The 5th anniversary event at The Airport Club, Frankfurt, kicked off to a full house, with FinTech Forum co-founder Frank Schwab reflecting on the first event in 2013- and how the event series and the community keeps going strong in its own special niche.
FinTech Forum co-founder Samarth Shekhar went on to share his analysis of how the European FinTech scene has moved on from small, payments- and lending-focused players to a formidable presence in the overall startup landscape. With 5 of the 10 largest VC funding rounds in European FinTech (2018 Q1-Q3) going to “challenger banks”, and intense VC, M&A and partnership activity involving global financial and tech giants, FinTech continues to be a space to watch!
As the first batch of pitches went on to show, startups are now going for large, complex market opportunities (especially in the corporate/ SME banking and capital markets space) using cutting-edge tech (especially blockchain) and taking on regulatory challenges.
- AAZZUR is an intelligent account aggregator with a functionality layer, where customers connect their accounts thanks to PSD2 and OpenBanking, tailored to international customers. They have acquired live Alpha customers already, and were part of the TechStars Berlin program (2018).
- advinda is disrupting how the Alternative Investment industry raises institutional capital- a simple CRM solution combined with proprietary investor intelligence on more than $68 trillion AUM in the cloud.
- BITA, is “the S&P of crypto indices”- the first professional index and data provider in the digital asset space to develop, calculate and disseminate real-time indexes and proprietary datafeeds covering the digital asset universe.
- CCEX Cloud Commodities Exchange enables Cloud Computing Resources e.g. IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, etc. to be traded similar to traditional commodities such as crude oil, gas, electricity, etc. via already existing exchanges
- CrowdDesk offers “full-service Fundrasing-as-a-Service: digitised and standardised issuing and investment processes for SMEs, startups or public agencies who need to raise capital through the crowd”. Cooperation with GLS Bank on Europe’s first crowd-investing platform of a bank.
- DACEBOOK– Digital Asset Class Exchange Book (TM) enables institutional investors to onboard, trade and process Digital Asset Class (DAC) products with enterprise grade vendor data and smart technology solutions.
- finbc is the P2P receivables exchange and financing platform for SME on the blockchain, enabling international invoicing and payments- both regular or cryptocurrency- right out of the ERP system.
- Imburse Payments is “the first end-to-end platform to solve customer value challenges at transaction level using AI/ML to optimise the offer/transaction technology combination”. With 3 committed PoCs, they have won “Best Pitch” at Swiss Fintech event and accepted to the Plug n Play Europe Batch 0 (Insurtech).
In his keynote, Thorsten Terweiden outlined the growing FinTech ecosystem in Hong Kong as a gateway to China, the support offered by InvestHK for FinTech firms looking to scale in Asia, and some success stories.
Laurens Mauquoi then shared some learnings from Smava- one of the first FinTechs in Germany, founded 2007 as a peer-to-peer lending platform, that has raised over $135mn in funding to date. Apart from being first, solving a real problem, and staying true to your mission, you still have to make it perfect and stay on your toes regarding competition.
After the networking lunch, Dirk Fuchs of Be Think, Solve Execute invited startups to take innovative joint propositions to their client base- especially in the payments and capital markets space.
Bernd Wendln then shared how Lufthansa Miles & More as one of the largest loyalty programs is engaging with startups and creating a platform to take hand-picked FinTech offerings to their highly profitable customer base.
This was followed by the second batch of startup pitches:
- ForexFix offers easy and fast hedging against currency fluctuations for small and medium businesses who are doing business internationally and have costs or revenues in foreign currencies. Our service is easy to use and less expensive.
- Fractal Blockchain offers on-boarding and payment software for Token Launches (ICOs) – a multidisciplinary, international endeavour- with a focus on compliance and usability.
- Growney is a digital Investment Advice company with a transparent, cost- effective and simple product for retail customers in Germany. They recently signed a cooperation with Signal Iduna, and receives high ratings from the independent non-profit consumer website FinanzTip.de.
- Junius Capital is building the first fully regulated index replication mechanism for ETF crypto investing based in Germany.
- Neon Banking is Switzerland’s 1st independent #mobile bank–free banking, offering simple, mobile and free everyday banking – free current account linked with Debit MasterCard and variety of third party products. They recently announced a cooperation with Hypothekarbank Lenzburg.
- RYSKEX is the next level of RISK EXchange, offering a hedging platform for insurance risks embedded in a B2B ecosystem. It brings together risk management units and institutional investors via a blockchain-based P2P approach supported by AI and an own token.
- XTECHis a German cryptocurrency exchange, enabling access to the hottest coins in the cryptocurrency ecosystem to both professional and amateur traders.
After a short coffee break, we were treated to an engaging – and sometimes downright funny – panel discussion that brought in interesting perspectives on whether non-financial services players or foreign investors and acquirers will “own” German finance in the next few years.
Moderated by Frank Schwab and Michael Mellinghoff (Sr. Advisor at FinTech Forum and an alumni who pitched at the 1st FinTech Forum), the panel brought together insights from:
- Andreas Thümmler, Acxit Capital Partners- bringing in the FinTech M&A perspective with hilarious parallels from the world of whisky!
- Dr. Christian Nagel, Earlybird VC- as one of the oldest German VC firms with investments like Interhyp back in 1999.
- Hans de Back, Finch Capital- on how a Netherlands-based VC saw Germany as an “emerging market” for FinTech VC.
- Kerstin Eichmann, Innogy Innovation Hub- on why the venture arm of Germany’s leading energy giant looks at FinTechs and blockchain.
- Paul Morgenthaler, CommerzVentures- on how a top German bank’s VC arm is looking at FinTech as a financial rather than strategic investment.
After looking at five years into the future, we moved on to two sessions that looked back to the last five years!
In a fireside with Michael Mellinghoff, we heard from ex-Startupbootcamp FinTech Co-Founder & MD Nektarios Liolios on his journey expanding one of the first global FinTech accelerators- his successes, challenges, learnings and advice for corporates as well as startups.
In the last session, Samarth Shekhar thanked the partners and sponsors who have helped build FinTech Forum into a leading network for innovations in financial services (12000+ members; 18+ events; 285+ startups on stage; 1100+ VCs and FIs; over $310mn raised etc.)
He finished off by sharing some memorable moments from the last five years, captured in photos and tweets- the perfect segue to networking drinks, courtesy of St. Killian Distillers!