FinTechs need to highlight their unique selling points

What challenges will young FinTechs be facing in the future and how can the FinTechGermany Award help in overcoming them? Lucie Haß, Managing Director at Helaba Digital and jury member of the FinTechGermany Award 2019, discusses these questions in an interview with Frankfurt Main Finance.

Lucie Haß, Managing Director at Helaba Digital and jury member of the FinTechGermany Award 2019; © Stefan Krutsch Photographie

What is especially important to you when judging applicants for the FinTechGermany Award?

Does the start-up idea solve a real problem? Is it scalable? Those questions are always the first ones coming to my mind when assessing FinTechs. Furthermore, I take into consideration whether we know the founders and trust them with implementing their idea and overcoming any obstacles that may arise.

What are the biggest challenges for FinTechs in Germany? How can start-up companies be supported more? What can platforms like the FinTechGermany Award do to help?

By now, the B2C FinTech market is filled with digital finance solutions. This makes it rather difficult to succeed in a highly competitive market and highlight USPs. However, the range of solutions that are offered is much smaller in the B2B sector. The biggest challenge here is to find partners who recognize the potential of the solution and are willing to implement it in their own company. The resistance is clearly noticeable, when B2B FinTech solutions are focusing on core processes of banks rather than just “scratching” the surface. To overcome this, you need power and partners who believe in you. Platforms such as the FinTechGermany Award help to highlight FinTechs, bring them together with companies and thus overcome the first hurdles of cooperation.

How will the German FinTech ecosystem evolve in 2019? In the next 5 years?

I expect more progress to occur in the B2B FinTech market. In addition, we can observe that German Venture Capitals and companies are increasingly investing in start-ups. However, we still observe a lack of cooperation between FinTechs and companies. I do hope that in the upcoming years, companies and banks will recognize the potential of start-ups even more, part with their reservations and engage in cooperation.

How can Frankfurt become one of the leading Fintech hubs in Germany or Europe?

There are very different approaches to this. In cooperation with the State of Hesse, the TechQuartier – of which we are a sponsor – has developed an action plan, which covers the entire spectrum of measures needed to build an ecosystem. Furthermore, banks play an essential part: The more they are open to innovations, the more likely start-ups are to settle nearby. Financial expertise and capital are both concentrated in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. Thus, we must promote the attractiveness of the city and existing cooperation to appeal to German and international founders. I believe this works best when we draw attention to the many advantages the city has to offer.