The Swiss Fintech Startups PostFinance Is Backingby Fintechnews Switzerland November 15, 2017
PostFinance, the financial services unit of Swiss Post and one of the leading financial institutions in Switzerland, has been an active investor in the fintech space as it seeks to become a digital powerhouse in the country.
In an interview with venturelab, Jens Schulte, the head of corporate venture capital of PostFinance, explained that in the current market environment with low and in some cases negative interest rates, tapping into new sources of income that do not depend on interest rate levels has become a top priority for PostFinance. And one of the many ways it has found to achieve this goal is by making investments in innovative, young growth companies.
“Our corporate venture capital commitments must fit into our strategy,” Schulte said. “We look into whether and how a potential investment would complement our product and service portfolio, and we pay particular attention of course to aspects such as business model, market, product image, team and technology.”
And to discover relevant startups, PostFinance uses various channels such as its own network, market research or participation at relevant events. Another channel is through partnerships with external support programs such as venturelab, to identify opportunities for cooperation.
Separately, Swiss Post, which invests in a much broader range of startups including those operating in the e-commerce, mobility, digital trust and business process outsourcing spaces, in addition to digital financial services, is working with investiere.ch, one of the leading startup investors in Switzerland, to discover relevant startups.
PostFinance investments and joint ventures
PostFinance’s investment portfolio is made of startups covering varied segments ranging from payments and investing, to insurance and fundraising.
One of its earliest deals was moneymeets, a social trading platform where members can recommend investment strategies and products to one another. The investment, which took place in June 2016, was intended to help PostFinance expand its know-how in the area of mobile banking, the firm said.
Another investment went towards Sonect, a location-based on-demand platform for cash withdrawal that lets users get cash using their smartphone from neighborhood stores, restaurant, delivery service and even other individuals. Sonect said it had been in touch with PostFinance since it won the PostVenture business idea competition back in 2015.
PostFinance has also invested in Lucerne-based Tilbago, a startup that provides software for processing debt collection proceedings. This deal, which took place in October last year, allowed PostFinance to combine the solution with its accounts receivable management tool, PostFinance SmartBusiness, enabling the firm to provide its SME customers with a solution that makes handling accounts receivables much easier, from creating offers and billing to controlling open receivables.
In May 2016, PostFinance acquired a minority stake in RaiseNow to have a foot in the growing digital fundraising market. RaiseNow provides online and mobile fundraising solutions to charities and other non-profit organizations as well as companies engaged in social activities and had over 200 customers in ten countries at the time of the deal.
The investment in leading crowd intelligence provider Sentifi last month was “an acknowledgement of the scientific approach, high technological product maturity and major market potential of the solution,” said PostFinance CEO Hansruedi Köng. Sentifi analyzes unstructured data from social media such as news feeds, blog posts or Twitter messages to provide financial market insights to investors.
PostFinance’s activities also take the form of joint ventures with local and international fintech startups. For instance, PostFinance’s collaboration with German peer-to-peer lending platform Lendico sought to bring the SME crowdlending platform to the Swiss market through the establishment of Lendico Switzerland.
Meanwhile, PostFinance’s partnership with Axon Ivy, saw the launch of Finform, a joint venture that provides software for efficient processing and real-time verification of formal compliance-relevant documents.
Besides investments and partnerships with players in Switzerland, PostFinance has also invested in several foreign startups, including German ventures Wikifolio, a social online trading platform that has since expanded to Austria and Switzerland, and Getsurance, a robo-advisor for insurance specializing in biometric risk.
Featured image: PostFinance Headquarters © PostFinance Ltd 2017, all rights reserved.
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