Keynote by Thomas Bunnik (Binck Forward). Featuring Erich Schnoeckel (manager accountancy partner at Exact), Marleen Evertsz (CEO at Nxchange), Marco Bosma (SVP Fintech & Innovation at Rabobank) and Radboud Vlaar (founding partner at Orange Growth Capital).
The fourth and last panel discussion of the day pinned the challenges of SME financing and their respective solutions brought by four experts, in a conversation moderated by Erik Leus, managing partner at TD Shepherd & Co.
The session was kicked off by a truly inspirational speech delivered by Thomas Bunnik, former CEO-founder at Pritle, and now director of Binck Forward after the integration of his product by the online bank. Thomas traced the whole entrepreneurial process, personal and professional, which led to the success of his project. We particularly enjoyed his concrete understanding of the ordeal typical of entrepreneurship, with the financing challenge ahead.
Two main themes composed the structure of the discussion following this keynote: the future of the industry and the criteria a small business looking for financing should fill.
- Future of the industry
The debate was here around technologies that potentially will have the most impact on the financial landscape. According to Radboud Vlaar, the hot field for the years to come will be artificial intelligence (in terms of credit-scoring and risk management innovation). Security and KYC processes would as well play an important part on the financing landscape. Erich Schnoekel added blockchain to this list, stating the importance of this technology.
Marco Bosma underlined the increasingly changing shift in the relation between fintechs and incumbents: if a few years ago the position of these two was set on a quarrelsome stand, it is, for the Rabobank representative, not the case anymore. According to him, Fintechs indeed realize they are on a niche market and not in any position to ‘kill the banks’, but have a lot to gain by actually collaborating with them. In this regards, some improvements need to solidify the growing bonds tying the ecosystem. The rise of hybrid lending for instance is a relevant showcase of the shape the lending industry would take. Marleen Evertsz noted the importance of regulators, in particular regarding crowdfunding, which she deems to be a game-changing industry.
- Criteria impacting the investing choices
Speakers reached the issue of credibility of projects submitted to eventual investors. Radboud Vlaar underlined three key criteria investors would look into before deciding to get involved in a venture. Those criteria can be summarize as such:
- A reach to a large market
- Well thought go-to-market strategy
- Most importantly: to have a business which relies on a committed and competent team, point on which Marco Bosma agreed. Even more than the business models, the team driving it is according to these investors the key factor in the decision process.
From the banker perspective, Marco Bosma noted the issue of making any investment fit with the strategic agenda of such big corporates. In this optic, it was rather interesting to see on stage investors from different background, banks and fintechs, exposing their different point of view. Marleen Evertsz for instance advocated her company by opposing its strategy to the one of banks, represented here by Marco Bosma. According to Marleen Evertsz (Nxchange), the financing offered by her company displays an added value to the banks’, as the decision is faster and independent. As for Erich Schnoekel (Exact), he pointed out the fact that a lot of SMEs need multiple times a year to finance small amounts of money, issue Exact wants to solve, and which banks seem to struggle to reach.
What could the audience take home from the speakers?
To wrap this discussion, moderator Erik Leus asked every speaker for something the audience could take home with them. Radboud Vlaar advised us with a half in earnest, half in jest smile to set up your own company. Erich Schnoekel extoled fact over opinions, and Marco Bosma reminded us the importance of feedback and of a diverse team. Marleen Evertsz recommended not to be afraid of regulation, but to team up with regulators in the development of the company’s product.
Meet the speakers
Managing director at Binck Forward
Former CEO-founder of Pritle, Thomas Bunnik became the managing director of Binck Forward when the bank integrated his product. Previously, he held positions across investment advisory, business development and investment products management with ABN AMRO between 2006 and 2014. Thomas holds a solid track record of international expertise in asset management, with 11 years of experience in the industry.
SVP Fintech & Innovation at Rabobank
Marco Bosma is a senior business professional with international working experience in creating and marketing financial services, transaction banking, commercial lending, electronic trading, data management and Fintech. As a Fintech advocate, he is passionate about delivering excellent user experiences combining digital and IT to better meet customer needs. He is part of the Fintech eco-system connecting start-ups to large corporations. He defends an innovative approach in problem solving in order to deliver sustainable results.
Managing partner at TD Shepherd & Co. B.V.
With more than 11 years of experience in corporate finance, and 4 years of practice in the Silicon Valley, Erik Leus is a tech driven entrepreneur specialized in merger & acquisition, MBIs, MBO’s and financing rounds. He founded in 2004 Ehrhardt Leus & Associate, now TD Shepherd, an organization providing a unique blend of corporate finance expertise, hands-on experience with high-tech, high-potential companies, and a rich network of Dutch, European, Asian and US venture funds.
CEO at nx’change
Marleen Evertsz is CEO at nx’change, a new generation stock exchange for direct trading in securities between companies and investors. Nx’change makes it possible to place and trade securities on a regulated platform without the intervention of a bank or broker. Evertsz holds an M.Sc. in Financial Management from Ryenrode Business University.
Founding Partner at Orange Growth Capital
Radboud is a co-founder and partner at Orange Growth Capital, a financial technology venture capital firm founded in the fall of 2013. OGC has to date made 15 investments in companies such as ZOPA, Trussle, Squirro, Prepaynation, Cermati, Digital Insurance Group, Safened and BUX. Prior to founding Orange Growth Capital, Radboud was a partner at McKinsey & Company, focused on global digital financial services and PE/M&A for clients as well as McKinsey (e.g. Finalta Acquisition). Radboud co-founded 3 companies and has 4 masters from the University of Groningen in economics, law, accounting and corporate finance.
Senior Partner Manager at Exact
Erich Schnoeckel is Senior Partner Manager at Exact, a company providing software solutions for accounting and business processes. They operate in over 125 countries and offer their software in more than 40 languages. Erich studied economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam. You can watch an interview with him on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter at @ESchnoeckel