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Ten Must-Read FinTech Stories of 2013

Our pick of the ten must-reads: in no particular order, and with some focus on the German / European FinTech scene.


1. Klarna Acquires Germany’s Sofort For $150M To Build A Formidable European Payment Network

Biggest FinTech deal in Germany in 2013, creating a major force in online payments giant with 10% of Continental Europe’e $100 bn e-commerce market.


2. E-Loan Specialist Wonga Buys BillPay, The PayPal Of Germany, To Move Deeper Into Payments

First significant FinTech M&A in Germany in 2013, that could help Wonga position itself away from a UK-centric payday-lender to a broader European provider.


3. Other Germany / DACH FinTech startup news you may have missed 

FinanceScout24 acquires Yavalu,

Minkabu acquires ShareWise,

Largely unnoticed by English-speaking media, it showed how FinTech startups are gathering forces across geographies – much more easily than banks could.


4.  Q&A with Sberbank’s new fintech fund

Claiming to be the first strategic corporate banking fund focused on FinTech, with $700mn planned fund volume, SBT Venture Capital’s Matteo Rizzi writes off internal bank innovation programs and puts his bets squarely on FinTech startups. To quote: “It’s very unlikely that a complex and heavily regulated organisation, such as a bank, can embrace innovation — and even less, disruption — from inside. Fintech start-ups are the seeds of what the new financial services can look like: shaped on the customers’s current profiles, developed with agility, shared with social [media technology ] in a native way.” 

Point taken!


5. Banks need to take on Amazon and Google or die

Francisco González, Chief Executive of Spanish bank BBVA, says “Some bankers and analysts think that Google, Facebook, Amazon or the like will not fully enter a highly regulated, low-margin business such as banking. I disagree. What is more, I think banks that are not prepared for such new competitors face certain death. Technology has already transformed many industries. Next in line is banking…”

With a $100 mn fund for FinTech startups, we could not agree more!


6. Digital Insight Purchase a ‘Timely Move’ for NCR

If Mr. Volcker thought the biggest innovation in the industry over the past 20 years had been the ATM, NCR took it very seriously. One of the few hardware-to-FinTech stories saw NCR go for the kill.


7. Lending Club Platform Surpasses $3 Billion in Personal Loans

For all those who thought FinTech startups are meteorites destined to burn before entering the serious banking atmosphere, just read these announcements of Lending Club reaching the $1 bn mark in Nov. 2012 and the $2 bn mark  in July 2013.


8. Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?

PAYING for a taxi ride using your mobile phone is easier in Nairobi than it is in New York with M-PESA…by far the most successful scheme of its type on earth.” More to follow on this in our next newsletter.


9. A New Fintech Accelerator Emerges In London As Techstars Partners With Barclays

As banks react to FinTech startups by creating venture funds, innovation departments or – in most cases – doing nothing, TechStars found a middle path.


10.Financial-technology firms Revenge of the nerds

The title says it all: the Zeitgeist of 2013!

Finally, our own blog 1 Billion USD for new FinTech-focused funds in 2013  summarized several big stories on the FinTech funds announced in 2013. The announcements and the size of the funds underscore the attention FinTech is getting from investors as well as the variety of players that are betting on this space.