before wevest, I developed the corporate banking strategy for the cooperative banks in Germany. I realized that equity financing is a widely unaddressed issue for German SMEs. At the same time Andreas Leckelt from Comvest Holding (main investor in wevest) approached me and together we developed the idea of wevest.
4. How did you finance your startup, and what learnings would you like to share from the fund-raising journey?
We have the privilege of having a strongly dedicated and committed seed investor with Comvest Holding. Comvest helped to attract additional business angels who trusted us at an early stage. In general, you should never search for the best financial deal but for the best investor that helps you grow your case and brings in more than just money.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
Electronic securities based on qualified distributed ledgers. We are following with interest the ongoing discussions of the German government and the banking authority BaFin on this topic (e.g. Bitbond prospectus, strategic paper on blockchain regulation of the Ministry of Finance). Reflecting ownership in securities on a qualified decentralized ledger has been proven to be significantly more efficient than traditional security settlement processes. That’s why we see a large potential for SME equity financing using electronic securities, especially for low volume transactions starting from 1 Mio EUR.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in Continental Europe, and how can we help?
On the European and national level, a regulatory framework for electronic securities based on distributed ledger technology has yet to be defined. Within such a legal framework exciting new business models and services aiming towards a tokenized financial economy can evolve more sustainably.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
Be open for cooperation. Platform economy and blockchain technology are the most dominant trends of the coming years – especially taking into account regulatory changes with PSD2. These must be kept in mind in order to remain relevant and competitive in the long term.