The pioneers of open finance achieve a triumphant exit
To kick off the interview on fintech entrepreneurship, we delve into Andrés’ beginnings in the business world. After completing his Engineering degree, he focuses on business consulting with Arthur Andersen. This period marks the beginning of his learning journey in work methodologies and analytics projects for large corporations. Later, in 2009, Andrés, along with a couple of university colleagues, decided to take the plunge and found a startup: MyValue.
This company would become a pioneer in the nascent world of personal finance management (PFM), before the term fintech became popular in Spain.
Andrés captivates us with his narrative on entrepreneurship, especially when he shared the growth experience within MyValue. The transition from a nascent start-up, where all its members know each other face to face, to a larger, more structured company with a larger team.
Their good work led to interest in the sector. So much so that the German company Finleap, with a prominent position in the world of open banking, made them a proposal. Andrés described how this acquisition of MyValue Solutions, in the B2B-oriented part, was a strategic operation that marked the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new phase in their entrepreneurial journey.
An important incentive for Fintech entrepreneurship
“Good work ultimately aims for that success, and that’s where you can reap the rewards of your efforts,” reflected Andrés on the transaction.
This phase became a valuable opportunity to face new challenges. At that moment, Juanjo and he discussed the myth of the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the reality of business success, pointing out that not everything is about ending up with a luxury car in the garage.
Our guest then continued to recount the next steps in his career. He collaborated with Finleap initially and carried out consultancy projects and advisory work on digital products, bringing value through his knowledge of open banking. It was at this point that Coinscrap Finance entered the scene, showing interest in his experience, his vision of the fintech world, and the multiple use cases they could build together.
Andrés Romerales, COO at Coinscrap Finance
When does the figure of the Chief Operations Officer emerge in a startup?
With a touch of emotion, Juanjo and Andrés discussed the necessary recovery after the sale of a company. Andrés then explained how his arrival at Coinscrap Finance occurred at a crucial moment for the company.
Both sustained growth and internationalization have made the figure of the COO necessary. And, although sometimes it is a role that one of the founders can perform, the fact that changes are necessary can be better received by the team if they come from someone external.
This new challenge represented for Andrés an opportunity to bring value: “The COO has knowledge about product, internal communication, onboarding of new members…”.
He also indicated his vision of the newly created position he now holds: “There is a team of founders that is in a thousand battles, and people from the outside bring fresh air, you hear another voice, and those things always come in handy. They give new impetus to companies.”
Internationalization, emerging challenges, and open banking legislation
Juanjo then wanted to delve into the topic of Coinscrap Finance’s internationalization. Our guest expressed enthusiasm for reaching new markets, although he admitted that we are already working in some of them.
“We are preparing the entire company and focusing on several territories: Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and many other countries in Latin America. They are our most natural markets because our know-how in Spanish-speaking countries supports us.”
With this key differentiator and the ability to face the operational challenge, Juanjo and Andrés were confident in Coinscrap Finance’s ability to contribute to the bankarization of a large number of users in the region. The conversation then turned to open banking in Latin America.
Andrés reflected on how, in the early days of MyValue, the idea of users surrendering transactional data to third parties was a challenge. However, he explained that the situation has changed, thanks to legislation and the evolution of technology.
The future of fintech: advice for entrepreneurs
The journey continued with a comparison of fintech ecosystems in different regions. Our COO praised the regulation and good practices of our counterparts in the UK, mentioning their role as benchmarks in Europe.
He also highlighted the ability to innovate in Nordic countries, such as Sweden, which has powerful players in the fintech landscape. Although he believes that Spain has equally valuable talent, he stressed the importance of legislation as a facilitator of innovation.
In the final part of the interview, Juanjo and Andrés explored emerging trends and challenges in the industry. As advice for professionals starting out in the sector, our interviewee indicated “not to be afraid of making mistakes, they must also be prudent, use common sense. But they have to make brave decisions and be persistent”.
He also shared his perspectives on generative artificial intelligence, document management, and digital identity as key factors for transforming the industry in the next five years.
Juanjo closed the session by thanking our colleague for his valuable contributions, highlighting the satisfaction of having interviewed a team member, and bidding farewell to our audience. Until the next Meets, where we will continue to explore the frontiers of innovation in the fintech world!
If you liked this interview, don’t miss How to read 70 million bank transactions a month with Open Banking.