BITA is one of the startups selected to present at the 5th Anniversary Edition of FinTech Forum on 22nd Nov. 2018- more information for startups is here. Registration for investors / financial institutions is here.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
A Venezuelan native, I’m one of those perhaps “irrational minds” that decides to change a good career in the corporate space, and most recently the VC space, for the excitement and intellectual challenge of entrepreneurship. I’m currently spreading my time between managing BITA (from which I will discuss in the next questions) and giving advisory to several startups in the Fintech space. Privately, I’m an avid globetrotter, food passionate, and sports follower. Give me a glass of wine, good cheese and a nice setting and you will find me in happiness.
2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?
BITA is the first professional index and data provider in the digital asset space. We develop, calculate and disseminate real-time indexes and proprietary datafeeds covering the digital asset universe (cryptocurrencies and digital tokens). Our focus is in providing the right infrastructure and data to institutional investors interested in entering this new asset class.
Funnily enough our current competitor would be Bitcoin, as right now all investments are benchmarked against the currency. Future competitors will range from traditional index companies (like MSCI, STOXX, etc) to data vendors.
3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you go about launching it?
All the founders of BITA have a both a background in the indexation, exchange or quantitative industries, as well as previous experiences in the venture space. For months we were monitoring the evolution of the digital asset market, and realized that the right conditions were still not given for institutional investors to allocate capital. That’s when we decided to embark on the journey to become the leading data infrastructure provider in the space.
4. How did you finance your startup, and what learnings would you like to share from the fund-raising journey?
So far we have been funded through business angels within our network. From this and previous experiences as an entrepreneur and VC, I would advise startups to start early, to not underestimate the amount of hours required, and to try to build a strong network as this is way more effective than cold emailing or calling.
5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?
Blockchain is definitely an interesting area, due to the implications on several business models. The other two would be artificial intelligence as a way to automate processes, as well as tokenization as an efficient way to securitize different types of assets.
6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in Continental Europe, and how can we help?
Brexit will give additional relevance to any initiative coming from Continental Europe. Not only banks and institutions will increase the presence in the region, but regulators will push for more infrastructure and business to be dealt from within. This opens a lot of fresh opportunities for startups in both the B2B and B2C space.
I think fostering a very strong community of Fintech startups in the region is very important to increase cross-fertilization and joint ventures between startups.
It is also important to build more bridges between European startups and American and Asian investors.
7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?
Dedicate a lot of time into the definition of your business model and your USP. I have met a lot of startups that already months into their venture are still not sure on how to monetize and how to create a compelling argument for selling their products and services. It is also important to validate your business model with prospective clients from early on.