June 17, 2021

How Are Things? A Virtual Chat with Paul Jozefak, Chief Executive Officer of re:ceeve

Written by Sharleen Lucas David

German Accelerator alumni re:ceeve graduated from our Asia Market Access program in March 2021. In addition, they recently increased their seed funding with venture capital funds Seaya Ventures and 14W, joining existing backers Mangrove Capital Partners, Speedinvest, and Seedcamp! After raising three rounds of venture capital totaling $19m, they will now grow faster in the markets they started in and address new regions. So how is this German startup driving inevitable disruption in the FinTech industry? We spoke to Paul Jozefak, Chief Executive Officer of re:ceeve, to see what they’re up to and to learn more about his key learnings, takeaways, and next steps for the company.

1. Paul, can you tell us a little bit about re:ceeve?
At re:ceeve, we are attempting to bring the whole collections industry into the modern age to best serve the customers of our clients who have for whatever reason not paid their bills. We work using behavioral science and AI to ensure that these end customers have a fully digital experience with digital communication and payment options that suit their lives and needs.

2. There are many good reasons for German FinTech startups to look to Asia. Why did you choose to come to Asia?
After the European Union (EU), Asia is the most exciting region with an appetite for innovation in the FinTech sector, and extensive digitalization has already taken place. The time is ripe to digitize processes that haven’t kept up with the times, and my Co-Founder, Michael, and I saw the opportunity and need to modernize the collections industry there.

3. What advice would you give other FinTech startups who are trying to break into the Asian market?

  • Establish a physical presence in the region to build relationships. Spending time and getting to know your potential customers is essential.
  • Work with local partners. If you do not have anyone on your side who knows the market, you are toast.
  • Pick one market to enter first. Go extensive in your entry to that particular country before moving on to another. You can get very lost trying to address the whole region at once.

Summary of Paul Jozefak's tips for FinTech startups entering Asia

4. What do you see for re:ceeve’s long-term future? What are the next steps for your company?
We want to become the market leader in collections software, and ultimately, we want our company to evolve into the debt servicing and purchasing side of the business. In this regard, we ultimately “eat our own dog food” as we can use our technology for internal operations to deliver the best servicing options or the best purchase price for debt portfolios.

5. In your view, what makes an entrepreneur?
Grit and tenacity play a key role. If you can’t stick it out when things get rough, you will probably not last long. What is often not mentioned is that you need a strong support network. Either you have a spouse that supports the entrepreneur’s journey or have close friends and mentors you can lean on. It is tough and lonely to go at it alone, and without the ability to disengage and reflect with someone else, you can get mentally exhausted, not giving your 100%.

Quote from text on what makes makes an entrepreneur by Paul Jozefak.

And last but not least, let’s do a few speed questions:

Which book did you last read?
Power Base Selling by Jim Holden.

If you could change one thing in the German startup ecosystem, what would it be?
The treatment of stock options for employees.

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?
I would choose immortality. I’d love to see and experience where this world would be in 100, 200, and even 300 years.

What is the one thing every founder needs?
Customers!

A German startup in the FinTech space to watch?
Well, this is an easy one: re:ceeve!

Answers to speed date questions with Paul Jozefak, CEO of re:ceeve