As one of the most successful fintech startups in Switzerland, Advanon closed its second financing round in January 2017, including an investment of Swisscom. Recently, Phil Lojacono, CEO of Advanon, came to the Swisscom Pirates Hub to share his story.
Advanon’s story began in Dublin, where the three cofounders, Phil Lojacono, Stijn Pieper and Philip Kornmann met doing an internship at Google. Talking to many small customers, they realized that many of them that had issues with paying their invoices: They complained about payment deadlines, saying that often they had to wait much too long for large customers to pay them, increasing the risk of losing financial liquidity. During a roadtrip in Ireland, Phil, Stijn and Philip discussed the problem of payment deadlines and the technological possibilities that they had at Google to solve it. That’s where the idea of their startup was born. Advanon is an online platform that allows SMEs to pre-finance or sell their open invoices directly to financial investors. SMEs can upload their invoices and get financing within 24 hours. The investors get a return of 1,75 % on average on the invoice.
Advanon has been live since August 2015. Since then, they managed to get around 500 investors and more than 400 SMEs to use their platform actively. The time it takes to finance the invoices on their platform is 4 minutes in average. Advanon grew by 35% in volume month over month and tripled their staff last year. But providing people with the platform is not all they want to do: In 5 years, Phil states, they want to provide their customers with the know-how where they stand financially and how they can optimize that in the long run – based on the data that Advanon collects and the benefits that their credit algorithm called “nectar” offers. Nectar already reduces the time it takes to do a due diligence from 5 hours to half a second, and a great potential lies in the automation of many steps in this process.
During their first year, Advanon got in contact with Swisscom and was part of our co-working space, the Pirates Hub. Phil states: “Working in the Pirates Hub was a great opportunity for us. Surrounded by an entrepreneurial environment, we had access to Swisscom’s infrastructure and resources as well as teams around that we could exchange ideas with.” Looking at Advanon’s success story so far, it is not very surprising that they were among the five winners of the Swisscom Startup Challenge and went to Silicon Valley in October 2016. Phil remembers: ” “It was fantastic to see the speed and culture of Silicon Valley. One highlight for me was that you could literally see every company that I admire there. Also, meeting with several potential business partners and successful entrepreneurs was extremely helpful. It was great talking to some of the most experienced and successful fin-tech entrepreneurs. We were able to learn a lot from their previous mistakes and take that back home.”
Penny Schiffer, Head of Swisscom Startup Initiatives, who accompanied the startups to the Valley states: “I was quite impressed of Advanons performance in the valley – I remember very well when we had the chance to meet renowned investors. In one of those meetings that are sometimes very intimidating, Phil had the courage to even pitch without any slides. He was just sharing his story in a very convincing way. ”
Most recently, in January 2017 Advanon was able to close its second financing round including an investment of Swisscom. Advanon raised 13.5 million CHF, while 3,5 million is actual equity, 10 million will be used to pre-finance the invoices on their platform. Phil shared his learnings about how to attract investors with us in the Pirates Hub: