Saidler & Co. is a digerati merchant banking firm founded and controlled by the Saidler family. The firm’s purpose is to acquire equity interests alongside a selected group of leading private and institutional investors in technology-driven companies in the financial services industry.
Saidler & Co. stands for Saidler and Company. The principal owner, the family Saidler, partners with selected individuals representing “and Company” in the firm’s name Saidler & Co.
The firm maintains its head office in Switzerland and a subsidiary in Luxembourg.
Definition of Digerati
Saidler & Co. combines the tradition of merchant banking with its extensive expertise in technology.
Merchant banking is defined as providing capital to companies in the form of share ownership and debt, which includes the advisory on corporate matters to the firms in which it is invested. It is of particular note that merchant banking firms invest their own capital and their shareholders capital with a long term investment horizon.
According to this definition, we understand merchant banking in the more narrow meaning, which was exemplified by various activities of J. P. Morgan in New York and N. M. Rothschild & Sons in London in the 19th century. This definition clearly distinguishes merchant banking from its 20th-century counterpart of investment banking and private equity.
The word digerati is a portmanteau, derived from “digital” and “literati”. Digerati means you need to have both to succeed in today’s world, the well-educated individuals who understand people and communication as well as the experts who understand technology and digitalisation. Software is eating the world. You must understand and write code.
Saidler & Co. deploys its own capital alongside a dedicated, regulated co-investment fund. A selected group of 50+ leading private and institutional investors from Switzerland, Europe, Israel and US invest through the co-investment fund with the Saidler family.
The co-investment fund enables an investor to join forces with Saidler & Co. and 50+ other noted families to achieve the significance and scale necessary to bring large projects to fruition. The fund is exclusively dedicated to digerati projects in the financial services industry, and always invests to the identical conditions as its sponsor, Saidler & Co.
The history of the family Saidler and the firm Saidler & Co. are closely intertwined. The ancestry of the family can be traced back for 13 generations to the countries of the former Habsburgian imperial and royal monarchy (k.u.k monarchy), in particular to Austria and the Czech Republic. For the last seven generations, the family was based out of Vienna.
The firm was founded on the family’s long investing history of backing entrepreneurs whom the family felt were ahead of their times. Through the family’s own entrepreneurial tradition, the understanding of technology needs, capital requirements and advisory needs of entrepreneurs evolved and was eventually institutionalised by incorporating Saidler & Co..
Today, the core competence of the firm lies in software development, company building, deal origination and structuring, financing of private equity transactions, research and operational improvements. Saidler & Co.’s expertise is in technology-driven financial services, with a differentiated view on the future of the industry. The firm usually deploys its own capital alongside a selected group of leading private and institutional investors.
1996 – 2000 Online Marketplaces
In 1996, Martin Saidler Sr. founded the employment website Jobinteractive.com, which in 1998 became one of the leading job portals in Germany. In 1999, the Beisheim Holding Switzerland (BHS) acquired Jobinteractive.com. The website was subsequently rebranded to JobScout24, forming the basis for the company Scout24. Today, Scout24 is a EUR 5bn listed company on the Frankfurt stock exchange.
2000 – 2010 Centralway
In 1999, the Saidler family relocated to Switzerland, and in 2000, founded the investment company Centralway AG. Over the coming ten years, Centralway was developed into one of the largest Internet corporate holdings in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It subsequently sold off the companies to various noted corporations including Axel Springer, Daily MailUK, CME (Time Warner), Deutsche Telekom, Tamedia, MCI, Jelmoli, and others.
2010 – today Co-Investments in FinTech
Since the divestment of its holdings in CEE, Saidler & Co. has built, acquired and invested in a range of technology-driven companies in the financial services industry.
Alongside noted co-investors such as Google Ventures, Y Combinator, JP Morgan Chase or First Round Capital, Saidler & Co. acquired minority stakes in technology companies across Europe, the US and, particularly, Israel. The portfolio companies include, or included respectively, Lending Club, Arista, Elevator Fund (Israel), B&S Banksysteme, Secure Safe, Moburst, Standard Treasury, Sandbox, among others.
Saidler & Co. is as well the controlling shareholder of Numbrs. In cooperation with the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Dubai and selected families, Saidler & Co. invested CHF 160m into the company. Over the last five years, Numbrs increased its company valuation by 100x. The company is implementing its vision to become the world’s largest digital asset manager.
Saidler & Co. has always held the belief that the people around us should benefit from our distinct perspectives. This principle of mutually beneficial partnerships between business and society is reflected in our values and our history of philanthropy to make a meaningful difference to the world we live in.
Saidler & Co. supports various philanthropic initiatives. Among others, on invitation of Lord Jacob Rothschild, the family’s philanthropic effort enables the creation of the Saidler Gate in the Herzog de Meuron’s designed new National Library of Israel. Saidler & Co. is a member of the International Council of the Global Leadership Foundation (founded by former president of South Africa, F.W. de Klerk), supports projects of the Weizmann Institute of Science and initiated several initiatives with the Roman Catholic Church.
Saidler & Co. projects include as well improving access to financial services that led to a meeting with former president of Israel Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace in 2016 and initiatives to generate investments between Switzerland and Israel.
Saidler & Co. is fundamentally a value driven organisation. Our values give us guidance to achieve our purpose, and ensure the preservation of our reputation across generations.
Excellence is the ultimate goal of our corporate values. The very excellence that we strive for is only achieved by a select few. These are the entrepreneurs, financiers and inventors, who have shaped history over the last centuries.
Focus is about saying no. Some may believe focus means saying yes to the things you have to focus on. But that is incorrect. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas. You have to pick carefully. Focus on one task at a time, without distraction.
Simplicity is the most powerful force. It is the only way to perfection. Simple is harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
Never compromise. There can be no give and take on fundamentals. Commit yourself to an uncompromising level of quality. Details matter, it is worth waiting to get it right. Always push for perfection. Do not let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.
There is no success without discipline and hard work. Some dream of success, and others wake up early and make it happen. With a vision like ours, discipline and hard work are fundamentally necessary.
If you say something to someone, you are speaking on behalf of Saidler & Co.. Whether you have been here six weeks or you have been here 10 years, it is your obligation to stand behind what you say. Your word is your bond.
You are always responsible end-to-end. You have to ensure a task is executed to perfection. You may command and control, but to delegate a task is not to abdicate responsibility. You must engage face-to-face to ensure success.
You must control the entire value chain to ensure the highest quality in everything you do. If you trust so-called “experts” and outsource, you will be lost.
Our values remain at the heart of our guiding investment principles on how we conduct business to this day. It is this approach that informs our distinct perspective and will continue to make a meaningful difference to our firm.
Saidler & Co. exclusively invests in companies with a competitive advantage in technology. We help foster this technology edge by our extensive expertise in the field and our dedicated resources in our very own development center.
Saidler & Co. was founded on the family’s long investing history of backing entrepreneurs who the family felt were ahead of their times. We believe the most important success factor of a company or endeavor, and therefore the most important investment criteria, is the entrepreneurs behind those ventures. An excellent entrepreneur is the number one success factor of an organisation.
Saidler & Co. always acquires an own equity interest in a business, or it will not engage with and advise that business. Saidler & Co. is not a service provider, and will therefore never service a company it does not hold an equity stake in.
As a principle, Saidler & Co. always deploys its own capital, and the capital of its co-investors, to acquire an equity interest. This is part of what we understand as the entrepreneurial spirit that aligns the interest of the family Saidler, its partners and its noted co-investors.
If Saidler & Co. incorporates a new business or acquires a majority interest in a company, it will always take over the active leadership of that organisation. It will structure the board, the management, the product and the business according to its vision, values and principles.
If Saidler & Co. acquires a minority interest in a business, it will always show a supportive and hands-off attitude towards the founder and majority owner. Saidler & Co. believes it is essential for the success of its minority investment to remain on friendly terms with the principal owner.
Saidler & Co.’s expertise is in technology-driven financial services, with a differentiated view on the future of the industry. We believe this to be the industry with the largest impact on the world. We are therefore exclusively focussing our digerati merchant banking activities on this industry.
The core competence of the firm lies in software development, company building, deal origination and structuring, financing, research and operational improvements.
Software is eating the world. Everything is becoming technology. The car, healthcare, media, watches, clothing, banks. We live and breath technology. We understand and write code. We do not hire bankers, we hire software engineers. We have our own development center. Saidler & Co. always ensures that our companies have a technology edge through our extensive expertise in the subject and our own development center.
Saidler & Co. has extensive experience in incorporating and scaling new businesses. We tend to launch new companies if our view on the future of the financial services industry provides us with insights into segments of the industry in which there may be not suitable targets for investment or acquisition purposes.
“Research comprises creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications”.
Saidler & Co. systematically applies research as a core component of its work for the purpose of developing and maintaining its own vision of the future of the world. From this insight, it derives a differentiated view on the future of the financial services industry. These insights build the very basis for its deal origination and investing activities.
Deal origination is the process by which firms source investment opportunities. Origination involves generating leads and managing relationships with intermediaries. For the purpose of deal origination, Saidler & Co. maintains a large network of selected partners and co-investors, and ensures a first-class reputation of its firm across generations of its leadership.
Deal Structuring is the process to structure the legal, financial and tax aspects of an investment opportunity to achieve maximum value creation. Over its long investing history, Saidler & Co. developed exceptional deal structuring capabilities, which it enhances by selectively working with the very best partners, such as leading law firms, accounting firms or investment banks.
Saidler & Co. finances companies in the technology-driven financial services industry through debt, convertible debt and equity. The firm’s particular focus are private equity transactions.
Identifying and implementing operational improvements is an integral part of our firm’s overall approach to value creation. Saidler & Co.’s mission is to create value for all of our stakeholders by identifying and delivering sustainable operational performance within our portfolio companies. We create value by assessing operational improvement opportunities and risks during the due diligence process, by delivering meaningful and sustainable operational change within the portfolio companies and by leveraging the scale and scope of our portfolio to develop cross-portfolio programs that can benefit all of our companies.