1. Who are you and what do you do?
eCommerce is growing six times faster than Germany’s GDP. Due to developments in internet marketplaces, a new kind of internet retailer has emerged. They’re young, grow extremely fast and have outsourced the majority of the value-added chain. These young entrepreneurs suffer from a meagre supply of credit, which significantly limits their growth. We want to change that.
We’re an innovative fintech company founded by experts in eCommerce and supply chain finance. Our team is heterogenous and experienced and comes from England (Nathan, 43), Austria (Fredi, 44), Sweden (Peter, 38) and Germany (Tobias, 35). Nathan met Peter ten years ago in Switzerland and Fredi more than two years ago in Germany. Tobias joined us last year.
Our startup Fulfin offers eCommerce retailers loans via a digital platform with API interfaces to online marketplaces (like Amazon), banks, payment service providers, logisticians and warehouse clerks. That gives us a very precise view of our customers. Our scoring model looks at our customers’ eCommerce sales data as well as product and finance data. No other financial service provider looks as closely at data from eCommerce retailers as we do.
2. But that’s nothing out of the box!
No, it really doesn’t exist yet. We allow our customers to use their inventory as collateral for the loan and pay us back with their commercial success. That is unique in this segment. Our innovative collateral process and eCommerce scoring allows us to not only understand our customers’ risk profiles better, but to also drastically reduce the risk when granting a loan.
Biggest challenge: bootstrapping
3. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
That is a really good question. Everything has gone so well from the start that we really don’t want to complain. Our biggest challenge was bootstrapping the company to the point where we could prove to our dream investor that we have an exciting business model. That meant we not only had to develop our technology with extremely limited means, but that we also granted the first loans from our own money.
4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
We’re making great progress. We receive applications almost every day even though we aren’t doing much marketing yet. Something we’re also just as happy about is how great our team has turned out and that we won over a truly spectacular investor. We’re now embarking on the next phase for the company, which will be scaling, and we feel very well prepared for the journey.
Motivated and highly skilled employees are extremely important
5. What does Munich mean to you?
We’ve made Munich our home and love what the city has to offer. I moved to Munich back in 2001 and although I lived in Zurich for a time since then, I never left on an emotional level.
For our company, Munich is the perfect location. We already benefited immensely during our first year here from our good relationship with TUM, and we’re currently taking part in the LMU EC Accelerator Program. Our office is in Werk1, and we feel we’re in very good hands in the Munich startup ecosystem.
You might initially think of Frankfurt for fintech, Berlin for eCommerce and Hamburg for logtech, but none of those cities would have had more advantages than Munich. Fintech is exciting, but isn’t easy, which is why finding highly skilled individuals for our company is extremely important. We’ve already been able to get numerous top talents on board with our vision in Munich.
6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
Our first product is merchandise financing for retailers on Amazon, but we’re planning a host of further products for other segments. The pillars of our concept are to obtain conclusive customer information from digital sources and to drastically reduce the risk of a loan with collateral. That really makes a lot possible. Banks aren’t able to serve the customers we do, so the opportunity to grow definitely exists.
7. Isar River or English Garden?
Oh, that’s tough. But you can have them both in the northern part of the English Garden, and we think that’s quite nice.