“Perhaps by the end of 2021, FinTech will no longer be a buzzword at all…” – Interview with SwipeStox’s Wladimir Huber
Wladimir Huber (29) worked several years as a professional trader in a German investment bank, founded an eCommerce startup and holds a M.A. in Finance from Leuphana University. Since he graduated from the university, he constantly developed internet business models. He especially enjoys the data-driven and analytical approach to business. Wladimir knows Python and has experience in machine learning. He enjoys developing trading algorithms and travelling the world.
WHAT IS YOUR MISSION STATEMENT?
Our mission is to develop the simplest mobile Social Trading App to solve the problem of new traders to enter the financial markets. We want to develop the most transparent mobile social trading community worldwide, giving everyone the possibility to make profits while trading.
WHERE ARE YOU HEADQUARTERED & WHY?
SwipeStox is headquartered in the financial center of Frankfurt, Germany. We see Frankfurt as a perfect location in terms of access to strategic partners, labor and knowledge. Further, the city is known for its focus on capital markets and has further a big international airport which gives a solid base for a global expansion.
WHAT TYPE OF PROBLEMS ARE YOU TRYING TO SOLVE AT YOUR COMPANY?
SwipeStox is the first mobile social trading application that allows everyone to trade Forex, Indices, and CFDs (we will also offer the possibility to trade physical stocks) simply by copying single trades. Everyone can swipe (Tinder-style swiping) through the trades other experienced traders have created and profit from their knowledge about the markets. By connecting traders from all over the world in one network, users can see live trades and copy them – rather than relying on fundamental or technical trading decisions alone. As a trader you can either leverage this information to execute own trades or simply follow and copy other traders and their trades. We want to bring trading to the masses and allow everyone to trade the financial markets without having many years of experience. We solve the problem of people who do not have any experience nor the time for trading successfully.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNIFICANT SHIFTS THAT YOU SEE IN THE INDUSTRY?
In the last few years, Blockchain and bitcoin were always a hot topic. Further, we saw that robo advisory was emerging. When taking a look at the financial industry as a whole, I see that more people need to take the responsibility for their financial situation since banks do not hold the holy grail anymore and FinTechs with alternative solutions are showing a stronger presence. I think that over the next years the whole finance industry will become dynamic without relying on the advice of banks and financial institutions. Accompanied by that we will also see an increasing emphasis on data security protecting customer sensitive data.
IF YOU COULD TACKLE ANY TECHNOLOGY-SOLVABLE CHALLENGE EXISTING TODAY, WHICH WOULD IT BE – AND WHY?
From my perspective it would probably have to do with a – regulated – renewed money model allowing individuals to exchange money with each other, cutting the middlemen. The challenge would be to match individuals and to give especially underbanked people the access to virtual money. An underlying solution might be the Blockchain technology.
WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FIGURES (OR COMPANIES) IN FINTECH, IN 2016? WHAT KIND OF YEAR DO YOU FORESEE FOR YOUR COMPANY?
Fintech has been booming recently and in general there are many finance sectors in need for a disruptive new approach. For the past few years the term FinTech became a synonym for basically everything that was related to banking or finance. However, many companies out there just developed a better frontend without really changing underlying process or without tackling more “fundamental” problems such as giving underbanked people a possibility to enter the financial markets for instance. As for ourselves, this will be our year for global expansion, which we need to manage operationally and strategically. Further, we will push the development of our API, allowing us to onboard every broker and bank worldwide. It will be extremely important for us to strengthen our partnerships and to develop a good reputation.
WHAT ARE SOME KEY HURDLES IN THE FINTECH INDUSTRY THAT YOU’RE EXPERIENCING? AND HOW DO YOU SEE DATA SCIENCE APPLICATIONS HELPING SOLVE THESE HURDLES?
I see mainly regulatory issues as the main problem in the industry. An idea alone is often not enough if you don’t have the necessary licenses and/or lobby behind you. Further, traditional finance is still conservative and so are the customers. With more solutions coming into place, the typical customer becomes more interested in alternative services and investment and savings possibilities. Data science will bring better products to the market and give everyone the feeling of actively influencing the return on an investment.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT YOU THINK THE FINTECH INDUSTRY WILL LOOK LIKE 5 YEARS FROM NOW?!
On the one side I believe that we will see a consolidation of FinTech companies and that we will also see the development of really big players that might be backed by banks and other big institutions. Furthermore, big banks will continue to lose ground to, or partner with, FinTech players which will require them to buy new markets players in order not to maintain market share. Perhaps by the end of 2021, FinTech will no longer be a buzzword at all and will become the new standard in finance and banking.
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