Why These 7 Swiss Fintech CEOs are Worth Following in 2020by Fintechnews Switzerland January 13, 2020
Switzerland has emerged as a global fintech center over the past couple of years, notably in the segment of investment management and the field of blockchain.
As of December 2019, Switzerland was home to 343 fintech companies, among which 133 in the investment and wealth management space, according to the monthly Fintech Startup Map by Swisscom.
Zug, a city located in central Switzerland, is often referred to as the Crypto Valley due to the large number of companies and organizations engaged in cryptocurrency and blockchain in the city. According the Crypto Valley Directory, there are currently more than 800 startups, services providers, and other organizations part of the local crypto and blockchain scene, among which the Ethereum Foundation, the Libra Association and Proxeus.
Part of the drivers behind Switzerland’s rise into one of the world’s top fintech hub in the world has been the numerous initiatives by government bodies and regulators. Most recently, the Fintech License was introduced with the aim to facilitate the development of innovative solutions and novel business models, and in March last year, the Swiss Federal Council published a draft law relating to blockchain and distributed ledger technology. The public consultation ended in late-June and the new law will still have to be adopted by the Swiss Parliament.
2019 was a fruitful year for Switzerland’s fintech industry, and as 2020 begins, we look today at seven of the top 15 Swiss fintech CEOs we shortlisted earlier and share why they must be followed closely this year.
Thomas Hilgendorff, CEO and Co-Founder of Yapeal
Thomas Hilgendorff is the CEO and co-founder of Yapeal, an upcoming digital bank that promises to “redefine the way people bank.” The platform will work alongside a mobile app called YapApp, which will be built on blockchain technology.
Some features will include a fully-digital onboarding process, personal finance management, planning and budgeting that leverage artificial intelligence (AI), foreign exchange (forex) and mobile payments capabilities.
Yapeal is backed by blockchain venture capital fund blufolio, and plans to go live once it receives a fintech license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) before eventually applying for a full banking license.
Besides being the CEO of Yapeal, Hilgendorff is also a member of the board of Futurae Technologies, a company providing IT securities solutions and smart authentication software, as well as the founder and managing partner of DIventures Management, a venture capital firm focused on accelerating fintech and regtech startups.
Miki Vayloyan, CEO of KYC Spider
Miki Vayloyan is the CEO of KYC Spider, a regtech startup specializing in know-your-customer (KYC) compliance. KYC Spider was founded in 2003 as a joint venture between MME, a leader in the field of compliance, and Eurospider, a leader in the field of data retrieval and AI.
The company offers all the necessary compliance services relevant not only for finance intermediaries and banks, but also for fintechs and industrial corporations, including embargo, sanctions screening, PEP and crime check and compliance documentation. Some of its clients of KYC Spider include Yapeal, Bitcoin Suisse and Lykke.
Besides being the CEO of KYC Spider, Vayolan is also a member of Fintechrockers, a community of fintech professionals. Prior to KYC Spider, Vayolan was the president of Swissintell.org, the Swiss Association for Market Research, Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Planning, and a consultant for SalesAhead.
Ben James, CEO of Tradeplus24
Ben James is the CEO of Tradeplus24, a Zurich based Fintech focussed on receivables based lending, seen by many as the leading Swiss Fintech in this space.
Partnered with Credit Suisse and backed by SIX Group and Berliner Volksbank, Tradeplus24 is set for global expansion in 2020 with its first new market in Australia launched at the end of 2019 and from what we understand will be followed up by several new markets both in Europe and Asia this year.
Ben James is a former GE Capital manager and is backed by an experienced team of banking professionals.
Yoko Spirig, CEO and Co-Founder of Ledgy
Yoko Spirig is the CEO and co-founder of Ledgy, an equity management platform for startups.
Ledgy helps startups handle their employee shareholdings, cap table and investor relations professionally and accurately from the start, providing investors a centralized source of all important information.
The platform brings together all stakeholders: employees can see how many shares they have already vested, and investors can track their portfolio performance. Additionally, consistency-checks guarantee that a company’s cap table is error-free, at any time in the company’s history.
Spirig studied physics at ETHZ, the University of Oxford and CERN. Prior to Ledgy, she was project lead of Swissloop, helping to build the first Hyperloop pod in Switzerland.
Francois Briod, CEO and Co-Founder of Monito
Francois Briod is the CEO and co-founder of Monito (formerly TawiPay), a comparison platform for international money transfer services. Monito’s mission is to help the general public understand and navigate the jungle of international money transfers.
The platform compares and reviews more than 350 money transfer operators to help users find the best option for each of their international transaction. Users get to see the total cost for each provider including all fees and the margin on the exchange rate. The websites has more then a half a million page views every month.
Monito is an award-winning startup and was named the Best Swiss Startup 2018 by Prix Strategis and the Best Swiss Fintech Pitch 2017 by Venture Leaders Fintech.
Besides Monito, Briod is also the co-founder of Direction N’tolo, a non-profit organization offering scholarships and micro-credit in Cameroon. Briod is a social entrepreneur and technology enthusiast living in Lausanne.
Sandra Tobler, CEO and Co-Founder of Futurae Technologies
Sandra Tobler is the CEO and co-founder of Futurae Technologies, a cybersecurity and authentication company.
Created in 2016 by security researchers from the Systems Security Group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), Futurae Technologies has developed an innovative, state-of-the-art bank grade cybersecurity technology that has garnered internationally acclaim, awards and satisfied customers. Customers of Futurae Technologies include Aduno, Scalable Capital, Sherpany, the SIX Group and the Zürcher Kantonalbank.
At Futurae Technologies, Tobler focuses on strategy and business development. She is also a board member of Startupticker.ch, an ambassador of Swiss Finance Startups, and a member of Disruption Disciples. Tobler has years of experience in IBM and S-GE and has an extensive US and Swiss network.
Philip Schoch, Co-Founder, Product & Strategy at Apiax
Philip Schoch is a co-founder of Apiax, a Swiss regtech startup that builds and offers tools that transform written regulations into binary, machine-readable digital compliance rules, and to manage the full lifecycle of digital regulations. The rules are consumable via an app or can be integrated directly into banking processes through an easy-to-use API.
In April 2019, Apiax hired a former UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expert who is now in charge of the company’s new London office. The company raised EUR 6 million in a Series A funding round in October 2019 to support its global growth plans.
Prior to Apiax, Schoch worked for UBS and Appway, a software company.