What is the major added value that AI contributes to your solutions for spend management?
AI is a prerequisite for the automation of complex accounting working processes. This releases employees from routine tasks. With regard to AI, Yokoy relies on machine learning.
How significant is it that you develop AI in your own research laboratory in Zurich?
The software developed at the company’s own AI laboratory is being continuously refined using new data. All clients benefit from these improvements, which can only be provided by a company that has its own, proprietary AI competence.
What are the benefits of your headquarters being located in the Greater Zurich Area from a technical point of view?
The Greater Zurich Area presents extremely fertile ground for fintech companies. Every year, dozens of fintechs are established here. They all benefit from the presence of internationally renowned universities and research laboratories as well as the proximity to major banks that are steeped in tradition. This environment makes it easier to find talent.
What are the advantages of the location from a commercial point of view? After all, not just some of your investors but also a few of your clients are based in Greater Zurich – such as Scandit, Planted, Sherpany, Beekeeper, On and Planzer...
Switzerland is a business location that is significant on the international market. Although it is a small country, there are many global players. These companies are of vital support to fintech startups as clients, innovation partners, and investors. A worldwide unique fintech ecosystem has formed in and around Zurich.
Yokoy is already expanding rapidly. Why would you advise other fintechs to choose Greater Zurich as a starting point for their expansion?
The Greater Zurich Area is an ideal place to establish a fintech company with international ambitions. The “Zurich fintech” phenomenon is increasingly gaining attention outside of Switzerland. We also found the reputation of Swiss engineering to be valuable.
How did the founder team's prior experiences contribute to Yokoy's success?
Yokoy is supported by a team of five founders combining knowledge from very different disciplines and industries. Business experience in banking, the pharmaceutical industry or the startup environment supplements theoretical knowledge as provided by the University of St. Gallen or the ETH Zurich. CTO Devis Lussi’s knowledge of computer technology was an important success factor in attempting to automate the spend management of medium-sized and large companies using AI. Software development benefited from the financial know-how brought in by Philippe Sahli as CEO and Thomas Inhelder as CFO. The rapid international distribution of the innovative software is down to the team led by Lars Mangelsdorf, who is responsible for sales, as well as myself as the person responsible for marketing.
Interview: Yvonne von Hunnius
On the interviewee:
Melanie Gabriel is a Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Yokoy Group AG. She has previously worked in marketing for a software company. Melanie Gabriel has a master’s degree in corporate management from the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and is a member of the board at WE SHAPE TECH, a network for increased diversity in the technology and innovation sectors. She was named one of the “100 Digital Shapers 2021” by the publications Bilanz, Handelszeitung and Le Temps as well as receiving “Innovator of the Year” from the business magazine Ladies Drive in 2021.
Yokoy Group AG was established in Zurich in 2019 with the vision of simplifying expense reports. The young fintech company has since developed a comprehensive solution for spend management that combines expense reports, invoice processing, and smart company credit cards in an intuitive solution. Yokoy’s founding team consists of five individuals who have gained support from major national and international investors including Balderton Capital, Left Lane Capital, Swisscom Ventures, and SIX Fintech Ventures. Yokoy has around 140 employees with offices in five European cities and is prepared for rapid growth. The company won the Swiss Fintech Award in 2021.
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