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Interview with Alexander Theis, Co-Founder of Tink Referral

Posted on 03 August 2018

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We interview  Alexander Theis, Founder and CEO of TINK - Referral as a Service. Alexander is German-Spanish entrepreneur who has launched several companies in 4 different countries. He currently lives in Chile and spends most of his time travelling in Latin America making sure that TINK continues on the path of growth. Next destination to set up TINK : His home country Spain. We talk tith him to know more about what he thins of South Summit and the entrepeneur.

1. What does South Summit mean for you? What do you expect from this event?

We have already participated at last year´s Latin American South Summit, Alianza del Pacifico in Colombia. We absolutely loved the vibe, the people and the dynamics of the event. Being part of the Top 100 is a milestone for any startup and for us it means exposure, a great network and a golden chance to continue our path to internationalization and scalability. We expect it to be one of the key drivers for us to set up an office in Spain, also because during the month of October we were selected as one of the top startups to participate at the BBVA Open Talent contest in Madrid.

2. Why did you decide to participate in the competition?

We are very excited to get exposure in the Spanish market. I am half German half Spanish and I am extremely keen on putting a foot in Spain after being an expat for +15 years and living in + countries around the world setting up different businesses.

A part from the personal side, we decided to participate because it´s one of the leading startup events in the world. It helps startups to network, to get exposure and to be part of this vibrating eco system.

3. Why did you decide to start your business and how did you come up with the idea?

I saw an opportunity and took the idea to the innovation diploma of the Stanford University, Stanford Ignite. From there we were selected as one of the startups to work on during the course and we came up with the business model. From then onwards we have won 9 different innovation contests and are growing exponentially.

4. Why your company is useful for the user?

TINK is white label SaaS that increases sales mainly in the financial industry but also other verticals through referral automation. We work with 7 banks in 4 markets in LATAM and companies from several other industries.  We have better conversion rates than any other Internet based sales channel in the financial industry. Some of our clients are BBVA, Scotia Bank, BACC, Bci Bank, Claro, WOM, ENEL, BMM, Seguros Falabella,...We turn our clients users into active spokespersons and ambassadors and increase sales while ensuring customer retention and customer loyalty.

Our tool is an added sales channel to the existing ones and ensures constant sales results through "peer to peer" communication and engagement, capitalizing on the connectivity of existing customers. We take top class referral programs, similar to the ones of large tech companies (ie Uber, Paypal, Airbnb,, Google) and offer our SaaS, as a complete solution to financial services companies.  Our best practices, our benchmarks and our successful strategies, continuously optimize referral marketing campaigns in order to ensure the achievement of successful results.

5. How did you feel when you knew you were finalist?

Incredibly happy! We already knew that we were going to Madrid to the BBVA Open Talent contest in October and when we knew that we were also participating at South Summit we were greatly surprised and happy.

6. What do you think it will happen in the future ofstartups?

I think the future is the “automation of everything” through big data and AI. I believe we are only at the beginning of the tech revolution and I strongly believe that if human kind knows how to handle it, we will all benefit from it.

The paradigm shift from the industrial revolution to the tech revolution has created many opportunities for people to set up their own businesses and I am convinced it will continue to go in this direction.

But again, humanity has to be careful to address all these changes with responsibility and a good ethical conduct.

7. What advice would you give to those who want to participate in South Summit?

I encourage everyone who has a startup to participate and to learn from everyone at the event. Enjoy this big “Fiesta de la innovación”. Also I would recommend large corporations to learn from startups and to risk working with Internet based companies because many of the business models of today, will not exist tomorrow. Big companies have to constantly re invent themselves but they do not have the flexibility to do this on their own.  So my advice for everyone is to be open and to understand each other’s realities. The world needs collaboration more than ever.

8. What does being an entrepreneur mean for you?

Being resilient and not afraid of failure. I think many entrepreneurs have several traits in common: bravery, strong will, resilience, many times it is a very lonely life style so one has to go through many low moments. Anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur has to get ready for a “hell of a ride”, nothing is easy and the fight is constant. I personally love the adrenaline and the uncertainty.

9. What´s your dream in life?

To win the lottery and do nothing all day? Noooo !!! Jokes aside, on a short term, I just want to have some more quality time in life, but in general I would like to have an eventful, not routine based life, living by the sea with the best company and doing lots of different new activities. All this together with having a great company that keeps growing and has values based on freedom, diversity and a moral concept of growth.