Berlin-based Mondu provides payment solutions to B2B companies. Merchants and marketplaces can offer their business customers the most popular B2B payment methods, including buy now, pay later, with flexible payment terms in an online checkout.
As 2022 drew to a close, Mondu co-founder and co-CEO Malte Huffman commented how ‘incredibly proud’ he was of what the ‘Monduneers’ achieved in its first full year of operation, and how he was looking forward to 2023 because “there is so much more to come”.
In this week’s In Profile, we speak to Huffman about the launch of Mondu and the positive impact the fintech industry can have on the economy.
Tell us more about your company and its purpose
Our mission is simple, Mondu provides payment solutions that enable any B2B company to grow quickly and safely. We started the company to change the B2B payments ecosystem, to enable merchants and marketplaces to offer their business customers the most popular B2B payment methods – such as purchase on invoice and SEPA direct debit – as well as flexible payment terms in (online) checkouts.
Our product brings B2B payments up to par with B2C payments, putting customers in the heart of the payment flow and ensuring they have a seamless, modern and state-of-the-art experience.
The result is a win-win story: business customers have the power to purchase and pay when they want, which translates to a higher conversion rate and basket size for the merchant.
What are some of your recent achievements you’d like to highlight?
2022 was an incredible year of growth for Mondu. We founded the business in September 2021, and have seen great acceptance of our solutions in the market by B2B merchants, marketplaces and platforms.
To date we’ve raised €52million in equity funding – €40million was secured in 2022 in our series A, led by Valar Ventures. In October 2022, we raised a further €20million debt financing round from German bank Vereinigte Volksbank Raiffeisenbank.
Our team of Monduneers is now more than 130 people and growing, and we’re attracting world class talent to our team. Having started in Germany, we’ve already expanded into Austria in early 2022 and recently announced launching in the Netherlands. We’ve also grown our suite of products for our clients and are continuing to develop them at speed.
How did you get into the tech industry?
Mondu is our third company. Before this my co-founder Philipp Povel and I created two e-commerce companies. The first was MyBrands, which was acquired by Zalando, a publicly traded German online retailer available in 25 European markets with around 50 million active users. Our second venture was Dafiti, which became Latam’s leading online fashion and lifestyle platform with a successful IPO via Global Fashion Group in 2019.
For the past 12 years we have been on the other side of the market, and even though our focus was B2C, the need for diverse payment methods was always relevant. So much so, we sometimes created our own payment solution in specific markets. For example ‘cash on delivery’ was introduced in Columbia for the first time by Dafiti.
We have been in the fintech space indirectly for a long time, the power of good payment methods and targeted financial products was always known to us and was a huge driver in deciding to enter the B2B payments space.
What’s the best thing about working in the tech industry?
It’s definitely the magnitude of positive impact the industry can have on the economy. Mondu’s products act as catalysts in addressing the gap between the huge need for deferred payments by business buyers and limited options that B2B merchants or marketplaces currently offer.
We are solving important problems. As B2B trade is moving online, how can we support this digital transformation through better payment options? Also, how can we support businesses with solutions for their working capital to drive more growth?
“Our team of Monduneers is now more than 130 people and growing, and we’re attracting world class talent to our team”
How have your previous roles influenced your career?
I already mentioned the influence of previous roles on the choice of the industry. Going beyond the industry I am thankful to my experience within Latam which has taught me resilience in an uncertain environment. We are currently navigating interesting if not challenging times for the economy and what I learned about growing a company and retaining talent during the economic recession in Brazil and subsequently other LatAm countries definitely influenced how we build capabilities within Mondu.
To make it more understandable, when we moved to Brazil, the BRICS topic as the world’s up and coming leading industries was huge. In 2011, Brazil was the sixth largest economy overtaking the UK and Italy. However, it entered into recession in 2014 and the situation worsened in 2015, with real GDP declining by 3.5 per cent, while inflation remained close to 10 per cent.
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
“This is a mistake. You won’t be able to build an e-commerce business in a country without the logistical infrastructure.” This was the comment of someone when Philipp and I decided to go to Brazil to build a fashion and lifestyle e-commerce business. I am glad I did not listen at the time.
What has the future got in store for your company?
We want Mondu to become a multi-country and multi-product company over the next couple of years. There is a huge opportunity across many geographies and the opportunity is largely untapped. Therefore, we want to increase our footprint to capture the market potential in new markets but also serve our existing merchants, who typically think internationally, better as well.
Also in terms of products, we believe that there is a big opportunity to serve our customers more holistically to simplify their financial lives all the way.
What are the next key talking points or challenges for your industry as a whole?
There are very strong business models out there that can drive positive impact in the financial services industry and for society at large. To a certain extent, tech, and fintech companies as well, will have to continue to build great businesses that are financially sustainable and have convincing equity stories so that investors understand and value again the impact that fintech companies can have worldwide.