Fusion – the first-ever FinTech business incubator in Switzerland – exists to shape innovation in financial services by combining up-and-coming tech talent with Swiss state-of-the-art financial know-how. As a Fusion member, Notz Stucki is actively involved in the incubation process.
Discover our series “7 questions to a start-up” to get a feeling of who are the participants of the incubator!
7 questions to Andrzej Nowak, Chief Innovation Officer and one of the five co-founders of WeCan.Fund
WeCan.Fund is an algorithmic peer-to-peer lending platform. Through a pan-European online marketplace for loans, WeCan.Fund helps investors supercharge their savings by lending directly to highly rated SMEs. The fully online process lets companies borrow from the crowd in a breeze, at fair rates.
1/ Who are you?
I’m Andrzej Nowak, the Chief Innovation Officer of WeCan.Fund and one of five co-founders of the company.
2/ What does your company do?
WeCan.Fund is a Swiss crowdlending marketplace which enables individuals and institutions to lend money directly to Small and Medium Enterprises. Apart from attractive return rates, the model offers an interesting alternative to investments in equity.
We usually work in the following way. An SME would apply for a loan on our website through a simple form. Our teams screen the application, with the help of our algorithm amongst other things, and gets back with an answer and a rate proposal within a few days. WeCan.Fund then works with the SME to set up a crowdlending campaign, which will attract investors. Once the campaign is live, the loan is crowdfunded from the individual contributions of many investors at a pre-defined loan interest rate and duration.
With WeCan.Fund, SMEs get the opportunity to promote their development projects and go through a highly optimized loan process, fully online. Investors get good return rates and an interesting portfolio of companies to invest in. Finally, the platform is entirely free of charge for private investors.
3/ What’s the founding story behind WeCan.Fund?
We founded our company in 2015, brought together by one of our co-founders. His PhD thesis related to the algorithmic analysis of companies seemed like an excellent commercialization opportunity. Consequently, we have rather diverse skills, which really help us focus our efforts and move forward quickly. Towards the end of 2015 we entered the Fintech Fusion accelerator in Geneva, which was a good development, giving us access to a particularly strong network of advisors.
4/ What was your proudest moment in your company’s history so far?
The proudest moment has probably been our launch event, which we didn’t advertise particularly widely and where we initially expected limited attendance. However, the interest exceeded our expectations by far, with more than 200 participants registered. We urgently had to find a new venue! We are also proud to be getting a lot of media attention – it means that crowdlending and its growth in Switzerland are clearly of interest to the general public.
5/ What’s the vision behind WeCan.Fund?
The vision of WeCan.Fund is to revolutionize the outdated lending marketplace. We want Europeans to be able to invest in European SMEs with a freedom and simplicity never seen before. All our work is focused on achieving this goal.
6/ What’s your biggest challenge right now?
As any young company, we’re facing a number of challenges. We’re in a critical growth phase, where a continuous flow of quality customers is of primordial importance. We also continue to closely monitor regulation, working with FINMA and SECO through the Swiss Crowdfunding Association, which we co-founded, to identify and remove potential obstacles. Last but not least, we aim to become the easiest solution for European SME financing, so a lot of our effort goes directly into the product. We work not only on improving existing features, but also on developing new ones – such as blockchain technology. We hope to be one of the first crowdfinance platforms to integrate such solutions.
7/ Is there any inspirational saying or words of encouragement you want to share with other creative/disruptive professionals?
The future of finance lies with the crowd – by working together we can accelerate this transformation and bring lasting value to the European people.
Photo & Text: Andrzej Nowak