Interview with GeoPhy's Teun van den Dries

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Teun von den Dries talked to us about his company GeoPhy and the role of fintechs in the finance sector.

Teun van den Dries is founder and CEO of GeoPhy, a data platform and analytics tool to add transparency to the property market and derisk investment decisions. With the property market being fairly opaque, obtaining structured information about certain objects is a rather complicated task. Data isn’t used effectively internally according to van den Dries, and is also almost never shared. Offering a sophisticated solution to this problem, the GeoPhy team grew from 2 to 20 during the past 2 years and is now active in 40 countries. Talking about FinTech, van den Dries shares the view of many attendees we had the chance to talk to. He includes in the term “any service that financial institutions offer and that technology can do better. Interestingly, this definition would leave GeoPhy, as well as many other exhibitors and attendees at the conference out of the picture.” The term is to be understood in a very broad sense to account for all the companies that are called fintech right now. Also for GeoPhy, van den Dries says, making everything they offer easily accessible is a crucial condition to creating a good customer experience. A beneficial factor for this is having no legacy, thus not having to deal with an existing system that was build several years ago and therefore being able to build from scratch – which means with low thresholds and in a very agile way. Asked about the landscape of banking, van den Dries states that “I think it will take a bit longer for banks to change. There is definitely a very strong inertia in this sector, mostly due to compliance regulation, so it will be quite tough for anyone challenging a bank to actually replace it. If you’re a taxi company, you can just set up a new taxi company. In most countries it’s fairly easy. With a bank it is quite hard. But in terms of innovation and innovation speed, the banks don’t stand a chance. In the short term they’ll be fine, in the long term most of them won’t survive.” He states that a bank, in the end, is a company that needs to make money and the profitable bits are recently targeted by fintechs. However they probably will be able to live off the remaining parts of their business for a time sufficient for them to adapt to the new and disrupted landscape of finance.