Having launched the business at the beginning of February, we’ve not only been busy building the product but have been heavily recruiting and getting our advisory board in place. In parallel, we also managed to raise a pre-seed round. Via this process we not only managed to persuade an old friend to invest in our business but additionally, to become an advisor to the company.
Matthias Kroener has been someone we have known for years. My initial introduction to him came via Andreas Thuemmler, who at the time was an investor in Fidor Bank and approached us at Neuhaus Partners with the investment. I believe I had already encountered Matthias at various events over the years prior but the first time we really interacted was when we were looking at his business as an investment target. We ended up not investing but nevertheless, I remained in touch and we continued crossing paths at events. Ultimately, when Michael and I launched Liquid Labs, we very quickly re-engaged with Fidor Bank and Matthias directly via multiple businesses. I believe we pitched many of our products to him and his colleagues and were always super happy with the feedback we received. It was also just generally fun to interact and there was a strong level of mutual respect.
Therefore, when we started thinking about receeve, we very quickly knew we had to approach Matthias and get his feedback. Fortunately for us, we not only received his feedback but he made it clear that he’d be happy to be engaged in a greater context. We knew it made sense to take him on as an angel investor and we were very happy to be able to convince him to be an advisor.
The decision to get him on board as an advisor was quite easy. Matthias, as a banker, saw the necessity of a debt servicing platform. He made it clear to us that he understood the benefits of our software and fed back to us very enthusiastically all the possibilities he saw for it. Luckily, his vision of where our company could evolve to overlapped heavily with where we were already going. His thoughts on speed, communications channels and use of data closely aligned with things we were already building. Further his thoughts on how one could eventually us AI to make our digital processes significantly more effective made clear to us that having his feedback was highly beneficial to our growth. If you look at the companies which Matthias has already built and the experience he has, it is quite clear that he can bring a wealth of expertise to our board.
We very much look forward to working with him and are happy to announce him as the newest addition to our advisory board.
More about Matthias:
Matthias ‘mk’ Kroener has been bringing his visionary brand of thinking to financial services for 25 years. Over this time he has acquired vast insight into corporate strategy, innovation-leadership and M&A during a period of fundamental transformation in the banking industry. His extensive practical knowledge of the regulatory environment combined with a deep understanding of technological trends such as big data, AI, blockchain, open banking and financial inclusion has enabled Matthias to build bridges between the traditional banking world and FinTech-powered digital banking platforms.
Matthias’ entrepreneurial style was the driving force behind two highly disruptive financial service companies. As Founder and CEO of Fidor Bank and DAB Bank, he built both organisations from scratch, forging his reputation as a key figure in the FinTech movement. The Fidor project began in 2007 – long before the FinTech boom started – and positioned Fidor at the forefront of global FinTech development, becoming known as the „oldest FinTech bank in the world“.
Under his leadership, DAB Bank and Fidor Bank won numerous awards: Best Banking Innovation in San Francisco in 2013; the Celent Model-Bank-of-the-Year award in 2015 and 2019; and WEF ́s Award for young companies in 2015 to name but a few. DAB Bank underwent a highly successful IPO in 1999 at a top valuation of €1.5 billion. Fidor Bank was sold to a major French banking group in one of the very first successful major trade-sale acquisitions within the FinTech industry in 2016.
After beginning his career in the hospitality business, Matthias brought his expertise in customer-centric experiences to the world of financial services. The core of his philosophy centred on how financial services organisations can use technology to effectively engage their retail and SME customers with innovative, value-adding business and service models. Matthias was at the helm as Fidor pioneered one of the world’s first Banking-as-a-Service offerings, enabling start-ups to achieve scale and become part of the digital ecosystem. Building a bridge from innovation to regulation, he brokered the first cooperation between a regulated bank and cryptocurrency trading platforms. As well as this, Fidor enabled non-banks to offer full banking services for the first time in a collaboration with Telefonica in 2016.
Since standing down as CEO of Fidor in March 2019, Matthias has sharpened his focus on how technology can be used to build bridges between financial services and impactful projects that help to make the world a better place. Concepts such as green finance and financial inclusion have the potential to positively affect the lives of millions of people, and his mission is to democratise access to banking and self-determined finance management, using digital financial services to create meaningful, sustainable change.
Matthias acts as an advisor to regulators and central banks. He is a member of the international technology advisory panel (ITAP) of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). His geographical expertise covers Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East, and he is recognised as a thought leader, a multi-award-winning inspirational keynote speaker and blogger. He is a senior advisor to several companies, as well as a successful incubator; he is also an investor in several highly innovative start-up companies through his company Professional Development GmbH.
Munich, May 2019