The Swiss bank Credit Suisse wants to invest millions in fintechs. This is more difficult than it sounds, as Swiss corporate and investment banking chief Didier Denat admits.
Credit Suisse (CS) has been operating a venture capital firm since 2010, through which it invests in Swiss SMEs. Since last year, the major bank within this investment vehicle called Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital holds 30 million francs especially for investments in fintech companies ready. The search for good candidates, however, is not easy. Just under a year after the announcement, the bank is involved in two fintech companies.
The bank has invested about 600,000 francs, at Assetmax it was just over 1 million, said Didier Denat on Wednesday in conversation with finews.ch. As head of corporate and investment banking at CS in Switzerland, he is the chairman of the board of directors of the vehicle, which is managed by managers of the bank’s Swiss unit.
Until recently, Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital was still known as SVC AG for SME Venture Capital. As the French-speaking manager Denat explained, with this cumbersome name, especially in the French-speaking part of France, no state could be established, which is why rebranding took place.
Although Denat estimates that 80 percent of the possible deals in this area are also offered to the CS. Over 3,000 companies were looked at, said the banker at a media event of the Swiss investment banking unit of CS.
Industry contacts help
The appearance as a potential investor in the bank has advantages in order to be able to stand up to the growing digital competition, it relies on cooperation with fintech companies. It helps to gain a deep insight into the market that CS receives through its venture capital arm.
Hope for cooperation
Two such companies Credit Suisse is currently exploring for collaboration with are the Swiss cloud accountants Bexio and Klara, a provider of digital back-office solutions.
According to Denat, Klara and Bexio are currently running a proof of concept. He hopes to cooperate whether this comes about, in what form and from when, but not yet clear.
No investment possible
Ironically, at these potential CS partners also shows the difficulty for the big bank. Investing in Klara would be interesting for Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital but the company does not seem to need any money at the moment.
At Bexio, the move to a minority stake, as the CS is aiming for, has even come a long way. The startup was swallowed up by the furniture last year.