COVID-19 negatively impacted businesses of all shapes, sizes, and sectors. It pushed many industries around the world to the edge of survival.
The FinTech industry — an industry that’s steeped in innovation — was no exception. FinTech companies around the world were forced to either shut operations or re-strategize. The crisis was worsened by global lockdowns and extended quarantine periods.
Despite the significant disruption caused by the pandemic, most FinTechs demonstrated resilience and an ability to handle financial difficulties. Several entrepreneurs did not sit still and continue to do what they were good at.
One of these entrepreneurs is Lex Gielen and the Gielen Group. This article looks at how Lex has reacted to the pandemic.
Lex is a young, Dutch entrepreneur in the FinTech space. Lex’s journey started in 2013 when he founded Atlantis, a digital-factoring company for SMEs. His great eye for new opportunities saw Atlantis Financiers quickly grow to one of the largest alternative finance and full-service factoring providers on both the Dutch and Belgian markets.
Through partnerships and in-house development Lex acquired and started new companies. At this moment Lex owns 8 companies spread over four countries in Europe. These 8 companies are part of a network of companies known as the Gielen Group.
Driven by a team of 40 enthusiastic professionals, the companies (which include Paylex, Customer Diligence, Lancelot Vastgoed, Presto, Twinero, Viventor, and Capilex) are part of a Financial Ecosystem.
The Gielen Group was also touched by COVID, just like other companies. The economic slowdown changed the FinTech industry operations. Lex didn’t sit around and wait for economic growth to return. Despite the tough conditions, he kept his eyes open for new opportunities and took the necessary steps to sustain and even grow his businesses.
In a time of pandemic and economic uncertainty, Lex found a way to expand and grow the Gielen Group.
He shifted from respond to recover by:
- Starting Customer Diligence. The company provides AML tooling for financial professionals and companies. With the AML tool, compliance officers can complete a customer due diligence screening with a few taps. The tool also provides insight into the group structures of companies. This info helps with getting the ultimate beneficial owner.
- Acquiring Viventor – an alternative marketplace for investments. The company enables cross-border investing for every European thanks to its outstanding platform that allows investors to invest in different loan types, loan originators, and countries.
What is next for Lex Gielen?
COVID is not over yet, but there’s a better grip on the virus. As the FinTech sector continues to grapple with the Omicron variant, a looming lockdown and ongoing recession, companies are redrawing their strategy to weather these storms and seize new opportunities.
Lex is still dedicating time and resources to stabilize and possibly restructure the companies in the Gielen Group that have been hit by COVID. At the same time, other businesses in the Gielen Group have room to scale and grow. Moving forward the overall focus of the Gielen Group is to close gaps in the delivery of financial services to firms and households.
As technology continues to change the face of the financial services industry, the Gielen Group has expanded its product offerings based on the unique needs created by the pandemic. They’re expanding to real estate with mortgage-backed lending.