On the 26th of May, Valentin Stalf, Founder and CEO of N26, was honored as the Founder of the Year 2018 of the University of St.Gallen (HSG). But how did he become so successful as an entrepreneur? A look behind the success of Valentin Stalf and his startup N26.

How Valentin Stalf founded his own bank

Valentin Stalf quit his job in 2013 in order to set up his own bank. His feel for financial matters is something that he had already developed during his time at the University of St.Gallen, where he studied Business Administration and obtained a Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance. In 2013, he and his partner finally set up Europe’s first mobile bank, N26, which reached a million customers last week. N26 has optimized banking for smartphones: simple, fast and in tune with the times. An account can be opened completely on the smartphone in less than eight minutes. Customers can send money to friends and contacts by e-mail or SMS in the same second. By now, Valentin Stalf leads a team of more than 400 employees at N26.

»Just do it! I am founding a bank. «

Valentin Stalf, N26

Combination of evidence-based research and practical knowledge

The Startup Navigator is not just a theoretic concept. It combines the evidence-based research of the University of St. Gallen with the practical knowledge of leading entrepreneurs such as Valentin Stalf. Valentin had a strong impact on the Startup Navigator and gives the reader consistently tips in topics such as how to get your first customer or developing a solution which solves your problem throughout the book.

In the chapter “Solution” of the Startup Navigator, Valentin shares one of his key learnings. According to him, the main reason why startups fail is a simple one: no market need! In order to prevent this, you must think from the market side and not from the personal point of view, otherwise the startup remains small.

Valentin also gives insights into the FinTech area, for example in the chapter “Product/Service”. »In the FinTech area you cannot just „Fake it till you make it!“. The hardest thing is to build the MVP. By the time you’re ready to launch your product, it’s no longer an MVP, because you’ll have to meet all the regulatory requirements and have all your partners on board. While state-of-the-art technology is crucial in other sectors, the legal requirements for financial services are the benchmark in the FinTech sector. «

Get more entrepreneurial insights from Valentin in the Startup Navigator handbook.