We recently caught up with Martin Kassing, the CEO and founder at Upvest, a Berlin-based Fintech that aims to make investing more accessible by enabling neobanks, asset managers, and incumbent banks to provide their customers with any type of investment product.
With Upvest’s Investment API, customers may benefit from an improved experience in capital market investing and retirement planning and have access to the full range of investment opportunities, from crypto assets to ETFs and stocks.
Kassing started his career in private equity at Avedon Capital Partners, where he invested in leading software companies across Europe. He later became COO of ShopCo, a Fintech company that was acquired by Klarna in 2018.
Kassing founded Upvest in 2017 with the goal of developing an Investment API that would enable fintechs and other companies offering financial solutions to provide their customers with access to the full range of investment opportunities.
Our conversation with Martin is shared below.
Crowdfund Insider: Contrary to the general downward trend in the Fintech industry, the infrastructure sector has been growing; can you share your thoughts on why the B2B infrastructure sector, in particular, has grown so strongly in recent years?
Martin Kassing: The strong growth in the B2B infrastructure sector is due to a combination of factors. On the one hand, we see evolving consumer trends and an increased need for seamless digital experiences. This pressure on businesses to offer digital financial solutions quickly and securely has fueled the need for a robust and compliant infrastructure. What I can see is that companies are striving to expand their financial product offerings, while enhancing their customer experience and building trust with their customers.
On the other hand, the regulatory environment and compliance standards have become more and more complex. This has led companies offering financial solutions to seek out specialised infrastructure providers to help them navigate these complexities in a quick and secure manner. From my perspective, this collaboration is the key to effectively mastering these complex regulations. A close alignment can help innovative financial solutions remain compliant with evolving regulations and foster a more stable and secure ecosystem.
Crowdfund Insider: Revolut, Plum, Shares, Vivid, Ginmon: Most recently, you have closed significant client wins; how does this series of partnerships fit into Upvest’s corporate development?
Martin Kassing: The recent partnerships with Revolut, Plum, Shares, Vivid, and Ginmon are all important milestones for us – they signify our commitment to becoming a trusted partner for any company looking to offer a wider offering of investment products.
They also showcase our ability to support a wide range of businesses, empowering them to offer modern and diverse investment solutions to their customers. Ultimately, these partnerships align perfectly with Upvest’s mission of becoming the technological backbone for investment infrastructure, enabling our clients to thrive in an ever-evolving financial landscape.
Crowdfund Insider: How can well-established players such as banks or asset managers benefit from modern API solutions?
Martin Kassing: Well-established players such as banks and asset managers stand to gain significantly from modern API solutions, especially if they are looking to become more agile and competitive and to prioritise their customers’ ever-evolving needs. From my point of view, API solutions offer significant efficiency benefits through streamlined processes and provide valuable and real-time data-driven insights.
In addition, modern API solutions enable established players to access new markets and reach new customer segments. Providing customers with a broader range of options with an expanded product offering can support banks or asset managers in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. With an improved customer experience and a wider offering, those businesses showcase that they are listening to their customers. Thus, they can foster trust and loyalty.
Crowdfund Insider: How can fintechs and traditional banks work better together in the future?
Martin Kassing: What I can see in our industry these days is that traditional banks are caught between cost pressures and ensuring a great investment experience for their customers. And this is where fintechs come in.
It’s likely that banks will continue to outsource parts of their value chain to focus on their core business and with the advent of API-first core banking systems, integration, maintenance, and scalability will become easier and easier. Having high-quality APIs at hand will enable banks to achieve optimal results. Thus, partnerships between fintechs and traditional banks will be driven by embracing technological advances and leveraging them for seamless collaboration.
Crowdfund Insider: What is your take on Upvest’s long-term vision?
Martin Kassing: Our mission is pretty straightforward: to make investing as easy as spending money. With our Investment API, we enable businesses to offer their customers affordable investment products that allow them to build long-term wealth. With every API call, we are able to further improve our cost efficiencies and deliver even smarter investment solutions that empower millions of people. What I am most excited about is further developing our product and partnering up with even more global fintechs and financial companies in the future.
Crowdfund Insider: There are a lot of downward trends and changes in the fintech industry right now; how do you see the fintech industry evolving in the coming years?
Martin Kassing: The future of fintech holds promising opportunities for growth and innovation as our industry undergoes a significant change. Innovation will continue to be a driving force in both the consumer and infrastructure fintech sectors. Infrastructure, in particular, is poised to grow at high rates as it reaches critical mass with consumer fintech companies that also serve traditional players.
In the past, due to the small size of fintechs, prioritizing enterprise solutions was the only option. However, with the increasing demand for innovation in the fintech industry, the newly established infrastructure will allow traditional players to become even more modern, affordable, and scalable.