In a joint project, Berliner Volksbank and Bridgemaker founded VAI, a FinTech providing a concept and business case for a lean digital on-demand purchase financing platform.

August 2017
Berliner Volksbank

The team, consisting of Bridgemaker venture partners, Berliner Volksbank representatives and CEO Garry Krugljakow are driving the company’s success with an interim operations-, management- and specialists-team and ongoing venture support for the founders.

What does VAI do?

VAI is a service for digital on-demand purchase financing for SMEs offering pre-financing for buyers without the usual hassle of applying for a loan at their bank. VAI is tackling the problem of customers’ insufficient liquidity by settling the supplier’s claim immediately. With this solution, VAI provides significant benefits for both sides: suppliers and customers. While the customer is able to finance bigger purchase orders and continue to grow his/her business, the supplier does not have to deal with late payments or payment defaults.

Company Building Process:

Ideation Phase

A common understanding of the customer’s objectives is the starting point of every project that Bridgemaker starts. In this case, our client Berliner Volksbank commissioned us to assist them with a venture creation in the field of (corporate) finance. To ensure directing our venture developers’ creative energy into the right direction, it is crucial as a first step to fully understand the challenge that our customer sees as a company, within the market and regarding strategic goals. In a second step we convert the challenge to existing or arising issues on the client’s customer side to get a holistic perspective on the broad product-market picture. After an in-depth market analysis and numerous expert-interviews, we identified the areas of digital accounting and new financing solutions to be the most promising ones for a venture creation within the broad field of (corporate) finance.

Conception Phase

More than 50 qualitative live-interviews revealed further valuable information on the problems, especially in the SME finance sectors. Based on 5000 quantitative data points for the identified key areas, we were able to narrow the problem fields with the largest solution impact potential down to two market approaches: easy accounting and easily accessible capital for SMEs. Both approaches had one disruptive goal in common: to increase the financial autonomy of underbanked SMEs. As recent success stories, our experience within the start-up world and common business knowledge teach us, it is not necessarily a completely new solution that leads to success. Sometimes, existing solutions simply have to be reduced in their complexity and accessibility to better serve customer needs by effectively using new technologies and digital interfaces. This is exactly what our team of Bridgemaker  venture developers did as they started testing different approaches to improve the ease-of-use of SME financing tools. After a profound evaluation of the approaches, they came up with two dedicated concepts with completely unique value propositions and a relevant problem-solution-fit. For each one, they developed a comprehensive business case.

Incubation Phase

To push the concept forward and ensure a fast product launch, we developed and tested first click-dummies. Another crucial part in this phase was the identification and assessment of potential founders with matching skill sets and experience. During this stage of critical/landmark decisions, Bridgemaker supplied necessary team resources in the form of experienced specialists and well-versed industry experts. With the combined strength of highly motivated founders and Bridgemaker’s extensive network, the team paved the way for a fast and successful go-to-market. Bridgemaker further offered shared services for administrative tasks as well as essential infrastructure including venues and facilities.

Growth Phase

With the venture up and running, Bridgemaker’s support did not end. Our venture partners keep moderating between the start-up VAI and it’s key-stakeholder and partner Berliner Volksbank. Furthermore Bridgemaker ensures an effective monitoring and governance structure of the start-up. We support the product launch by releasing PR statements/campaigns in cooperation with the fast-growing start-up VAI and the corporate partner Berliner Volksbank. Bridgemaker marketing experts set up marketing and sales funnels as well as scalable operations processes and provide ongoing c-level support for the founders.

Future Outlook

Bridgemaker will remain an active partner for the next steps in the development of VAI. Even as the venture grows to be more independent, Bridgemaker will provide continuous support to make sure that VAI’s success story continues.

For more information on VAI please visit their website or contact us at to learn more about how we can help you start an exciting project with us.

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