Embedded finance has quickly been realised as an integral catalyst to the process of digitalisation for non-fintech companies. But as innovation in the space soars higher than ever before, many are beginning to question where the ceiling of embedded finance begins.
Opposing the narrative that embedded finance has peaked, our latest In Profile feature meets Philipp Buschmann of the embedded finance integrator AAZZUR.
Launched in 2017, the UK-headquartered company seeks to level the playing field for corporates and startups launching or embedding fintech into their digital propositions, reducing the cost of entry and accelerating the route to revenue for non-fintechs as a result.
AAZZUR enables businesses to embed banking, wealth management and lending capabilities into their solutions by way of offering their customers a wider range of contextualised financial services.
As the company’s co-founder and CEO, Buschmann is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience of working in the challenger banking, financial services, IT and energy sectors.
Having started as a developer in financial services, Buschmann has first-hand experience of the banking revolution from both a technology and financial perspective. His interest in behavioural economics helped inspire AAZZUR’s revolutionary work on customer centricity in banking.
Here Buschmann discusses the company’s beginnings, his position as CEO and co-founder and the wider role of AAZZUR in realising a future full of embedded financial services:
Philipp, tell us more about your company and its purpose
Essentially, we want to level the playing field for corporates and startups that want to launch or embed fintech into their digital propositions. To do this, you need to radically reduce the cost of entry and accelerate the route to revenue for fintechs and non-fintechs.
So that’s what we’ve done.
We’re an embedded finance aggregator. What that means is we’ve gone and partnered with some of the leading providers of financial services in the world and integrated them into our ecosystem.
Now, with AAZZUR, any business can embed banking, wealth management, lending, sustainability investments and more, so they can offer their customers contextualised financial services, at the precise point where they need them.
Any recent company achievements you’d like to highlight?
2022 has been a great year for us already. We have delivered products, grown the company and found our market. On a personal level, I spent an incredible few days at Money20/20 in Amsterdam and had the honour of being invited to speak.
AAZZUR has had a lot of industry recognition recently too, which has been great. We were listed as one of Sifted’s early-stage startups to watch and included in Fintech Innovator’s list of ‘rising stars’.
That’s not why we do what we do, but it’s always nice for your hard work to be acknowledged.
What are the next key talking points for your industry as a whole?
I think embedded finance needs to establish well-known use cases beyond just buy now, pay later (BNPL) and embedded payments. The possibilities of embedded finance are virtually endless but not enough people know or understand this.
On top of this, it’s yet to be seen which industries will become true embedded finance champions beyond e-commerce and its use of BNPL and payments.
I think travel could be a strong possibility, just as there’s so much potential for related products to be upsold. But sport is also an option. Success beckons for whichever industry takes the leap.
How did you personally get into fintech?
I’ve always thought the job chooses the person more than anything else. I think I’m proof of that. I was always obsessed with tech and entrepreneurship, and I worked as a programmer and as a strategic consultant all around finance and eventually also founded a business in fintech.
Almost without realising it, I realised I’d picked up a lot of the right skills to found a fintech company. Then I had an idea for AAZZUR. So we went for it.
How have your previous roles influenced your career?
I think I’ve taken something from every manager I’ve had. My first boss taught me how to behave and work in an office; the next one taught me about client management; the next taught me about partnerships and collaboration; and the last taught me about strategy.
As well as those guys, I’m always trying to take inspiration from the great founders. It’s only when you actually start your own business you realise just how hard it is to actually bring your company from your ideation to growth.
What frustrates you about the industry?
I think the sector moves too fast for its own good sometimes. This is down to two things. One, the sector is full of brilliant people and companies and there are so many ideas buzzing around, we don’t have time to implement them fast enough.
Secondly, the attention of the sector or media or investors moves on to the next thing too quickly. Today, I was talking to a venture capitalist (VC) and they said “embedded finance is so yesterday” and it is not even two years old. We all have such short attention spans sometimes that we don’t take the time to fully realise our ideas.
This is a shame because there are a lot of good ideas. But often the expectation does not match up with reality.
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
I’m not sure about specific mistakes but the best ones are the ones that teach you something about yourself. You want to learn what you like and what you don’t, how you like to work, who you want to work with and how you want your business and life to look.
Whenever I make a mistake I make a mental note to take something concrete from it and apply it in the future.
What has the future got in store for AAZZUR?
We’ve recently announced partnerships with Railsr, Treezor and Solaris and there’s more on their way. All of those are going to help us deliver for our clients and their customers
We’re also working on launching an embedded finance commission model and I’m particularly excited about a project we’re working on around the true cost of our purchases – but I’m not going to say any more about that just yet. But watch this space.