Martin Saidler

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Martin Saidler
MSaidler.jpg
Born 1967 (age 50–51)
Vienna, Austria
Education University of Vienna

Martin Saidler is a Vienna-born Swiss businessman and investor in internet and financial technology companies. He has done most of his investing in central Europe, working mostly through a holding company called Centralway, and subsequently through a family office called Saidler & Co.

Career[edit]

Martin Saidler was born in Vienna, Austria in 1967.[1] His mother came from Slovakia and he grew up speaking Slovak at home.[2] He attended the University of Vienna where he studied journalism and political science.[2] He then moved to Berlin where in 1997 he founded the employment website Jobinteractive.com.[3] In 1998, it became one of the major job portals in Germany.[3] In 1999, Beisheim Holding Switzerland (BHS) acquired Jobinteractive.com.[4] BHS combined it with other businesses in a company called Scout24.[5] Saidler stayed with the company until around 2001, scouting opportunities for them in central Europe, and cashed out just before the dot-com bubble burst.[4][6]

Saidler used that money, along with money from a Luxembourg fund called Incubation Capital SARL, as capital for the investment company Centralway AG, based in Zug, Switzerland, and developed it into one of the largest Internet corporate groups in central Europe.[4][6] Through 2010, his investment strategy was to invest mostly in central Europe, in companies controlled by their founders that were making money and leading in their field; he would help them grow for three to four years, then seek an exit.[4] Many of these transactions were among private companies, so the sources of investment and the amounts of money spent and earned are not known.[6][7]

By 2011 Saidler determined that the market for IT companies in central Europe had become overpriced, so Centralway sold off most of its investments, stopped making new investments there, and starting looking at investments inside Switzerland,[8] at a time when there was a rising market of internet-based startups in Switzerland.[9] Centralway entered the Swiss market by acquiring an internet agency called Netvision and making it a subsidiary of Centralway, initially called "Centralway Factory", intended to be a corporate accelerator.[5][8][10] The company Centralway Numbrs was founded in the accelerator in 2012 to create an app for mobile banking; its founder was Julien Arnold.[11]

In 2013 Saidler set up a venture capital fund called Centralway Ventures based in Switzerland but operating in the UK; it made an investment in Buttercoin.[12] As of January 2018 the fund was closed down.[13]

In 2013, Saidler founded Saidler & Co. as a family office that operated through three arms; Statmentt, which invested in fintech companies, an investment fund, and a real estate investment fund operating in Switzerland, Austria and Hungary.[14][15] Saidler invested in Centralway's businesses through his family office.[16]

The Numbrs app, which aggregated a person's banking and credit card information in one app, was demonstrated at a fintech conference in 2013,[17] then launched in Germany in 2014.[18] Centralway began focusing on fintech.[3][18] By January 2017 the company said that people had entered about 1.5 million accounts into the Numbrs app and the company had raised about $125 million, and the majority shareholder was Saidler's family office.[16][19][20] In June 2017 the company cut about a third of its workforce.[21][22]

In 2015 Saidler started travelling to Israel, seeking investors and investment opportunities in the IT sector there, especially in fintech. Boaz Barak, whom he knew from the Swiss banking industry, retired to Israel and became Saidler's liaison there.[14][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schneider, Katharina. "„Die Welt braucht nicht noch eine Bank"" (in German). Handelsblatt. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "Martin Saidler: český Internet bude do dvou let patřit americkým firmám" (in Czech). Lupa.cz. 22 February 2007. Archived from the original on 12 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Brosy, Martin (29 July 2016). "Martin Saidler – Der erfolgreichste Online-Unternehmer der Schweiz?" (in German). Boersenpoint. Archived from the original on 30 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kowalsky, Mark (9 April 2010). "Centralway: Der Online-Zar in Osteuropa" (in German). Billanz. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Internet-investor Martin Saidler: «Wir wollen Startups bauen»" (in German). Startwerk.ch. 7 March 2012. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Skinner, Barnaby (19 January 2014). "Der talentierte Mr. Saidler". SonntagsZeitung. ; republished on author's website, as Skinner, Barnaby (11 March 2014). "The talented Mr. Saidler". Barnabyskinner.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. 
  7. ^ Hässig, Lukas (3 December 2013). "Die Ospels und der Dreihundert-Mio-Mann" (in German). Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Internetpionier Saidler investiert massiv in der Schweiz" (in German). Bilanz. 28 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Kowalsky, Marc (8 March 2012). "Internetszene Schweiz: Start up!" (in German). Bilanz. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Press release: Aus Netvision wird Centralway Factory" (in German). Werbewoche. 16 March 2012. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. 
  11. ^ "7 Questions with Julian Arnold, Founder and CEO of Numbrs". Fintech Forum. 18 October 2013. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. 
  12. ^ Lomas, Natasha (18 September 2013). "Swiss Company-Builder Centralway Opens $50M Fund, Invests $250k In Bitcoin Whitelabel Exchange Buttercoin". Techcrunch. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "Centralway Ventures: Private Company Information". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018. 
  14. ^ a b Tsipori, Tali (15 June 2017). "Swiss entrepreneur seeks Israeli high-tech investments". Globes English. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. 
  15. ^ "Saidler & Co. United Kingdom Ltd". Companies House UK. Archived from the original on January 22, 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018. 
  16. ^ a b Steve, O'Hear (10 January 2017). "Dubai's sovereign wealth fund invests in Swiss-made banking app Centralway Numbrs". Techcrunch. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. 
  17. ^ Sposito, Sean (16 September 2013). "Reporter's Picks: Three Top Apps at FinovateFall". American Banker. 
  18. ^ a b Ostler, Ulrike (19 April 2014). "Software-Hersteller Centralway baut sich eine Bank" (in German). Datacenter-insider.de. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. 
  19. ^ Noonan, Laura (28 February 2016). "Centralway Looks to Take On UK Banks with App for All Accounts". Financial Times. 
  20. ^ "Postbank und Norisbank kooperieren mit Centralway Numbrs" (in German). Kreditwesen.de. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  21. ^ Hody, Peter (7 June 2017). "Massenentlassung bei Schweizer Milliarden-Fintech". finews.ch (in German). Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. 
  22. ^ "Swiss Fintech Giant Cuts a Third of its Jobs". Finews. 7 June 2017. Archived from the original on 14 July 2017. 
  23. ^ "When is a bank not a bank?". Globes Israel. 18 January 2016. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. 

Further reading[edit]