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FinTecSystems was founded in March 2014 with the aim of reducing creditworthiness and fraud risks by accessing online banking accounts. In addition to locations in Munich and Hamburg, the company also has a location in Linden near Gießen in Hesse. We asked co-founder Dirk Rudolf for a founder interview.
RMS: Please introduce yourself to us briefly. Who are you and what are you doing?
My name is Dirk Rudolf and I manage FinTecSystems together with my two co-founders, Stefan Krautkrämer and Martin Schmid. We have specialized in fully automated financial analysis based on online banking data. This allows, among other things, the credit check for online loans to be carried out digitally and in real time. Our customers are banks such as DKB / SKG, N26 and SolarisBank, but also FinTechs such as Smava and Finreach.
RMS: How did your startup come about?
All three of us have a background in payment, banking and e-commerce, because we were part of the founding team of Sofortüberweisung, one of the best-known internet payment methods in German-speaking countries. The idea for FinTecSystems came about when we had negative personal experiences with credit checks despite our solvency. For example, Stefan hadn't received a credit card because of too many accounts, and a certain Schufa entry was a problem for me with real estate financing. So we have seen first hand that there is obviously potential for optimization when assessing creditworthiness. That was the founding idea for FinTecSystems!
RMS: How did you manage the financing?
As founders, we ourselves took care of the initial financing for hiring the first employees and setting up the company. After a fishing round, we carried out seed financing with Heilemann Ventures and MenschDanke Capital in September 2015, which together with Ventech from France and LittleRock raised our Series A financing in summer 2016. We recently completed our Series B round, with Reimann Investors as the new anchor investor.
RMS: What were the biggest stumbling blocks that you had to overcome so far when founding and developing the startup?
As a rule, there are two main hurdles for a start-up: First, there has to be a real need for the product in the market and, second, it is important to quickly achieve traction, high user numbers and market shares. If both are given, start-ups are usually successful and also interesting for investors. Firstly, it was not a problem for us, there was and is a demand for qualified account data in the market. Convincing banks established in the FinTech sector as a young company, on the other hand, was much more difficult or took longer than expected. In retrospect, we see the acquisition of the first reference customers and the creation of the perfect team as the greatest challenges.
RMS: How many people do you now work with on FinTecSystems?
Our company is represented at three locations (Munich, Linden and Hamburg) in Germany, including development in Linden near Gießen. We employ around 30 people in total.
RMS: What are you doing to increase your level of awareness?
Unlike a B2C-oriented FinTech, we are not so dependent on being well known. Our target group are banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and FinTechs. In order to make ourselves better known in these circles, we are represented at the industry get-togethers with lectures and rely on regular PR and marketing campaigns. As a rule, our customers already know us, so we concentrate on making the range of our product ecosystem "accourate" better known.
RMS: Where do you want your startup to be in the next 3-5 years?
We are one of the technology leaders in our segment, and we would like to expand this status. We see ourselves as enablers and partners for banks and financial service providers to successfully cope with the digital transformation process. We want to be THE provider for the digital financial picture in Europe - that is our goal.
RMS: How do you see the start-up location Rhine-Main? Is the region a good area for startups?
We value the Rhine-Main location because we have very good access to smart people here, on whom we as a tech company naturally depend. In this respect, the high density of universities and the attractive Frankfurt metropolitan area are of course location advantages. We are also convinced that Frankfurt will expand its leading role as a banking center in Europe, which is of course also important for us as a FinTech company. We are where our customers are - perfect. Overall, I would say that the start-up climate here is excellent and the region doesn't need to hide from Berlin or Munich.
RMS: Is there any tip that you would like to give other founders along the way?
The most important thing is certainly having the courage to want to change something. That is right at the beginning and is the driving force behind every start-up, and it should never be lost sight of. At the same time, you have to be flexible, especially during the development process, and maybe change or adapt the originally planned business model. This also requires courage and assertiveness. One experience was important for us: an idea is far from worth anything! The implementation and the passion for actively shaping the company are ultimately factors that count and that set good founders apart from the crowd.
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