The Fintech Interview for today at FTV is with Spotcap, a company with HQ in Berlin. They have just launched their services in the United Kingdom, and their CEO and Founder Jens Woloszczak, has shared with us some of their objectives and ideas. Read more about Spotcap under: https://www.spotcap.com
Fintech Valley: Could you please give a short description and history about Spotcap for those companies and audiences that are not familiar with the company and the products?
Spotcap is an online, alternative lender to small and medium-sized businesses. Spotcap provides unsecured lines of credit and business loans from its own balance sheet. We have developed a sophisticated and dynamic decision process assessing the real-time performance of businesses to grant short term credit lines and loans.
The company was founded in 2014, launching in Madrid in September and expanding to the Netherlands and Australia in 2015. Most recently Spotcap expanded its’ operations to the UK, opening an office in London. Over the past two years we have secured more than EUR 63.5 million in funding and enabled thousands of SMEs to reach their potential. Our mission is backed by world-class investors including Rocket Internet, Access Industries, Holtzbrinck Ventures, Kreos Capital and Finstar Financial Group.
FTV: What are the Unique Selling Points of Spotcap, what value do you bring to your target audience?
Spotcap’s unique approach to lending addresses the funding needs of small business, empowering them to embrace growth opportunities. A business with access to finance is more likely to innovate and grow, perhaps by running a marketing campaign, opening a secondary location, or employing skilled talent.
The trouble is, finance for small businesses has traditionally been difficult to obtain. Small and medium-sized businesses are often subjected to long waiting times, outdated processes and antiquated metrics for measuring success and failure. Traditional lenders make credit decisions based on historical financials and old-fashioned credit scoring, whereas Spotcap uses a unique, proprietary credit algorithm which provides deep insight into the financial condition of a business. Spotcap enables quick, sound decisions and make finance more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses
FTV: Where are the Spotcap Headquarters? Is there a special reason for settling the company here? Do you have regional offices in other countries?
Spotcap is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, with local offices in each of our operating countries – Madrid (Spain), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Sydney (Australia) and London (the UK). Spotcap started out as a Rocket Internet Venture. Rocket Internet, headquartered in Berlin, is one of the world’s largest venture capital firms and startup incubators. Furthermore, Berlin is set to become the fintech capital of Europe, and a hub of tech innovation. By basing the business in Berlin we are well positioned to attract top talent and investment.
FTV: What has happened in the last years to the main Financial Corporations to finally adapt new technologies? Do you believe they are reacting quickly enough?
It’s true that some of the larger banks were slow to adapt to the emergence of disruptive fintech technologies. Today a number of these players are beginning to consider what steps to take to navigate the changing landscape of the finance industry.
For some players, this means building in-house solutions, others will look to acquire fintechs or to partner with them. The trend we are seeing globally is one of collaboration – we have seen banks partnering with fintech companies, setting up venture funds to fund fintech companies, acquiring fintech companies and creating subsidiaries.
As technological progress continues to transform the financial sector, I’m certain that collaboration between fintech companies and traditional financial institutions will give this transformation an additional boost and be mutually beneficial for both parties.
FTV: In your option, how relevant are the following 5 factors in the success of a Fintech company. Can you please grade them with a percentage of relevance. (20% for each one of them, for example, would grade all of them as equally important.) Please feel free to add an extra factor that you believe could be important:
- Consumer adoption: 20%
- Technology: 25%
- Marketing budget: 10%
- Human talent: 25%
- Investors: 20%
Although you need all five elements to build a successful fintech business, our strategy has always been to invest in skilled and knowledgeable employees and to build state-of-the-art technology. These two elements have been crucial to our success, and have allowed us to provide an unparalleled experience to our customers and partners.
FTV: Has it become easier for you to reach finance corporations and make them hear what you have to say in terms of finance innovation?
As the alternative finance sector grows, larger players have certainly become more willing to work with, and learn from fintech businesses. The trend globally has been one of collaboration and cooperation, and this is at the core of our own strategy. We are in active discussions with financial institutions in each of the markets in which we operate, and we are open to partnerships in a variety of forms.
FTV: What is the most important market for Spotcap? What are the next plans?
The UK is our fourth market and a significant milestone for our business. We are completely focused on providing credit lines to SMEs in all our active markets, where there is a strong demand for alternative lending solutions. It’s too early to share which market or markets are next for Spotcap, but we are certainly considering a number of other countries globally.
FTV: In your point of view, when is regulation good for Fintech and when is it bad for Fintech? Is regulation helping or deterring financial innovation?
We’re a big advocate for regulation, and welcome it as it affords greater consumer protection and establishes trust and credibility for the alternative lending market.
Of course, regulation can kill innovation but if implemented properly, it can support growth. The UK is a great example of regulation done right. The UK government was quick to adapt and respond to disruption in financial services. By providing the right amount of regulation and support London has quickly become one of the global fintech leaders.
The current regulatory environment in Europe is far more fragmented as each country sets its own requirements. We would welcome a single European consumer credit license that would allow us to conduct business in all member states (subject only to local marketing and tax laws).
FTV: Which is the Fintech capital in Europe in your point of view? Why? Is there a recipe or formula for being a successful Fintech capital?
Berlin is a strong contender to become the fintech capital of Europe. It’s no secret that fintech was slower to take off in Germany than other global markets – this was in part due to the complex nature of financial regulation in Germany which made some investors skittish about the potential of the sector. Despite initial hesitations, our nascent financial-technology industry is poised to surge, in fact investment in German fintech ventures grew 843% between 2014 and 2015 and Berlin leads the charge.
Berlin, often referred to as “Silicon Allee,” has perfected the art of building tech companies. Berlin’s Rocket Internet, the world’s only publicly listed incubator is headquartered in Berlin, and is just one example of Berlin’s unique ability to accelerate tech innovation quickly and efficiently.
At Fintech Valley, we would like to thank Jens Woloszczak, CEO and Founder at Spotcap, for the interview and his time. Read more about Spotcap at: https://www.spotcap.com