The Swiss National Startup Team welcomes new members after a jury selected ten startups to join the Venture Leaders Fintech 2022 program. In anticipation of the London roadshow at the end of November, we would like to introduce our community to each of the Venture Leaders Fintech 2022. Meet Aurelio Perucca, CEO of Splint Invest.
Name: Aurelio Perucca
Location: Solothurn, Switzerland
Graduated from: University of Basel in 2019 with a PhD in Economics
Job title: CEO
Number of employees: 13
Money raised: CHF 1 million
First touchpoint with Venturelab: 2022, a business growth seminar
What does Splint Invest do and why?
Splint Invest is an easy, fully mobile solution for investing in alternative assets, starting with as little as EUR 50. In only a couple of minutes, anyone can create an account and start investing.
How did you come up with the idea for your startup?
Mario von Bergen, Alex Hoffmann, and I are not only co-founders but former co-workers at PwC and friends as well. We share a passion for investing. In the summer of 2020, we realized that our portfolios were not diversified; all our investments were highly correlated with stock markets and the overall macroeconomic situation. So, we did our research and came up with whisky casks. However, it was hard to get an overview of all potential sources, and we would need to invest at least EUR 40,000 to start. So, we decided to put some money in and invested in a dozen whisky casks from an Irish distillery. When we told our friends and families about it, they all said the same thing: next time, they also wanted to invest! After a few weeks, we had a list of 30-40 interested people. That’s how we came up with the idea of fractional investing in alternative assets—fully mobile and digital, and as easy as online shopping.
What do you expect from the Venture Leaders roadshow, and how do you think it help you achieve your vision?
I’m looking for possibilities to connect with potential investors. We are looking for a lead investor for the upcoming seed round with a fundraising target of CHF 2.5 million. With the funds, we would like to onboard additional 50,000 users and grow the monthly revenues from EUR 15,000 to 250,000 in 12 to 18 months. Additionally, we are planning to expand across Europe as well as the U.K. Meeting local authorities of the FCA or potential partners for a market entry would be great.
“With Splint Invest, we built a sustainable platform that makes alternative asset classes easily accessible for everyone.”
Who does your product or solution help, and how?
Globally, the number of active retail investors grew from 35.6 million in 2017 to over 150 million in 2021. The community is growing quickly. This trend is supported by social media and many other possibilities to learn about financial markets and investments and the increased accessibility of stocks, bonds, ETFs, and cryptos. However, there are many interesting and performing asset classes, like private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and luxury items, but these asset classes are not accessible to retail investors yet. With Splint Invest, we built a sustainable platform that makes alternative asset classes easily accessible for everyone. Initially, we’re focusing on fractional investing in luxury items, like whisky, watches, wine, cars, and art.
What are you most excited about at work right now?
We constantly improve our app with great features. Since I’m a retail investor as well, I love to see how the app evolves and I’m always very excited to use the new features. I’m also very excited about the new asset categories we are going to publish soon, like classic cars and art.
How did you build your team?
As already mentioned, my co-founders and I are former colleagues and friends. Since we had the idea together, it was easy to motivate everyone to work on a solution. After a few months, we realized that the project was growing and that we could no longer work on it at night and on weekends. That’s when I organized a workshop with all co-founders, and we discussed whether we should leave our position and go all in. The motivation was high, but the money to pay salaries was missing. However, we thought we should make the first move if we are to convince external investors to believe in us and our project. So, we decided to accept the risk and quit our jobs to join forces.
Which market are you addressing and what is the potential of your startup?
In the first phase from 2022 to 2023, we will be focusing on DACH only. With the current budget, we are targeting a specific user group—high earners who are between 40 to 55 years old. In late 2023 or early 2024, we plan to expand in Europe, for example to UK, Scandinavia, or Spain.
What are your key achievements to date?
Since February 2022, we work full-time on the project, started to advertise the app, and implemented a customizable referral system. The result is a significant increase in active users. As of today, we have over 6,000 registered users and over 2,200 active users. In a just few months, we were able to onboard 11 validated suppliers and have sold over 65 investment opportunities with a total value of over EUR 1.2 million. Since August, we have been generating monthly revenue of over EUR 15,000.
Is there something not many people know about you?
Only close friends and my family know how much I love dogs—especially my dog Jeff. Jeff is a Jack Russel, 5 years old, and crazy. He looks so cute, but he’s a monster. I get always into trouble because people want to touch him, even though he really doesn’t like to be touched.
What is your favorite podcast and why?
I really like the podcast Die Sprechstunde by Moser and Schelker because the content is mostly “useless”; it’s just two friends trash-talking.
What is your favorite book and why?
Der kleine Machiavelli by Hans Rudolf Bachmann and Peter Noll. I read it twelve years ago. It’s fun to read it and it was kind of an eye-opener for me.
How did you come up with the name of your startup?
Originally, the idea was to call the platform “Split Invest” because we are splitting assets into small fractions. However, we all agreed that “split” sounded strange, so we came up with an alternative: “Splint.” A splint is a long, thin strip of wood, which also represents a fraction of something bigger.
Who do you draw inspiration from and why?
My dad is a big source of inspiration. I think it’s a big challenge to manage one’s own career and company while having time for the family. Seeing how my dad managed to find a good balance between both is motivating to me.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a founder?
I can’t answer this question in general but, right now, the most rewarding thing for me is to use our app to invest in alternative assets. I really like the product, and, in a way, we also built it for us. It’s of course very satisfying as well to see that we have built something which delights other retail investors as well.
Splint Invest is the easiest way to invest in alternative assets, starting with only 50 EUR. Fully mobile and within less than two minutes everyone can create an account and start to invest.
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