The Team members
Christian Maksymiw, 29, MSc. Electrical Engineering + MSc. Management (TUM)
Maximilian Klinke, 25, MSc. Particle Physics (TUM)
Johannes Lamprecht, 24, MSc. Technology & Management (TUM)
First of all, congrats on being one of the winning Teams again!
You have come in second in the European Student Challenge with your idea „Pigtie“. What is your Project about? How did you come up with the Name?
We at Pigtie help students to get started with investing and financial planning and therefore reaching self-determination and averting old age poverty. Further we aim to make Germany climate neutral with sustainable investments. The name comes from our cute little mascot, a pig wearing a bow tie.
I was hoping that would be the answer. So why the mascot then? My first thought is of a piggy bank kind of thing maybe? How exactly does it work?
Well, it’s based on the principle of our app. As children we had a piggy bank at home where we threw in our spare change and pocket money and then took it to the bank. Nowadays you don’t get interest on your savings anymore and therefore it’s more important than ever to start investing. With Pigtie you start small and learn all about how investing works. Within our app we round up your digital transactions onto the next euro or even two or three. We then invest these roundups into ETFs. A very flexible and an easy way to get started. Of course this is only the first step.
You mentioned you „aim to make Germany climate neutral with sustainable investments.“ what exactly does that mean?
Well, this is another cool thing what we’re able to do with the roundups service. The idea here is to either invest in esg-conform fonds, which means they are certified to be sustainable, or if you don’t like investing yet to use the spare change to plant trees.
Let’s say someone is interested in getting started. What should they know beforehand?
Excellent question because that is exactly how we are different. At first you send us a message and get a short introduction video which motivates you to get started by showing you why investing is so important and why it’s necessary to get started today! Next, you just have to download the app and connect it to your bank account. Now you just pay like you’re used to with credit card, Apple pay, Paypal, etc.
Every Sunday we show you how high your roundups have been this week and encourage you to transfer the sum to your brokerage account. Of course most people don’t have a brokerage account yet, therefore we teach them how it works in another short video and help them setting one up. The roundups are then transferred to the brokerage account and now it’s time to select the right ETF to get started. At this point we show you how to select the right one via a video and a couple of third-party sources. When you’re just getting started one simple ETF is enough. Here it’s very important for us to not simply pre-select an ETF for you, because we want the user to understand what they’re doing and show them that this is actually very easy.
So to summarise it: There is no prior knowledge required. It’s our mission to enable you to do it yourself, be in control and self-determined.
That sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into it, how far along is your idea? What stage is it at right now?
Yes, a lot of thought went into this. And most importantly all the founders experienced this pain first hand, we all went through this. Since June 2020 our app is in beta-testing. Currently we are focusing on building a community and therefore need the help of our supporters to spread our mission! In the next weeks we are going public with our app! So far we have around 150 test users!
That’s exciting! What has your experience with your mentor been like? How have you benefitted from the collaboration or what was especially helpful to you?
Our mentor Charles was a big help, I believe we wouldn’t be this far without him. The most helpful thing was that we were able to get access to the finance industry and were able to talk to a lot of people who have founded a fintech company or are in the managing level of bigger companies in this sector. This was crucial for understanding the industry and how the business works. Further more, he gave us very helpful feedback on our work and pushed us further! So far, we were able to win multiple audience awards and were granted the Exist scholarship which helps us pay our bills. Big thanks to Charles, we couldn’t have done it without you! Another great thing: he has agreed to continue working with us!
Wow, congrats, that’s amazing! So what would you say, is the most valuable thing you have learned from taking part in this challenge? Also, are there any struggles you’ve come across?
Understanding how the fintech industry works. That’s something that wouldn’t be possible without house of mentors. More generally speaking the most valuable thing is always the team including mentors and supporters. Of course, there have been many struggles but it’s our job as entrepreneurs to overcome them.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the process?
Being able to do this for this long without receiving a monthly pay check. Up until today we’ve been working more than 1,5 years on this project, and – excluding the last 4 months – without payment. Also, to continue every day even when people might tell us this isn’t going to work. But we are going to prove them wrong!
Last but not least: What’s the first thing you’re going to spend the prize money on? 😀
Good question, we’re not sure yet. Either we use it to pay the second half of the capital contribution of our GmbH or to pay people to help us achieve our goals and spread word!
Thank you to Team Pigtie for their time and insightful answers!