Robert Lempka is the Co-founder and CEO of ayondo, a company that offers both a sophisticated online trading platform for experienced individuals investing in CFDs and spread betting, and a leading Social Trading platform. Robert shares his exciting journey to revolutionise the retail trading and investment space while working on making ayondo the first listed FinTech company in Singapore.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am happily married and a father of three amazing boys. I am a big fan of German football club Schalke 04 and red racing cars. Almost nine years ago, me and my best friend and former colleague at Goldman Sachs Thomas made the life- and career-changing step to start ayondo. Before, I was CEO of ABN AMRO marketindex, a next generation trading platform, and prior to that I held trading management positions at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt and at Goldman Sachs International in London. I graduated from Trier University, and was educated at Dublin City and UCLA.
What is your business venture about?
The internet has changed consumer behavior so much that we knew that there was no way that the investment and banking industry would stay the same. At that time, the term FinTech was not even established. And while investing in business models and technologies that were aiming at more efficiency in financial markets, we fell in love with our own portfolio companies and then concentrated on developing ayondo into a leading provider of trading and investment services.
What is your mission at the outset?
We want to revolutionise the retail trading and investment space and make customers happy.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
We live and breathe the change and democratisation of the financial industry. We have always focused on integrity, a level playing field and fairness. And these values are in the very core of our business. They even became part of the company’s mission statement. This is why we liked the beauty and opportunities that lie within Social Trading.
What is unique about your business?
ayondo offers Social Trading. This modern way to invest allows retail investors to automatically copy the trades of experts. Social Trading is one of the latest growth industries that tap innovative technology to change the way trading and investment services are traditionally provided. What is unique about our business is, that we own the full value chain as all trades are executed on our own financial service provider ayondo markets. So we basically own the technology and the engine that makes the car move.
Who do you sell to and how do you get customers?
We target B2B clients as well as B2C clients in over 195 countries. So we are standing on both feet. In the FinTech industry, the B2B business is getting more and more important. You need to be able to team up with big players like banks, for example. So we deliver technology and innovation and they bring a huge client base to the table.
Why will customers stay or do repeat business with you?
It is all about the people. ayondo has a great and very experienced Management Team. We always give 110% to make the customer happy. This is why our partners trust us growing the business together.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Like with trading, it is never wise to expect to get rich overnight. You need expertise, patience, enough funding and you need to be open to change ways that have turned out to be wrong. Stay focused and open minded and always plan ahead. And you have to surround yourself with trusted and excellent people. This way you attract further excellent staff setting the ground for the success of a company.
Do you have any final thoughts?
The FinTech sector is so diverse and thrilling, I am proud to be part of this fast paced growth market, especially with the potential it offers in the Asian region. Singapore has supported the FinTech industry in an amazing way, from establishing a FinTech Festival and a MAS supported FinTech Association to a supportive SGX. We see a huge potential for growth in the region and as Social Trading is a popular way to invest in European countries, we believe that this fairly new and innovative product will attract a lot of attention in the Asian Retail market.
Who is your biggest inspiration or drive to do what you are doing?
I am proud to see that the ayondo family is growing and I am very inspired day by day by this excellent team.
What’s next for you and for ayondo?
ayondo is facing a very exciting year working on becoming the first listed FinTech company in Singapore. I always loved to do pioneering work, so I am extremely excited about our proposed Singapore listing as this will provide an excellent platform to accelerate growth and brand awareness globally, Asia in particular.
Hock Lai has 18 years of experience in the financial industry, having performed roles in both business and technology. He graduated from the National University of Singapore (Real Estate), Nanyang Technological University (Infocomm Technology) and Nanyang Polytechnic (Fund Management & Administration).
He is also a Fellow of the Singapore University of Social Science, advisor to FinTech Startups and mentor to student FinTech projects.
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