The road to entrepreneurship is full of challenges and the one filled with unexpected dead ends. It can look exiting to launch a new idea and change into a business, but it requires many sleepless nights and years of hard work. Moreover, it takes patience to take the right decision at the right time. “An entrepreneur should be patient to wait for the right moment and curious enough to find out and feel that right moment when it comes,” asserts a tech entrepreneur, Philipp Buschmann. Philipp is the CEO of AAZZUR, a company connecting people to financial products and services that are relevant for them so they can manage their money easier and more wisely. A perfect blend of technical excellence and business acumen, Philipp is a serial entrepreneur, who also taken his first venture public. From starting as a developer in financial services to becoming an entrepreneur, Philipp’s journey has been full of undulating moments. Let’s shed some more light on the journey of Philipp and AAZUR through an interview conducted between him and Insights Success.
Below are highlights of the interview:
Give us a brief overview of your position at your company, and your journey since inception
I am a founder/CEO and I guess all we know what founder/CEOs are supposed to do. But anyone well-acquainted with a fast-paced startup environment knows that a CEO’s life in startup is different from big corporates. So, what I can tell about my role as a CEO beside of generic job description is that I am the one who makes all people involved – from teammates to investors – to believe in what we are doing.
The story of AAZZUR started in Vienna. We together with my co-founders Martin and Richard were really believed in the future of embedded finance – now, after 4 years it is a buzzword. We were discussing modularizing financial services by combining various fintech services on a single platform and creating a so-called “lego toolbox” of a range variety of financial services. That is how we came up with the idea behind AAZZUR.
What is your opinion on the necessity for businesses to align their offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes to Managing BFSI Industry?
Well, digital technologies are all around us nowadays. No company can survive without digital technologies: some use them within the company to improve business processes, some use them mostly for communication with their target audience, etc. Particularly, the last year humanity challenged by mobility restrictions due to Covid19 realized again the promise and opportunities of digital. Yet, even before Covid-related restrictions, digitalization was topical within the banking and insurance sectors. Basically, if to ask ourselves why digitalization works well within BFSI – the answer is simple: it helps all parties (demand-side & supply-side) to reach goals efficiently and effectively and simplify our lives.
Today we humans are surrounded by a huge amount of information and offered lots of various similar services. So, we should somehow manage all this information and make decisions that are not so easy to do as to say. Thus, what we need is advice and offerings relevant to our needs, or so-called “personalized” service. And the BSFI industry players have this capability! Banking data is richer than we can imagine, and it can tell us a lot. All in all, the big amounts of data available in the BSFI sector coupled with today’s digital technologies and analytical capabilities are a source of new business value. That is why any participants of BSFI should inevitably pay attention to digital transformation.
BFSI should not underestimate the value of customers’ financial data which enables offering over-personalized services tailored right to the needs of people. We at AAZZUR are driven with the mission of helping BFSI players monetize financial services, build an over personalized challenger bank with a variety of products including insurance, CO2 offsets, wealth solutions. Banks should approach us if they want to create additional revenue from their existing customers.
What is your thought on the necessity of a positive work culture? In what ways do you implement it at your organization?
In a simple word, all businesses are supposed to make their clients happy. Unhappy people cannot “produce” happiness for other people. So, it is a must to ensure the positive work culture within a company, organization and any group of people moving towards the same goal.
There are some simple rules to follow with hiring: don’t hire people who only ever worked in large companies, hire people because skills can be learned (except for developers where experience is not linear). Invest in your people’s wellbeing. Be ok with conflict, if it is based on the subject matter. Make sure the focus is on the “what can I contribute today”. “Culture beats strategy, Sales beats culture.”
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
All of important life factors were split second decisions: Austrian school or international school, go to America or study in Austria, say hello to that girl that I married, a friend calling if I wanted to write a business plan for my first startup. None of them were planned.
What is planned is a dedication to quality, smart work, and people. The leaders that I learn from I have never met but are well known. Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Jack Welch, and people like Bill Gates. These people are unbelievable at what they do.
But my mom has also thought me important things like: Do not work with people who have little to lose. Either all or nothing. The ones in the middle are too afraid to get started. My father thought me that nothing comes free in life, especially from one’s own person. And a good friend’s family thought me how to be with other people – what it means to be gracious and generous.
One last mention would be my mentor Diederik: He gave me a way of looking at motivation and the world that turns the whole idea of ME upside down and gave me context to learn to love and open for the adventure of life.
In what ways have you contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in to making BFSI Management Simple?
Honestly, the major hindrance in BFSI sector is mindset of incumbents. Unfortunately, there is still resistance to technologies. Additionally, many incumbents and fintechs see each other as competitors. So, I would love to change this mindset because I truly believe that the innovation in financial sector is not about competition between technology-driven startups and legacy-based established players. It is all about cooperation – so if this shift of mindset would happen the sector will move even faster and further.
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