Imagine you could invest into non-financial assets like real estate, art and passion investments such as classic cars, yachts or private jets with no intermediary cost and a more precise valuation of those assets. Wouldn’t that be great? This is what Douglas Azar and Daniela Galeote thought. They observed that clients from private banks are left stranded when it comes to trade their tangible assets as well as shares in private companies. Thus clients are faced with a fragmented market characterized by high intermediary fees and a lack of efficiency and confidentiality. As people are eager to connect to each other and to create communities sharing similar passions, Douglas and Daniela created Wealth Initiative with the conviction that it is time for private banks to play an active role in dealing with tangible assets and being part of the total wealth of clients.The platform of Wealth Initiative is used as a marketplace where clients of wealth management institutions can, through their relationship managers, easily value and trade their tangible assets and shares in private companies. Currently, it is an internal matchmaking platform that banks use to create synergies among their own client base. At a later stage, bank members of the WI platform will be connected to expand the universe. In terms of technology, they use machine learning (for the valuation for the assets) and the Blockchain technology (to secure the provenance of the assets).
Since the wealth management industry needed some changes in Douglas’ eyes, he took the chance to quit his job. Before founding Wealth Initiative, Douglas was heading the Advisory division for the CEE market of a private bank in Zurich. Daniela was already working in the Startup sphere, as she was a consultant for early stage start ups in London. Before Wealth Initiative, Daniela had already taken the leap by quitting investment banking and started learning to code. Facing new and diverse challenges as well as the need for continuous learning, is what drove her into the world of startups. Excelling in many different fields and opening up its mind for new knowledge and ideas, like Leonardo da Vinci, is was motivating both of them to keep on changing the wealth management industry.
After graduating from F10, Wealth Initiative continued questioning their value proposition, focusing on the problem they wanted to solve for their target group and market and tweaked out their solution accordingly. By the time, Wealth Initiative successfully achieved some milestones:
● qualified for the semifinalist to the KPMG European FinTech award
● closed a partnership with key software providers for banks
● were selected for the Fusion accelerator in Geneva
● got to the UBS Future of Finance Challenge finals
● completed their MVP and a PoC
In five years' time, Douglas and Daniela wish Wealth Initiative to be the leading platform for non-financial, tangible assets.