One to Watch: Lauri Karp
Perhaps Lauri Karp was destined to be in banking – at least he was born in a building in Estonia that is now part of a bank. The former financial consultant and co-founder of Frankfurt-based emformX helps European financial services institutions to communicate with and serve their customers more efficiently and effectively. The venture draws on Karp’s extensive 20-year experience in finance. After studying economics in Heidelberg, he moved to Frankfurt in 1998 to work for one of the major players in banking. “It was an exciting phase which saw the first wave of digitalization: there were lots of new ecommerce products and a boom on exchanges. It was a catalyst for what was possible,” he says.
Lauri Karp, co-founder and CEO of emformX © Feinkorn-Gaby Gerster
He was a freelance consultant from 2001 to 2008 before deciding to set up the software company TreasuryView with his twin brother Margo. They had just begun coding, when the global meltdown happened. “These were really tough years, because the product was about interest rate and debt management aimed at customers in banks and the public sector. Suddenly customers disappeared, so our market shrank rapidly. Meanwhile, the Interest rate had shrunk to 0% – so who needs a risk solution?” Luckily, their public sector clients stuck with them and they emerged stronger.
Benefiting from Karp’s past experiences and professional network, the new venture emformX is seizing the opportunities in the financial services industry arising from the fast-moving forces of digitalization and cloud services. EmformX offers an application programming interface (API) product and provides a platform that helps to simplify otherwise time-consuming financial and transaction data analysis: “We make dumb data smart,” he says, “and deliver automated content to our customers that makes sense.”
Karp is more convinced than ever that Germany – and Frankfurt in particular – offers the right base for innovation and growth: “It has the best business environment and legal infrastructure to support a business looking to see what is possible.”