7 Questions

7 Questions with Arne Westphal, co-founder of Econ Application GmbH

1. Who are you?

We are a small team of UX specialists, consultants, developers and marketeers from western Germany who wants to radically simplify the management of online forms. As we have a lot of experience in creating innovative solutions for banks and insurances, we developed an user-friendly software solution for complex processes of online forms and applications functioning like a high-performance content management system.

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

We have developed a new generation software solution that works on internal and external websites, triggers complex events and has an intuitive user interface so that everyone with no programming skills can keep up with increasingly shorter product cycles and product launch times. As this is an unique solution, we don’t have any competitors yet.

We mostly compete with the cost-consuming projects for programming fixed application forms. Our challenge is to persuade the internal IT department of the company we want to work for,  that programming of rigid online forms belongs in the past.

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

Our idea evolved during our daily work with online forms in the financial industry. In conversations with our clients – online marketers, sales specialists and product managers – we repeatedly heard the wish for a form solution enabling them to create, update, manage, test and release online forms without IT support or extensive IT knowledge. Therefore we created Econ.

The financial support throughout the developing stage was guaranteed by our holding company, as we could “borrow” some developers for our project before founding it officially. Econ was launched and is still a fully privately owned company.

4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?

To explain our business model to the target audience. As it is so innovative, it was difficult for us to convince the future customers that our new way is possible and effective. But we accepted the challenge and succeeded!

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

I find it amazing how fintechs influence the established finance companies and the whole surrounding industry. Through cooperation or competition, banks and insurances are having a big chance of adapting the modern digital tools and going in line with the current trends. It is not about founding the next fintech company to make fast profit – it is about making progress towards digitalization, no matter what side on – as fintech or established institution.

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

I see an enormous potential especially in the insurance area – they need a real “insurtech shot”. Fintech event that boost the dialog between the startups and the established companies accelerate the digitalization of the industry. We need less one-way talks and pitch shows but more conversations and real partnerships for the road leading to it.

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

1. Find an easy solution for an existing problem.

2. Put a real effort in marketing to promote it.

3. Don’t give up!