FinTech location Germany set for growth

Germany’s segment of emerging technology companies operating in the financial services sector (FinTech) is increasingly successful in establishing itself as a dynamic and diversified cluster on its own steam. This is one of the key findings of the recent study “Germany FinTech Landscape” carried out by auditing and consultancy company EY which, together with Frankfurt Main Finance, analysed the German FinTech sector and outlined additional opportunities for its promotion. According to the study, there is a clearly discernible trend among financial institutions to respond more vigorously to the challenge posed by the products and services offered by FinTech companies. The majority of the ten biggest banks are today investing in and/or cooperating with FinTechs. The study also shows that the business models of the FinTechs are becoming more mature, and that the companies are entering the next development phase, e.g., through cooperative ventures with each other, in order to strengthen their market position sustainably.

In the first half of the year, the number of FinTech companies in Germany rose by five per cent year-on-year to 295 (2016: 280). The inflow of capital had already reached 307 million euros in the first half of the year, whereas the FinTech companies in Germany collected 400 million euros for the full year 2016. The number of deals also went up, as did the average size of the deals, rising slightly from 7 million to 7.3 million euros.

While absolute growth rates may have levelled off slightly, consistent positive momentum persists for all key metrics. This showed that the FinTech landscape in Germany continued to be on an encouraging path, said Jan-Erik Behrens, co-author and partner at EY: “The trend we are observing here in Germany is headed for another record year, and it impressively demonstrates the innovative power of Germany as a location, with differing regional strengths.”

FinTech sector shifts focus, with business models gaining maturity

The German FinTechs are increasingly moving in on the core functions of the financial services providers. This applies, for example, to payment systems via the Internet or mobile devices (Payments), loans (Lending), but also to offerings for the property sector (PropTech), the insurance industry (InsurTech), the investment sector (InvesTech) and electronic marketplaces (Financial eMarketplaces & Aggregators). Approximately 67 per cent of the new FinTechs come from these core segments, 33 percent are start-ups in the field of Enabling FinTechs, which includes financial and process control software (Processes & Technology), financial data analysis and regulatory management services (RegTech).

The study reveals that there has been a shift in FinTech activities. The segments that had been strong growth drivers in recent years were InvesTech, Financing & Funding and InsurTech. In the first half of 2017, however, there was a very high level of activity in the PropTech area, which is probably due in part to the robust real estate market in Germany, as the study assumes.

Berlin and Rhine-Main-Neckar are the leading FinTech locations in Germany

The regions of Berlin and Rhine-Main-Neckar in particular are consolidating their status as FinTech hotspots within Germany: Berlin currently boasts 80 FinTech companies, while 72 corporations are active in the Rhine-Main-Neckar region. Munich, the third-ranked FinTech location in Germany, is a distant third, with 45 FinTechs based in the Bavarian capital.

The study confirms that the Rhine-Main-Neckar region, led by Frankfurt, is making significant progress towards establishing itself as the leading destination for settlement of FinTechs. The study identifies the special strengths of the Rhine-Main-Neckar region as being events & networks, as well as in infrastructure. Numerous incubators, accelerators, investor meetings and networking initiatives have been initiated and launched successfully. However, the region still has further potential for growth in terms of image and financing opportunities. “International investors continue to focus on London or Berlin,” Behrens notes. “For this reason, the FinTech community needs to work on its international visibility, so as to attract foreign investors as well.”

Amongst the trends that will influence the development of FinTech in the future, the study suggests that Brexit –the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) –is likely to enhance the appeal of GermanFinTech centres. Like many financial institutions that have already decided to relocate business units from London to the EU, and especially to Frankfurt, FinTech companies are likely to follow suit.

“Frankfurt’s strong appeal to banks makes the region even more interesting for FinTechs,” says Hubertus Väth, managing director of Frankfurt Main Finance. “The EU’s leading financial centre is well placed to attract FinTechs and become a leading location for young, innovative and agile companies. It is a matter of further enhancing the location’s appeal to FinTechs. Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main-Neckar region are facing global competition, and for the foreseeable future London is likely to remain the benchmark in Europe against which company founders will judge us. In particular, we still need to improve in terms of our openness to cooperation with company founders, the social acceptance of failure and subsequent new starts, and the tax treatment of venture capital losses sustained.”

Financial institutions becoming increasingly active in the FinTech segment

The growing presence of FinTechs in the financial sector has prompted banks and other financial institutions to launch various initiatives in an effort to respond to the challenge posed by FinTechs. Nine of the ten largest banks in Germany have already entered into co-operative ventures with FinTech companies; some of them have invested in FinTechs themselves, such as Commerzbank via its investment vehicles Commerz Ventures and Mainincubator, or Deutsche Börse via db1 Ventures. “The banks are closely monitoring the FinTech companies and their solutions – they cooperate with the start-ups and in some cases invest in them directly. However, they still have some catching up to do in the development of their own innovative solutions and products,” observes Christopher Schmitz, co-author and partner at EY. The banks’ current initiatives are still isolated and largely uncoordinated responses to the FinTech challenge. An extensive range of services on a digital platform, where both own products and those of external service providers are offered, would be an appropriate response to FinTechs – banks are working on it, but as yet there has been little by way of tangible added value for customers.” Such digital ecosystems could also be created in co-operation with FinTechs. The DZ BANK Group’s travel bank, with its Bankomo Smartphone Banking product, is in the process of establishing such an ecosystem.

FinTechs cooperating with FinTechs

While financial institutions are still busy working on finding an appropriate response to the FinTech challenge, more and more FinTechs are expanding outside their core market segment, Schmitz observes. In doing so, they are increasingly relying on partnerships with other FinTechs. It is also noteworthy that the more mature FinTechs are already attempting to build their own ecosystems around their core product portfolios. This can be clearly seen in examples such as N26, which have rapidly expanded their range of services by co-operating with other FinTechs. The PSD2, which will be establishing access for third parties to payment accounts from 2018 onwards, in combination with the expected further opening-up within the framework of “open banking” efforts, is paving the way for the digital platform economy in the financial services sector. Competition with established financial institutions will therefore intensify, according to Christopher Schmitz: “Financial institutions should now consider strategies that will be appropriate to the competitive environment and establish their digital ecosystems with recognisable added value for customers, in cooperation with innovative players.”

The study is available as a pdf document here.

The EY Start-up Academy: a crash course for start-ups right in the heart of Frankfurt

EY has founded in cooperation with Deutsche Börse and the TechQuartier in Frankfurt the EY Start-up Academy with the aim of supporting Tech- or FinTech start-ups in their founding phase as well as contributing to the growth of the start-up ecosystem.

The 12-week program consists of more than 30 events (about 2 or 3 per week). Founders will receive important information regarding their preparation of founding rounds, as well as other financial, legal and tax-related aspects – basically everything that is relevant for their further growth. Apart from EY experts, start-ups will also benefit from access to investors, businesses, banks and experienced founders. At the end of the 12-week program the best start-up will be rewarded with the EY Start-up Academy Award.

The program is directed to start-ups that have gone through the Alpha-Phase with an existing proof of concept or alternatively a minimum viable product, as well as start-ups that are bootstrapped financed or were able to convince a Business Angel, and are now looking for an investor to initiate further growth. During the 12-week program, the TechQuartier will offer participating start-ups two workstations, allowing them to integrate into the TechQuartier’s dynamic ecosystem.

The application process has already started and the deadline is August 4th, 2017. The program will start in mid-September.

For more information about the EY Start-up Academy and the application process, please visit www.start-up-initiative.ey.com/academy or www.techquartier.com/programs/ey-startup-academy

Accelerator Frankfurt – second Demo Day a complete success

Start-ups from all over the world have presented their entrepreneurial ventures to investors and potential customers on July 13th in Frankfurt. The Demo Day was the highlight of a four-month accelerator programme in which a total of eight young companies went through a tight training schedule.

Accelerator – long a familiar concept in the start-up scene. It is mostly backed by institutions that support young entrepreneurs and want to kick-start and accelerate their development process with the help of intensive coaching. “For an entrepreneur, courage alone is not enough, you also need 100% commitment,” warns Ram Shoham, the founder of Accelerator Frankfurt. Accordingly, the programme offered for new company founders is extremely demanding and highly challenging. Covering topics such as legal and tax issues, financing, communication, digital marketing and strategic planning, the promising business ideas are elaborated and matured in more than 200 hours of consultancy sessions to make them ready for presentation to investors and potential customers. What start-ups normally need around two years to accomplish can be effectively achieved here in just four months.

International start-ups present their concepts to investors and potential customers

A great deal is demanded in the programme from young entrepreneurs. Those who successfully pass through the application process come to Frankfurt. Together, they all work in an open-plan office, they meet together with mentors who have a lot of experience in the fields of industry, start-ups and finance, they are individually assigned a lead mentor, and they have the space to develop their business concept in meticulous detail. After all, every aspiring company wants to score points at the Demo Day.

The second wave of the Accelerator programme went into its final round in Frankfurt on July 13. Seven of the total of eight start-ups – Adjesty (Adtech, Israel), Aeroplan (Insurtech, Israel), AsiaFundManagers  (Fintech,Germany), EcoKraft (Fintech, Germany), Norma (Cybersecurity, Korea), Smart Mile Solutions (Smart Cities, Netherlands) and Travel to Live (Traveltech, Canada/Sweden) – have successfully mastered their pitch. In addition, three start-ups from the VABN, a joint workspace in Frankfurt for business start-ups, also presented their ideas. The many international start-ups at the Demo Day underline the fact that Frankfurt is an attractive location for ambitious, up-and-coming start-up entrepreneurs from all over the world. There was also great interest from the other parties taking part in the event: around 200 investors were there, including many from abroad, for example venture capital lenders from Israel, along with representatives from the Ministry of Economics in Hesse and from the state’s economic development agencies.

More information about the Accelerator Day

The event was a complete success. Accelerator founder Shoham, who, together with co-founder Maria Pennanen, is enthusiastically committed to the objectives of this programme, is delighted with the results. He hosted the event together with Prof. Elmar Schütz, head of the VABN and co-organiser. The keynote address from Björn Weigel, co-author of “The Innovation Illusion”, also attracted great interest among those attending.

The next Accelerator programme will start on 25 September 2017. Those interested can find all the information they need about the application process here.

Picture credits: Jochen Biedermann, Accelerator Frankfurt

FinTech Money Map: Frankfurt is catching up to the FinTech revolution

The number of start-ups settling in Frankfurt has more than doubled over 2014. As a result, the banking capital on the Main can now boast the largest growth in Germany.

Although for many years almost all FinTechs preferred Berlin as a location, Frankfurt is now catching up, as the Portal Internet World Business reports. Experts see Frankfurt’s increased commitment and support for the start-up companies as the main reason. “Frankfurt invests a great deal, not only from the public purse but above all from the private sector as well,” says Remigiusz Smolinski, for example, an innovation expert at the Commerzbank subsidiary Comdirect. Peter Barkow, whose consulting firm draws up and maintains the FinTech Money Map database, adds: “The banking sector has long been very sluggish.” That’s the reason why almost all FinTechs have been going to Berlin for a number of years, he points out. “The start-up ecosystem has only recently crystallised in Frankfurt.”

The state-supported TechQuartier hub in Frankfurt is meanwhile regarded as a central point of contact and focal access point for the FinTech Scene.

Who says what to which security?

Fintech 2.0: The young financial services company Catana Capital GmbH relies on innovative investment on the basis of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.

For the first time, a company has taken the risk of, and also succeeded in, mapping the entire value-added chain of a truly automated asset management – from the collection of data and evaluation to the automated order execution – and then creating a robust, risk-optimised asset management approach. For this promising business model, Catana Capital GmbH received the FintechGermany Award in the category Seed/Early Stage conferred by Business Angels Frankfurt/Rhine-Main, Frankfurt Main Finance and the WM Group in April 2017. “There are indeed competitors who also offer or use parts of the value-added chain of an automated asset management, but not the entire process,” says Bastian Lechner, Managing Director and founder of Catana. “We are therefore delighted that the jury at the FintechGermany Awards has recognised this potential and its innovative character.”

Optimal processing of information

The start-up is a licensed financial services institution under Section 32 of the German Banking Act (KWG), was founded in August 2015, and is the world’s first asset manager that relies entirely on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. “This kind of data usage is the basis for the fact that, in comparison with the competitors, information can be much more effectively identified, or that information can be incorporated in the investment process that may possibly be completely hidden to other providers,” as Bastian Lechner explains the young company’s approach. He goes on to draw a preliminary conclusion: “Catana’s trading strategy is superior to traditional forms of investment through the combination and real-time evaluation of millions of opinions and news items and through its being embedded in an integrated, holistic process.”

The system keeps learning

According to Lechner, information derived from the Internet from six different countries is automatically collected, filtered, weighted and compared with historical price patterns as the basis for every investment decision. Via voice and text recognition, several hundred thousand pieces of capital market-relevant news are evaluated in real-time per day – that corresponds to around two terabytes of data per month or seven information messages per second – and nearly 30,000 securities are covered, including currencies and commodities. The key question to categorise the signal in terms of direction and strength is: who says what to which security? The system assigns to every security a preliminary positive or negative signal based on the collected information. However, before a final trading signal is generated, the Artificial Intelligence system analyses how a security has performed in the past after a similar assessment, i.e. after such a positive or negative signal. “The system therefore checks what the signal has meant for the security. The decisions taken and their results inform the future investment recommendations – so the system keeps learning,” Lechner explains. “In this manner, buy and sell recommendations for German large-cap stocks and index futures are generated in a purely data-based process.”

Exploiting growth opportunities

As Lechner points out, the origins of the Fintech 2.0 company Catana Capital hail from two directions: technology and the need for change in what is still a very traditional asset management climate. “Many asset managers assume that the use of Big Data could help improve investment decisions and returns. But although Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are a huge market with very big growth prospects, there are still practically no investment strategies at the moment that are implemented on the basis of an evaluation of Big Data information and the findings derived from Artificial Intelligence,” the expert notes. Catana Capital GmbH took this as an inducement to develop a new kind of asset management concept based on such analyses in combination with a rigorous risk management. “Two founders of Catana Capital have been working for almost ten years now on financial market forecasting using large quantities of data. We are collaborating in these activities with Stockpulse GmbH in Bonn, which acts as a research and development partner for Catana,” informs Lechner.

Frankfurt offers attractive conditions

Catana Capital GmbH has chosen Frankfurt am Main as its headquarters. “The Frankfurt financial centre offers attractive working and living conditions. At the same time, it also boasts an excellent infrastructure and enables a close integration with traditional suppliers,” as Lechner explains the reasons behind the decision. He is also convinced that the current developments in the wake of the Brexit will further enhance the status of the financial centre. In his view, additional advantages are provided by the various funding programmes at the city or state level as well as the existence of an active and constantly evolving FinTech community with ideal networking opportunities.

According to Lechner, young start-ups have particular potential when their product or service is really completely new or when it is better and/or cheaper than similar products. A large market and customer demand should exist at the same time, he adds. “It’s also decisive that the team has a complementary line-up. Apart from team strength in entrepreneurial aspects, a certain mental toughness is additionally important so as not to lose sight of one’s positive belief in the success of the company during any temporary phases of defeat or failure and to further pursue one’s goals with courage and spirit,” is the final piece of advice Lechner would like to share.

Potential for further growth of the German start-up scene

The German start-up scene has developed considerably over recent years. However, in international comparison with Israel, the United Kingdom and California, there is still room for improvement regarding entrepreneurial spirit and framework conditions. This is the result of an EY study on the attractiveness of start-up ecosystems, which has been conducted in cooperation with Deutsche Börse. There is especially enough upside potential for the regulatory and tax frameworks. Simultaneously, the authors praise the potential for future growth and progress, as well as the economic framework conditions in Germany. Germany and particularly the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region scores with good infrastructure and moderate real estate prices.

The promotion of the financial sector’s digitalisation at the Financial Centre Frankfurt was especially positively mentioned. A total of seven incubators in the Rhine-Main region (FinTech Hub from Deutsche Börse, Unibator from Goethe University, Accelerator Frankfurt, Main Incubator, FinTech Headquarter, Digitalfabrik from Deutschee Bank, Tech Quartier, FinTech Lab VABN) promote the development of still-young FinTechs and their business ideas. As an incentive for the improvement of the FinTech scene in Germany, the study suggests the expansion of co-working desks. Here again, Frankfurt sets a good example: The incubator Tech Quartier, for instance, offers working space for FinTechs of any size. Business Angels FrankfurtRheinMain – Germany’s largest organisation with around 100 business angels – brings together start-ups and business angels.

The study also highly praises the “Digital Hub Initiative” by the Federal Government. Within the scope of this initiative aimed at strengthening Germany as the leading industrial nation, the Federal Government honoured the Financial Centre Frankfurt as Digital Hub for FinTechs and Financial Services. Thus, the Financial Centre Frankfurt offers a wide range of emerging FinTechs.

FinTech ecosystem

Welcome to Frankfurt – Germany’s leading FinTech ecosystem

Hessen Trade and Invest has, in cooperation with Frankfurt Main Finance and Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturbank Hessen, published a new brochure highlighting the many qualities of the FinTech ecosystem in the Frankfurt Rhein-Main region. Hessen Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development, Tarek Al-Wazir states in the brochure, “The digital transition taking place in the financial industry represents an opportunity that we are ideally equipped to capitalize on. The Rhine-Main region is a financial center as well as an ICT industry hot spot. This combination offers enormous potential in today’s world where digital technologies are giving rise to the creation of entirely new business models. And it is precisely this potential that we are now in the process of mobilizing.”

The brochure offers a concrete outline of why Frankfurt and Hessen offers the perfect conditions for international investors and FinTech start-ups. The Financial Centre Frankfurt offers FinTech companies a unique set of location specific advantages. In addition to the numerous supervisory authorities and regulatory agencies, the greater Frankfurt area is home to outstanding expertise in the ever-important are of IT security. In November 2016, the German federal government designated the Financial Centre Frankfurt the digital hub for FinTech and financial services as part of their greater digital hubs initiative.

Frankfurt am Main is already home to great FinTech success stories. One such example is 360T, an electronic FX trading venue that was acquired by Deutsche Börse Group in 2015 for 725 million euros. Another success story is Frankfurt based robo-advisor Vaamo. Born out of the Goethe University’s Unibator, Vaamo quickly became a partner in the B2B segment, working with the likes of N26, Santander and 1822direkt.

Future success stories in the FinTech space are currently being written in Frankfurt’s many incubators and accelerators. As part of the Digital Hub initiative, Frankfurt’s Tech Quartier was named the German FinTech Hub. Tech Quartier offers a varying array of working spaces for start-ups of all sizes. The FinTech brochure maps out the locations of Frankfurt’s incubators and accelerators, like the Deutsche Börse FinTech Hub or Accelerator Frankfurt, illustrating the dynamic FinTech ecosystem and cluster. This dynamic ecosystem is enriched by a numerous events series occurring almost weekly as well as awards for entrepreneurs, like the FinTechGermany Award where the top FinTechs are honored with a Golden Garage.

To learn more about Germany’s leading FinTech ecosystem in the heart of Europe, download the brochure from Hessen Trade and Invest here.

 

Frankfurt FinTech Report #5 – Frankfurt FinTech goes global!

South Korea, Hong Kong, Norway and Holland – in the first quarter of 2017 Frankfurt Main Finance was very busy developing its relationships around the world. In January, a Frankfurt FinTech delegation visited FinTech events in Busan and Hong Kong. In February, Frankfurt Main Finance made its first ties with the Norwegian FinTech scene and further solidified its relationship with Holland FinTech.

FMF delegation visit to South Korea and Hong Kong in January

Under the leadership of Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF), a German FinTech delegation, organized by FMF, traveled to South Korea and Hong Kong from January 11 to 19. FMF Members Techfluence, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and Peermatch also had representatives on the delegation.

In Seoul, the delegation took participated in the Korea-Germany Global Fintech & Blockchain Symposium at the Korean National Assembly. The delegation also met again with Chairman Kim Jung-Hoon, the Chairman of the Policy Committee of the Korean Parliament. After visiting Dayli Financial Group, one of Korea’s leading FinTech companies, the delegation continued its visit in Busan.

FMF signed a first agreement on a comprehensive partnership with the city of Busan in 2013, followed by a further agreement on FinTech in January 2016. At the Korea-Germany Fintech Roundtable, German and Korean FinTech companies presented themselves and took part in a lively debate on the future of FinTech in Korea and Germany.

In Hong Kong, the delegation participated in the Asian Financial Forum (AFF), the largest finance conference in Asia. In cooperation with the FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH and Hessen Trade & Invest, FMF was an exhibitor at the AFF and explained the advantages of Frankfurt as Continental Europe’s leading financial center and a premier location for Asian financial institutions.

At the FinTech O2O International Fintech Pitch Evening in Cyberport, the state-owned tech center in Hong Kong with more than 30,000 sq. meters of space for FinTechs and other tech companies, the delegation took a deep dive into the Hong Kong FinTech community for the first time. The FinTech O2O was part of the startmeup.HK week, organized by the Hong Kong government in collaboration with Invest.HK to promote the local start-up scene. At the AFF Deal Flow the next day, FinTech companies met potential investors. After further meetings with FinTech companies, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Cyberport and Metta, the Next Money FinTech Finals 2017 was the highlight of the trip for most delegates. The Next Money FinTech Finals are among the top 10 FinTech events worldwide.

Korean-German Blockchain Cooperation

At the Korea-Germany Global Fintech & Blockchain Symposium held in Seoul on January 12, 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Global FinTech Research Institute in Seoul, the Korean Society of Blockchain and FMF. This Memorandum of Understanding will pave the way to a more intensive cooperation between Korea and Germany on Blockchain. More than 30 members of a Korean-German Blockchain Working Group will meet for the first time on April 7, 2017.

Visit of a Norwegian FinTech Delegation

Since last year, FMF and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Berlin have closely collaborated on FinTech matters. On February 1, 2017, a Norwegian delegation with representatives of Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Tech Industry Association, the Embassy, ​​the Foreign Ministry and the Tøyen Startup Village Frankfurt visited the Financial Centre Frankfurt. At an event in Deutsche Börse’s FinTech Hub on Sandweg, the delegation met representatives of Frankfurt FinTech companies. Both sides are keen to continue the exchange during the year with further events.

Money2020 Pre-Event in Frankfurt

In close partnership with Holland FinTech, FMF successfully organized two FinTech matchmaking events last November in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. A further meeting took place in Frankfurt in the new Tech Quarter on February 8, 2017, supported by ING DiBa. It featured the European roadshow of Money 20/20. After welcome speeches from all the partners involved, a panel with renowned industry experts discussed the implications of the forthcoming PSD2 directive.

If you are interested in participating in similar activities and events, please contact Dr. Jochen Biedermann.

Frankfurt FinTech Report #4

Joint Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse blockchain prototype

Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse jointly presented a functional prototype for the blockchain technology-based settlement of securities. The innovative prototype is designed to provide the technical functionality for the settlement of securities in delivery-versus-payment mode for centrally-issued digital coins, as well as the pure transfer of either digital coins or digital securities alone. In addition, it is capable of settling basic corporate actions such as coupon payments on securities and the redemption of maturing securities.

The Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse plan to develop the prototype further over the next few months, and this product will then be used to analyse the technical performance and the scalability of this kind of blockchain-based application.

“Along with the Deutsche Bundesbank we are innovatively and creatively addressing potentially radical technological opportunities for the financial sector. We will continue to do our utmost to leverage blockchain’s efficiency potential and to better understand and minimise the associated risks of this technology,” added Carsten Kengeter, CEO of Deutsche Börse AG.

DVFA Offers Fit & Proper Training for FinTechs

DVFA has introduced a new training course, designed specifically for FinTechs. The “Fit & Proper” training aims to provide employees and managers in FinTech companies with sufficient experience and competence in the eyes of regulators. Topics covered include Financial Markets, Regulation, Governance and Controlling, and Strategic Management. The course is completely digital, lasts about 25 hours and will kick-off on January 27, 2017. Following the completion of the course work and a 90-minute exam, participants will receive a Certificate in Financial Markets Competence.

Frankfurt’s Tech Quartier Opens

On November 17, the Frankfurt FinTech community celebrated the opening of its new FinTech hub, Tech Quartier, which will soon be home to some of the area’s most innovative start-ups. The current space in the Pollux high-rise has 120 workplaces and an expansion onto a second floor is already planned. At the official opening, Tech Quartier’s Managing Director Dr. Sebastian Schäfer explained, “For the first time, Frankfurt now offers foreign FinTechs and Start-ups an attractive place to start their business in Germany and prepare for their entry to the European market.” The opening of Tech Quartier marks the culmination of nearly a year’s work from the Hessen Ministry for Economics and the FinTech Dialogue Forum, which was initiated by Frankfurt Main Finance. Financial support for Tech Quartier has come from a broad base of large banks and consulting firms. Platinum Sponsors include Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Börse, DZ Bank, Helaba and ING-DiBa. Gold Sponsors are Sparda-Bank Hessen, Allen & Overy, EY, KPMG and PWC.

FinTech Matchmaking

FinTech Matchmaking with Holland FinTech

After a successful round in Amsterdam, Holland FinTech and Frankfurt Main Finance joined forces again in Frankfurt for their second FinTech Matchmaking event. Both the Netherlands and Frankfurt boast a vibrant FinTech scene which makes for an ideal partnership in this international exchange between close neighbors. One of the main challenges for young start-ups is gaining exposure and expanding outside of their domestic markets. The successful Matchmaking event did not only facilitate exchange between participating entrepreneurs but also provided them with an introduction to potential cooperation partners and investors.

On November 25, 2016, more than eighty participants met at the Frankfurt offices of ING-DiBa, who also sponsored the event, to hear pitches from eighteen Dutch and German FinTechs. “Innovations arise when the best and most creative come together and learn from each other. That is why we are happy to support the event and look forward to the exchange,” says Željko Kaurin, Board Member at ING-DiBa. Also supporting the FinTech Matchmaking event was Hessen Trade & Invest. In between the two pitch sessions, the group was also given a tour of Frankfurt’s newly opened FinTech hub, Tech Quartier, and met with the hub’s director Dr. Sebastian Schäfer. The Tech Quartier is an important development for the FinTech ecosystem in Frankfurt and hopes to draw more FinTechs from abroad to the Financial Centre.

Pitching for the Frankfurt robo-advisor Vaamo, Co-Founder and Co-CEO Oliver Vins was quick to recognize the importance of these events for the local FinTech ecosystem. He explained after the event that, “it is always great to see the possibilities Frankfurt has to offer for FinTech companies as well as making international contacts. This is one of the many reasons why Frankfurt is such an ideal location for FinTechs.” Vins is happy to see Frankfurt’s ecosystem increasingly strengthening and attracting more cooperation with other countries. “Events like this help to steadily advance this exchange and always provide engaging contributions. We’re really happy to see more and more of these type of events being organized and to be able to take part as well.”

Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from all involved, Frankfurt Main Finance and Holland FinTech already have plans to continue the event series in 2017. Frankfurt Main Finance has a strong focus on creating partnerships and cooperating with other financial centres and joint FinTech events have begun to play a major role in these. To this end, Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance, stated, “Many German FinTech companies have successfully established their business models in Germany and are ready to take steps to expand internationally. Through our partnerships with leading financial centres around the world, we are able to support these efforts and work to position the Financial Centre Frankfurt as an attractive destination for foreign FinTech companies. Fintech Matchmaking events like these are a great platform for these young start-ups.”

Participating FinTechs