TechQuartier-Director Sebastian Schäfer: “We are a community based on innovation”

It is the focal point of the FinTech and start-up community in continental Europe’s biggest financial centre – and it is celebrating its first birthday: TechQuartier in Frankfurt. A discussion with the director Dr. Sebastian Schäfer on the FinTech ecosystem in Frankfurt. In the interview, he discusses the milestones they have reached and the goals that TechQuartier has set for the future. Finally, he discusses the insecurity from Brexit facing FinTech scene.

Mr. Schäfer, You are looking back at one year of TechQuartier. Which milestones have been reached during this period?

First of all, we are really happy about the reception we’ve had from the start-up scene. With around 80 start-ups, we have a full house now. Within the first months, we had already let the first 1,600 square metres with around 110 working spaces. In June, we added another floor with further 114 working spaces. From the very first day, we kept asking ourselves how to create a lively community and how this should look. We know it is not only about a nice place to work but about inspiration, learning from each other and networking. So, we brought together interested parties, members and supporters along with fitting topics – and successfully developed and started interesting formats. For example, Landing Pad, Papillon, Money meets Idea, or the Start-up Academy.

From the experience you have gained – where do you see further potential for TechQuartier, what are its strengths?

You can always improve. Our claim is to become a globally recognised Hub. This includes strengthening engagement on the venture-capital as well as marketing of our success stories in Frankfurt. Obviously our strength is that all participants are pulling in the same direction.

Brexit is occupying the financial sector. Is it a subject-matter for FinTechs as well?

Of course we are talking about Brexit and possible consequences for the FinTech ecosystem. We can see that insecurity levels are huge. Since nobody knows exactly how things will develop you can primarily feel indirect effects. If, for example, a FinTech from Asia wanted to come to Europe, they would probably have chosen London as their location. Now Frankfurt is an option people think of. We can see that by the fact that FinTechs from over 20 different countries applied for our last LandingPad where we offer the possibility to get to know the FinTech-Hub in Frankfurt. This interest bears the possibility for Frankfurt and the region to develop itself into a powerhouse of innovations thanks to systematic measures.

If you look ahead: Which goals has the TechQuartier set for the future?

Our goals are well-defined: More start-ups, more partnerships, more success stories. We want to make a contribution to Frankfurt’s start-up scene becoming internationally recognised.

Thank you very much for the interview.