Torsten Schittenhelm from neocredit.ch talks about the role of digitalization in not only easing but also enhancing investment methods and risk management.
Torsten Schittenhelm CEO of Neocredit.ch
Torsten plays an essential role in the company. He is responsible for the management of the company and the development and expansion strategies. He ensures that everything runs smoothly. He has worked for many years at an international level as a business consultant, but also in startups, banks, and insurance companies in a wide variety of fields.
1. Tell us about your role at Neocredit.ch?
I am the CEO of neocredit.ch AG and joined in February 2019. It has been quite a ride ever since – but hey it is a startup, so what did I expect – for sure not the current global pandemic we all are facing.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this industry?
After my studies in Mathematics & Economics I started working in the financial services sector. Over my career to date I have been working in many different areas (e.g. banking, (re-)insurance, consulting) across geographies countries (Switzerland, Germany, UK, South Africa, …) and as I always have been and still am fascinated by technology and its applications –a FinTech like neocredit.ch presented itself as the perfect place for me.
3. How do you think technology is developing the Finance Sector?
Technology has always been and will always be a driver for the Finance Sector.
My personal view is that as the industry dealing with the money of other people and therefore trust and reputation are extremely important, there is a little less room for crazy ground breaking experiments (like launching a rocket into space) and more need for continuous improvements to be done.
4. How has digitalization empowered crowdlending?
It enabled crowdlending at a larger scale – the model itself, i.e. pooling of local money to enable investments by local entrepreneurs and thus enabling local growth is the essence of commercial banking. Utilizing today’s almost unlimited opportunities in the digital world, technology made crowd investments into local SMEs (across the globe) possible in a safe and seamless manner For us this starts at targeted online marketing, continues with client-onboarding via video to fully automated investment and payment processes via E-Wallets.
5. Can you explain in detail how does your platform allows investing in local businesses?
neocredit.ch identifies the most attractive Swiss SMEs (from a risk/return perspective) for our investor base. We do this by utilizing a mix of online and offline marketing and sales activities. We curate each and every deal, making sure that we only present desirable products by solid companies. We discuss with the entrepreneurs in detail what the money is needed for and present the details to our investors, so they know exactly for what their money is being used.
6. How does neocredit.ch simplify professional credit?
We moved credit to become a fully online experience, and we focus our strengths in perfecting one single product – no frills, no opaque features, no page long legal fingerprint – simply plain credit at fair terms for good companies.
7. How do you make controlled risk possible in investments?
We analyze the company and their project in multi-step process. We are quite strict and diligent, whenever possible we utilize cutting-edge technology, build our own tools and apply good old-fashioned hands-on credit analysis whenever needed.
8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?
1. Be clear what where your USP lies and how you solve an actual problem. Unless I am mistaken despite many attempts over quite a while a true reinvention of the wheel has not yet happened (even a Tesla runs on 4 of them) – i.e. build on what is there already and take it to the next level.
9. What is the Digital innovation in lending technology according to you that will mark 2021?
2021 will be magnifying how much all the new great tools we have at our hands do help us in managing an unforeseen stress event, e.g. does AI (which many platforms claim they have implemented ) really add (measurable) value to your business? Or is a having implemented crypto currency a true advantage for lending platforms in a crisis? My view is that we are all getting a harsh “reality check” on what is real value added vs. being a hyped feature.
10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
I must admit that I do always struggle a bit with the “I” in AI – most applications I have seen to date are very good versions of linear regressions on huge datasets, that is fantastic but this is just “extreme efficiency” which I (personally) do not see to fully being equal to I, i.e. Intelligence. It will get really exciting if new horizons and ways of thinking are opened with the help of computers – not only by brute force solving for all possible outcomes with tremendous calculation powers – but new theoretical framework/theorems are devices allowing for truly new insights. Until then it is the data generation and capturing game. Until then, I keep an eye open for the first time I encounter the “I” in AI.
11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
As a fairly young startup, we started with a version 1.0 of our platform and we continuously improve our customer experience and optimize our workflows – now more than ever, lean and resilient processes are key for our business model and we continuously work on this. In addition, we will try to expand the our offering to cater for a broader client base.
12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I am fortunate to have a fantastic diverse team, with many different backgrounds. Without them I could not do it all by myself. We are running a bilingual company in German and French and as we have international staff, we mainly communicate in English. It is great to see how so many different people with different skills come together and pull in the same direction.
13. What movie inspires you the most?
The Matrix – combining storytelling with fantastic technology (FX effects) and some (since COVID maybe not so unthinkable) dystopian futuristic scenario. And obviously the one guy that uncovers it all…
14. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?\
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