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Interview with Markus Alin, CEO and founder of fintech scale-up Sharpfin: navigating growth and learning from mistakes

An interview with Markus Alin, CEO and founder, about the growth journey of Sharpfin from a startup to a scaleup and his advice on how to make it in the industry.

The growth journey of Sharpfin, with CEO Markus Alin

We had the opportunity to interview the CEO and founder of Sharpfin, Markus Alin, about his vision for Sharpfin that emerged in 2005 and was established ten years later. We asked him about the mistakes he made throughout the journey and what it taught him.

Markus, how would you describe Sharpfins’ growth journey?

Moderate.... so far!

My vision for Sharpfin came from the fact that there was a general dissatisfaction with wealth management systems and processes. If you want to be the opposite of that, a system which customers love to use, you cannot take shortcuts in development or destroy your product by running into poorly defined integration projects. You need a clear vision of what to do and when to do it.

It has taken us almost 7 years to get to a point where we can actually scale sales based on the product we have, while continuing to grow in a new market while maintaining our high customer satisfaction. Therefore, we expect our growth journey during the coming three years to be much more aggressive than the journey so far, driven by a clear vision and product excellence.

What are some mistakes you have made throughout your journey and what have you learned from it?

How much time do we have? :) 

During the early days of Sharpfin we were developing much more strategically based on experiences with the market and similar products. That caused us to lose time since it is easy to end up developing something that clients never use. We have learned the hard way to develop more customer driven, but combine it with our own vision of what a great wealth management system would look like.

What has this journey taught you?

I have learned what a professional working board of directors can mean for the development and governance of the company. If I would have done Sharpfin all over, I would have earlier on handpicked a proficient board of directors in guiding Sharpfin's development, based on experience and not just based on ownership in the company.

What are your advice to any leaders looking to make in impact in the fintech industry?

Make sure you have a long term sustainable business model
→ Building a successful company often takes longer than you think.
Keep your investors close
→ Building a profitable company often takes longer than you think.
Value your customer feedback but challenge them in the solutions
→ Since building a scalable company often takes longer than you think, you want to keep your best clients close for a long time.


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