Maik Taro Wehmeyer/Taktile
Taktile’s CEO Maik Taro Wehmeyer: an interview with AltFi
Taktile discusses modern decision engines, the state of the lending market and the industry focus on profitability with AltFi
Meet Taktile, the company looking to help fintechs put decision-making back in the hands of decision-makers.
Founded in 2020 by CEO Maik Taro Wehmeyer and chief product and technology officer Dr Maximilian Eber, the low-code/no-code platform harnesses data and AI to empower credit and risk teams to make safer and smarter risk decisions.
Drawing on their experience building products for big banks and fintechs, Eber and Wehmeyer set out to build the “best-in-class, best-in-the-world” decision engine, with a holistic and horizontal approach.
The company has offices in New York, Berlin and has recently branched out to London, so Wehmeyer sat down with AltFi to discuss the company’s expansion, key trends for lending and credit risk solutions companies right now (spoiler alert: profitability is up there) and how decision engines are an integral part of each and every fintech.
How do you see decision engines fitting into the fintech stack?
Decision engines are the missing piece of the fintech stack. If you think about fintech and software, every fintech has a sort of decision engine. Because what is a decision engine? It's a platform comprised of rules and logic that helps companies make decisions in an automated way.
For example, that could be determining who is eligible to get a credit card or loan. It could be checking if a fraudulent applicant wants to open a bank account or how much someone should pay for your new insurance policy.
Fintechs make many different decisions on a daily basis, so there must be something that actually serves as what people would call a ‘decision engine’. But I think most fintechs have a decision engine that only engineers can operate, and only developers can communicate with.
This approach holds teams back. Decision engines should be operated by the decision-makers themselves. The risk analyst or the credit analyst and the experts should be in charge of designing their credit policy or decision flow on their own and iterating and measuring the results without needing engineers.
The engineers in the fintech should be left to build cool features for the users, not updating internal logic. That is why we are convinced that every fintech has a need for a decision engine. And we are of the opinion that the internal ones that most fintechs build, and also the external ones on the market, are not fully enabling the decision makers to operate and iterate on their decisioning systems.
What trends do you see in the lending and credit risk industries?
The big trend is the focus on profitability. We recently published a survey on the state of lending where we talked to CEOs, chief risk officers and lending experts all over the world to identify their primary concerns. It was very, very clear that their top goal is profitability. In this high interest rate environment, companies need to start making money, especially fintechs backed by VCs.
And number two is embracing new technologies to gain a competitive advantage. In many cases, fintechs want to use alternative data in order to reach their goals and gain a competitive advantage. There are so many powerful data vendors out there now, but how as a fintech can you embrace that and use these new data sources and include them in your financial product?
How can lenders and other fintechs reach profitability?
After doing the survey it was very interesting because it became very clear that people consider agility to be critical in reaching profitability, especially in today's volatile market.
In today’s volatile market, lenders need to be able to respond fast. They must be able to be both proactive, but also reactive to changing interest rates, surges in demand, adopting new technology or changing their business strategy.
What are you most excited about for Taktile in the next six months?
One is being named one of the top young AI companies in the world because I'm very excited to see how the power of data and decisioning can actually be applied in financial services.
For example, we are currently developing products with open banking providers to make transaction data useful for the risk field. And we've seen tremendous results and success so far. I really consider continuing to develop those products and making use of AI in that world to be a game changer for the industry.
The second is also very easy. We opened the London office and the New York office is growing to expand our presence in these core markets. So seeing those two cities thriving and working with customers in those cities to help them save time, improve accuracy and reduce risk is so exciting.
What are you most excited about for fintech more broadly in the next six months?
I think there's a lot of opportunity right now in emerging markets. Right now we have customers all over Latin America, in India and Africa. And there we are actually seeing the first big players emerging in those markets, like a Revolut for Nigeria, a Monzo for Mexico.
They're all coming up and are developing such impactful financial products that genuinely solve the needs of underserved customers.
For example, one of our customers, SaveIn in India, does ‘care now, pay later’. Not everyone in India has access to health care providers and SaveIn embeds their financial products right at the health care centres across India. They help people in need when they're not insured to get access to financing right at the counter when they actually need it.
Those kinds of stories are incredibly motivating for us as a company, to see that our decision engine can help such great fintech entrepreneurs in emerging markets to launch their products to the market really fast. And by that, we are enabling more underserved segments of the market.