Denario: Automating the business payment experience
Philipp studied Economics, Management and Strategy Innovation in Maastricht and Lisbon. He was Fintech Account Lead DACH at Google and worked for the market research company App Annie before becoming H ead of Qonto in Germany in November 2019. His expertise in strategic expansion in the fintech industry helped him co-found Denario, a modernized payment system that offers software connecting businesses financial tools including bank accounts, Stripe and PayPal, using a combination of open banking and banking as a service systems.
Conception of Denario
While launching the German market for Qonto – a leading European B2B neo-bank for SMEs – we had the chance to talk to hundreds of small business owners and heard very similar stories of limited control on company spend, late payments, and hours wasted on monthly accounting admin, says Philip. “It seemed like there was no affordable and effective solution on the market that could help especially small businesses in Europe automate their payment workflow and most service-oriented businesses were overspending on late payment fees and had a strong need for short term liquidity. That is how the idea for Denario was born.”
Simplifying business payment experience
The modularization of banking infrastructure and strong improvements in both Open Banking connectivity and coverage have led to a simplified business payment experience, observes Philip. He notes that the availability of technologies, coupled with increased demand for digital payments in Europe has allowed companies like his to create a seamless end-to-end experience using a best-of-breed approach, combining Open Banking with Banking Infrastructure to offer the right solution for customers across different markets. “The advancements in Account to Account (A2A) payments via Open Banking will play an increasingly important role in business payments both in terms of affordability and improved accessibility.”
Creating innovative corporate payments
At Denario, a host of different technologies are used to create a sleek and joyful payment experience. “Our focus is to simplify the more complex business payment process by automating the capturing, processing, and reconciliation of invoice payments. With that business payments become more like consumer payments, and it ultimately puts the business owner back in control of their finances.”
“Being curious and genuinely interested in other people’s ideas, as well as being passionate about what I do. I think this helps me both when working with our team as well as with my family and in my personal life. Being open minded allows me to act on ideas outside of my comfort zone.” Philip wants to be seen as a motivator and a facilitator. Failure is still not widely accepted in our society and so it is natural to often be reminded of that. My approach is to focus on the things we can control as a team to be successful which often comes down to building a strong product for our customers and continuously asking them for feedback.”
A word of advice
He notes that over the past 18 months, the business has observed greater interest from both European business banking and ecommerce players to embed payment workflows and improved business payment experiences into their existing solutions. He moots this as an opportunity for payment startups to embed their solution into existing offers in order to capture additional payment volume. “At the same time, it means that payments startups need to keep innovating in a more competitive marketplace where fintech offerings seem to converge thereby pressuring unit economics. It also means that payment startups should become more specialist in the value they provide to certain verticals instead of offering a more horizontal solution to all businesses alike to stay differentiated.”
Working in financial services feels like a continuous growth journey with a few repeating patterns. “The fundamentals have not changed much during my professional career. However, I do feel that we are at an inflection point where the democratization of financial services and greater access to financial products seem to finally be in reach.” This entrepreneur vouches on the fact that certain market dynamics in financial services can play out very differently depending on local market specificities, both within emerging trends like embedded finance and more established business models.