Micappital reflects on some of the successes and challenges of the past two years

Back in 2017, Micappital was named regional winner of Open Talent Spain. Two years on, BBVA speaks to co-founder Borja Nieto to find out how the accolade has helped the company to grow. He talks about how the team has overcome some of the growing pains that come with startup life, and hitting milestones like raising a second funding round.

There aren’t many opportunities for fintechs in Spain to collaborate with corporates, either through competitions or accelerator programmes, according to Micappital co-founder Borja Nieto. At least not opportunities like Open Talent anyway. He explains that, the whole team are very “aware of their surroundings,” so entering the world’s largest fintech competition after discovering it on social media seemed like a no-brainer.

BBVA 2020 Open Talent programme will be launched this spring, marking the twelfth edition of the competition. It was launched by BBVA as a means of championing fintech innovation and, in some cases, partnering with smaller players those operating within the sector.
Micappital knows and understands the bank’s approach first-hand. It was named the winner at the Open Talent Regional Madrid 2017 final. The business provides a digital service delivering private investment advice. “We use technology to scan more than 14,000 investment funds on a daily basis and, based on the client’s risk profile, we build a bespoke investment portfolio and savings plan,” says Nieto.

Micappital was named the winner of the 2017 Open Talent regional competition in its home market ahead of 50 other entrants. Nieto believes its success can be attributed to three key factors. “We think that our unique approach – of catering to customers that fall in the gap between retail banking and private banking – alongside a proprietary algorithm that scans the market on a daily basis, and a very balanced team, led to us being the winners for the regional event.”

Micappital knows and understands the bank’s approach first-hand. It was named the winner at the Open Talent Regional Madrid 2017 final. The business provides a digital service delivering private investment advice. “We use technology to scan more than 14,000 investment funds on a daily basis and, based on the client’s risk profile, we build a bespoke investment portfolio and savings plan,” says Nieto.

Micappital was named the winner of the 2017 Open Talent regional competition in its home market ahead of 50 other entrants. Nieto believes its success can be attributed to three key factors. “We think that our unique approach – of catering to customers that fall in the gap between retail banking and private banking – alongside a proprietary algorithm that scans the market on a daily basis, and a very balanced team, led to us being the winners for the regional event.”

We have seen a major shift in the way consumers use the banking sector

Taking the top prize in its home country gave Micappital a valuable platform from which it was able to leap. Nieto says the recognition and backing from BBVA gave Micappital the recognition it needed and helped the team to lock onto strategic partners to evolve our service.

Still, despite the regional victory, like all growing startups, Micappital had challenges to overcome. This was linked directly to the ever-evolving nature of fintech, which demonstrates that even those at the heart of the market can’t always get it right the first time – and that’s how mentorship and advice from the likes of BBVA can help in some cases. “We have seen a major shift in the way consumers use the banking sector,” says Nieto. “We launched an MVP with some features we thought would be of value to our customers and we were completely wrong.” Owing to the nature of the company’s startup agility, he added that the team was able to stay ahead of the wave and ride it, despite the setback.

Reflecting on the past two years since winning, Nieto reveals that Micappital has hit a series of important milestones. “We have reached 800 clients, €18 million in assets under advisory and we have secured our second financing round – a €750,000 seed investment,” he says. Building on that, in terms of BBVA’s involvement and commitment over the period, that’s never wavered in his view. “We are amazed on a daily basis on how well BBVA understands the market and its needs,” says Nieto. “We see that BBVA has been and is on the forefront of the advances in tech and fintech and all that is related to the banking sector, nationally and internationally. We also really like the focus that BBVA puts in technology and design and development, we think this is key to being a primary player in the current banking ecosystem.”

Micappital currently operates out of Open Space in Madrid, a BBVA hub where innovators can work together. With such close proximity to the bank, Nieto believes BBVA is always keen to improve and that’s where he feels there’s opportunity to serve thousands of smaller BBVA clients with Micappital’s technology and connect them to high conversion rates of investment. “The working environment is excellent,” says Nieto of Open Space. “We have all the office materials we need to reach our goals, the teams in the bank are always looking to help and we appreciate all the ecosystem we have available for us as a startup”.

Looking ahead, Nieto would like to keep the Micappital-BBVA alliance going strong. Having recently closed a financing round and plans for the next stage of growth mapped out, he believes that continuing to work with BBVA will be important in testing the efficiency of its service and expanding the customer base.

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