How adopting digital technology can help SMEs and investors to have better interconnectivity?
“Technology is best when it brings people together.”
Small and medium-sized businesses or SMEs and their executives play a fundamental role in innovation, economic growth, job creation, and social cohesion.
We cannot ignore the need to channel investments in the SME sector both in Europe and globally to help SMEs develop strategic innovation and digitize their processes/services to be part of the market and economy of the future.
Despite the obvious large-scale benefits both for themselves and potential investors, small and medium-sized enterprises lag far behind in adopting innovative digital technologies.
In all its diversity, innovation offers SMEs solutions to increase performance and, most importantly, overcome the size constraints they often face in doing business. Through digital innovation and digital solutions, SMEs and investors (and other financial organizations and institutions) can become more accessible to each other. How? You will find out in our new article.
New technologies, including cloud computing, machine learning, Big Data, and artificial intelligence, are becoming means of offering faster, more convenient, and more cost-effective visibility on the market. These new tools focus on interconnectivity and automation, and access to data and analytics.
We had an incredibly fascinating interview with the Co-founder of the fintech startup Eucaps – Henrik Wagenius. We talked about why SMEs are critical to the future of the global economy and how previous experience can help create an idea and launch a successful startup in the finance industry. We, of course, discussed with Henrik all aspects of the startup development and asked some personal questions. Let’s go!
Making SMEs’ finances work for real
“Eucaps is an international fintech company that offers investors, banks, and brokers easy access to the entire European market for publicly traded SME instruments. In short, we offer a one-stop-shop for investing in European growth,” said the company’s website.
After reviewing the description of the startup on the website, we, of course, asked Henrik to share his personal opinion on the activities and purpose of Eucaps.
“Eucaps is making SMEs’ finances work for real,” stated our interviewee. He continued by giving us an explanation of his statement: “We strive to become the number one choice for investors looking for SME venues in Europe. We also want to provide our clients with access to various European crowdfunding platforms to find investment opportunities.” In the end, he summed up: “Eucaps believes that a well-functioning financial SME ecosystem plays a fundamental part in the struggle for economic stability in Europe.”
“Eucaps believes that a well-functioning financial SME ecosystem plays a fundamental part in the struggle for economic stability in Europe.”
Startup idea or why should your product have an impact?
“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”
While entrepreneurship requires identifying industries and niches ready for market success, you also need to place an idea that will bring you financial enrichment and have a powerful social and economic impact on society.
Having found out the main direction of the company’s activity, we, of course, wondered how Henrik came up with the idea of creating the Eucaps platform.
“The reason why I wanted to do something for the SMEs is that it’s the most important sector that we have,” stated our interviewee.
His answer got us thinking and doing a little research. Here this is what we found out: “The SME sector is not just the foundation of the economy in Europe. It is a key driver of innovation and prosperity, as evidenced by statistics – more than 90% of all businesses, 70% of jobs, and 60% of income refer to SMEs.”
Henrik continued: “We believe even if SMEs are such an important part of the economy, they are still cut off from the financial market.” He explained his thoughts: “Financial market is focused on companies that have grown beyond small and medium-size. To get better financial inclusion in these companies, you need to take several steps. One of those steps is to collect all the information/data in one place. But the problem is that the information about these companies is very defragmented. So, we gather and unify all the data and information and translate it into English. In this way, we help SMEs to access the market and communicate with investors.”
Due to the epidemic, the need for digitalization among SMEs is more significant than ever to survive and thrive in the new normal. Unfortunately, SMEs are not the focus of attention for investors, banks, and brokers, but technology, particularly the Eucaps solution, confirms that this may soon change.
“The reason why I wanted to do something for the SMEs is that it’s the most important sector that we have.”
How to become a startup co-founder with corporate experience?
Starting and growing your business requires more than motivation, willpower, and perseverance. Developing an idea, a business plan, and finding funding are just the first steps that will subsequently undergo metamorphosis at every stage of your startup’s growth. The experience and skills learned from your professional career, or previous business can play a fundamental role in your future success.
We want to share an example of our interviewee and his way from a corporate employee to a fintech startup Co-founder with a great future.
“Before Eucaps, I’ve been working with corporate finances for SMEs, basically helping them to get investments, have been a part of a small stock exchange in Stockholm and worked in the music industry, as well,” Henrik shared his broad experience with us. After a short pause, he moved to the next chapter of his life. “However, In 2016, I started thinking about what I can do for the SMEs, in general. For two years, I was doing research, analyzing the market, and so on. Finally, in 2018 we got the concept of Eucaps,” claimed Henrik.
After discussing the main idea and activities of the Eucaps startup, we decided to move on to aspects of its development and, of course, asked Henrik the most worrying question for all young entrepreneurs: “Where to find money to launch and develop a startup?”
Henrik’s example once again confirmed the well-known expression: “There is safety in numbers.” And it’s not about money at all, but about people.
“I invested a lot of money myself,” stated the Co-founder of Eucaps. However, he continued and shared with us the main point: “But in fact, everything worked out thanks to my previous experience. I had people in my network with whom I worked earlier and who trusted my judgment and my beliefs, so they were ready to invest in my idea.” He confessed: “I think that they believed more in me and in what I was planning to do than in Eucaps.”
Henrik’s unusual story made us think, and we asked him to advise our readers (first of all, startup entrepreneurs).
His answer was as follows: “Get a group of people that you trust and who believe in you, who have enough courage and dare to bet on your idea. They shouldn’t be friends, but they have to share your vision. Don’t be focused on earning money, be focused on bringing something impactful to the world.”
When it comes to funding and investments, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Each startup has its own unique funding needs, and each option differs in various ways from terms and availability to acceptability and amount. In addition, it is worth considering that startups and other SMEs can choose to develop their business using standard investment options – loans, government programs, venture funds, and angel investors, as well as a range of other sources, for example, self-funding.
“I had people in my network with whom I worked earlier and who trusted my judgment and my beliefs, so they were ready to invest in my idea.”
Remote developers or in-house team?
Remote work is no longer a breakthrough in the workforce industry but still is the future of greater independence and global virtual collaboration. However, many startups prefer to hire remote developers from more accessible foreign markets and full-time employees who will be in charge of the main operational processes.
As a worldwide software engineering service company and proven staffing provider, Orange Sputnik, of course, asked the opinion of our interviewee – the Co-founder of Eucaps.
He said the following: “Today, any business needs software. But, especially if you are creating your digital product, you need your team of engineers. Technology is the key to what we do in Eucaps, so for us, it was important to have the core team, I mean executives who are in charge of all processes, close to the heart, I mean in-house.”
But notwithstanding the above, he emphasized the following: “But still we, of course, have developers who work remotely, as well. We have a diverse team. Our experts are from Sweden, Poland, India, and Pakistan.”
Startup business model or why it’s crucial to know your target audience?
“Know your audience.” This phrase is at the heart of any successful marketing strategy. Why? Determining the target audience is fundamental because no product or service can cover the entire market. Therefore, if you want your startup to become successful, then the first thing you need to do even before developing and launching a product is to identify the target market.
As our interview developed, we moved on to the next aspect of startup development and asked Henrik about their business model and target audience – potential users of the Eucaps platform.
“It’s both B2B and B2C,” claimed our interviewee. He shared with us a more detailed overview: “All the SMEs, marketplaces, brokers, intermediaries, and investors from all over the world are welcome to Eucaps. We are focused more on B2C investors, but we also have some B2B – family offices, small funds, and so on.”
After a short pause, the Co-founder of Eucaps clarified: “We have a limited number of clients, I mean SMEs, due to the specifics of our platform, and we know them all. On the other side, we have investors, and it can be millions of them.” In the end, he added: “When it comes to engagement and customer acquisition, with both segments, we work by using automated marketing services.”
An exciting space to be active
“The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.”
The next question we asked our interviewee concerned the aspect of the relevance of the technology and the Eucaps platform, namely: “Why is now the best time for their fintech startup to exist?”
Henrik shared with us the following thoughts on this matter: “There is a huge shift in the economy and finances and in the way business is being done today.” He explained his vision: “We moved away from the traditional model a long time ago. And now, we can see that platform-based companies are the ones that are most highly valued. We also have the shift to AI, digital marketing tools, and digitalization in general.” Henrik summed up: “So, there is a big change in the economy and how the world is proceeding Today. For us, SME is an exciting space to be active.”
The digital transformation of the business ecosystem and society continues at a rapid pace. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can get lots of benefits from digitizing their existing business models, which will increase productivity and open up new revenue streams.
“There is a big change in the economy and how the world is proceeding Today. For us, SME is an exciting space to be active.”
The lynchpin of startup’s long-term success
“Teamwork is the lynchpin in our long-term success.”
After discussing the financial and technical side of the startup, we moved on to one of the equally important aspects – the team. We decided to find out Henrik’s opinion about his employees and what he values most in the Eucaps team.
“We are working towards the same goal; we share the same vision, attitude, and moral code,” stated our interviewee. He highlighted the following: “We all agree that Eucaps startup aims to bring a good impact to the world and a lot of people.”
One of many startup owners’ most significant mistakes is believing that you can start and grow your business alone. However, you need a team to succeed because interacting with other people will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, develop a leadership character, and improve your idea and product.
The main direction for the Eucaps startup
Of course, startups need to keep an eye on KPIs as they determine the viability of your business, its short-term and long-term success. However, revenue is not the most critical indicator and not the only one to worry about.
As you might have guessed, the next aspect of startup development that we were interested in discussing with Henrik is their success metrics. Therefore, we asked our interviewee about Eucaps’ current focus of attention.
“We are in an early stage, so the most important thing for us is to see that everything that we planned is working,” stated Henrik. He also shared with us their primary direction of development: “Even if the number of customers is still crucial, we are more focused on verifying our model.”
A strategic plan
The hardest thing about achieving success in the startup world is putting your company on a path that increases its chances of not just surviving but overgrowing. This means that you need to have a growth strategy in place – a strategic plan to increase sales, revenue, and market presence.
Summing up our conversation about the development aspects of the startup Eukaps, we asked Henrik about their plans for the near future and received a short but comprehensive answer.
“We are planning to become known all over the world,” stated the Co-founder of the Eucaps platform.
What do liquidity and trust have in common?
In 2021, businesses and startups, in particular, face numerous threats, both from the COVID-19 pandemic and a whole host of converging factors: an increase of big data, the high number of cyberattacks, political unrest; the list goes on. So we decided to ask Henrik what he thinks might threaten the success of their startup and the business itself.
“I think the biggest threat for any company is liquidity,” claimed the Co-founder of Eucaps.
Having received Henrik’s answer, we thought about the following. In the context of business, you can identify liquidity as the ability of a startup (company) to convert its assets into cash. Many factors can affect the success of a startup, but money management is one of the most significant aspects.
However, Henrik continued his answer and emphasized the following: “Another threat for us is losing our reputation. When you are dealing with financial technology, the most dangerous thing is not to have trust. So, we need to make people understand what we are doing and what we aim for.”
“We need to make people understand what we are doing and what we aim for.”
Balance and where to find it?
During the interview, we managed to find out that Henrik is not only a successful entrepreneur but also a family man. Therefore, we had no choice but to find his secret of maintaining a balance between family and work.
Our interviewee shared with us several life hacks: “Try to organize your family life. I mean, do things together instead of just watching TV. Also, forget about work on the weekends.”
Despite the universal need for social distancing and the need to shift to remote work, the term “work-life balance” has yet to lose its buzz. It is an essential aspect of a healthy living environment. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain this balance to prevent burnout and keep away from stress.
Striving to change the world
Our last question to Henrik was about outstanding personalities. We asked if our interviewee was following someone like Elon Musk or Bill Gates.
The Co-founder of Eucaps did not single out any specific but emphasized that he gets inspiration from people who want to change the world. He said the following: “I am always inspired by people who try to change the world, who look at things from a different perspective and create something with an impact.”
Technology and its impact on the ecosystem of business is the central obsession at the moment. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a fundamental role in the digital transformation, especially in Europe, where these companies are the backbone of the economy.
However, these companies must focus on innovation and digitalization to remain globally competitive and develop and influence the European economic system.
While innovation and technology, by their nature, offer SMEs the opportunity for digital transformation and growth, there are significant barriers that prevent companies from realizing their full potential and slow down the digitization of this sector of the economy.
Fintech startup Eucaps offers a solution to both investors / financial institutions and SMEs. It will allow them to solve the issue of defragmented information, lack of analytical data, and much more. As a result, small and medium-sized enterprises will get access to investment opportunities from all over the world.