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FinTech Forum’s 4th anniversary edition- a reflection of European FinTech’s successes and travails

22nd Sep. 2017, Frankfurt am Main
Samarth Shekhar, Co-Founder, FinTech Forum

A dense morning fog and flight delays outside did not seem to effect the day’s schedule as we kicked off the 9th FinTech Forum at The Airport Club, Frankfurt – also our 4th anniversary edition.

Frank Schwab (co-founder FinTech Forum), kicked off the event with a recap of the event concept, and ground rules for the day.

Samarth Shekhar (co-founder, FinTech Forum) followed with the quintessential European FinTech deal highlights and FinTech Scorecard 250 summarizing FinTech Forum’s 4 year journey that has put 250 startups on stage at 15 events #4YFTF.


With that, it was time for the startup pitches to begin.

The first round of pitches saw the following startups on stage, punctuated by a small accident involving one of the cocktail tables (no one was hurt!):

Giromatch Frankfurt: innovative financial solutions to create advantages for banks and other B2B partners with a fully automated loan solution. (Robin Buschmann)

Aurora Exchange Helsinki, Finland: The AuroraX loans exchange connects creditworthy borrowers with investors who seek a higher yield and a moderate risk profile. (Jarno Piironen)

CarlFinance Berlin: Digitally-Enabled Partner in SMB M&A and Succession (Pascal Stichler)

compaio Berlin: Compaio is the most customer centric financial advisor, bringing together all consumer products of banks, insurers and fintechs. (David Meyer)

Contovista Zurich: Analytics for your data-driven banking business (Gerrit Sindermann)

The startup presentations were followed by two guest presentations:

  • The fund-raising journey for the blockchain startup Quantoz (Henri de Jong), which had “more awards than number of employees” at one point, and investors declining them “because the team’s average age was over 35 years”.
  • The “FinTech meets Social Impact” platform SDG Investments (Frank Ackermann), which helps match institutional investors, family offices etc. to medium- and large- investment opportunities aligned to the UN’s Strategic Development Goals.

After the lunch break we had the next six startups vying for attention – and money!

Econ Application Smart management of online forms for banks and insurances (Hakan Baran)

FinCompare Berlin: Independent platform for digital advice on financing solutions to underserved SMEs from amongst more than 200 banks, financial service firms and FinTechs (Adrian Elkmann)

Finprove Frechen, Germany: The Change Agent of Finprove turns the customers’ savings potential into earnings potential for the bank. (Arne Westphal)

Brixpension Berlin: The first digital community-backed pension plan for millennials without compromise: simple, flexible and secure. (Til Klein)

Nitrobox Hamburg: Our Cloud Platform connects Enterprises to Financial Services and enables them to optimize their Order-to-Cash Processes. (Henner Heistermann)

Riskifier Zurich: A new MiFID II Suitability Assessment: better investment decisions by blending social media, behavioural finance & artificial intelligence. (Gino Wirthensohn)

The next session had Michael Mellinghoff (Senior Advisor, FinTech Forum) moderating a panel discussion “FinTech: Back to B2B- and Business as Usual?”  with opinions from FinTech founders, VCs and banking veterans:

L to R: Carsten Maybach (ALSTIN), Marina Zubrod (SCHUFA),  Gerrit Sindermann (Contovista AG), Liam Harris (DIT, UK), Steffen Seeger (Aumentar AG, ex-Fidor) and Martin Sezter (ex-COO, LBBW), Michael Mellinghoff (Sr. Advisor, FinTech Forum)

After 5 startup pitches punctuated by a small accident, a networking lunch, 6 more startup pitches, a panel discussion with FinTech, VC and banking veterans, and some networking over coffee, most event-goers would call it a day.

But who said our events are for the faint-hearted?

While we were wicked with the timer for all preceding sessions, nobody seemed to mind as the last two spellbinding guest presentations went past the allotted time:

  • Our alumnus Cashboard’s seven year journey that included winning multiple awards, €3mn in VC funding (2016) to insolvency in May 2017 – a breathtaking “last 30 days” down to the last few hours aggravated by modern journalism (Robert Henker)
  • The learnings from awamo’s unique fund-raising journey as a for-profit / social impact FinTech startup – considered too small for foreign investors, “too social” by European investors, or even a profit shark by some German investors who see social impact and for-profit as two completely different worlds (Roland Claussen).

Thank you to all the participants yesterday as well as at our previous events for being part of this amazing journey, that reflects the successes and travails not just of our alumni but also the Continental Europe FinTech scene.