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Ben Marrel is one of the Founding Partners of Breega, which bloomed a little more than five years ago on a very simple rationale. Every member, before becoming a part of the investment team at Breega, had been an entrepreneur, and this truly defines the company and its applications on a daily basis. Marrel has been an entrepreneur for over ten years now, and his special experience in the Venture Capital (VC) industry brought about the founding of the company.
What are some of the technological implementations in the Venture Capital space today?
The VC industry is, for the most part, pretty conventional. There is actually very little technology in the investment firms investing in tech companies. At Breega we believe that, like the tech startups we invest in, all of our operational processes should be digitalised. We use a deal flow management and portfolio monitoring tool developed by a start-up to enhance the efficiency of our operations. None of our operations involve paper and even our term sheets are digitally signed. Also, wherever possible, we use our start-up’s products,which means that we’re also able to give them client feedback in real time and help them improve their products and services. For example, for online payments we use Curve, one of our portfolio companies who simplify financial transactions by connecting all our cards and bank accounts into a single, smart card and app. All of our investments and fund wiring are done with the help of technology such as that of Libeo, an online platform which automates the way SMEs manage and pay invoices.
The Fintech space shows great promise and has created a wealth of opportunity for companies, especially B2B newcomers, to flourish in the near future
What, according to you, are some major factors influencing the Fintech space, at large?
Fintechis a massive market and one that is continuing to grow. No doubt, there is a large B2C offering at present, but the B2B wave is gradually taking over with a lot of services to companies and CFOs becoming digitised. A lot of companies are focused on fintech because of the opportunities it provides to simplify internal processes whilst saving vast amounts of time and money. They’re there fore starting to trade in their old-fashioned tools and processes for new online digital services.
A good example of the way in which fintech can help save businesses both time and money is that of one of our recent investments,TrustPair, which help combat payment fraud. Their technology enables companies to verify the IBAN and swift numbers of service providers in a matter of minutes. These time consuming checks are usually carried out manually and so errors frequently occur. Thanks to the Trust pair solution financial departments can save time and verify all of their service providers’ financial data, instead of just a sample, with zero error. There are many other such time consuming and document-based processes that can be digitalised to enhance their effectiveness and fintech companies have recognised this market opportunity and are responding!
The growing number of available services and solutions mean that the entire industry is taking a turn toward digital products and companies that can service them online and facilitate all otherwise manual processes.
What would be your advice to entrepreneurs and startups to enable a seamless process for themselves while attracting lucrative investments from the market?
I think that daily operations can be streamlined and technology-enabled to a great deal. Having a good picture of the software solutions and services available in the market is truly useful. Benchmarking and choosing the right products is no doubt time-consuming but in order to succeed, start-ups need to ensure that all of their paper-based, manual, and repetitive tasks are entirely digitalised. Furthermore, they need to understand that all tasks, even their day-to-day operations, are data-related, and that that data can becollected and treated to improve -business growth thus placing them in a more favorable position to seek financing from investment firms, such as Breega. Additionally, all available data needs to be treated with the right tools so that it is easily accessible and useful for investors.
In conclusion, the Fintech space shows great promise and has created a wealth of opportunity for companies, especially B2B newcomers, to flourish in the near future. Other than Fintech, the healthcare space is also offering great grounds for expansion and growth with AI and data-applied health apps. We can definitely say that the tools of the future lie in the hands of entrepreneurs who have the vision to change the world.