“Swipestox (currently The Naga Group) was around 6 months old when we won the Great Pitch Contest. The prize helped us a lot, f.e. in covering the daily spendings. 1.5 years later, after raising 14 million dollars, we did an IPO in Germany and it was the most successful IPO in Germany in 2017. We had 400% performance on the issuing price, so in December 2017 we did an ICO where we raised 50 million from 63 000 investors making it one of the largest and effective ICOs ever. We’re the only company that has an ICO and an IPO.“.
In everything we do, Wolves Summit included, we aim at helping other businesses grow. It brings us real joy to learn about stories such as this of Swipestox (currently The Naga Group) that has used the potential of our conference to the maximum and capitalized on its leverage to grow and develop the company further. Recently we had a pleasure to talk to Benjamin Bilski, Founder and Executive Director of The Naga Group about their journey post-Wolves Summit. Here’s the success story of The Naga Group.
- How did you find out about Wolves Summit? Why did you decide to join? Have you set any goals for the conference?
Actually, I’ve seen very nice Wolves Summit Ads on Facebook and they instantly caught my attention, mainly due to the Great Pitch competition. In 2016 our company was a real startup and I wanted to get good market feedback. I dreamed of winning the $100,000 prize as well, so I prepared quite well, using matchmaking system, we scheduled the 1:1 appointments and were extremely excited to go there, I was quite positive and confident. I love Warsaw so I found it as a perfect place to get feedback from the community.
- Wolves Summit offers diverse activities, which ones did you use the first time you joined Wolves Summit?
I took part mainly in matchmaking. I was happy with the great attention I experienced when speaking in front of all people. For us the pitching competition was extraordinary. We received so much valuable feedback, investor contacts and press attention. We still have the big cheque of the $100.000 prize money hanging in our office. We are still in touch with people we met back then.
- Did the Wolves Summit experience change the future and development perspectives of your company?
Definitely. I think we gained much more reputation, plus our investors loved the reward. It was an essential part and step in our journey ahead. It motivated the entire team, our slack group was exploding with joyful messages (slack is a tool simplifying communication inside the team -ed.). We also talked to very valuable partners in Warsaw and Cracow afterwards and they helped us in product development and finding even a better fit to the needs of our niche.
- How did Swipestox's story unfold (when Benjamin took part in Wolves Summit for the first time, The Naga Group was called Swipestox -ed.)?
The SwipeStox/Naga journey gained massive speed. It was April 2016 when we first attended Wolves Summit. We launched the first live trades in our brokerage, we closed a $14 Million dollar A-round with FOSUN (largest Chinese private investor). Moving forward, we have built our team, expanded to 9 offices, went IPO 2017 marking the most successful IPO 2017 in Germany with a net return of 260%. Then we made an ICO in December 2017, raising $50 Million from 63,000 investors. Currently, we have 200 employees, we have raised over $80million in capital and we constantly launch new products to enrich our ecosystem. In the upcoming years, we are planning an aggressive global expansion and growth strategy.
- Have you been faced with any challenges along the way when you needed to make difficult decisions?
In every high-growth startup there are "pains". The majority of them concerns structure & operation and finding the right talents to work with. Capital always plays a big role as well as making the products really profitable. In the first 16 months, we had some really critical situations, where we really committed all we had (especially the founders team) to make it work. I am much wiser now, but happy that I made all these crazy experiences running from pitch to pitch whilst trying to make the product stable and building a rock-star team.
- Have you managed to establish valuable partnerships with investors/corporations (that you can already talk about)?
As we are listed on the Stock exchange, we usually don't reveal future co-operations. In the past however, we have announced a partnership with FOSUN, with MYBucks who have 1.5million clients for our NAGA Wallet or the cooperation with one of Germany´s most popular Soccer Clubs, the Hamburger SV.
- You returned to Wolves Summit in April earlier this year. How do you approach this conference now? Have your goals changed?
I love being a part of Wolves Summit and delivering a valuable keynote to the great audience as I myself am still very thankful for our Wolves experience. I expect to find more business contacts and people interested in the Polish market who want to work with us. Poland is also one of our main markets, we offer the full "NAGA Poland" experience as we have everything supported in Polish, from the app to the support/sales agents.
What has started as a 6-month-old startup at Wolves Summit, has now evolved into a company backed by some of the world’s largest and most prestigious shareholders, such as mainland China’s largest private multi-hundred-billion investment company, FOSUN Group, the German Stock Exchange (Deutsche Börse AG), as well as Germany’s second oldest bank, Hauck & Aufhaeuser (founded 1796).
With their trading volume already exceeding 5 billion Euros per month, NAGA’s products allow everyone easy and simple access to acquire, store, trade and invest in financial markets, crypto-currencies and virtual goods.
Who knows, maybe all of this would never happen if Benjamin didn't join Wolves Summit