Fintech Stories: Zalep.to, the lifeline for SME’s financial runway

For the latest interview in our Fintech Stories, we have reached out to Tomas Hanacek, the CEO of Czech fintech Zalep.to. The Czech Republic is one of the leading countries in CEE in terms of financial innovation. In terms of fintech in particular, they have been one of the first countries in the region to create a Fintech Association to support the growth of the industry.

Zalep.to is an online platform that allows SMEs to sell their unpaid invoices to a network of investors. This helps SMEs improve their cash flow and creates new growth opportunities, while investors diversify their portfolio with a new, short-term, liquid and high-yielding asset class.

The Zalep team, hard at work. (Photo from the company’s Facebook page)

Give us the 2-liner description of Zalep.to
Barion is a better PayPal with Google’s business model. We process online and mobile payments, and make money on the data we collect, rather than on transaction fees.
 
What’s the problem you are trying to solve?
Payment fees are diminishing, and the industry needs a new business model. We want to be ahead of everybody else. Our business model was very successful in our home market, now we’re launching it abroad. One of the keys behind our progress is Barion’s innovative business model, which offers a very favourable commission system to retailers, where the company asks for the data of the purchases, because the very precise marketing service based on this data means a great value.
 
How many people on your team have prior experience in the financial/fintech scene?
We are a team of 6, out of which a third have been involved in the financial/fintech space previously. Fintech startups usually require the same type of people to get involved, as would any other tech products.

“Always try to simplify operations for your end-user”

What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome while building Zalep?
It was – and still is – complicated to gain credibility as a startup. Commercial partners and users alike, both expect you to have significant traction before they engage with your product.

Give us one important metric you’re looking at while building the product & a tip/trick to improve it
We’re very keen to check how much time a user spends before receiving the money they requested for. Also, number of steps a client takes before the expected result. You should always try to simplify interaction and number of operations for your end-user. A good product must be quick and easy to use.

What resources do you read in order to stay in touch with the fintech/startups space?
Interesting financial and start-up groups on LinkedIn provide a quite good variety of information. Inside our team, we divide information gathering by area of activity – so we look at the B2B financial industry, trends in credit scoring and the likes.

What’s the roadmap for Zalep in 2018?
If everything goes according to plan, we are looking to expand beyond the Czech Republic in other parts of Europe in the second half of 2018.


What fintech startup would like to hear more about? Let us know in the comments.

Also, check-out our previous interviews with WealthNation, Coconut and Barion

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