#02 – Voice message from Thomas Rappold (Entrepreneur & Investor)

In the second episode of our “Voice Message From…” podcast series, Thomas Rappold shares his opinion on the development of Open Finance in the past year and the IPO and venture funding market in 2020.

As recently announced, Charles-Louis Machuron, Founder & CEO of Silicon Luxembourg, sent a few voice messages to some leading people of the Luxembourgish and European startup scene asking how they look back to 2019 and what trends they expect in the new year and decade.

Thanks to the generous support of The Office we took their replies and turned them into short episodes for this first-ever audio series by Silicon Luxembourg.

After kicking this short podcast series off with Gosia Kramer, Founder & CEO of The Office, we had the pleasure to get some exclusive insights via voice message from Thomas Rappold for the second episode.

Thomas is an entrepreneur, investor, and investment advisor who has a special focus on FinTech, Open Finance, and 5G. Among others, he has helped to build the foundation of Swiss FinTech unicorn Numbrs. Being a true digital technology expert, he also authored two bestselling books about the Silicon Valley.

You can now listen to what Thomas told us in brief about the development of Open Finance in the past year and the IPO and venture funding market in 2020. Sound on!

If you prefer reading Thomas’ answers, you can find the transcript of the episode with him at the end of this article.

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Transcript – “Voice Message From…” Episode 2 – Thomas Rappold (Entrepreneur & Investor)

Charles-Louis Machuron (Silicon Luxembourg):

„Hi Thomas! As explained in our call the other day, I’m sending you this voice message to get your opinion on the year 2019 in review from a technology expert point of view, and also on what 2020 will bring for the European startup ecosystem and more.

With you being an expert on everything related to startups and Open Finance, it will be great to share your thoughts on this topic as part of the short podcast series that we are currently producing for Silicon Luxembourg.

So, long story short: It would be amazing to get your answers on the following questions:

– It seems like last year was another big step forward in the overall development of Open Finance — how do you personally assess what has happened in 2019 in this field? Was there any development in Open Finance that especially stood out to you in the past 12 months?
– What can we expect to happen in 2020 in this regard?
– And, as you are an expert on startup investments, I was wondering: Do you think that we will see another year of big tech IPOs in 2020?
– In general, in your opinion, how will the venture market develop in Europe and also the rest of the world next year?

Looking forward to hearing back from you on this. Thanks a lot and talk to you soon!”

Thomas Rappold (Entrepreneur & Investor):

“Hi Charles! Thanks for your voice message and thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure for me to answer your questions.

On the FinTech field, we had as the biggest item this year in Europe the so-called PSD2. So the ‘Payment Services Directive 2’, which is the open API now throughout Europe that startups can now access to bank accounts, to payment accounts. So this is a huge step and this is a huge step forward in Europe and brings us in the European Union closer together – that we have not only a common market but on the FinTech field, I think we get here really a common financial market. That will be very, very important for future traction and importance of European startups.

So I think, especially here in Europe, that we can move forward with PSD2. Whether on the bank side that there will be better implementations, deeper implementations, implementations of the PSD2 APIs.

And on the other side, on the FinTech side, that FinTechs can use this, leverage this, and create value-added services and get more traction. Startups starting from one country can now leverage their business model even faster into other markets while using such PSD2 APIs.

In 2020, we will see more high-quality IPOs. I think it will be even better from the economic metrics.

So in 2019, we saw there a big divergence between the private market valuations and the public market valuations. What we saw in Silicon Valley, where with the IPOs of Lyft, Uber, and Slack, we saw a lot of approximation on the public market so that all those stocks are down. They were darlings on the private market. And, I think people on the stock market look on quality financial items like margins, gross margins, like EBITDA, and so on, and less on the high growth. And, that will mean we will see more high-quality IPOs, whether in Silicon Valley or in Europe, with better financial data and maybe with even better valuations for the public investors. So overall, it looks quite good for a good start for public investors looking for good IPOs in 2020.

So I think overall, we still see the case of this ‘easy money’ via the central banks. There is a lot of money printed, there are nearly zero interest rates and that means there is a lot of money in the room that looks to be invested. Especially in Europe, I think we have a lot of room to grow to make bigger sized rounds in startups. I see also as a huge opportunity that we have a new European Union legislation now and persons there in it that can move forward with – we have the same here in Germany – with the so-called ‘future fund’ from the government side. So, I think, with this new European government, overall from the European Union and in some countries like Germany or France, there is more improvement and more visibility for startup investments. And, that will bring the thing here, especially in Europe, forward, which is ultimately necessary. As you know with the deep pockets in the United States, in Silicon Valley, or on the Chinese side, from the government side, that there is a lot of room to grow for our European financial ecosystem.

Thank you, Charles. That’s all, thank you for having me. Bye bye!”

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