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Fintech

What is Fintech?

The term Fintech – short for financial technologies – describes all digital innovations in the financial services sector. It thus represents the part of the financial industry in which new technologies are used to optimise transactions, services or value chains. As the Fintech market evolves rapidly and is an ideal breeding ground for innovators, the term is often used in connection with start-ups.

What’s currently happening in fintech?

  1. Focus on the payroll space

One traditional finance area so far largely neglected by fintech challengers is the payroll space. But this might be about to change. Why have payments, banking and saving become so much more convenient and simpler in the past years, while payrolls remain such a static and traditional affair? With salary-on-demand, salary advances, early direct deposits and even crypto payrolls, fintechs are starting to move in on this largely unexplored market. Pioneers in this space are Dailypay and Bitpay.

  1. Closer cooperation between traditional banks and fintechs

Fintechs have firmly established themselves in the financial ecosystem and have shown many of the traditional players the need to innovate and align themselves with their challengers. This has led to some significant investments in fintechs by traditional banks, like the five percent stake that Deutsche Bank took in Deposit Solutions, making the Hamburg-based startup into a unicorn. But this is also leading, ironically, to the rise of fintechs specialized in helping the old banks and credit institutions to transform their outdated core systems into modern flexible ones. The increased agility enables banks to launch their own innovative products faster and survive the rapid rate of digitization.

  1. Insurtech goes mainstream

Another space that has long been dominated by traditional players is insurances. But at the latest with last year’s successful IPOs of insurance provider Lemonade and car insurance startup Root, raising $319 Million and $664 Million respectively, this is about to change. According to Ashley Paston, investor at Bain Capital Ventures, “there’s a lot more focus brought to insurtech as a result on not just the B2C side, but also the B2B side. I think we’re in the first innings of insurtech and insurance innovation, and there’s a lot more to go there.”

  1. Green fintech

The financial sector is not the first one that comes to mind when you think of global warming. Many finance companies do however have a large indirect impact on the environment through the investments they make in highly polluting industries. A growing number of exciting green fintech companies, like Carbon Collective and Trine, is offering both private and corporate investors the opportunity to put their money into innovative and sustainable projects that combat climate change, while still making a good return on their money. Sound like a win-win situation, doesn’t it?

  1. Will neo-brokers continue their rise?

2020 was the year of Trade Republic and Robinhood. Making it possible for anyone with a smartphone to trade in financial products, their userbase shot up during the pandemic. With people having lots of time on their hand and rethinking their financial security because of the economic turmoil, the easily accessible apps, combined with gamification aspects, became a real hit. The big question this year will be, whether users will keep their interest when the pandemic wears of and normal life start resuming. If this is the case, then Trade Republic is on its way to becoming Germanies next fintech hope.

Why do Fintechs need PR?

Of course, most technology companies benefit from PR: to explain their often-complicated products and solutions to the public, set themselves apart from their competitors and acquire a good reputation through expert recommendations. However, for fintechs in particular – as with all things financial – there is always the question of trust. Do I trust this company with my savings, the revenue I earn in my web shop or the insurance of my most-valuable possessions? And the thing with trust is, it cannot be bought, it needs to be built. No matter the amount of branding you do, you can’t buy a good reputation. You can only establish it through positive words and recommendations of third parties, like trusted experts and independent media. This is what makes PR a necessity for every fintech. It enables them to educate their target audience about the benefits of their technologies and to dispel any fears they may have. And last but not least, PR also works in the direction of investors by creating visibility for the new business model, creating a competitive edge and conveying the vision of the founders.

Fintech experts to follow

In case you’d like to stay up to date on the latest developments in Germany’s fintech scene, we recommend keeping an eye on these experts:

André M. Bajorat

A true fintech thought leader, André M. Bajorat is the founder of Paymentandbanking, an award-winning finance blog. But Mr Bajorat is much more than that. He is an investor (figo, finleap, fincompare, Vantik, Loanlink, meine Studentenfinanzierung, Sparkdata, Weddyplace, nufin, portify, getVanta, compa), a member of the fintech council of the German Federal Ministry of Finance, book author and event organizer. And if that is not enough yet, Mr Bajorat last year also took up a position as Head of Strategy at Deutsche Bank.

Caspar Tobias Schlenk

As a former editor at Germany’s most-read startup portal Gründerszene, Caspar Schlenk approaches the fintech scene from a startup angle. He has developed himself into a true fintech specialist, currently writing for Finance Forward, a media platform by the Online Marketing Rockstars and business magazine Capital. He also regularly hosts the Finance Forward podcasts, in which he interviews founders and experts. Schlenk furthermore recently co-authored the book Keinhorn, about the realities of founding a startup. If you’re interested in getting Schlenk’s take on the current fintech scene, listen to the podcast he recently recorded with Gründerszene.

Heinz-Roger Dohms

Possibly more feared than loved by many fintech CEOs, Heinz-Roger Dohms is one of the people behind the highly influential insider-portal Finanz-Szene.de. His daily newsletter is read throughout the finance industry and serves as an important source of inspiration for journalists of the business press and mainstream media.

What are the Top 5 Fintechs from Germany?

Tomorrow Bank

Tomorrow Bank is a Fintech with a real social impact. The Hamburg-based company offers a mobile current account and invests the money on the accounts exclusively in sustainable and social projects. Very cool: In the Tomorrow app, users can directly see how many square metres of rainforest they have already protected by using their account. Another exciting feature is Tomorrow Zero: For 15 euros per month, users can offset their entire CO2 emissions. Tomorrow recently collected three million euros within one day with an innovative crowdfunding among its own users. We are looking forward to further new and exciting features! 

DEPOSIT SOLUTIONS

Deposit Solutions is a German Fintech-UnicornFounded in Hamburg in 2011, the company has developed an open banking platform that enables banks to offer their customers attractive third-party savings products via their existing accounts. The solution gives savers access to a wider range of deposit products and thus a better customer experienceIn September 2020, Deposit Solutions expanded into the US despite the Corona crisis. Peter Thielfounder of PayPal and investor in Deposit Solutions, sees a promising future for the open banking platform: „Deposit Solutions can do for the deposit business what PayPal has done for payments“. 

Baufi24

Baufi24 is an advice and comparison site for property financing and mortgage interest rates. The company promises its customers a way into their own home that is as easy as online shopping. This path leads via the Baufi24 online portal, but the company also has 42 locations throughout Germany where customers can obtain personal advice. This makes Baufi24 one of the largest financing brokers in Germany. And even the corona pandemic does not seem to be able to stop the growth of the real estate company. For the first half of 2020, the Hamburg-based company reported an increase in the volume of mortgages of 89 percent compared to the previous year.   

NAGA

NAGA offers its users a social trading platform. Here, thousands of members exchange their investment tips. Private investors can also copy the trading decisions of professionals in a fully automated way. Or they invest themselves in shares, ETFs, crypto currencies and many other investment forms. All with a very low threshold and without any fees. It is also possible to trade in shares of NAGA itself: The company of seriesfounder and ex-professional swimmer Ben Bilski made its successful debut on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange three years ago. Learn more about the company in this exciting podcast with founder Bilski. 

Finanzcheck.de

The independent comparison portal Finanzcheck.de helps its users to find the cheapest instalment loans and private financial products. This can be done just as quickly and user-friendly as we are used to from industry disrupters: Via a short and uncomplicated online query, users are shown the best offers from the most important providers on the market in a matter of seconds. Anyone who needs more in-depth advice afterwards can contact professional credit advisors free of charge and seven days a week. The fact that the Hamburg-based company has hit the bull’s eye with its portal became clear at the end of 2019 at the latest, when Finanzcheck.de changed hands for a sum in the billions.  

The three most important events and platforms for Fintechs

PAYMENT & BANKING.COM

As early as 2012, the Payment & Banking platform was fully dedicated to the niche topic of technologies in the banking industry at the time. Visionary, as today Fintech has long outgrown its niche. This is also reflected in the number of users of the domain: Payment & Banking recorded 400,000 page impressions in 2017 alone. In addition to a glossary, infographics and a „who’s who“ of the Fintech scene, the creators of the platform have been offering a podcast since 2016, which is listened to by around 35,000 interested people per month.

Finance FWD

Finance FWD is the magazine for the new financial world and is a cooperation of the Online Marketing Rockstars with the business magazine Capital. Once a day, Finance FWD provides news, portraits, interviews and analyses from the fintech scene in its newsletter. The FFWD Podcast, in which the most important Fintech minds are interviewed, is also very much worth listening to if you always want to be up to date.

DIGITAL FINANCE CONFERENCE

Bitkom, the Digital Association of Germany, organizes the annual Digital Finance Conference. #digifin21 presents the Fintech industry in a larger European context and looks into the future with innovative distribution channels such as mobile, voice and the IoT. The Digital Finance Conference focuses on cooperation and exchange within the European Fintech scene. News and interesting facts about the event can be found on the Digifin blog.

Everything else you need to know about Fintech

Contact

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E-Mail: fintech@frauwenk.de

Phone: +49 40 329047380

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