What does it take to see through your idea become a fintech business competing at the heart of an established world-class industry supported by centuries of tradition, ingrained habits, and an uber-conservative customer base? How does one even think there’s a chance of taking a slice of the financial market in Switzerland? But where some see only unbeatable challenges, others find opportunities.
We spoke with Patrik Hansson of Clear Minds, whom we helped to turn a prototype into a digital investment advisory platform revolutionizing the traditional, slow, expensive investment services industry. In this interview, Patrik shared his thoughts on how the changing world is affecting customer behavior, how those insights have shaped the innovative digital platform for the new generation of investors he had helped to build, and gives advice to founders seeking to get traction for their fintech challenger startups.
What is Clear Minds?
Clear Minds is a modern advisory platform where investors can go online and take control of their investments while always being supported by experts.
We offer a platform where investors can come and invest in funds that they really do care about and like. Our unique selling point is that our platform gives the investors back control. We take control that previously the bank had, telling investors where to invest, and give it back to investors themselves so that can follow and invest into exactly what they like.
To you, why is it so important to bring investment advisory online? Can you elaborate on what benefits the online service delivers offers and who is their recipient?
Bringing digital services to the financial market and making financial services digital has two main benefits to the clients. The first one is accessibility. Previously, financial services were typically something for the few, the ones that have. Digital services give this to the masses. The second point is the cost. By making the process a lot more lean and efficient you can bring down costs to clients.
Why would someone opt for a digital advisor rather than go with traditional services like their own private advisor?
These go together as to why digital services matter and the main benefit are the costs. Compared to the traditional private advisors where you sit down, you have a relationship, you can get so much lower costs.
“Costs – what a lot of people don’t know – are one of the most important factors for generating stable, long-term financial returns. Because what you always know is that costs always come; financial returns, on the other hand, they fluctuate from year to year. But costs will always impact your returns negatively.”
Who is your target audience, and why?
The target audience of Clear Minds are investors who really understand the benefits of digital services, who understand also what the problem is today with the traditional services, and the people who want to take control of their investments. This is not gender- or age-specific, this goes across borders.
The new generation (aka the millennials) are considered to be the most responsible generation in decades. Are you noticing the difference in how the new generation approaches investing, are they more eager to invest? Any specific dynamic that’s affecting Switzerland and the Swiss investors?
The new generation and the transfer of wealth from the older generation is going to have a massive impact on the financial industry. If the newer generations are more eager to invest is something we are going to have to see, but what we do know is that they take a lot more care in about what they are investing in. That means you have to talk about responsible investing, sustainable investing, where you can see what you are investing in has a good impact not only on your own personal wellbeing (in terms of you generating a financial return) but also on the world as a whole.
We live in a world of continuous political and economic fluctuations that affect the financial markets. New US trade tariffs, trade wars, Brexit, uncertainty caused by election cycles. Have technologies decreased these vulnerabilities and are they able to help lower those risks?
Currently, the world looks very unstable. Regarding political risks – as they pop up in China, the US, Europe and everywhere – we say that you should take a step back, and instead of looking at your investment with a short-term horizon, look with a long-time horizon. And suddenly, with a long-term view, short term risks, become a lot less scary.
What’s your personal outlook on the future of the financial markets?
I think financial services and financial markets will radically change over the next years.
And if we think about financial services, I think we that we’re already seeing a lot of that change happening right now. We’re becoming digital, costs are becoming lower.
And also big players, big banks are changing and adapting to the market. And for the financial market themselves, I think blockchain is going to have a big impact.
“The way we are investing in securities, in funds, will look very different in a couple of years.”
From the perspective of someone who has already built a successful business, what are some of the tips you’d be willing to share with fintech startup founders?
For those who are just starting out the journey to build their own fintech, the best advice I can give is be agile; be fast; listen to the market; have your idea, but do not be too attached to it: try it out and adapt. That is the key point if you really want to create a good solution for the market.
What do you believe in that no one else believes?
What I really believe in – actually I do think a lot of people believe this right now – we can create a financially inclusive world where we do share, we do give everybody access, and we do allow people to actually invest in things that actually do good for the world.
How would you like your business to be remembered? Which problems do you solve and how do you do it differently?
Clear Minds is a modern advisory solution. It means that we offer a platform where investors can come and invest in funds, get tailored portfolios suitable for their needs. What Clear Minds offers that’s quite unique is we offer a platform where investors can take control while being supported by very experienced experts. We offer a digital solution that gives back control to the investors themselves while also giving the support that they always need.
Watch a video where Patrik talks about Clear Minds, or get more insights into Patrik’s journey of building Clear Minds investment platform in Django Stars case study