This interview is part of Scaling Enterprise FinTech | The Handbook, launched in Mar. 2021 in partnership with SixThirty Ventures and Finovate Europe. The Handbook includes proprietary research on ca. 65 Enterprise FinTech scaleups in Europe, Q&As with 16 founders on their journey to scale, as well as insights from 10 leading investors and financial institutions. Whether you are a founder with an idea, an early stage startup looking for inspiration and learnings, or an investor or financial institution looking to understand the difficult but rewarding journey to building a world-class Enterprise FinTech firm – download the Handbook here http://www.fintechforum.de/sef/
1. A year since the first lockdowns- is this is a good time to be building or scaling an Enterprise FinTech (/ InsurTech) firm in Europe?
Big economic shocks usually open the way for new chances and extremely successful starts were founded during such times. One of the key changes for enterprise startups due to the pandemic is the fact, that sales can be done purely digital and I assume that most of that will stay. This brings bears huge cost and efficiency gains in sales being on of the key ingredients for scale. Customers who were forced to turn more digital and a huge increase in private savings might also fuel growth of new business models in fintech/Insurtech, that can also leverage on lean digital cost structures compared to the incumbents. Last but not least the pandemic lead to increased M&A activities (at high valuations).
2. What’s working and what’s not in B2B / Enterprise sales in the current environment?
As described above many steps of the sales process can be done digitally now, lowering costs and increase efficiency. But video conferences cannot substitute anything in particular when it comes to building personal relations, sensing the atmosphere and emotional drivers. In particular for these parts traditional personal meetings will stay important. Another learning in our portfolio is, that the sales value of events now being held digitally changed. Many formerly successful events do not work anymore. Other format such as very specific webinars on detailed topics works well and are fairly easy and cheap to organize
3. In terms of investment focus: what’s in and what’s out for you?
We continue to have a broad view on insurtechs and fintech as long as they could have proven the product market fit with relevant customer traction, a large international market and clear enough USPs. I see quite some interesting teams that develop new solutions in the SME financing and payments space.
4. What does it take to get to Series A today?
The above mentioned product market fit, great team of course and traction that is ideally proven by a MRR of around 100k €.
5. What should startups expect or plan for in the coming months?
Currently there is a good funding and M&A environment startups can leverage on. They should also be prepared to identify and exploit the chances that the lifting of the covid restriction bring along.
Stefan Lemper is a longtime venture capital investor, entrepreneur and corporate executive. He invests with a special focus on insurance and fintech related startups for the family office of a well-known entrepreneur. In that role he also supports one of the largest German insurance groups to identify and execute international corporate venture investments. Previously he created and ran programs for corporates to embed startup cooperations, corporate venture capital investments and M&A in their digitalization strategy. Before he was managing director of an international online startup and partner of a venture capital fund, where he invested in various tech startups for many years. He started his career in consulting after studying business administration.