A Luxembourg fintech using big data to identify and connect acquisition targets with private equity and corporate is expanding. Finquest co-founders Jérôme Pinneau and Tanguy Lesselin explain.
For a fintech that was incorporated in Luxembourg in 2016, Finquest has been busy. In November 2021, it opened an office in New York, followed by another in Toronto in April 2022, bringing their office total to nine and workforce to 170.
Aggressive expansion was key for selling the services of Finquest’s AI-augmented database of private companies. “Our efforts over the last six years have been to build the biggest and most searchable database of private companies,” says Lesselin. “Step two is connecting our clients with the CEOs of those target companies that fit with the required characteristics of the client.”
Another reason for the geographic spread is the international locations of the three co-founders. Pinneau (pictured) and Lesselin, both French nationals, met in Luxembourg in 2010, when the latter operated an e-commerce platform. Pinneau remains in the grand duchy and operates the R&D and AI activities from Finquest’s offices in Foetz.
“We chose Luxembourg because I live here and in Luxembourg we have the capacity to recruit good technical level candidates,” the CIO says.
Lesselin now lives in Singapore and Finquest’s third co-founder, Swiss national Gérard Belicha, lives in Hong Kong.
“We didn’t have to have Covid-19 to learn how to work together remotely,” jokes Lesselin, adding: “We have lived with those challenges that everyone has discovered recently. And I think we were already onto the trend of the digitisation of the mergers and acquisitions space, even before covid accelerated it.”
Over the past seven years, Finquest has shifted its focus from being a marketplace in the mergers and acquisitions space, helping to raise capital, to a big data company, defining acquisition targets for corporate and private equity.
“We were able to make those changes because of the reactivity of our team,” says Lesselin. And the firm remains steadfast in its focus on big data processing, underlining that its role is not to provide advice, due diligence, or support in negotiations. “In other words we create valuable relationships. We pass the ownership of the relationship to our clients,” says Lesselin. After such a rapid expansion, the two say there are no imminent plans to open in new markets. For now, attention is focused on recruitment. “That’s why we have an aggressive plan to recruit more data scientists, machine learning engineers, data experts, more front end, more back end or user experience, more infrastructure […] all these aspects are critical to our growth and to the asset we’re building in terms of data,” adds Lesselin.
This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Read the full digital version of the magazine on our website, here. You can also choose to receive a hard copy at the office or at home. Subscribe now.