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New German business start-ups (3): FinTech companies

The business start-up scene in Germany is livelier than ever. A short series on successful founders. Part 3: FinTech companies.

© Jonas Ratermann - Start-ups

In the stylish industrial loft in Berlin there are lots of young people sitting at desks. Sporting hipster beards and cool T-Shirts, they are staring at their computer screens, which are flanked by superhero figures or colourful post-it notes. They don’t look very much like bankers, and yet they are offering financial products. The large office near Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin belongs to Finleap GmbH. Jan Beckers, Hendrik Krawinkel and Ramin Niroumand founded the company two years ago. Since then they have already founded nine different FinTech companies – in other words, start-ups that use good technological ideas to jazz up financial transactions or make them simpler or cheaper. Finreach, for example, makes it easier for bank customers to transfer their accounts and standing orders to another bank. Clark is an insurance broker for the smartphone. And because Solarisbank has a full bank licence it can provide various banking services for other FinTech companies and enable online traders to offer their customers instalment payment plans. Finleap provides money for all these ideas, looks for additional investors that have know-how in the respective field and carries out the bothersome tasks of administration and regulation on behalf of founders. As a result, the entrepreneurs can concentrate entirely on their business idea.

Already 250 FinTech companies in Germany

In the last few years many young people have also done what Finleap is now doing in series: former bankers and consultants or even fresh university graduate have set up their own business with a new idea on a financial theme. Web ID Solutions, for example, enables people to identify themselves for bank transactions on the Internet with the aid of a webcam. Scalable Capital, Vaamo and other robot advisors promise to offer their customers a meaningful investment opportunity after they answer a few questions. Professional services company Ernst & Young recently counted 250 of these FinTech companies in the whole of Germany – with a total of 13,000 employees. According to this survey, the FinTech capital is Berlin with 70 firms. Financial centre Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region are still behind with 56 FinTech addresses. Recently, however, more new FinTech firms were founded there than anywhere else in Germany.