1. Who are you?
I am an ex-executive banker who left a top management position in BNP Paribas to start Ybanking.
I am an innovator and contrarian. I joined banking by accident after my first startup exploded in the bubble. Surprisingly I made some career in banking challenging bosses and questioning conventions. Ybanking was too much to fit into corporate culture and I decided to get back to entrepreneurship to pursue this bold disruptive innovation.
In private life I am husband, dad and professional rally driver.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
Ybanking is an innovative distribution channel for banks based on social networking platform. It is based on unique benefits schema for customers, designed in a way to create virality and network effect.
Ybanking is the first venture to create such niche in banking marketing. We will compete with traditional banking distribution models and with p2p lending marketplaces.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you finance your startup?
The idea developed for a very long time. The first seed of it was created when I’ve heard about p2p lending and tried to think how it can be converged with banking.
The next step was when I got interested by marketing strategies of digital era and learnt about virality and network effects.
Ybanking is a combination of p2p lending, traditional banking and social network marketing.
So far the venture is financed with personal savings.
4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?
For Ybanking the most difficult is to explain it concisely. At the first sight it seems unsustainable and a natural reaction is a need of a proof of concept.
Very few people want to spend couple of minutes to understand it after this first impression.
Ybanking will have a long adoption process of solving chicken-and-egg problem. However, I perceive it as our advantage. Only people determined (obsessed) can go successfully through the process like this.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
Marketing and communication. I believe communication is the area where the society is changing the most. In 5 years financial services can look very similar as today, with some incremental efficiency changes, except of how customers and banks communicate.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in the DACH region, and how can we help to accelerate it?
Ybanking is a global initiative, we want to spread the concept in as many geographies as possible from the beginning.
We search for bankers ready to make some experiments and we don’t know in which corner of the world hides the most ready one.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
We are on too early stage to give advice.
However, I often see that fintech entrepreneurs treat financial services as some specific business and don’t try to learn from other industries. BTW the same concerns bankers, so perhaps this is the reason. For me banking is an ordinary market and most of the forces are just the same as in other sectors.