Venture Leaders Fintech Interview: Meet Oliver Werneyer of IMburseby Venturlab Fintech August 9, 2018
Fintech Venture Leader Oliver Werneyer is the CEO of IMburse, a startup that simplifies the entire transaction technology space. It offers companies in industries from insurance to retail the chance to improve their customer relationships through personalised, streamlined payment processes – with little to no intervention in existing IT systems.
This is the 6th part of the Fintech Startup Interview serial powered by Venturelab.
Venturelab brings this autumn 10 Swiss Fintech Startups to New York.
Can you briefly introduce your project?
As a transaction orchestrator we bring the world of transactions (collect and payout in any market, any currency, via any technology with any partner) to companies to leverage via a single, simple integration. This way we minimize intervention into existing IT systems, enhance flexibility, reduce costs and unlock new features and capabilities.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities in fintech over the next five years? What problems urgently need to be solved?
The biggest opportunities we see are in the back-end enablement, automation and customer engagement areas.
Back-end Enablement: Incumbents are now opening up to the market to look for help updating their back-end. This needed a paradigm shift, as corporations previously guarded their systems from outside involvement. Fintechs will find a lot of interest and opportunity in this space.
Automation: The ever-increasing pressure to optimize and reduce costs and time spent on task puts the whole automation topic very high on the agenda. Fintech solutions that fit nicely into the IT landscape limits of companies but enhance automation are needed.
Customer engagement: This is not about distribution or apps. This is about how large companies can drive more value to the customer by becoming customer-centric. Having been mostly product-centric in the past, companies will need to make a shift in culture and mind-set. It will be a tough journey, and helping companies succeed in this will be very well received by the market.
What is pushing you towards international expansion?
We have an extremely scalable solution that thrives on volume and partnerships. We also see that the problem we are addressing – enhancement of transaction capabilities with minimal IT intervention – is a global topic and addresses all three of the above challenges: back-end enablement, automation and customer engagement. International expansion is a must for us to attain a size where we truly become the go-to building block for ecosystems, platforms and incumbents for anything related to transactions.
What do you see as the greatest obstacle to expansion into the global market?
Major obstacles include regulation, culture and investment. The multi-regulatory considerations that a global company faces increase adminand time to market.The complete difference in culture (especially on a business level) means that taking a company globally poses challenges to its belief and values, and how to maintain the culture that made it successful when it was smaller.
Investment is key because expanding globally really means having some local feet on the ground and a presence in the market, to show seriousness. This becomes extremely expensive for growing fintechs, and managing the burn rate is critical to achieving success in a sustainable way.
What attracts you to New York as a business development destination?
New York is well known to be home of powerhouse companies from the US, especially in the financial sector. These companies are our main targets, as we can save them hundreds of millions in annual costs. With their partners on the IT development side and some key retail group HQs, we see NY as an ideal starting point into the US.
What do you hope to achieve on the trip?
A core value of our company is to solve companies’ business pain points, as this is the only thing they will pay for. It will be critical for me to speak to people who can help us understand how our solution can solve specific problems in the US, or whether we are missing the mark and should be looking to deploy our platform slightly differently to really get traction.
We are also incredibly keen to meet with companies who are working on the topics of back-end upgrading, automation and customer engagement, and form connections that will lead to proofs of concept and deals down the line. A main goal is to meet investors with whom we can share our vision, and get them to buy into it and help us finance the growth of the company to the US.
And what are you nervous about?
That companies might believe themselves to be too large (or us too small, or too early) to even engage with. We want to learn, engage and evolve with partners to deliver truly market-changing solutions, and this requires open engagement and a willingness to try.
How is the Venture Leaders program beneficial for your startup?
The program puts a great structure around the whole event, which means we will be well prepared to make the most of the trip. It also lends us a certain credibility, which will do well to get the discussion going in earnest– we want to do business and sign deals! Going to NY with Venture Leaders gives me the confidence and comfort that we will get a lot for our company from that trip.