Mireia Tomàs

Investments in the Fintech sector with Nicholas Kirk

Nicholas H. Kirk is our Financial Partnership & Corporate Development at Triple. He helps us to identify and develop relationships with potential partners for the company. We wanted to ask Nico how he sees the Fintech sector, how companies will face the challenges of this new year, and what is happening with start-up investments.

As we said, Nico, your main role is to be able to establish and identify partnerships with other companies. How do you build potential business partnerships?

Time is limited, for us and for our partners, so we rank all the prospective opportunities on the basis of joint market potential before engaging with potential partners: that increases the relevance of our outreach–this is usually appreciated and there is a higher chance of converting to something meaningful. We operate both by organic growth (via sales and partnerships) as well as inorganically (so via acquisitions of other companies). For the first, we have various verticals (such as transaction enrichment, rewards) and look for who would benefit the most from our services: we have managed to get onboard great companies such as WiZink or Trade Republic. For the acquisitions, we look out for outstanding companies operating in similar spaces to ours we can join forces with.

When you talk to a potential partner, what surprises them most about Triple?

The market has a lot of fintech players; apart from the differentiators in our products themselves, we distinguish ourselves in the way we operate. We tend to build great relationships as the baseline for us are drive, quick response times and structured way of operating. This is a great trust builder that is then proven further after we sign contracts.

What are the potential risks and challenges when looking for new partners? How are they correctly integrated into the company's strategy?

As mentioned we have our way of operating, so it is quite natural to look out for partners who have similar approaches, are equally reliable, and see fintech as an ecosystem. This reduces the risk of working with a company that can then let down our customers; we are ultimately responsible of whom we collaborate with, and have a standard to keep high.  

What should you consider when looking for a potential partner?

Speed of operation (and results); clear and respectful communication.

We know that making predictions can be tricky but, the other day we read that "2022 was the second highest year on record for international investment into European startups" how do you think 2023 will look like?

Despite 2022 being one of the best years in EU-startup investment terms (at least at the beginning), there has been a strong downturn due to the general fiscal policy, inflationary status and macroeconomic situation. Although there is a lot of available capital, close to none is being deployed, as requirements for investments have become more stringent. This can be seen as positive even if many say otherwise, as companies are evaluated more closely in terms of how they truly operate as businesses. In Triple we have always kept track of (economic) fundamentals and hired relatively conservatively, so we will be able to keep our growth and consolidation on track with some minor amendments. However 2023 will be a complicated year in which businesses will cut costs and on average readapt heavily.

What are investors looking for when they want to invest in a project?

In a nutshell, large addressable markets (so a lot of potential revenue across the landscape of the use case); great teams operating at speed with an eye towards cost efficiency and scalability.

If we talk about fintech specifically, in essence there are a lot of applications out there that are not really adding value to the market. Too many minor variations of similar use cases; it is important to find something, now more than ever, that is truly appreciated by the market and focus on it as much as possible.

Investors appreciate focus and solid business sense, now even more than before.

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