With more than 20 years in the financial sector, Solenne Niedercorn-Desouches has gained a wide experience in VC, fintech and regtech and advises in these areas. She’s also the host of the podcast Finscale, where she interviews guests on innovations happening in those areas. Her goals with the podcast are twofold: first, to help those in traditional finance understand from an operational perspective the paradigm changes happening in finance; and second, supporting those launching tech businesses to understand the constraints faced when building something in the financial sector. “What’s interesting is that it really builds bridges between those companies and my listeners, and that’s my objective: to connect the dots between these different populations.”
Statista estimates that total transaction value in the digital investment segment could reach $3.13trn in 2023 and show a compound annual growth rate over a four-year window of 13.17%, reaching $5.13trn by 2027.
Niedercorn-Desouches is excited about the prospects. “What’s interesting is that something appeared a few years ago that made a sort of competition to investment funds: the rise of digital investment platforms,” she says, adding that among the most renowned is Crowdcube, which enables private individuals to invest in startups directly.
She also cites the democratisation of access to private investments as interesting. “There are more and more platforms providing access to Tier 1 private equity funds--and enabling access with very small tickets.”
Moonfire is one example of this. “It’s accessible to private individuals with a certain amount of assets and wealth, so it’s not accessible to retail investors, but the tickets are around €100,000, which is already a very big improvement because, generally, these funds are accessible with huge tickets of €10m or €20m.”
Altaroc and Carbon Equity are among some of the other solutions she names which are improving access to privilege PE funds. Other innovation solutions Niedercorn-Desouches has her eye on are solutions to build one’s own syndicate (Vauban, Odin and Roundtable); Sweep and Impak Analytics for ESG scoring and impact analyses; Dealroom for API growth signals and more. Luxembourg’s own BlocHome, which allows for the securitising and tokenising assets in a packaged version, is another one on her radar.
Another exciting platform is 73 Strings, which uses augmented reality to calculate asset valuation, ultimately enhancing operational efficiency. “AI is really a game changer in risk management,” she adds.
But even if solutions help in the day-to-day, there’s always going to be the human element. “Most of the time, VCs and PE firms struggle to get access to oversubscribed deals, and this is where humans remain the most important part of the equation.”
And, when it comes to increased regulation and firms needing solutions to fulfil certain requirements, such platforms can also help alleviate some of those burdens. “For instance, with SFDR, you have a lot of new solutions popping up to solve pain points and facilitate, for instance, the calculation of the carbon footprint of the portfolio.”
But even if such tech can help remove pain points and could help reduce operational and cost pressures, “the problem is that, most of the time, firms don’t know they exist, or how it’s working. Sometimes they’re afraid of using them.”