Patrick Stäuble is the founder and CEO of Teylor AG. Teylor is a Fintech startup from Switzerland that has digitized and automated the entire SME credit cycle from onboarding and KYC to credit analysis and contract management.
Teylor offers a digital SME loan to small businesses and provides its technology as a Software-as-a-Service solution to banks and other lenders. Before launching Teylor, Patrick was Head of Business Development and Sales at Numbers Personal Finance AG and served in the Swiss military.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Patrick says:
I love my work and enjoy working with our team. The fast growth and fantastic people push me to come to work every day.
Sometimes things take longer than you think because there are unforeseen roadblocks. Take the COVID-pandemic, for example. We were lucky because the pandemic has resulted in more demand for digital solutions, but many companies are now struggling to get more funds. Things worked out very well in our particular case, and there isn’t really anything I would do differently. Still, I would always recommend startups to make sure they start fundraising early, as it almost always takes longer than expected.
They stay too long in the laboratory and try to come up with the perfect product. Instead, I recommend creating something that is “good enough,” a minimum viable product, and pushing it to the market. Then use the feedback you get to improve your product step by step. You never really know what the market needs until you are in the market.
Read on to know more about Patrick Stäuble and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background and What motivated you to get started with your company?
Patrick Stäuble: Before launching Teylor, I was a product manager and later Head of Business Development and Sales at Numbrs Personal Finance AG in Zurich. In that role, I regularly spoke with banks and got insights into their businesses. The one thing I noticed at that time was the lack of digital solutions in SME lending. That’s why I decided to launch Teylor: To bring SME lending into the 21st century.
What is your current main product, and can you share any previous product pivot story to the current product?
Patrick Stäuble: We are a technology company that has digitized and automated the entire commercial credit process, from the loan application and KYC to credit analysis and contract management. We monetize this technology in two ways: First, we offer the Teylor Loan, a digital business loan that we finance with our partner banks and our debt fund. Second, we offer our technology to banks as a Software-as-a-Service solution to digitize and automate their lending processes.
How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Patrick Stäuble: We have raised CHF 9.25M ($10.16M) so far from private and institutional investors. We closed our last round in May this year, just after the COVID-pandemic started, which raised CHF 8 million.
What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fundraising, and what were the logistics for this? And how many investors have you met so far, and how did you meet these investors, and which channels worked best for you?
Patrick Stäuble: We usually started fundraising about six months before we ran out of cash. That allowed for enough time without getting “desperate” for money. Most of our investors came through my network or the networks of our existing investors. Switzerland is not a vast place, and the startup community is well-connected.
What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fundraising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Patrick Stäuble: Sometimes things take longer than you think because there are unforeseen roadblocks. Take the COVID-pandemic, for example. We were lucky because the pandemic has resulted in more demand for digital solutions, but many companies are now struggling to get more funds. Things worked out very well in our particular case, and there isn’t really anything I would do differently. Still, I would always recommend startups to make sure they start fundraising early, as it almost always takes longer than expected.
What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Patrick Stäuble: We’re all set for now. The CHF 8 million from the last round will allow us to scale our sales operation, expand our business internationally, and become profitable by the end of 2020.
How have you attracted users, and with what strategy have you grown your company from the start to now?
Patrick Stäuble: No other company in Germany can offer what we offer: an SME business loan in just 10 minutes. That gives us a massive edge. Our clients’ feedback shows us how they love our product, so our strategy is to keep offering the best product and the best service in the market. Quality is the best differentiator you can have in the financial industry today.
Which has been the best marketing software tool for the growth of your startup, and why?
Patrick Stäuble: We communicate across all channels. Online and offline. We run a call center that does cold-calls and is one of our key sales channels. Additionally, we have an extensive broker network of more than 250 brokers who refer to our loans. We also use online channels like content marketing, social media, and digital marketing. Altogether, the mix of different channels is what makes us successful.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
Patrick Stäuble: It would be best if you were proactive. “Launch it, and they will come,” never works, not even if you have the market’s best product. You need to get your message out there and approach your potential customers. As Henry Ford said: A company that stops marketing from saving costs is like a company that stops the clock from saving time.
How do you plan to expand globally?
Patrick Stäuble: Today we offer our product only in Germany, but by the end of the year, we will have expanded into Austria and Switzerland. Within the next 3-5 years, we want to be the leading European provider for SME credit technology. From then onward, the sky is the limit.
What are the most common mistakes companies make with global expansion?
Patrick Stäuble: Some think bigger is better. That’s not always the case. You might have a competitive edge in one market but not in another. Thus, expanding internationally is not just about accessing a bigger market, but about getting into those markets where there is a demand for your value proposition.
How do you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
Patrick Stäuble: We have seen an uptick in demand for digital products in the last months. That includes both our digital loans, but in particular also our Software-as-a-Service solutions. Banks have now understood that they need to digitize, or they won’t be competitive anymore in the future. From an HR perspective, the crisis did not affect us strongly as our team was mainly remote, to begin with.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company?
Patrick Stäuble: They stay too long in the laboratory and try to come up with the perfect product. Instead, I recommend creating something that is “good enough,” a minimum viable product, and pushing it to the market. Then use the feedback you get to improve your product step by step. You never really know what the market needs until you are in the market.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Patrick Stäuble: It’s not advice, but one of the things I learned early in my career is not accepting how things have been done in the past. I worked with many talented entrepreneurs and always noticed that they had a knack for viewing and seeing the world as it could be and not how it is and who did not allow themselves to be constrained by the way things work.
What are the top-three books or movies (TV series) that changed your life and why?
Patrick Stäuble: I am a big science fiction fan, and my favorite author is Peter F. Hamilton. In most of his books, he paints the universe as a utopia facing conflict. It always inspired me to imagine what is possible and how fast technology will develop. On top of that, I am a big fan of financial history books, such as “The Ascent of Money” by Niall Ferguson, as it explains how the current financial system, the world in which I am working, came to be.
How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
Patrick Stäuble: I love my work and enjoy working with our team. The fast growth and fantastic people push me to come to work every day.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Patrick Stäuble: For changing an industry.
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