THE INNOVATION LABORATORY
Global Banking & Finance Review finds out more about Liquid Labs from Paul Jozefak Managing Director and Co-Founder of Liquid Labs GmbH.
Hi Paul can you provide our readers with a brief explanation of Liquid Labs and how it came about
“Liquid Labs is an innovation laboratory which builds and launches FinTech start-ups. Our aim is to take the best principles of venture capital combined with start-up culture to create innovative businesses. We research, finance and develop products which are then launched as separate businesses.”
“Both myself and my co-Founder, Michael Backes, were formerly entrepreneurs. I also previously worked in corporate VC, private funds, tech IT and the legal space. Michael was an entrepreneur for longer and also worked for a large corporation in IT. When we decided to start Liquid Labs, Michael was working in a corporate venture fund and I was at a private fund. We wanted to try and incorporate all the best elements of what we had learnt into a new model. The result was Liquid Labs.”
With all of the latest innovations in the financial sector do you foresee any key areas of interest?
“We are particularly interested in the remittance space and international money transfers. This area is ripe for disruption because there is currently only one dominant player, The Western Union, and lots of small fragmented players.
“Lending to SMEs is also a sector with a lot of potential. It is no secret that small businesses have a hard time getting loans from banks and when they do it is often under very unfavourable terms. Put simply, the current model doesn’t work efficiently. Crowd funding is one possible alternative but we are keen to work on other ideas.
“We also believe there is lot of potential for innovation at the intersection between the logistics and financial services sectors.”
Can you explain to our readers why the Liquid Labs FinTech system will be of benefit to venture capitalists?
“Liquid Labs is helping a ton of individuals learn how to grow businesses and understand what founding and growing a business takes. Many of these entrepreneurs will eventually go on to start multiple businesses or end up at other venture funded businesses. This helps build a flow of entrepreneurs and employees to VCs and their funded businesses.
“When we decide that a business is better positioned to grow on its own, with venture funding, we become an attractive source of deal flow for funds.”
Are there specific differences from Liquid Labs services and outlooks from other companies available in a similar market?
“We differentiate ourselves in sourcing our own ideas, building our own teams and keeping almost everything in-house initially. We tend to have the corporate group as the first customer for all of our products, this is why we are able to get so much done and avoid so many mistakes. We don’t make a lot of our missteps in public and tend to launch to the public with fairly tweaked businesses. At the point that most people find out about our businesses, we already tend to be generating cash flow.”
Are there areas you do not participate in?
“We wouldn’t rule out any segment, simply because I believe that every area of the banking sector is ripe for disruption. The legacy banking institutions are notoriously slow to respond to innovation, therefore, pretty much every segment from card acceptance and online payment to customer service can leverage new technology to offer new services.”
What are the future plans for Liquid labs?
“We plan to expand our scope beyond FinTech into other areas such as logistics.”