Henrik Gebbing & Christopher May
Winners of the EPIC Awards 2020
Christopher: "IE gave me the freedom and the space to develop and broaden my curiosity and to spend enough time within the class room as well as outside of it to create and foster ideas."
Co-Founders & Co-CEOs of FINOA. IMBA 2018.
My name is Henrik and I was born and raised in Germany on the border with the Netherlands. After graduating from High-School I joined the German industry leader Siemens AG for a sponsored dual-degree (B.A. in International Management + Business Trainee Apprenticeship). After being awarded the Fulbright Scholarship, I pursued an M.Sc. in Marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, where I was also recruited by McKinsey & Company to join their team in Cologne. During my time with McKinsey I consulted Fortune 500 companies in Finance and High-Tech for almost 4 years after which I decided to take the opportunity granted by McK’s to study a MBA at IE Business School, which allowed me to focus my interest in Entrepreneurship & Blockchain and co-found Finoa.
Christopher: I grew up in a small village in the countryside in the west of Germany. Following a semi-professional career as a table tennis player I started my professional career in banking and asset management – following my passion for financial markets. Before funding Finoa, I spent 4 years with McKinsey & Company in their German office working with banks, insurance companies as well as companies within the apparel and retail segment. My career and especially the way which lead me to Finoa was always characterized by the intellectual curiosity to question and change the status-quo, solve problems and improve people’s and organizations life.
How did IE help you get to where you are today?
Henrik: The MBA at IE was an enabler of the decision to co-found my own company. From Startup-Lab through Venture-Lab, I leveraged IE’s extensive support for future entrepreneurs. This year in Madrid also gave me the necessary time to think of where I wanted to focus my energy, and helped me fulfil my personal goals. Not to forget that I met my wonderful girlfriend Livia during the MBA.
Christopher: IE gave me the freedom and the space to develop and broaden my curiosity and to spend enough time within the class room as well as outside of it to create and foster ideas.
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
Christopher: Henrik and myself, knowing each other since years and working together at McKinsey, were active in the blockchain space as an investor since early 2017 and were discussing ideas and developments in the space all over the year 2017. When IE united us again (Henrik started his MBA in Sep. 2017, I followed for the Jan. 2018 intake), we sat together in January 2018 and came up with the idea of Finoa – based on our own pain points we experienced in the market, combined with our experiences we made in our previous jobs.
Henrik: Studying in San Francisco fostered my entrepreneurial mindset and interest in the tech industry. Working as a consultant in Finance, helped me to understand the financial industry. After starting to invest into Bitcoin in 2016 and believing in the potential of Blockchain technology as a whole, I knew that it was about time to start my FinTech adventure!
What is the key to the success of your company?
There are too many to be able to list them down. On a founders’ level, it’s clearly and mostly the blind trust into each other and our decisions and a shared view on working ethics and values. In a broader sense, it’s clearly the team you are attracting to build the company with you, requiring a very rigorous hiring and retention process, a shared vision and a culture in which everybody flourishes.
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