7 Questions

7 questions with Julian Mattes, Digital+ Partners

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your focus areas, overall and within FinTech

I’m a Principal at Digital+ Partners, a USD 400mn growth equity fund. We invest in enterprise B2B technology companies with a particular focus on FinTech and IndustrialTech start-ups. We differentiate ourselves through our vertical domain expertise and deep corporate network, particularly in the European financial services market. Before joining Digital+ Partners, I worked at McKinsey and in leadership positions at Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, previously as head of payments & deposits at Commerzbank.

 

2. What opportunities or challenges are FinTechs creating for European Financial Institutions?

FinTechs are creating a huge opportunity for financial institutions. FinTechs are much faster in developing new ideas on how to approach certain issues – they are not encumbered by the legacy issues that the incumbents struggle with. FinTech can act as an enabler to traditional banks, allowing them to adhere to new regulations, improve efficiency and increase their share of revenues from new, digital revenue streams.

 

3. What do you think about FinTechs approach so far, and what should they be doing?

The response so far was primarily on disruption with the focus on delivering a superior UX/UI. A lot has changed since and some of the FinTechs developed competitive offerings towards incumbents. What should they be doing more is cooperate. I see tremendous potential in B2B approaches, especially in topics around security, regulation, compliance and risk – ideas that help increasing adherence to regulation and topics that help to improve efficiency and increase revenues.

 

4. Which way do you see the financial services sector going? Who would be the likely winners?

The sector is going through a major change. Winners will be organization that embraces change, regulation and its role in the newly created ecosystems. The winners will be the ones that understand to develop regulation into a strength. The companies that relentlessly focus on their USPs. USPs can be on the customer interface – however there will be Tech Giants, price comparison websites, neobanks that increase competition –, on certain segments (e.g., being the best bank for start-ups), on regulation and also on efficiency and scale. And of course all FinTechs that help incumbents and new organizations to strengthen those USPs.

 

5. What’s on your bookshelf/holiday reading list?

Currently, I read Homo Deus from Yuval Noah Harari. Some blogs I follow are Fred Wilson’s from AVC and finanz-szene.de.