Picking up the pace – W&W brandpool digitizes the customer journey in financial services
The success story of Wüstenrot & Württembergische-Gruppe (W&W) dates back to the year 1828. The company continually extends its offer with innovative products, and as of May 2018 these activities have been bundled together to form a new business unit called W&W brandpool. We recently spoke with Managing Director Daniel Welzer who revealed that the company is currently looking for digital B2C and B2B2C business models to expand its digital ecosystem. The new.New Festival 2018 proves to be right place for W&W brandpool to connect with potential business partners.
Iulia: Hi Daniel. Could you please take us through the recent developments at W&W brandpool?
Daniel: W&W brandpool was founded at the beginning of May this year, as part of the Wüstenrot & Württembergische Group, so it’s actually a very young business unit. Despite this, our portfolio already includes four young companies who are using the latest sustainable technologies to create innovative, digital business models and customer-focused solutions. Our main goal is to create an ecosystem not only around the financial services offered by the Wüstenrot & Württembergische Group, but also a wide range of digital business models covering numerous areas in life, such as healthcare, family, education, and modern travel solutions (mobility). We are either building up our own startups or acquiring them from the market. The most interesting part for us is the value chain shaping future business models.
Iulia: Could you give us a few examples of startups/brands that are already part of W&W brandpool? What solutions are they currently developing?
Daniel: W&W brandpool’s product portfolio comprises:
- Keleya– expectant mothers can use this app, which provides them with lots of health tips, nutrition plans, and instructions on yoga and Pilates workouts. The app has been developed in such a way that it offers pregnant women a tailor-made program that adapts to their individual goals and needs.
- NIST – a portal that supports customers looking for real estate – from the very first steps to financing. Potential buyers stay in direct contact with the seller. Customers can then use a NIST financing certificate to prove their creditworthiness quickly and easily.
- ADAM RIESE – a digital insurance brand we launched last year. It stands for high-quality insurance products, which are available online at a fair price. This is clearly W&W’s footprint in digital insurance. Customers can compare prices and products online.
- FinanzGuide/Treefin – an intelligent financial assistant that helps customers manage their expenses and bank accounts. The tool also guides and supports you in optimizing different types of insurance. Treefin is accessible via smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.
Iulia: We are living in an era of digital transformation and it’s about much more than the technology itself. What do you believe are the main challenges this currently presents in the financial services sector?
Daniel: In the past, many financial products were promoted through push. I think that this has now changed. These days it’s important to capture customer interest at the very moment a certain product becomes relevant and offer assistance when it’s needed most. Our aim at W&W brandpool is to establish a kind of ecosystem that gives you access to a variety of products and services. This entails keeping up with digital innovation and coming up with customizable products that are ready in digital terms. This is another reason why we are looking to expand our offer.
Iulia: What technologies and topics are of most interest to W&W brandpool at the moment when it comes to transforming the customer experience?
Daniel: We’re not necessarily just focusing on technology, at least not like people are probably doing in other sectors, and we’re not looking into a particular set of technologies. For us it’s the business model that counts, so we’re interested in all kinds of business models to accompany our customers as they go about their daily lives. Any technology that helps develop a pool of relevant services for our customers will also be on our radar, from AI to blockchain, so we’re open to good ideas and customer-oriented solutions.
Iulia: What are your expectations and goals as a partner of the new.New Festival 2018? Can you give us a sneak peek and share some of the main highlights of W&W brandpool at the festival?
Daniel: We see the new.New Festival as a fantastic networking opportunity and we’re really eager to talk to people and better understand potential customer needs. There will also be a lot of young people attending the innovation festival, so we want to reach out to them, learn, and discover what the younger generation is looking for in terms of financial services – what young people need nowadays and what we can do to customize our offering based on their requirements.
In terms of the main highlights, I’m excited to share that we’re organizing a prototyping workshop. We’ve invited a really interesting company from Cyprus to the event. They’re called proto.io and they have an industry-leading prototyping platform that empowers designers, entrepreneurs, and developers to create web and mobile app prototypes that look and feel just like the real thing.
The proto.io team will be at our booth on Monday. The idea is to invite visitors to the festival to drop by our booth and let us know what they think the ideal financial management tool would look like. What functions should it offer? What information should the tool provide them with? Based on the feedback we receive, the proto.io team will then develop a fully interactive application – live. So it’ll be a really good chance to show visitors how prototyping works.
Another major highlight and an important goal for us at the new.New Festival is the startup challenge. As mentioned, we’re actively looking for new companies to expand our portfolio. The new.New Festival is the perfect place to get to know innovative digital business models in the areas of housing, finance, health, family, education, and mobility. So for two hours a day – from 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm each day – we’re officially inviting young companies, startups, and creative entrepreneurs to come to our booth (A 0.03 in the W&W brandpool section) and pitch their ideas and explain customer benefits, the feasibility of their ideas, and the monetization opportunities. We don’t expect them to present a complete business plan; it’ll just be a personal conversation so the startup can win us over with their brilliant business idea. The most inspiring ones will be invited to our W&W brandpool offices in Stuttgart from October 22 to November 2. This will be a unique opportunity to secure funding: up to half a million euros! We will also help them write an investment strategy tailored to the needs of their company, and we’ll offer support in developing the business concept. So startups: seize the opportunity! We’re very much looking forward to meeting you and exploring the possibilities of successful partnership.
Iulia: That sounds like an amazing opportunity for all the startups and entrepreneurs who are making their way to this year’s new.New Festival! Many thanks for the interview, Daniel and see you soon!