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Siobhan
March 16, 2017

7 new fintech solutions for the age-old problems facing entrepreneurs

Until relatively recently, freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners had limited options when it came to managing their finances. Mired in red tape, traditional business banking was often slow, expensive and frustrating. Thankfully, all of is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The rise of fintech, the buzzy portmanteau of financial technology, is disrupting these archaic models. From paperless budgeting to peer-to-peer lending, this rapidly growing sector is enabling small business owners and freelancers to take control of their finances with bespoke solutions. One successful fintech startup here at betahaus is Holvi.

Funding Circle

Now in its seventh year, Funding Circle offers peer-to-peer loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses, for whom more traditional funding avenues might be off-limits. You can borrow anything between €5,000 and €1,000,000 over a period between 6 months and 5 years, ideal if you need a cash injection to grow your business. Or, if the idea of investing in other startups appeals to you, Funding Circle offers a no-nonsense pathway into peer-to-peer investment. You can choose which kinds of businesses you’d like to invest in, with a minimum investment of just €20. They cite an average return of 6.4% for lenders, although as with all investment this can’t be guaranteed.

IBANfirst

If you deal with clients in multiple currencies, and the high fees and poor exchange rates are getting you down, French startup IBANFirst might be for you. It makes use of real time exchange rates in 17 foreign currencies, and has recently expanded to include Banking-as-a-Service, or BaaS. You can open a corporate account in minutes and access leading fintech services and experts, without the enormous costs involved in working with traditional banks. For starters, it’s completely free to open a company account.

bezahlt.de

Invoice factoring is when a business sells its invoices to a third party (or factor) at a discount, freeing up cash to meet immediate needs. It can be a useful tool in aiding cash flow, but for many small businesses the necessary minimum sales volumes prohibit working with a traditional factor. Cue bezahlt.de. Founded by one-time employees of Kreditech, bezahlt.de aims to bring invoice factoring to the freelancers, entrepreneurs and SMEs that have been neglected in the past. They will deal with invoices starting at just one euro, and cash is released in just 24 hours. Plus, the first invoice is free.

Personio

While Excel might have been fine for managing your first employee, if you’re now organising salaries and bonuses for a whole team, maybe it’s time to ditch the spreadsheets in favour of a one-stop HR solution. Personio is a holistic web app that allows you to manage all of your employee’s data, salaries, vacation and even the initial recruitment. It is fully customisable, and its servers are located in Germany for optimum data security. Plans start at €129 per month.

Brickvest

Property investment is a complicated and at times heavily-guarded sector. This means that significant real estate opportunities are usually out of reach for smaller investors and individuals. Enter London-based startup Brickvest, a crowdfunding platform that aims to rid real estate investment of these constraints. Investors can fund projects starting with as little as a €1000, although for now the platform is limited to those with an existing investment portfolio of €500,000. A Brickvest member can sell stakes using the platform at any time, creating what Brickvest hope will be a more transparent, accessible and liquid real estate investment landscape. Fees apply for both investment and exit, but it’s free to browse potential deals.

Clark

Insurance can be a murky world, filled with old-guard salespeople who insist on communicating entirely by fax machine. Thankfully, Clark offers a fully digital insurance solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Simply create a free online profile, and Clark will match your insurance needs to other brokers in just a few clicks. Their algorithms will even analyse your current insurance situation and automatically propose improvements to your existing insurance deals.

Enjoyed this content? Find some more insightful articles here!

Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK


Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

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