An insight into entrepreneurship

Today’s guest entry is written by one of our Swiss MBA participants, Philipp Bächtold, who is part of the startup team working with loanboox. His team members are Rahul Adhyapok (Indian), Valeria Cuevas (Mexican), Kuniyuki Furuta (Japanese), Sathappan Sathappan (Singaporean), and Chen Wang (Chinese).

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Within the entrepreneurship stream, we are given the opportunity to work with a start-up from Switzerland. We chose loanboox – a very innovative fintech start-up from Zurich which won IMD’s start-up competition in 2016. loanboox is already the biggest P2P financing platform in Switzerland and was named by Swisscom and the think-tank E-Foresight as one of the 10 most relevant Swiss fintech start-ups.

loanboox’s platform went live in September 2016 and has since become very prominent in the press after it reached 1 bn CHF traffic in its first four months, outperforming even the most optimistic expectations, as you can read on http://www.finews.ch. Working with loanboox under these circumstances is thus an exceptional opportunity to get insight into the world of entrepreneurship.

For those of you who don’t know loanboox yet, the start-up basically wants to become the preferred player in the business-to-business direct lending market, matchmaking institutional borrowers and municipal lenders in Switzerland. Local governments can find potential lenders through loanboox’s online platform, which makes the financing process easier, more transparent and secure and less expensive, by eliminating the costs for brokers. This is a truly disruptive business model.

So far, the Swiss market has been highly responsive to the platform launch, having a market share in Switzerland of nearly 20% in the targeted segment already, leading to the ambition to tackle additional markets. And this is where we IMD MBAs come in. After a kick-off meeting with the founders at IMD and a subsequent visit to loanboox’s office in Zurich, we are now ready to support their ambitions.

The expectations and pace have been high but so has been our learning curve. Only one person in our international team of six has prior knowledge of the financial markets. A crash course from Bloomberg and chats with various experts at IMD have been inevitable. Preparing immediately implementable and actionable items are the deliverables we are expected to work out until April. Exciting times are surely ahead of us!

Philipp