FastBill starts the new series #figoInside

As a provider of a ‘Banking as a Service’ platform, we are lucky enough to come into contact with a lot of new ideas about banking every day. Today, consumers can already use more than 50 different solutions based on the figo technology. Some of them are very well-known, others somewhat less. Each partner has its own story. In our series #figoInside, we would like to introduce our partners and their use cases.

We’ll start with a figo partner who has been working on our API for a very long time: FastBill

The two founders René Maudrich and Christian Häfner have always had a special closeness to figo. This is not only because part of the FastBill team worked – as the figo team did as well – in betahaus Hamburg in 2014 and 2015. Since then the spatial distance has become larger, but the cooperation has deepened. FastBill now uses figo now not just in the original FastBill product FastBill, but also in their second solution Monsum. René was also a participant in the first figo Bankathon in Frankfurt in April 2015. That is why we are all the more pleased that he took the time to answer our questions.

Christian Häfner und René Maudrich

Short & sweet

  1. The future of FinTechs is …
    Extremely exciting because we can finally expect simple products and customized tools.
  2. Developers and banks are friends. Yes? No? Maybe?
    Yes, I’m optimistic.
  3. PSD2 makes banking better. Yes? No? Maybe?
    For sure. Individuals and companies have to be able to determine who is allowed to work with their data and who they trust. This is the only way to achieve better financial processes and new solutions.
  4. In the year 2035 there will be no branch banks. Yes? No? Maybe?
    Maybe. As long as there are financial products that are not self-explanatory, there will be something like consultants and branches. Especially when it comes to large financial decisions, customers need a trustworthy partner – this will remain a personal business. However, classic accounts and payment processing will be completely automated and move “into the back end” of modern apps. The consultants will then be experts for combined solutions for individual use cases.
  5. Mountains or beach?
    Beach…and surfing. 😉

Starter: When did you first get the idea for your service? What have you been doing lately?

It was a sunny day in summer 2007 when, once again, prompted by my empty account, I had to write invoices for projects from previous weeks and “reconstruct” my working hours. At this moment, I finally realized that it doesn’t make any sense to miss out on beautiful weather because of annoying recurring tasks which could be automated.

World Improver: What about your service makes the world a bit better or easier?

The finances of small companies are rather simply structured and with simple interfaces and clever algorithms, they can be managed 100 times better than with tedious work.

At FastBill, all necessary data (invoices, receipts, payments, due dates, working hours, etc.) is filed in a structured manner and automatically evaluated. For the entrepreneur, it creates dashboards, forecasts and reports which then provide a quick overview of liquidity, key figures and open tasks. This saves a lot of time and provides a complete database for the tax consultant.

Our vision is to make entrepreneurship easier. We can do this by preventing the unnecessary uncertainties and surprises faced by founders. We also help reduce the risk of failure.

Talent for convincing: Who was the first person you were able to convince you that your idea is a great one?

The first person I was able to convince of the idea was my co-founder Christian. He had previously experienced similar “pains” and knew that it was time for the problem to finally have a solution. So he didn’t have to think twice about quitting his job and coming to FastBill.

Wisdom spreader: What advice would you offer a bank CEO if you had a coffee with her / him? What should she/he do better or differently?

I would describe how small businesses–the majority of companies–work and what challenges they face every day. This huge market is not adequately endowed with appropriate financial products today, which means that entrepreneurship is unnecessarily complicated and risky. A bank that focuses on the issue of simplicity, agility and open interfaces can sustainably strengthen the economy.

Door opener: Explain your product/service and the role figo plays. What does make figo possible? What would be difficult or impossible if the figo API was not integrated?

FastBill is a smart comprehensive solution for digital bookkeeping and financial management of small businesses and freelancers.

With the help of innovative technologies, we create automation in accounting and thus more time for every entrepreneur. For example, invoices can be created and paid by customers directly online, documents can be archived and automatically posted, and payments can be assigned using an integrated bank account reconciliation. And the best: the tax consultant is just a click away and gets all the data he needs.

Bank transactions are indispensable for this purpose and are foundational to our product. figo has been our partner for years in integrating bank accounts of our customers. Through the universal banking API, we can call up payments in the background and proactively inform customers about changes and paid invoices. In the future, payment of expenses and direct debiting will also be added.

Prior to our cooperation, we had implemented our own solution based on HBCI and had to realize that the complexity was killing us. With so many different banks a great deal of effort is needed to maintain the interfaces, which is simply not part of our core business. figo lets us work lean and grow into new markets at the same time.

 

figo makes financial data from thousands of European financial sources easy and secure to use for your digital services – learn more about our products.

Find out more about figo and the team behind it here.

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