It’s time for a personal update! After freelancing for most of last and this year, I have decided to join the Banking-as-a-service startup Weavr.
I became a freelancer “by accident” when I decided to stop working on my corporate credit startup early last year. I knew that I did not want to remain a full time freelancer for a long time. So I kept looking and exploring the space and was choosing projects based on my interest and focus. Initially, I was still focused on founding a startup of my own. I have worked with many Fintech entrepreneurs in the past years and I was eager (and still am!) to switch sides and become one myself. However, after spending quite some time looking at different problems and connecting to potential co-founders that were passionate about the same things as I am, I realized that this might not be “a quick search”. Moreover, I have the mindset not to start a company just for the sake of it, but want to address the “right problem” with the “right team” – something I was unable to find in the past year. I know this will happen at one point, but in the last months I decided it does not have to be my next step.
What I was looking for
As a freelancer I have been exploring a few different Fintech areas and learned a lot. However, I quickly realised as well that when choosing my next full time job I want to return to Fintech infrastructure. You might think that this decision was caused by all the focus the space has received in the past months since the (pending) Plaid acquisition, however, that was rather irrelevant to me. I believe that even without the possibility of having a billion Euro exit I would have chosen the same industry. What attracts me is the complexity of the industry and potential impact on the future of banking/finance.
Besides working in Fintech infrastructure, I had a few more requirements for my potential next gig. Besides the basic things (groundbreaking product and stellar team), I was particularly looking for an early stage startup, where the founders have a track record and have support from similar type of people (e.g. investors). Moreover, I was focusing on startups and opportunities outside of Germany. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Berlin and cannot imagine living anywhere else (besides Mumbai obviously 🙂 ). However, I would say I have a fairly good network in Germany and know the Fintech infrastructure space here quite well. And there weren’t many exciting projects coming up in the past months, thus, I knew that I can’t limit myself to Germany.
There was no urge for me to stop freelancing as I had a few interesting projects lined up. Being a freelancer has plenty of advantages, however, being just on the sideline and not having “skin in the game” got really frustrating for me. Thus, I was quite happy when I ran into my friend Ivan at our coworking space in Berlin a few months ago. I helped him with a few intros so he kept asking me whom he could introduce me to. I replied “I don’t know, what’s the most exciting Fintech infrastructure company you came across recently?”. I was not expecting any interesting answer, but boy was I wrong! After telling me about Weavr, he introduced me to their CEO Alex Mifsud and I realised quickly that these people might be up for something. Speaking to Alex and CTO Adrian gave me quickly the feeling that Weavr might fit all the things I have on my requirement list. That the company was still under the radar with a rather complicated and outdated website made it even more attractive to me.
During my five years at Open Banking provider figo I have special memories of the early days in the company. Early days of a startup are always exciting (and exhausting), but designing and building all the Open Banking use-cases that became standard over the following years was something truly special. Banking-as-a-service in 2020 is definitely a lot further down the road than Open Banking in 2014, however, I feel the same excitement. Many of the “straight-forward” use-cases have been built on top of BaaS, however, there is still so much left – but hey, let’s not turn this blog post into an embedded banking post 🙂
What is Weavr doing?
There is a slight chance that I will be talking a little bit more about what we are working at Weavr in future blog posts (not sorry!), however, there are two things we are announcing today that I would like to highlight: a) Our $4m seed funding and b) our new product offering. Obviously the latter is a lot more exciting.
In an earlier product version, our partners could only issue virtual cards. We have added physical cards already a few weeks ago and are adding IBANs now as well. These features are available in different variations. The most typical one will be when our partners integrate these features so their users (consumers and businesses!) can create their own accounts and cards within our partners service (We call this product Multi). However, there are two more variations. Firstly, our product mono enables businesses to integrate banking and card issuance for themselves into their own services. Want to build your own in-house expense management solution with company cards? Now you can do it. Secondly, the product for our biggest clients is called Meta which is like Multi but enables you to integrate your own banking partners. So if you are working together with a bank already or can get favorable terms for them, you can just use them inside Weavr as well. The Weavr platform is designed for use-cases like this (and if you think a little further, you can imagine where this could lead to). Personally, I am particularly excited about Mono as this could be the foundation for many new ideas (“We built this tool in house and everybody loves it, should we spin it out and offer it to others?”). Let’s see when we have our first partner going from Mono to Multi to Meta 🙂
I invite you to sign up for an innovator account on our website and get started with your project right away. Please keep in mind that currently only Multi is available and Mono will be added later (if you are interested to test early, let me know!). Due to its nature, Meta will only be available on request. And when you are reading these lines you might ask yourself “What do you mean I can create an account and get immediate access? I don’t need to send an email to the sales team?”. And yes you are absolutely right and this is something I am really excited about as well (promised it’s the last time in this blog post). The typical power relationship in sales discussion between a Fintech provider and the innovator is way too often skewed towards the Fintech provider. It’s not uncommon that getting access to their Fintech infrastructure, it requires a few phone calls and a NDA. At Weavr, we want you to get most of your answers right away without asking our team. Even our pricing is on our website, no NDA required either. We are still here and happy to help (hint: firstname.lastname@example.org), but that’s your call.
This post got a lot longer than I had expected, so I will leave some more of my thoughts for another post. I hope you enjoyed reading it and feel free to get in touch with me if you like to chat about Weavr or anything else. Even though I have joined a startup and am not freelancing anymore, I am still very excited to help others in their Fintech journey. So even if Weavr is not the solution you need, I would still be happy to help (or find somebody who can). Just get in touch.