The day on which our newly founded company became fully operational after the formal foundation process was completed is our Day One. It has been a real journey for us to experience this day. It symbolizes a new beginning or us.
The notary’s appointment was on 15 January 2020 and during the rather formal meeting at the notary’s office all three of us went through a kind of inner smile. We were already a little proud of ourselves. In front of the door, a selfie was made and posted in our group.
We already had a network of friendly partners who are on the same wavelength with us and want to work together with us. Now we had to face some formalism. Create a business account. With a cool digital bank of course. Identification for account creation via smartphone. It’s almost oldschool. It’s very easy, only takes five minutes. A great innovation.
A video chat opens and a nice young man appears and welcomes me. “Please state your full name,” he says, which I do. Shortly afterwards he says: “The connection is too slow, please use a faster internet connection or another device”. Well, with a good LTE connection in the middle of Berlin this should work, if things like Skype or Facetime work great, I thought. Often better than with slow WLAN. Not much brooding, then let’s try the Hotel WLAN. The second try seems to work better: “Hold your identity card in the camera” the nice man tells me in the video chat. Sure, will be done, here you go.
“Your ID card is not suitable for identification, it already shows too strong traces of use”. Ooops, I’ve had it in my wallet for a couple of years now, maybe the black leather has rubbed off a bit here and there, but it’s not that bad. “I’ll ask my boss if we can accept this, just a moment…” He briefly takes the headphones off his ear and calls into the room behind the camera. A woman’s voice replies “No, I’m afraid we can’t accept that.” Unfortunately bad luck.
“Do you have a passport?” I do, but I don’t have it with me. So the earliest I can do it is Monday night when I get back home. Today is Friday and I’m in Berlin for the MBA course I’m lecturing with Michael at the Goethe Business School over the weekend. Over the weekend I get reminder emails, although I told the nice man that I can only do it at the beginning of next week with my passport. Unfortunately I was home late on Monday, so it will be Tuesday morning after all, but this time it works out. The passport works. Finally. How long did it take now? Four days! In any case considerably more than five minutes. Michael and Manuel laugh themselves to death, with them it only took five minutes, but they probably don’t have leather wallets either.
The 24 hours announced by the bank for the account authorization take much longer for all three of us. At some point, however, this is also done. Now we can finally transfer the share capital to the business account and complete the incorporation process with the notary by entering it in the commercial register.
Manuel and Michael manage this again in five minutes. I first have to increase the transaction volume a little in my private online account so that I can transfer my share of the nominal capital at all. OK, it worked and now I have to transfer it quickly. Did it work? Again it is Friday and I don’t have any good news.
Online the transaction is recorded but not executed, but in the status “in post processing”. If there is enough money on the account, it goes through my mind. I never had that before. Normally it is booked out directly. What does that mean: in post processing? Well, I think it’ll be fine. In the afternoon I try to log in again and see if the transaction has gone through now. But what I see is: “Your account has been blocked for security reasons, please contact us” (!)
I call the bank and get a nice young man on the line again. After about five minutes on hold. At least there it is only five minutes. I explain the facts to him and he thinks that the post-processing is because of the tightened money laundering law. Apparently banks deal very differently with how to implement customer satisfaction without neglecting security, I think. Michael and Manuel did not have a money laundering problem. I’ll refrain from saying that a user-centric innovation approach with design thinking would do you good. In any case, my account is unlocked the next day. Unfortunately, he couldn’t tell me how long it would take to process and whether the transaction would go through. Maybe my explanation helped, that the transfer is the share capital for a company foundation and the whole further foundation process depends on it. See purpose of use in the transaction: “Deposit of nominal capital” – only in passing. Now it starts to annoy me.
Monday, after a working day has passed since my transfer on last Friday, I call again. This time, after the five minutes of waiting time, a nice lady answers. Of course I had to go through the procedure again: dial 1 for questions about your quarterly statement, press 2 for questions about online banking, dial 3 for telephone banking, press 4 for card blocking. The nice lady couldn’t tell me exactly how long it would take, but said that it would usually be released after 48 hours at the latest. Would have been good to know that earlier, maybe without access block in between and not only after the second annoying phone call in three days. On Tuesday the money was finally transferred and on Wednesday it arrived on our business account and we could inform our notary. Michael and Manuel laugh themselves to death. Again.
Well, with online banking it’s one of those things. You can do everything with great technologies. It would have been good for my bank to think from the customer perspective, because online banking is not just online banking. Working with the information you have about a customer might be a good approach. Making the customer feel how important he/she is is apparently not so relevant for some people. Because it’s probably simply not in the culture of these companies.
That makes all the difference. Why does a company do what it does for its customers? As a customer, you can feel that. That’s what happens when you’re not prepared to pursue real innovation based on an appropriate basic attitude and that’s what makes the difference between someone who also does online banking and a genuinely innovative bank that makes intelligent use of modern technology to realize your vision for your customers and authentically pursues your corporate spirit. Approximately analogous to one that also operates an online shop compared to Amazon. Sounds blatant, but I mean it, because just like Amazon, it makes all the difference.
The notary is informed about the receipt of the share capital and the entry in the commercial register can be completed. Now quickly cobble the website together and we are online. Thanks to all friends who helped us to design and implement our website. Because they consider it important that we do so. It’s a good feeling to do it all by yourself and get yourself into it. You see what happens and how what you do has an effect. Our Day One is here! Let’s go!
Logbook entry #2, Friday January 31st