Bitcoins took the world by storm in 2013 and whilst it’s unclear whether the Bitcoin-craze can hold up – there is no doubt that there is a merit to the concept of crypto-currency. Enter Safello – A Stockholm-based Bitcoin trading platform aimed at ‘the average consumer’ – instead of just tech-savvy/hacker-type folks.
I caught up with Safello CEO Frank Schuil – a Dutch entrepreneur who has been living in Sweden for the past few years. Frank was previously involved in a company called Qubulus that raised funds from Hampus Jakobsson and Carl Silbersky among others. We talked a little bit about his background, Safello and the Bitcoin-craze.
It’s also worth noting that Safello have organized an event in conjunction with Stockholm School of Economics for those interested in Bitcoin and crypt-currencies more generally. You can sign up for the event here.
Tell us about your background
Born in the Netherlands I started my first company straight after my study Media & Entertainment management in Amsterdam called IRL Connect. It was a location based social network that used Google Maps as an interface for a location aware platform. In hindsight we were ahead of our time with our vision and execution. I sold my shares and then co-founded indoor positioning company Qubulus and moved to Sweden as my co-founder was Swedish and we were incubated at Ideon. Prominent names like Hampus Jakobsson, Carl Silbersky, Jayway and Innovationbridge invested in us. This time we prematurely scaled our business and had some serious market setbacks with Apple blocking their location API and Google coming out Indoor Maps at the wrong timing for us. Long story short, we didn’t make it and soon after I was sparked by Bitcoins. Now I’m heading the kickass team of Safello from Stockholm where I initially moved to follow my Swedish girlfriend. It’s been a rollercoaster ride since we decided to do this barely two month; found the company, closed an angel round (not announced), launch the website and co-organize an event together with Stockholm School of Economics. It’s exciting!
What is Safello, what problem does it solve?
Safello is a quick and simple Bitcoin exchange. What we try to solve? The boring answer is “market efficiency”. For the average consumer it’s no fun buying Bitcoins, in fact even some of my most tech savvy friends have given up midway. If Bitcoins ever wants to deliver on its promise of revolutionizing the financial market, that needs to change. And so we built Safello, the simple and quick exchange for you to buy Bitcoins. But we know that’s only the start, long term there’s all kind of magic in our roadmap.
What are your thoughts on the ‘Bitcoin rage’, and where will it be in three years from now?
In my opinion it’s the start of something big, a financial revolution. If it was just Bitcoins I would be more skeptical, but there are already over 50 other crypto currencies ready to take over Bitcoin’s place if it fails. And the decentralized nature makes it very resilient from attacks from regulators, hackers and other parties that have an interest to destroy it. Since 2009 the value has approximately increased by tenfold every year. There is little evidence that this will be halted anytime soon. Having said that, Safello is looking at the long term implications beyond the current craze and beyond just Bitcoin. As they say, people tend to overestimate what happens in two years and underestimate what happens in five.