Today we are joined by Jurgen Ingels, Wim De Waele and Philippe Mauchard of Eggsplore.
Eggsplore acts as catalyst for the European FinTech ecosystem. The founding partners include multinational banks, telco and financial infrastructure providers, scale-ups and consultancies, all collaborating within the fintech community to build the Fintech ecosystem in Europe.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
– Jurgen Ingels, founder of Clear2Pay back in 2000, who sold Clear2Pay to FIS in 2014. Clear2Pay delivers globally applicable solutions for secure, timely and streamlined payment processing. At the time of sale, Clear2Pay employed 1,200 people in 15 different countries.
– Wim De Waele, founder of iMinds and its former CEO. In 2015, iMinds ranked as the 4th best university incubator in the world.
– Philippe Mauchard, founder and former global director of McKinsey Solutions, the branch at McKinsey that helps clients upgrade their business-intelligence and adopt innovative solutions to capture value from business insights.
– And we have a team of extremely motivated and engaged professionals, such as Niek De Taeye, Alexandra Gschwind and Ellen Thijs. All of us are deeply embedded in fintech, and strongly believe in our mission of connecting and scaling fintech companies and corporates.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
As in any start-up, the responsibilities fluctuate. Wim is the CEO and manages the business development and our day-to-day operations. Jürgen mostly manages the recruitment of start-ups and corporates at home from a board perspective, and Philippe is largely responsible for the international expansion of the community and its services. Yet again, all of these lines cross over.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Eggsplore actively supports the fintech community to expand internationally, and offers a gateway to Europe for all types of (international) fintech companies. Eggsplore connects the dots in Fintech.
We have two types of customers – corporates and scale-ups. Simply put, our product is upscale matchmaking. In the chaos of fintech, we provide scale-ups easy access to corporates that are willing to buy or invest. Similarly, we provide corporates easy access to the latest innovations in fintech.
Two examples of such upscale matchmaking are:
– Fintech Village: together with the bank ING we selected eight very interesting scale-ups. We created a boot camp for these eight companies, and taught them about lean entrepreneurship, customer acquisition and topics such as cybersecurity – a major issue for any bank looking for a supplier. At the end of the boot camp, seven of the eight companies entered into a commercial partnership agreement with ING.
– Fintech Treks: for several banks we are now organizing foreign fintech treks, e.g. to Stockholm and to Israel. In a very short time span, we will show these banks the best that the local fintech scene has to offer.
At the same time, we continuously run the following:
– Co-working space: Eggsplore hosts a state of the art co-working space in Brussels, offering our partners and members a strategic base of operations to serve Europe.
– Strategic programs: Eggsplore sets up work streams around the main trends in fintech (Distributed Ledger, Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, API & Platform Economy…). The ecosystem actively co-creates the fintech landscape of the future. These programs deliver research, publications, but also proof of concepts and technology sandbox environments. And they are great networking.
– Events: Eggsplore organizes monthly events and meetups (“fin and tonics”) centred around specific fintech topics. We also organize a yearly conference where thought leaders in fintech and related industries discuss their vision on the future, which this year will take place on 3 November in Brussels.
Market reaction has been incredibly positive. In the span of one year, we registered many partners and members as set out under 4 below.
Tell us how you are funded.
We are funded two ways. First of all, bootstrapping for the ignition financing – private money put in by the founders. Eggsplore receives no public funding.
Second, Eggsplore is supported by its partners and members:
– by major financial companies or advisories. Currently, these include Swift, Proximus, SmartVentures, McKinsey & Company, KBC, EuroClear, Cresco, BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius, Axa, ING, KBC
– by membership fees from startups and scale-ups. Currently, these include Projective, the Glue, Venturewise, Delio, Dink, TFS, InfoSupport, Orillia, Exellys, Cashforce, Cashfree, Sopra Banking, Inventive Designers, Ticto, RiskSolutions, Starfisk, Volta, Intellect, SecurIT, Intix, POM, Anglr, Is It You, Hopon, PayKey, Contract.fit, GuardSquare, Partena, angel.me etc.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
The common view is that financial start-ups will disrupt the established financial players. Despite many attempts this disruption has not happened. Rather than the overall accepted concept of fintech disruption, the future of financial services will be in ‘Tech4Fin’. Tech4Fin is the use of technology to enable the financial sector.
All of our founders have worked extensively with both corporates and start-ups/scale-ups. We noticed that there is a high threshold that prevents corporates and start-ups to collaborate. Corporates don’t always know where to go and who to talk to, and how to sift between all of the existing start-ups/scale-ups. And start-ups often lack the professional expertise to deliver a finished product.
Eggsplore as an ecosystem fosters start-up and corporate collaboration. On the one hand, we help entrepreneurs scale their business by supporting them in conquering the European market. On the other hand, we connect major financial players to scale-ups, to help the multinationals innovate. It is a win-win for both scale-ups and corporates. We strongly believe that the future of fintech will not be about disruption, but about collaboration and blending.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Corporates and scale-ups, see above.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
Banks should be seamlessly integrated in everyday activities. A good bank should:
– Be embedded. Whether you are buying, changing money, buying derivatives or doing any financial transaction, anywhere, any-time, your bank should be automatically working for you. Bank offices, websites and other points of contact should no longer be necessary.
– Know what you want, when and why. For instance, why do banks not provide individual cash forecasts based on your past expenses, and e.g. warn you won’t be able to meet payments next month if you make a large purchase now? In the same way, banks should be able to know what to keep in cash, in a long term account or invested in stock, bonds or other derivatives based on your profile and preferences.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Call us, we can help you! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are already helping several of your suppliers, competitors and customers, as outlined under 4 above.
What phone are you carrying and why?
The classic Nokia 3110 that connects me to the doorbell of our reception.
Where do you get your industry news from?
We get news from our partners, and build on that. We read reports from Ernst & Young, McKinsey, Swift, Innovate Finance, Fintech Singapore, LinkedIn Groups etc., digest the major news and circulate a monthly newsletter with the latest industry developments.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
– Jurgen Ingels, @jurgen_ingels, founder and former CFO Clear2Pay and founder Eggsplore
– Wim Dewaele, @WimDW, founder and former CEO iMinds and founder and CEO Eggsplore
– Philippe Mauchard, @pmauchard, founder and former CEO McKinsey Global solutions and managing partner Eggsplore
Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interested in being profiled?
SmartFin Capital (http://smartfincapital.com/). SmartFin Capital is a technology Private Equity fund founded in December 2014 by Jurgen Ingels, Bart Luyten, Edward Schiettecatte and Stefan Dierckx. All of the founders have more than a decade of experience in Fintech, and most of the founders are successful past entrepreneurs.
SmartFin Capital targets growth technology companies headquartered in Europe and the United Kingdom. The investments range from EUR 1 million to EUR 10 million over the lifetime of the portfolio company, and are always minority stakes.
SmartFin Capital orients towards long-term investments. It is operated by a strong team that delivers financial, operational and entrepreneurial experience to support the growth of its portfolio companies. SmartFin Capital currently has five companies in portfolio, and is looking to invest in more.
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
It’s not sexy for consumers, but it’s a very good example of what Fintech can offer. The company “Cash force” provides automated cash forecasting for enterprise resource planning. It is one of the most promising up and coming Belgian scale-ups, and recently won the prize of ‘The Best Practice in Working Capital’ at CFO magazine.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
A first trend will be Tech4Fin, as set out above. The fintech sector will be shaped by collaboration between major incumbents and scale-ups, rather than disruption. As to general fintech evolutions, two well-known trends will be robo-advisory and the blockchain/distributed ledger technology. We are collaborating heavily on these two trends with our corporate partners and start-up members.
One trend that receives too little attention in fintech is security. We think security will start developing as a separate ‘branch’ in fintech. Currently most scale-ups promise to provide secure software. Yet, we believe there will be more and more scale-ups providing security as a stand-alone solution to banks and financial payment service providers.
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