The money and capital market platform Loanboox demonstrates how an agile mindset can promote corporate growth: after just 18 months, the company hit CHF 10 billion in requested credit volume. Founder Stefan Mühlemann’s idea of connecting public sector borrowers directly with institutional investors came at exactly the right time.
Cost-efficient, transparent and straightforward
While working as a consultant for external financing, Stefan noticed that financial services are increasingly being processed digitally. He asked himself the obvious question: how can external financing be digitalised as well? Previously, lending was opaque and labour-intensive. Municipal and cantonal financial managers called or emailed brokers, who then collected information and provided various suggestions. If none of the financing options were suitable, the search continued.
Loanboox offers the same services, but at 10% of the cost and in 10% of the time. The startup’s motto: as cost-efficient, transparent, straightforward and secure as possible. Financing requests can be made with just a few clicks, while investors get an overview of investment opportunities and, if necessary, an independent assessment of the collateral in each case. They can then make financing proposals. Parties connect in real-time, saving time and money.
The right idea at the right time
The business idea works. And it’s not going to remain restricted to the current markets in Germany and Switzerland – Loanboox is already planning its expansion. Austria and France are now in the preparation phase. But even with a good idea, it’s the implementation that proves decisive.
Stefan Mühlemann is a model example of combining agile product development with lean innovation. Once he realised that the previous financing process was opaque, complex and expensive, he tested – and confirmed – his hypothesis through interviews with borrowers and investors. Building on this, he initially presented his solution using a prototype and thereby achieved problem-solution fit. In the autumn of 2016, Loanboox brought its product to market, with immediate success: it received its first two requests within three days, and the first financing agreement was concluded the day after that. After four months, the volume of requested credit hit CHF 1 billion. The product/market fit had been proven.
Growing with the product
The management’s agile mindset enabled Loanboox to quickly transform its idea into a product. With the help of agile product development, the company remains able to adapt to the constant stream of new challenges, grow together with its product and keep pace with the rampant growth. Iterative processes enable the company to integrate its customers’ needs into its development. Experiments are encouraged, errors accepted and improvements implemented on an ongoing basis.
Now, in the scaling phase, Loanboox’s decentralised, partly automated subsidiaries allow it to orient itself quickly in new markets and adapt its services to the needs of local customers – with obvious success.