Werthstein was part of German Accelerator Southeast Asia’s inaugural class in Spring 2018. The company operates a digital wealth management platform that helps investors build customized and individual risk-optimized investment portfolios.
With a consumer market growing above average and a large amount of accumulated wealth, Southeast Asia was an ideal market for Werthstein to start expanding globally. The landing pad in Singapore, where German Accelerator’s office is located, promised a smooth entry into the booming region. As Bastian Lossen, CEO of Werthstein, explains, their product delivered education opportunities in financial services and investment opportunities to a very “education-hungry” population that is constantly growing.
“The program altogether was an amazing experience. The support we received from the team at German Accelerator was great – they really created a home for us and we felt comfortable very quickly.”
With the help of German Accelerator, Werthstein was able to navigate the new business environment and establish important business connections in Southeast Asia. Bastian thinks that Werthstein greatly benefitted from the program, as it helped the company make important business decisions and connected them to the ecosystem. Over the course of the 5 months in Singapore, Werthstein was able to refine its product and eventually made the decision to move from a mainly B2B-focused approach to a more individualized, B2C business model. Werthstein also decided to incorporate a company in Singapore and to create a local brand name in English and Chinese for the Southeast Asian market.
German Accelerator provided support also in bureaucratic matters. Thanks to the accelerator’s ‘green lane’ status, Bastian was able to get his Entrepass, a work pass for foreign entrepreneurs to start a new business in Singapore, in just 3 months. This was really helpful for him, as the process would usually have taken much longer.
Internationally, German companies are generally respected for expertise, quality and efficiency. Having “the brand of Germany” backing him up in the Southeast Asia markets was another aspect Bastian greatly appreciated from the program. Being part of a program supported by the German government added to Werthstein’s reputation and helped the company to get in contact with future partners.
Participating in the program not only gave Werthstein great visibility in Southeast Asia, but also back home in Germany. German Accelerator supported Werthstein in its marketing efforts and helped to secure a full-page coverage for the company in the leading German-language newspaper Handelsblatt.
One of the greatest takeaways for Bastian was that “you really have to be on the ground to build a business as it is very often about relationships which you have to build person-to-person.” In order to be successful in Southeast Asia, companies must establish a clear understanding of the local and regional markets and find the right partners to support their product. Even though expanding a business to an overseas market is a logistical challenge for many young companies, Bastian saw very high value in showing commitment and taking the opportunities provided by German Accelerator. “It is really important to meet people here and access the vibe of what’s going on in Singapore and the ecosystem. Ultimately, you will really benefit from it.”
Watch his interview here: