Q&A- Startups

7 Questions with Toby Triebel, Co-Founder and CEO of Spotcap

1. Who are you?

I am Toby Triebel, Co-Founder and CEO of Spotcap. Spotcap is an online credit platform that leverages big data to provide financing solutions for small businesses that are underserved by traditional banks.

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

We provide short-terms loans of up to €100,000 for micro, small and medium sized enterprises. Business owners can upload their business forms or connect their online accounts to apply for a credit line. We process this data to check their creditworthiness, providing instant feedback. Therefore, we can grant short-term loans within minutes.

Securing a loan from Spotcap is very different from the agonising process of securing SME loans from a bank. Banks have complex systems and infrastructure in place. Often it’s simply not profitable for them to lend to small businesses. Spotcap uses different criteria to assess credit risk. Where banks look at historical financials going back five years, Spotcap is more focused on real time performance over the last 12 months. Consequently we can approve more SME loans.

Taking these differences into account, despite the obvious gap in the market for SME loans, I don’t see much competition.

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

Having worked in the finance industry for many years, I witnessed first-hand how smaller businesses struggle to receive funding from traditional banks. Banks have been and continue to deleverage their balance sheets globally, thus effectively shrinking their loan portfolios. With the goal to address these challenges, my partner Jens Woloszczak and I founded Spotcap to enable small businesses to grow without having to worry about financing. We decided to start Spotcap to disruptively change the banking landscape by using cutting-edge technology.

Spotcap is backed by Rocket Internet, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms and startup incubators. We raised 13 million euros from a group of investors, including Access Industries and Holtzbrinck Ventures. In addition, we recently secured 5 million euros in debt funding from Kreos Capital, Europe’s largest provider of growth debt to high-growth companies.

4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?

Spotcap’s team currently consists of 50 dedicated people from more than 20 countries. It’s a tremendous challenge to build a passionate team with the best talent from all over the globe within a few months. However, it’s an even bigger challenge to continuously innovate in order to keep up with the ever-changing progress in technology.

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

Naturally, I’m especially fascinated by the online lending industry. Be it direct lending or peer-to-peer lending – the industry has been building momentum and it’s exciting to be at its forefront. The problem we want to solve is a global one and the market opportunity is tremendous.

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

The DACH region provides solid market opportunities and infrastructure for fintech startups. Berlin is on its way to becoming Europe’s tech startup hub next to London with an exciting fintech scene.

To accelerate business opportunities I’m strongly in favour of the development of a partnership culture with traditional financial institutions.

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

Stand behind your ideas and be open for challenges. The financial industry is particular in many ways. Regulatory requirements might seem challenging but in the end they’ll deter dishonest financial service providers from entering the market. Accordingly, they should be seen as an advantage for reliable financial service providers. If you stay focused on being the best at what you do, it is very likely that the rest will follow.