The largest FinTech Hub in the world, Lattice80, interviewed Markus about his entrepreneurial journey, the competitive edge of tryb and what advice he would give to startup founders. Read more here.
Share your journey to get to where you are
The past decade took me all the way from working with the Zulu tribe in South Africa in an HIV orphanage, to building carbon fibre clips for airplanes, to scaling up a suit business in Germany, followed by embracing the tech scene in London (CleanTech, IoT, EdTech) to finally financial technology. FinTech was certainly not something that I planned or saw coming. However, when I co-founded Startupbootcamp FinTech over three years ago, it was the right timing in the right place and I knew that I had joined a fascinating industry.
Singapore came into play as we decided to take Startupbootcamp FinTech to the red dot and help to build the young FinTech ecosystem in this region. When I came to Singapore in 2014, roughly 20 FinTech companies existed and today we count more than 320!
After having incubated and worked with dozens of FinTech companies globally, I felt that I would like to go deeper into financial technology and come up with a new concept that will shape the future of finance. Through the typical serendipity moments, I met my co-founders Nels Friets, Magnus Böcker and Veiverne Yuen. We found common ground in taking a more cynical approach and defined an investment strategy to focus on growth stage infrastructure financial technology.
In summary, I was lucky in finding the right people that believed in me, who became mentors, co-founders and friends. Even though I might not always have the deepest knowledge in the first stage, I believe that through curiosity, perseverance and an open mind, you can eventually get there.
Who are your peers in Asia?
As every company would claim that they are unique, I would say that tryb Capital is a new type of investor that operates in the niche market of b2b financial technology in ASEAN. We do work a lot with other capital pools in the region, e.g. family offices, corporates and governments, to foster the growth of promising early and growth stage companies. Given that financial services is a highly regulated, close knit and complex industry, strategic (co-)investments and partnerships are key for scale and profitability.
Our company name ‘tryb’ might already alludes to it – we truly believe that more tribes have to work together to build next generation financial technology platforms.
What do you wish you’d have known 3 years ago that you know now?
Be impatient, but don’t rush
FinTech doesn’t mean Technology in Finland, it means Technology in Finance!
That I will end up living in and enjoying Singapore
Say ‘No’ earlier, just don’t wait
How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
We at tryb Capital have chosen a different approach to investments in financial technology than most other FinTech funds.
Given the diverse backgrounds of the founding partners, we have a differentiated perspective on how to invest in and grow b2b financial technology companies. We bring a Private Equity discipline and a hands-on approach to build out financial technology platforms in ASEAN. Because we have perpetual capital in our investment holding company, we have a long term view that matches the long J-curves of product deployment into financial services. Where most funds have a limited fund life, we believe that with our structure, we can create more value to shareholders and investees. As we see the space starting to consolidate, we are actively involved in integrating technologies into new middle and back office platforms.
If you sold your company today, what would you like to gain and want to avoid losing?
Can I simply answer that tryb Capital can’t be bought right now?? We are just at the beginning of a long and exciting journey…There is nothing more right now for me than making tryb Capital a successful investor and holding company.
What kind of person would succeed in the startup space?
I have worked with numerous entrepreneurs in the past years, have seen many fail and some succeed. There is certainly not one secret recipe to it that promises you to become successful. Everyone has to craft his/her own story that is based on background, expertise, personality and goals.
Personally, I would say that it comes down to having a good self-awareness – know who you are, why you exist and where you want to go. There has to be a strong motivation while putting yourself through the tough times of building a company.
What advice would you offer to any soon-to-be startup founder?
Don’t be alone… be amongst co-founders, family, friends and mentors who believe in you at any given point- because it does get difficult from time to time.
Also, really ask & listen to hard feedback and learn how to deal with it as there is no point in being treated to a politically correct comment. The more productive feedback you get, the more you can improve your company especially in the early stages. Actively seek for it and make sure you don’t take it the wrong way. Lastly, founders need to learn how to stay humble and keep listening. Quick success could make you blind and deaf.
What is a lesson you learned from one of your parents that you still use?
I learned from my mother to always put myself in the shoes of the other person and have empathy. How is she/he experiencing the situation and how can it be improved? How can the person be won over and be convinced? It taught me to always consider the other perspective and think ‘around some corners’ on how to approach conversations and decisions better. Going through life with blinds shut doesn’t make sense to me and empathy for others is necessary to build trust.
When it is all over, how would you like to be remembered?
I wouldn’t mind being remembered as the German who managed to create the best kind of cheese or the one who crafted a new Pinot Noir!
I am still trying to figure out where the fintech connection is, but I am sure that building up tryb Capital successfully will help me with my ambitions.
Honestly, I never think things will be over at some point….to me, life it is a long and interesting journey!
In one word, describe yourself
In one word, describe LATTICE80