Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt, CEO & Founder of Myos is accelerating growth for sellers with product-backed financing
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt: My family and I are doing well. We spend a lot of time outdoors and enjoy the little things in life you’re still allowed to enjoy. Otherwise, like most people at the moment, I work out of the home office. Even though we will remain a remote-first company, I am looking forward to exchanging some of the many zoom calls for in-person meetings and safely meeting some of my colleagues in person again.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Myos?
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt: After my Management degree at WHU and two years in strategy consulting, I became adventurous and founded the cashback platform scondoo, which I sold in 2017. In 2018, I started the FinTech Myos in Berlin together with e-commerce and finance experts I met throughout my studies. We are just under 30 colleagues who work passionately every day to provide small and medium-sized merchants with fast and flexible financing solutions. The idea was born out of the personal working capital needs of online merchants we were friends with – and their frustration with existing financing options, both with banks and other credit providers.
How does Myos innovate?
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt: We are building the first product-backed financing platform for merchants worldwide. Product-backed means that we focus on trading products instead of borrowers in our credit decisions, which is a paradigm shift in lending. This is only possible due to the transparency and availability of data on e-commerce platforms, which we use to estimate the future sales potential of retail products. This way, we’re able to offer super flexible and fast financing with AI-based, mostly automated credit decisions.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt: As a digital company, we have not noticed any major impact on our operational finances. However, the limited access to funding was a major bottleneck in 2020. We have heard from some of our customers that, as online merchants, they have experienced bottlenecks with deliveries from abroad. Overall, e-commerce has benefited greatly from retail closures and lockdowns. Certain channels, particularly in the fitness, household, garden and baby sectors, have achieved higher sales, and therefore we have received an increased amount of financing inquiries.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt: Being a service company, we have many different touchpoints with our customers. One can contact us at any time via the merchant portal, our website, or even social media. Certain tools, such as our CRM system, Pipedrive or Intercom as a customer relationship platform, facilitate our daily communication with our customers. This can be done via email, live chat or telephone. In addition, we have summarized many important questions in our FAQ section as well as in the portal so that customers can obtain information at any time.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt: In 2020, we received an (indirect) investment by IBB Capital through one of our lead investors as an intermediary as part of a corona aid program for Berlin start-ups. This additional funding has supported us to steer the company successfully through the Corona crisis.
Your final thoughts + next steps?
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt: It is important to always think out-of-the-box and to research, approve and then apply new innovative possibilities or work processes. This is how you guarantee a great working environment and can successfully manage problem situations.
At Myos, our goal is to be a constant for merchants in the currently very exciting e-commerce times and to further automate and expand our model over the next 12 months. One of the ways we are achieving this is with our new merchant portal, which offers our customers a lot more functionality online. Thus, we want to offer the best possible merchant financing and help our merchants grow faster and worry less as a reliable partner.