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Berlin to go, english edition, 01/2017

  • Text
  • Berlin
  • Digital
  • Startup
  • Startups
  • Digitization
  • Mobility
  • Innovation
  • Innovative

STARTUP A HOME PORT FOR

STARTUP A HOME PORT FOR THE FINTECH SCENE Text: Ines Hein Increased digitization in the financial sector is creating business models that are radically transforming the market “Disruptive Innovation” is the new recipe for success. As Germany’s premier startup hub, Berlin is becoming the new headquarters for the international FinTech scene? Some 3,000 technology companies have located to or been founded in Berlin in the last three years alone. Over 70 Fin- Tech companies call the city home; that’s twice as many as in Frankfurt, Germany’s banking capital. Already by 2015 over million of risk capital was invested in FinTech companies. A recent example confirms this trend; kapilendo AG, a full-service provider in the area of crowdfunding, collected million in a new round of financing at the end of 2016. A February 2017 study by the accounting firm EY reports that risk capital investments in Germany reached a new high in 2016. With €413 million, FinTech companies claim second place in a ranking of sectors. The state of Berlin was once again at the top of the heap, claiming 61% (€254 million) of the venture capital invested in e-commerce. Three of the world’s 100 most significant FinTech firms are based here: Spotcap, Pair Finance and Solaris Bank, ranked 29, 90 and 96 in KPMG’s “2016 Fin- Tech100.” Commerzbank #openspace, Berliner Volksbank Ventures, Roland Berger and Visa Europa’s Spielfeld Digital Hub, and the Innovation Lab from Deutsche Bank are four prominent examples of current innovation hubs for traditional banking firms in the German capital. “When it comes to startup spirit and innovation capital, Berlin is ahead of the game.” The physical distance separating classic banking houses and their innovative digital units is fully deliberate. Frankfurt may win in the more established financial arena, but when it comes to startup spirit and innovation capital, Berlin is way out in front. “As a location for FinTech, Berlin excels over other cities around the world, particularly due to its thriving startup scene. Not only is Berlin’s strong startup activity – above all in technology – indicative of the city’s entrepreneurial spirit, it also draws corresponding talent, especially developers,” according to the recent study “FinTechs in Berlin – Eine Standortbestimmung” by Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB). Of the roughly 170,000 students in the city, each year about 30,000 join the job market with a tertiarylevel degree. Expats from 185 countries, a low cost of living for a high quality of life and the strong digital scene contribute to the city’s appeal among talented professionals. This potent dynamic and proximity to the government – two factors critical to the FinTech market – as well as various trade associations like Bitkom help make the location tremendously attractive. The task for the future? Developing Berlin as a banking center. Innovative new startups, powerful business incubators and the establishment of new headquarters for companies from beyond the English Channel will all play a part. 32

STARTUP AS AGILE AS A STARTUP AND AS STABLE AS A CORPORATION Text: Ines Hein Photo: Olaf Heine Chris Bartz, CEO and co-founder of Elinvar, talks to Berlin to go about key FinTech success factors and the story behind his company’s name MR BARTZ, BEFORE FOUN- DING YOUR COMPANY, YOU WERE ACTIVE AS A VENTURE PARTNER AT THE COMPANY BUILDER FIN- LEAP. WHAT ARE THE KEY SUCCESS FACTORS FOR FINTECH COMPANIES? Chris Bartz (CB): There are three factors. 1. Financial knowledge: our industry is subject to strong laws that one needs to be familiar with. 2. IT expertise: this relates to current developments that always need to be kept in mind and harnessed for one’s own business. 3. Entrepreneurial background: we are constantly faced with the unbelievable pace of change in our era, and this means that making business decisions today involves courage, speed and a willingness to take risks. YOU FOUNDED YOUR OWN FINTECH CALLED ELINVAR. WHAT ROLE DOES FINLEAP PLAY IN THIS? CB: My co-founder and I met at FinLeap and started our joint company there too. By the time we started hiring our own employees, we already had a double-digit number of people working for us at FinLeap. This support meant that we were able to concentrate entirely on building our venture from the very start, because core functions were already running. FinLeap gave us an essential advantage by providing all relevant resources. “Talent” is the key word here. Each year, Fin- Leap receives more than 10,000 applications from highly qualified individuals. This access to talent is the key success factor in the building of any company. WHAT ELSE? CB: In our case, it was another potent industry partner, Talanx Asset Management. They are one of the largest asset management companies in Germany and now, next to FinLeap, a partner at Elinvar. This combination creates a decisive advantage for us; it gives us the agility of a startup and the stability of a financial corporation at the same time. WHAT DOES ELINVAR DO? CB: Elinvar is a platform for the expansion of digital services provided by private banks and independent asset managers. These established providers have clear positioning advantages and generate sustainable added value for their customers. We help our partners navigate the digital world by means 33

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