1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
I am Robert, Founder and CEO. Before founding Forexfix I worked as a banker at KfW Bankengruppe and as a consultant. I founded by first company in 1996. I hold a diploma in Economics from Witten/Herdecke private university.
In my spare time I enjoy climbing and sailing.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
Small and medium businesses doing business internationally and have costs or revenues in foreign currencies. We offer them currency hedging. Unlike traditional banks, Ebury or Kantox, our service is easy to use and less expensive.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you go about launching it?
I got the idea for Forexfix while working as a consultant. In one project I had a subcontractor from Switzerland and he tried to hedge his revenue from the consulting assignment as he got paid in Euros but had costs in Swiss Francs. He did not manage, though, as banks were not interested in his business. From this I knew there is a need for a modern simple online solution – which is now available thanks to us.
4. How did you finance your startup, and what learnings would you like to share from the fund-raising journey?
We won the first funding from the “Berlin Startup Academy” accelerator programme and later raised pre-seed funding from business angels. I learned that as a founder you are more or less all the time on the fund-raising journey. Sometimes it goes straight forward, sometimes you experience setbacks. But there are so many opportunities so it is for me mainly a question of endurance.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
I personally find the complete B2B space interesting, especially financial services for small and medium businesses. In my view banks do not serve many SMEs well as they do not embrace the opportunities of digitalisation sufficiently. This is why there are so many interesting business models for FIntechs in this area (like ours, but also for example on financing or even checking accounts).
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in Continental Europe, and how can we help?
If not building Forexfix I would build a complete digital SME bank. Even though there are already some very promising challenger banks in this sector I still think there is room for an ambitious and perhaps a bit perfectionist challenger. The FinTech Forum can help with making connections to possible investors and banking partners.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
I totally believe in the Lean Startup methodology. Proceed step by step, hypothesis by hypotheses. And then you see where this eventually leads you. In Fintech, this is a bit special, though, due to the regulatory requirements. You are dealing with your clients’ money and everything needs to be super safe and secure for good reasons. But you can build great products and great companies and this is a big fun at the end of the day!