Zurich-based Numbrs is Switzerland’s first fintech to join the unicorn club. It aims to revolutionize the retail banking market. According to Managing Partner and Executive Board Member Fynn Kreuz, Numbrs is relying on Zurich to help it find the best IT experts and partners.
In August, Numbrs raised 40 million dollars from investors and is now valued at over 1 billion euros. How much of this success can be attributed to the fact that it is located in Zurich?
Fynn Kreuz: We are a Zurich company from the ground up and benefit from the city’s international character. It is a genuine melting pot: you can meet top professionals from all over the world, making it much easier for us to recruit IT experts. The city is far more international than many other European metropolises. While discussions about innovation often focus on the United States, we see first hand that innovation also takes place in Switzerland, particularly in the Greater Zurich Area, which is a technology stronghold and financial center. In our opinion, Zurich is one of the best fintech hubs in the world.
Numbrs doesn’t regard itself as a bank but rather a technology company...
Absolutely. Technology is in our DNA and the basis of our success. This is why we chose to develop every step of our technology platform ourselves. What’s particularly important is our self-learning software and all systems that have to do with the client data security. For example, our video identification system, which is technically complex and which we developed in-house, is something that only a few companies around the world can provide. Independence is our number one priority – independence from technology suppliers but also from banks and insurance companies. We want to be seen as a neutral platform so that we can gain the trust of users who want to manage their personal finances in an independent manner. Allowing us to remain independent is also the fact that our founder Martin Saidler has made a conscious decision to hold around 70% of the company’s shares.
How important are partners from the region?
The network in the Greater Zurich Area is very important to us. Our investors include prominent partners such as private banker Pierre Mirabaud, and we cooperate with Swiss financial service providers such as Zurich Group Germany, which provides its insurance services via Numbrs.
Numbrs has now spread to two floors in Zurich, even though the staff still fits on one. What types of professionals do you plan to grow with?
Around 90% of our specialists work in Zurich, and we are expanding our site even further. This is where we can find the best experts. Data scientists, such as those from ETH Zurich, are of interest to us. The region is also very appealing for experts who come from abroad – the central location, beautiful surroundings and high stability contribute to this, as do technology leaders such as Google with its largest location outside the United States.
What do you think will be the next steps in the company’s development?
After having spent the past five years focusing primarily on developing our product, growth is now moving to the forefront – we like to call this “scaling” when it comes to platforms. To this end, we are building on our app’s high degree of development and the already extremely dynamic user growth. In terms of geography, our focus this year will continue to be on Germany, where we are now the market leader among independent financial apps. Next year we will add the United Kingdom as our second core market. On the product side, we are also planning to further expand our services with leading partners from the banking and insurance sectors.
Fynn Kreuz is CMO, Managing Partner and Executive Board Member of Numbrs Personal Finance, a technology firm based in Zurich with more than 150 employees, some 90% of whom work in Zurich. Users in Germany can use the Numbrs finance app to manage their different bank accounts. The app also helps them optimize their finances. With 2.2 million downloads, 1.8 million accounts linked to the app and 11 billion euros in managed assets via the app, Numbrs is the leading independent finance app in the German market. As of August 2019, Numbers is now valued at more than 1 billion euros and is the first Swiss fintech to join the unicorn club. Led by founder Martin Saidler, the Numbrs team has now raised closed to 200 million dollars from investors.
Interview: Yvonne von Hunnius