Welcome to the 2018 Fintech Review Germany by Startuprad.io. In the stream you will see:

Here you can find the 2017 fintech review: https://www.startuprad.io/news/2017-fintech-review-germany-2018-outlook/ here is the 2016 interview with DWINS, the company behind Finanz Guru: https://www.startuprad.io/interviews/dwins-db-hackathon-winner/

Yassin talks about co-branding, for example ,Finanz Guru (co-branded with Deutsche Bank, who owns 25% in the startup) https://finanzguru.de/

Paolo talks about regulations (referring to the last year).

“The regulatory storm hitting 2018

  • PRIIPs – A regulation, forcing asset managers to disclose more of the content of their products in a more simplified way.
  • GDPR – A regulation on the usage of customer data
  • Mifid II – A regulation on the transparency of investments.
  • PSD2 – A regulation, which forces banks to open up via API to other companies, including fintechs”


During the interview we made several references. Some of them you find here:

Joe refers to the dot-com company Pets.com https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pets.com

Cost of capital for banks https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/costofcapital.asp

Wealth Management https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/wealthmanagement.asp

Interview with CreditShelf, which is Germany’s only listed pure-play: https://www.startuprad.io/exclusive/do-you-know-creditshelf-it-is-germanys-only-listed-pure-play-fintech/

As Paolo said, we have been to the Christmas Market and celebrated 10 years of fintech in Frankfurt:

Below you will find all the news we have been discussing, touching fintech in 2018, as well as a transcript.


“It will be really tough to bring Crypto to the masses” Yassin Hankir – at Startuprad.io’s 2018 fintech review

“When central banks use the technology behind Crypto to transform fiat money, that will be truly revolutionary” Paolo Siroin – at Startuprad.io’s 2018 fintech review


Pan-European Leader: Moneyfarm acquires #Frankfurt-based #roboadvisor vaamo to accelerate growth https://buff.ly/2AaeANC
#Germany #startup #fintech #investment #investments #startups #tech #frmstartupscene #rheinmainrocks

Study of Comdirect shows, that #Berlin, #Munich and #Frankfurt are the leading #fintech hubs in Germany | heise online http://ow.ly/12AG30mXhDh

Keep in mind all the international fintechs active in Frankfurt, who want to work with German banks. Also notice, that there is only an access to international capital markets in Frankfurt.

Serious financial situation at Germany’s formerly most valuable #fintech, #Hamburg-based Kreditech. In the last financing round the valuation went from 230 mn Euros down to the 14 mn Euros #VentureCapital just invested reports Gründerszene http://ow.ly/x9wt30mWhnb #Valuation

#Berlin based #fintech RatePay gets 83 mn Euro #VentureCapital as #VentureDebt from NIBC Bank https://buff.ly/2AyGZwR #Berlin #startup #startups #payments

#Berlin based #fintech RatePay gets 83 mn Euro #VentureCapital as #VentureDebt from NIBC Bank https://buff.ly/2AyGZwR #Berlin #startup #startups #payments

IPO: Deutsche Familienversicherung a direct insurance company (think online), which sees itself as an #insurtech just sucessfully IPOed in #Frankfurt, raising more than 50 mn Euros http://ow.ly/CKSp30mTbOf

#Fintech #Insurtech #Startup #Startups #IPO #VentureCapital #RheinMainRocks

The Most Active Investors In Banking Automation – CB Insights Research http://ow.ly/RgRT30mVmZC

#CustomerService #chatbot #bots #CRM #fintech #automation #startup #startups #banking #processautomation #processing #VentureCapital



European early stage technology investment increases four-fold to 3.6 bn Euro in H1 2018 (4.1 bn US$). Investors like fintech and medtech startups. Germany scores No 2 in #Fintech investments with 402.2 mn Euros http://ow.ly/lBHq30mvOyj

Meet The 100 Most Innovative Startups Of Germany In 2018 – Forbes https://buff.ly/2SimfAZ
Frankfurt is present fintech heavy including @ginmon @ClarkGermany and #blockchain #accelerator @iconiqlab

You find the interview with the CEO and founder of Clark Germany here: https://www.startuprad.io/interviews/clark-de-startup-germany-bloombergs-list-50-promising-startups/

Berlin-based incubator Finleap has raised €41.5 million to build more fintech startups https://buff.ly/2Biv87E

Copycat behaviour is punished faster than ever before

Klarna sues German fintech Sofortpay, which was founded by former employees of Sofortueberweisung. Sofortueberweisung was bought by Klarna | Gründerszene https://buff.ly/2FMJVvX #fintech #payments

And even fintechs are conservative with their growth and risk

#Berlin-based #banking startup Solarisbank can only show 1,9 m Euros in revenue in B2B, where it works with #fintechs. The bank raised 95 m Euros #VentureCapital and invested 24,5 m Euros already to build up the banking platform http://ow.ly/HMbl30mpmz3

The incumbents awake: “Patent Analysis: Top US Banks Prioritize Payments” – CB Insights Research http://ow.ly/KbCU30mLmJt #fintech #banking #payments #patents #strategy



Berlin based fintech Penta raises 7 mn Euros venture capital. The fintech offers its services to German small and medium enterprises https://buff.ly/2EmyyKk

Interview Penta, also noted in “How 60+ Startups Are Disrupting Retail And Commercial Banking Around The World” by CB Insights https://buff.ly/2RKGJCJ including n26 and Penta

Our interview with Lav, CEO and Co-Founder of Penta https://youtu.be/M1ExxaijmfQ

The twins from #Frankfurt-based #fintech dwins appeared in the German Version of #SharkTank – called Lion’s den. They presented their app to manage your contracts https://buff.ly/2O1Gg0T

Deutsche Bank is already a shareholder and Startuprad.io interviewed them in the past: https://buff.ly/2PaAKWp

German billionaire and business angel Carsten Maschmeyer is a judge at Germany’s version of #SharkTank. Now he invests 1 million Euros,  a record amount for this TV format in #Frankfurt-based fintech Dwins, which pitched there. http://ow.ly/tgmG30m90lp



@SocieteGenerale – opens Global Markets Incubator for #fintech #startups, working on capital markets https://buff.ly/2NHFJMu

Startup News Germany Summer 2018 (July, August, September)

This is a first! For the first time in Germany a German fintech listed successfully on a stock exchange!

Frankfurt-based fintech Creditshelf listed successfully at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. This is the first IPO of a pure play fintech in Germany. The company raised 16.5 m Euros (almost 20 m US$) http://ow.ly/IpTg30l1tUz

We have an exclusive interview for you! The recording is done. It will be published mid of October.

#Frankfurt-based government-owned bank KfW and Frankfurt-based #FinTech CrowdDesk  start pilot program for municipal crowdfunding http://ow.ly/8vOM30l1zn5

Deutsche Bank Pushes Digital With Second Fintech Deal This Year – Bloomberg Quint http://ow.ly/yFDn30lz35DB

German fintech Wirecard to push Commerzbank out of DAX 30 https://buff.ly/2Q9B3Sc

Finanzcheck.de a comparison portal for financial services is sold for almost 300 mn Euros to M-Dax listed Scout24 group. This is Germany’s 2nd largest #fintech exit after 360T transaction, worth approx 750 mn US$  http://ow.ly/daW730l0jOL
related https://www.deutsche-startups.de/2018/07/18/finanzcheck-exit/

Hamburg-based fintech Naga group gets a bad wrap from Finanz-Szene.de, since their ICO was not for themselves, but for a company, which will provide services to Naga. The money actually went to Naga Development Association Ltd. (NDAL) which is domiziled in Belize http://finanz-szene.de/exklusiv-wo-sind-die-50-millionen-aus-dem-ico-des-hamburger-fintechs-naga-gelandet/

#Hamburg-based #Fintech Deposit Solution raises 100 m US$ Venture Capital, valued at 500 m US$ – deutsche-startups.de http://ow.ly/uHk930lqr8p

He used to be a Tesla manager, than he lead the German energy startup Sonnen to international successes, now he has his own #fintech #startup CapInside – a network were members can search investment opportunities http://ow.ly/wkG930lKwc5

German fintech Auxmoney is eyeing an IPO reports Reuters. The credit platform broke even (according to their own statement) in Q4 2017 http://ow.ly/No7430lD7ZJ


BBVA and ABN Amro invested almost 57 m Euros #VentureCapital in #Berlin-based Solarisbank. Now they published their annual results and generated only approx 2 mn Euros in revenue. This is for a 225 m Euro postmoney company | Gründerszene http://ow.ly/Mni630loIbq

Finanz-szene.de calculates the number of customers, which really have their primary bank account with hyped N26. N26 claims 1 m customers, but FZ calculates only 250k – 300k have their primary account with them #Berlin #Fintech http://ow.ly/G17b30laSGs

US #insurtech Lemonade sued German competitor WeFox. Now they seem to have an out-of-court settlement. Lemonade will withdraw the lawsuit, as soon as WeFox made changes. Yet the extend and nature of changes remain unclear | Gründerszene http://ow.ly/DKEE30liNga

The fintech Deposit Solutions (a platform for fixed deposits) and the comparison portal Check24 cooperate. According to Finanz-Szene, parts of the “investment service” of Check24 is white labeled from DS http://ow.ly/AdMG30kXXb7 This is surprising, since Check24 originally wanted to take market share away from fintechs. Now they are cooperating.

orderbird, the #Berlin-based #cashier system #startup stopped expansion – They have generated 9 m Euros revenue and 8.8 m Euros loss according to their 2016/17 balance sheet http://ow.ly/3aC330lduDZ

Startup News Germany June 2018

We talked to some of the winners of the “Golden Garage”, Germany’s investor side fintech award: https://youtu.be/KgRzjIi-Kr0

The 10 hottest fintechs in Germany. To the list made it the Frankfurt based insurtech Clark and microsavings app Savedroid, which recently completed it’s ICO – Horizont.net http://ow.ly/NuK830kvL0Q

Finanz-Szene sheds some lights on the Lendico ING transaction, where the bank bought the fintech. According to FZ calculations Rocket Internet burned almost 27 mn Euros with the startup. ING may have made a bargain in the transaction they conclude http://ow.ly/9puq30kClNZ

ING Ventures invests in Berlin-based fintech FinCompare, as part of a series A financing round http://ow.ly/l9BL30kkgSK

Startup News Germany May 2018

We have two winners of the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards in the exclusive video interview, including one which wants to list 2019.

According to calculations by consultancy Oliver Wyman – Fintechs already cut 1,5 bn Euros profits out of the bank business in Germany writes Gruenderszene.de, although 900 mn thereof are from retail banking https://buff.ly/2rt6pbq #fintech #germany #profit #Banking


Startup News Germany April 2018

Fist one was Savedroid, who pretended to be an ICO Scam for 24 hours just to draw attention to their ICO advisory business, which they wanted to launch with this PR stunt. So far we can say it fired back. They have been getting a beating in the national and international press, including CEO Yassin Hankir, who received multiple death threats.

You remember savedroid, Yassin and the ICO from the video interview we had shortly before christmas last year: https://youtu.be/oEfX6knd-1o

Here are some of the links to the national and international press coverage:



We have yet to see a positive coverage of the stunt and I personally wrote Yassin, that I am sure he will get a few less invites to parties this year.

Yassin’s direkt statement: https://youtu.be/o5_bwFf_byo


Germany’s 2nd largest bank Commerzbank holds shares in more fintechs than the other top 10 combined reports the blog Finanzsene https://buff.ly/2HDZDKp this should not suprise anyone. Commerzbank was with its Main Incubator the pioneer of the large german banks to invest in fintechs.


Former CEO of Main incubator Christian Hoppe will be the CEO of the Frankfurt branch of the Silicon Valley Bank, which just announced plans to launch in Frankfurt, Germany https://buff.ly/2KyFvXD

Kreditech, new CEO and one of the top managers leaves https://www.gruenderszene.de/fintech/kreditech-vorstandswechsel?ref=nl_b

Still no fintech unicorn in Germany and some investors did not like the valuation of N26 or Number26, the Berlin-based fintech. Deutsche-Startups.de writes about the valuation of N26 of approx. 750 mn US$. It appears the valuation was too high for some investors and they dropped out http://ow.ly/myHL30jkhgF

#Berlin-based #fintech savendo has brokered fixed deposit to Versobank in Estonia. Now the bank is closed for money laundry and terrorism financing. The money of savendo clients should not be in danger …. http://ow.ly/zqeM30jb4JL

Finanzcheck.de, is the first German fintech to open a brick and mortar branch reports Finanz-Szene.de exclusively https://buff.ly/2ILrqo


Startup News Germany March 2018

Frankfurt-based #fintech Giroxx raises 900.000 Euro #VentureCapital writes deutsche-startups.de http://ow.ly/vdkC30j9wU0 The company offers transfers in foreign currencies.

Frankfurt-based startup Acomodeo, a market place for serviced apartments, raises “mid seven digit” #VentureCapital reports @RMStartups   http://ow.ly/wiLQ30iLdZ1

Meet the Frankfurt-based fintech FastBill, which sees opportunities in the US market and may look for another #VentureCapital round. Learn more here http://ow.ly/W4cy30iOv4v via RMStartups

You may remember that we also talked to savdroid about their ICO? They are under scrutiny for their ICO since one of their advisors was blogging in favour of the ICO but did not disclose the connection. None the less the ICO raised somewhere between 35 and 40mn Euros https://www.gruenderszene.de/allgemein/savedroid-ico-krypto-roland-klaus

Rocket Internet again

Innolend – financed by Rocket Internet – the fintech for financing SMEs is in liquidation. The phone number on the website is already dead writes deutsche-startups.de https://buff.ly/2HEQ49B

Startup News Germany February 2018

Frankfurt-based online bank INGDiba (German arm of ING) buys Rocket Internet’s P2P SME lending platform Lendico writes Finanzszene.de exclusively. This is the first fintech acquisiton of a large Germany based bank http://finanz-szene.de/exklusiv-ing-diba-kauft-lendico-und-macht-als-erste-grosse-deutsche-bank-wirklich-ernst-mit-fintech/

Deutsche Startups has a more critical view of this – They quote ARD – ING only buys software it does not have and is not taking on the risk of its own software development. Lendico on the other hand never took off. What is your take? https://www.deutsche-startups.de/2018/02/20/ing-diba-kauft-lendico-soll-der-jubel/


Startup News Germany January 2018

German fintech startups raised  716 mn Euros in 2017 reports FINANCE https://buff.ly/2EssWcI

#German #fintech #wunderkind Naga buys shares in #Frankfurt based easyfolio writes deutsche-startups.de. Naga will own 25% with an option of up to 49%, buying shares from current owner, Frankfurt based bank Hauck & Aufhäuser https://buff.ly/2ncVC2X

Kreditech, with an assumed valuation of 300+ mn Euros, Germany’s most valuable fintech is not doing well reports Gruenderszene. According to press reports they collected the startup generated losses of 114 mn Euros in just 24 months. Also the CFO is about to leave. Gruenderszene writes that the revenue growth is pretty small compared to the invested sums they deduce from the losses http://ow.ly/970V30hQT6g We will keep an eye on the fintech for you guys

Berlin-based FinTech startup Penta accuses TransferWise to have stolen its debit card branding writes EU Startups http://ow.ly/Z6n030hNYYP

Learn more about Get Penta here on our interview: http://www.startuprad.io/exclusive/exclusive-berlin-based-fintech-penta-goes-live-open-beta-re-thinking-banking/



2018 FinTech Review Transcipt

Intro: Welcome to STARTUPRAD.IO, your podcast and YouTube blog covering the German startup scene with news interviews and live events.

Joe: Hello and welcome everybody, this is Joe from STARTUPRAD.IO, your startup podcast and YouTube blog from Germany. As you could see from my Christmas sweater and the Christmas tree in the back, It’s the time of the year that Christmas is approaching, and as a tradition here on our channel, we are giving you the FinTech reviewed this year. We have some rotating participants just for the simple reason, this time, unfortunately, Lucca from Berlin, from Penta is sick, get well soon man. And therefore, we do have Paolo as we had last year here with you. Hey, Paolo, how you doing?

Paolo: I’m fine. Thanks. Happy Christmas.

Joe: And of course, to a kind of a little bit replaced a Lucca, he has the mini me. Can you show him?

Paolo:  Here he is, he’s on camera?

Joe: Yes, yes.

Paolo:  Is he on camera?

Joe: Yes.

Paolo: Is it two of us? This is actually the only place where they can find me and mini-me, because mini-me doesn’t travel as much as I do, he stays home watering the plants, while I’ll be spending 30 days on flights in the last year, scouting [ Inaudible 01:27] for everywhere on the planet. So pretty tired by year end, but its good.

Joe: Yes. I see you’re traveling all the time, but we also have number three here in the mighty, mighty band of pirates. That is Yassin, Dr. Yassin Hankir, hey, welcome.

Dr. Yassin: Hey, good to be back, I missed last year’s review, unfortunately, but it’s good to be here again. I remember we had some good discussions over the recent years before. So, I’m actually looking forward a lot to the discussion coming up. No,

Joe:  As you rightly say, the year before, so basically this is something we are doing since 2014. We, meaning me and the startup radio as now since 2018. The uh, German channel is shut down. This is something we only do in English and 2017 was the first year with the FinTech review in English. Nonetheless, if you go down here in the show notes, you’ll find the links to the block webpage, where you can, of course, find all the FinTech reviews, all the show notes, everything there. Guys, that was a good year for FinTech, I’ve seen, not only for the ICO, where Yassin surely can tell a few stories about the inside of, like it is rumored in the press, somewhere between 35 and 40 million successful ICO. Congratulations by the way, to um, some IPOs we’ve seen here in Frankfurt, especially credit shelf and [Inaudible 03:02] as well as the regulatory storm that we discussed last year. So, let’s pick up the discussions from a, from the last times, especially in chronical order. In 2016, Yassin, has been with us and we’ve been talking about Co-branding between FinTech’s and banks and there was big discussion going on back in the time. I remember, especially since Yassin was totally in favor of Co-branding, and I do believe I’ve seen more than 100 corporations, ed alone in Frankfurt alone that is going on between startups and FinTech’s, and some of them are co-branded. You see yourself confirmed Yassin?

Dr. Yassin: I must honestly say not quite, because I would have expected to see this topic even much more pushed through marketing, which is still a bit limited, but as you correctly say, I think one of the examples also here from Frankfurt is the co-branding of financing with the bank, for example, so this is very prominently played also on their website. Um, and I think that’s exactly in line with how I was thinking about the topic in the past saying, look, we can, as bank show to our customers that we are innovative, we have a great offer here at the same time leading that under the umbrella and the brand of the startup. So, not to confuse the most conservative own clients which you serve. So, I think this still is a good solution to be more edgy on the one hand side to show off that you are into technology, but on the other hand side, not to disturb you or more conservative guys who still want to keep as the big banks. So, therefore, I still believe that this way makes sense. Nevertheless, honestly, I must admit, um, we have seen fewer banks that I would have expected to move forward in this direction. I still think that white label, um, corporations are more dominant in the market, and the co-branding is still just a much smaller phenomenon.

Joe: Personal impression for me as well for our international viewers who see this the first time, we should tell that finance guru; financial guru is an APP that analyzes your spending behavior and optimizes your personal account. We did an interview back in end of 2016 in English, you can find it down here in the show notes, with one of the founders. The company behind it is called Gwynn’s just for two simple reasons is set up by two guys and there are actually twins and they’ve been very, they’ve been doing very good PR. They’ve been in Höhle der Löwen which is actually at the line stent. It’s a German version of Shark Tank. They sold 25 percent of their equity to Deutsche Bank. One of the first, um, FinTech investments, I was aware of Deutsche bank here in Germany, as well as they received after in the aftermath of the Höhle der Löwen, they received an investment from cast and Marsh Maya, one of the billionaire founders here in Germany. Now we put it in perspective, right, chronologically speaking. Paolo is always talking about, um, a letter salad, meaning all the regulation. We talked about it a lot in the past FinTech review and I got to admit, at this time, it wasn’t really something I could touch, but Lucca made it very well when he said PSD2 is like the moment the APP store was actually turned on, and it enabled companies like Snapchat, like Uber to just to work. And we have not seen anything like this yet, but keep in mind it was 10 years ago, the APP store opened, So, things especially create things take time, right Paolo?

Paolo: Yes. I think that we need to see a regulation this way, where we talk about the bank and destination. We typically focus on the technological problems related to the legacy systems. So, we always discuss the difficulty of banks for legacy systems to basically adopt the agile ways of working in order to, uh, become a fast starting, creating the products and take pride in servicing their customers. However, there’s something which is even more problematic for banks, than legacy system which is legacy leadership. The leadership means how do you transform the way bankers operate [Inaudible 07:51- 07:53] therefore the construct of the business model. And that’s where regulation typically place, even though for many that is a [Inaudible 08:01]  because regulation can somehow create a different environment that forces the bankers to think about how to transform their businesses, and their business model, and we know that when it comes to transformation and digital [Inaudible 08:15]  the business model is more important than technology itself because if the business model wrong the technology is good, the business doesn’t flight. So, now –

Joe: We’ve seen at pets.com, right, the website was pretty awesome, but the business model behind it was pretty flawed.

Paolo: So, now this is the biggest issue for banks, right, so, they need to transform their business model. Clearly using technology, they need to change the way bankers are somehow [Inaudible 08:44] in the way the bankers to understand, right. The transformation value from the institution towards [ Inaudible 08:51]. So, here we have among the four different types of regulations in the European market in the last year, namely, the PSD2, [ Inaudible 09:02], the GDPR and the [Inaudible 09:05] regulation, two which are definitely important. One is the PSD2 and one is the [ Inaudible 09:11]. Now you mentioned the PSD2. I remember few years ago most of the banks were considered in the PSD2, like a compliance issue, better for Costa there to deal with that, what does it mean to expose the API?  that is not good for us, maybe creates more trouble than anything else. But as time went by, they realized how important it is for them to basically transforming into an operating banking business. And therefore, if you want to be an up and back and can be successful, you need to have a common playing field, better force and sort of standard, where everybody can participate [ Inaudible 09:47] in the value, because [ Inaudible 09:48] the values is not just that to have that legal thing which is better than somebody else, but to be capable of creating experiences across the board that follow the client, and therefore all of the API, all of the [ Inaudible 10:01]  work around that, needs to be somehow structured in a way they can cooperate. So the PSD2 came from, from being a compliance costs into a banking opportunity, and I saw it across the [ Inaudible10:14]  because everybody even beyond Europe started discussing the PSD2 as an example of [ Inaudible 10:20] that forces the industry to rethink itself in a completely different way and therefore, when I said that three years ago when I launched my first innovation [ Inaudible 10:30] that regulation was an engine of innovation, all the people said this Paolo Sironi is a crazy person, too controversy, what the hell does he means. And now I think people realize that this secular [Inaudible10:40] and the same we can discuss after, this is happening [Inaudible10:44]

Dr. Yassin: Yeah, and maybe lead me up to this one. I mean I fully agree on what you are saying Paolo. I mean here on this one also, what I would like to add this I, I fully see that PSD2 doesn’t really open up new opportunities, but I think and that’s the issue as I experienced in the past, banks are pretty much still focused rather on identifying issues, being concerned with cost cutting, not so much looking on the revenue opportunities which are out there, because this indeed as you say, would require a reinvention of the original banking business model. Right? So, as you were saying, if now integrating different accounts, like many banks are already offering in the dodge bank mobile banking app, I can now of course integrate all my other accounts. I can do that with IMG. I can do that with commerce bank and all the other APP, but this eventually opens up for the very bank, the opportunity to aggregate all the financial data of one client and by having this holistic view, which I would have not had before, PSD2. Then really offering new services, and new services not only in terms of banking, but also in terms of basically spend optimization which is also a field, savedroid is operating in, so basically saying, look, let us identify new channels, how we could actually compensate the fact that we are currently in a zero interest environment by basically just saying maybe it’s a good idea, not only earning as be used to in the history from pure financial side, but maybe opening up new revenue channels, by selling new electricity contract, selling mobile phone contracts, selling some voters for spending side of things, because if you ask me in the terms of financial service for the mass market out there, it’s not only about financial products but normal users also interested in how he can spend his money in a more smart way, and therefore I think this is a huge revenue opportunity, but still too few banks are actually tapping into this one. I think they’re just exploring, but I think we are just at the starting point for this.

Paolo: There’s nothing else Yassin happening here, I’m sorry.

Joe: No problem, go ahead.

Paolo:  And is it related to what you said to use the word holistic and better for the capability of seeing their client across this multiple dimension. Typically, clients have more than one account that some, you know, very active, and others just, because they need you know for, for basic needs, but it also clients have different needs, right? And therefore, it’s important for banks to understand how to service them having in mind, the 360 perspective of [ Inaudible 13:22]. Ties the [ Inaudible 13:24] into the concept of platforms, right? So being capable of providing a platform experience means being capable of finding a client on that platform, making sure that as the client moves along his needs and his journey, he’s always on that platform. And this is when we see the changes well. Now, use the two as a mechanism that basically is like horizon goal because payments become horizon goal, they can be used to power up some element of the open banking platform, so that, that becomes a listing. And you know why that is important because that another criticism that are being discussing a lot in the FinTech scene was the concept of unbundling, the idea that the bank can be unbundled into smaller services that are for individual APIs, or individual APPS that basically optimize it. This is all for the better experience. But we know that to be a platform, to be successful platform you need to be capable of bundling back, and the problem here is not to divide the banking business and [ Inaudible 14:32] back to be capable of contributing into a bundling process, where the pricing is not on the individual surface, the prices is on the bundled experience, which is a very complex things to do, and that doesn’t happen overnight, but the same is the Amazon experience. Amazon started by providing an experience on one piece only, on the [ Inaudible 14:57] it was selling books, and then expanded his portfolio and manage to create the Amazon prime, which is basically price on top covered by lots of things, which [ Inaudible 15:08-15:09] These should be hypothetically because [Inaudible 15:13] the business model of the future for a bank. But to get that it requires a huge and the sending of the value that banks fully generate for the client, and how the clients will be willing to pay for these new values at the end of the journey. Therefore, you cannot transform the bank as a derivative. So, looking at what the bank is today in [Inaudible 15:38] if these or like optimizing individually, if you don’t have a full perspective, we make the thing first principles, which is a completely different way of thinking that it’s fairly compensated.

Joe: We should tell our viewers, our listeners, how banks actually work right now. So basically, they used to be in the path, they have some um, bank advisors that actually are incentivized or led by numbers. Basically, they have to push into the market x savings account, x posts and stuff like that is like it was in the past, like late nineties, early two thousand. And ever since banking changed, but many banks still have the set up according to product. Like there’s the corporate banking, their investment banking, there’s the retail banking, there’s the asset management, and they don’t necessarily in between exchanged data and numbers and now they have to do it like on the basically global basis, or at least European basis in order to comply with the regulations. And that makes it totally different because at first, they just sold products, and now they have to completely changed their mindset, into what does my customer actually need? Because in the past it was also like that you only had this triangle, how the um, clients are segmented. Basically, you had the retail clients like me the poor guys, then you have the little bit wealthier clients, like Paolo and Yassin, and then you had the ultra-wealthy, the successful entrepreneurs, the Mark Cubans and Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world, like on the very top. And that was the only reason they had, they had this because you could push different products. But now it is becoming much, much different because like for example, an entrepreneur like Yassin, may have also a lot of assets to invest, but it’s completely different because he’s an entrepreneur, he has to care about different things than Paolo, who’s basically right now an employee, right?

Paolo: Basically, so, I guess the point is not to divide individuals by their wealth, but by their needs and [ Inaudible 18:08] needs my barrier according to the wealth, but is not necessarily to an amount of money that you have, it’s about your, uh, Your job, right, what you do, it’s about generation, right, and how you want [ Inaudible 18:24] your technical literacy, how much [ Inaudible 18:28] you can be, and how much the individual relationships, human relationships need to have, because it’s very difficult for banks who jumps straight into digital. So, definitely another thing that we saw that, that you think that [Inaudible 18:42] realize in 2018 is that you have a model so far, is a very important [Inaudible 18:49] of a model. You saw basically betterment last year that started hiding human adviser, you saw wealth from that out of California, they started add the human advisers on the phone a few months ago. So, it’s always important to make sure that you always find a way to explain it to your customers, the valuable position because maybe you understand them more, but not necessarily they understand you, right. And that’s the [Inaudible 19:17] that just because they’re digital, they understand the position. It’s a very complex and delicate way of transforming banking, but that’s why it is so exciting to be part of it.

Dr. Yassin: Exactly, I do agree and I think here it’s really then from to keep a charge coming from the pure product push distribution approach, to a unique space to assessment, and then mention as we already said, the needs with the appropriate products. And um, I think what you were just saying Paolo, it’s very important also, getting this to the right timing when it’s relevant for the customer because also if you look to different products, the relevance of a financial product or service may be different depending on where I’m currently in the year, how my life changed, maybe given because I changed my job, given maybe I married, a child was born whatsoever. I think just makes it much more complicated. But technology is a great enabler I think, to cover this complexity, so I think we don’t need this to be done by individual advisers anymore. Even saw that still, as you say, it does make sense to have a person talking to the end user because we feel it. I think it’s more psychological helper for many people still today, feels more comfortable discussing with a human person on the other end of the line, than interacting with a pure technology

Joe: That is quite interesting because what I realized right now, is like, you both talking about different participants in the financial markets, Paolo, little bit more on the bank side, Yassin much more on the Fintech side, but basically both are kind of merging together a little bit more. Um, the banks are actually getting away a little bit from their relationship approach and applying more technology, and the FinTech’s on the other hand realize not only can you do it with pure technology, it doesn’t work. You need human interaction, and so I see it, they get together, they get closer together, right?

Paolo: Yes, absolutely they do, and the reason they get together is because they both want to use this one, which is mobile and mobile as the same characteristics, actually you see, this is my twitter account, ‘thepsironi’

Joe: This product placement was not paid for.

Paolo: It wasn’t me, it was mini me, right. There’s another one, but um, you know, we say that could the mobile and is, it pulls technology, that means system mandatory then, while a lot of banking revenues, operating [Inaudible 21:53] economy is enough for the real business. Yassin minutes ago, said that, the interest to margin is not allowing banks these days, to play like loans and mortgages to make up revenues on the balance sheet after the price [Inaudible 22:08] of capital. So that is the tendency of many institutions as they should be nearer to move towards the inter-mediation margin, than means payments, [Inaudible 22:16- 22:17] you know, we’ll have to go down in margin, and will remains is what management, but for everybody. People with small money, with big money, then this investment products, products, but that business and that business is really very much at the end. That means that your, you never told me Paolo, Let’s take a look at what is going on Amazon, right? Because you want to go on Amazon to buy a pair of shoes and then you’ve seen a [Inaudible 22:41] in one of my books and didn’t want to buy it. But then, if you have to invest your money, you typically, you know, practical to have separate form that takes a lot of time and then he wanted to talk to somebody who can make a rational decision. Now banks knew that but I know that that model is very expensive and they know that if it true in Europe as well as the competition from an American place like vanguard and fidelity is pushing the margins down, so they need to use way more technology, but they cannot lose the clients on the way. The syntax started from a technology perspective and then learning, it’s psychology of the investor, it’s not the psychology of the consumer, and therefore they need to figure it out now, how to mix and match and mark off. That’s like core branding and competition between human model and digital model, for 2018, 2020 will be somehow winning in many cases, compare to other businesses as long as we’re making payments and it can become a volume business, but there’s a difference between volume and value.

Dr. Yassin: Yep, and even for that moving together also, I think one thing is important to keep in mind here, right? yes, we are seeing this convergence, but on the other hand side also, what’s the motivation? I think motivation is very different, right? Um, I think on the bank side it’s really about having understood that it’s important to apply more technology, less manual work in order to significantly cuts costs and live up to the user expectations to have a better matching of product and needs. On the other hand, side, I think from the Fintech side, this is the understanding that the pure digital approach at these, at this point in time does not yet 100 percent work. So, there is a need in order to increase the cost to put some manual labor to that. Um, and we have seen practical examples, right? So scalable capital. I think there’s also starting with some advisers out there in the field. Clark, for example, in the insurance space is using real people in order to call their customers to give personalized advice, so I think we can see that the FinTech’s who have raised significant amount of money and to have a bit more complex products have understood that this human component is essential in order to drive conversion to drive sales. So therefore, yes, it’s convergence, but I think it’s very different motivations of the banks versus FinTech’s moving towards the same direction.

Paolo: There is however, a condition under which these can be transformed and that condition, I’m not saying it’s going to happen or not, but you know the industry’s moving towards the direction. Is there artificial intelligence becoming fully a deeply conversational because, voice is the new marketing, and the moment that happens your mobile goes from being the demands or event technology into nothing to do about business, and the [Inaudible 25:41] can be close, but it would take some time if it ever happens. If there’s a start in ecommerce before we move into banking and insurance, but that is what I’m really looking at and all closing every time I can, because I’m trying to figure it out you know, if effectively, what improving along the line, you know, and which industry is starting to happen because that will be truly revolutionary. Okay. The rest would be a transformation, evolution comes from there on.


Joe: What has also been a big craze, at least towards the end of last year, has been crypto approx. approximately a year ago. I think a bitcoin hit almost $20,000 US dollars and now it’s pretty much down. I remember we’ve been all a little bit critical about a crypto space in the past, maybe not Yassin because he actually did a successful ICO. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Because without touching crypto, we would not do a proper review here, right?

Dr. Yassin: Yeah, I think so but [Inaudible 26:52] maybe to start at this one as you correctly say it, right. If you have seen this tremendous hype in December still also lasting a bit towards January this year, where the price has just skyrocketed like crazy. And I think on this one here, the whole market, there was this crazy kind of party feeling, Um, prices would continue forever going up, which at this point should had actually already rung around the alarm bells. Because I think what we’ve seen here is not a tenement on which is typical to crypto, but we know that some stock markets, right, it’s not been so much different from what you’ve seen at the new economy bubble, what you have seen in other areas which is prices without any fundamental reason, were moving up like hell. And then of course more and more people trying to jump on the running train at the end, then really resulting in a very strong market correction, that’s what we then saw of the year of 2018. That if you ask me now, and I think that’s the much more important topic than discussing this crazy volatility which is out there, I always say for me it’s about the technology rather than the volatility, meaning that I strongly believe, and that’s why also made this move towards the ICO and towards the crypto space. That the technology is here to stay. Meaning that at the beginning we are now in a very early stage of the crypto environments still, but I’m not even sure if the currencies we are currently seeing will be the coins really dominating all the, also the future because I think it needs to get much more efficient in terms of technology, of scalability, of also transactional cost, which is behind the hole and crypto topic, but let’s keep in mind that the opportunities which you can do in real life use cases, which honestly speaking, I’m not there yet, but will come in the future, have much more to offer than just [Inaudible 28:49] , as it’s currently being perceived in the broader mass market. Right. If I asked my friends, people are always telling me, look, our prices moving up and down so crazily, I can just do some sports betting and the outcome will be the same. This is actually very sad because if this is the general perspective in the broader mass market about cryptocurrency and this is definitely wrong, right? People should be educated about the opportunities of the technology. People should be given the opportunity to understand what crypto, can do for us in the future. And I believe that they will be really striking use cases in retail, in shopping, in other areas, in financial services also, which will really make a difference in which we clearly show the advantage of the technology to the end user, but this is currently not, at least not in Germany being the discussion happening in the broader mass market. So, therefore, to cut this short, I must say, is it really so surprising that markets went down 2018 that much? I wouldn’t say no because if you have learned from past experience in other markets, it’s actually a natural behavior. If one thing is hype then the Hype will come to an end and prices will fall. Does that mean this will be the end of crypto? Definitely. No. For me it’s just the starting point and that was why, and then come back, sorry for this longer talk here. To come back to your question, we did the ICO exactly for this reason, because we saw the technology. We thought, okay, this is the phenomenon, which should actually be brought to the mass market and that’s why we did the ICO in order to build a product which will enable mass market adoption. So, the new app we have now built, which is currently in [Inaudible 30:32] which will be publicly available than starting from January 2019, is about very simplistic mobile app, which you connect to your credit card and then you can do micro savings and auto convert this micro savings into cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrencies will be securely stored, so you don’t need to sign up for an exchange, you don’t need to set up a wallet, you don’t need to handle the private key. So, we basically remove all the technology, the complex adoption barriers and we make it very, very simplistic for the average user out there to experience crypto with a very small and tiny budgets. So, to really get the experience in the first place and also thereby opening the space, hopefully that people can get a bit more open in their mindset for using crypto in the future. And that’s why we did the ICO because we believe in this market, we see it as just the starting point and as you said then all ICO was running still in the good times. So, market timing was still a bit all friend ICO from January to March. That’s why we are able to raise quite still a quite good amount of money, if you look to this gentleman. And nowadays ICO are mostly debt. The ICO is currently running to have even trouble raising half a million, 1 million. So, this market has come to a very abrupt end. I do hope that it will recover because I personally think ICO are great opportunity for startup refinancing, of course, we need to discuss about the risks which are inherent to this market. But in general, I think it’s a good thing if you can bring it to a more sustainable basis.

Joe: Um, we should add for everybody who’s not as old as I am, that the effect is already pretty well known. For example, to the most recent example was the dot com bubble. But there are examples going back in Germany, for example, [Inaudible 32:34] a railway mania maybe a very well-known thing. So basically, you introduce a new technology, the price has gone through the roof and then they crash, and then there’s something good left over. For example, from the dot com bubble, you guys may know Google or Amazon which have been around at this time and they’re still here. So, not everything there is bad, but it wasn’t an exuberance. It couldn’t last forever. Well Paolo.

Paolo: There is a difference a bubble and a scan, in any case but clearly there not nowhere hyped. Now I’m going to Beijing in a couple of days, is one of my last, my last assignment that is [ Inaudible 33:21] big signing at the university. But um, what excites me when I go to China, is that I use the [ Inaudible 33:31] for being everywhere and that’s one of my [Inaudible 33:34]. So basically, people needed, if they need it for and they don’t need the [Inaudible 33:40], people, they need to [ Inaudible 33:41- 33:43], which I said that is just like little advisers, most of the people don’t need to have an adviser. They need to know what to do basically with the money. So, for whatever reason, which is limited to the idea of making money very fast that discussed in discussing the wrong topic, so the topics should not have been the evaluation of a [Inaudible 34:03]. It should have been a limited of that offer interesting topic for few days at physically afford it, understood the risks instead of discussing how knowledge it can be applied to so that on top of that technology, is solution is created this service where people really need that in their daily lives to make their lives easier.

Dr. Yassin: I do agree, and I think in order that to happen, what we you need in the first place is also a stable regulation on a global level, which is still not there. If you-

Paolo: Well, it-

Dr. Yassin: The corporate regulation around the world, it’s highly differentiated and I think it’s hard to offer something on a global scale, given these different regulatory schemes because if you look, [inaudible 34:48] was taking a very different approach than, say, the regulator in the UK and the regulator in France than the SSE. So, this, still, of course, leaves corporate- private corporates with a huge regulatory risk and I think that’s also why we are not yet seeing so many US cases, right. And just to bring one example, I would believe that if I would be a huge rater, say Amazon, there would be a tremendous financial impact in a positive way to my business case if I could offer a own coin to be used for paying goods at my own shop because if I can reduce the payment costs I’m currently having with Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and the likes, [inaudible 35:37] basically internalize this cost by using an old coin to which even I can bundle things like loyalty, things like other products- use a trime, for example, so I can create much more attractive use cases. I can make users much more sticky, and that can internalize cost. I think this can really create a win-win because I’m here. I, as a player, can have a positive P&L impact. The user can have a product which is dominant to the product currently being offered then, of course, the old players are left out a bit in this space, but this is also the cycle, then, of innovation and I believe we’ll see something like this once we have a clear regulatory framework, and then, there can be much more real-life use cases. At this point in time, it’s very tough to explain to a normal user out there why one should use crypto. For them, again, it’s the casino gambling stuff, but once we would have- and that’s what we are envisioning- once we have a real-life use case, where I could say ‘Look, what can you do with crypto? You can actually do your purchases on Amazon with crypto,” and the questions answered, right? I don’t need to explain anymore what crypto is good for, because then, everybody will understand by the use case. And that’s, I think- what we will need in order to really see this mass market breaks through. And on the other hand, side, for the regulation, we have seen SSE, now, shooting down our MDF plans, which have applied for a license in the US. I think this is another major barrier. Once we see the first SSE approval going in this direction, again, people have really mass-market impact by people understanding “Okay, this is much more than what I thought it was” and I think that’s happened. Then we can really see positive shocks towards mass market adoption but unless this happens, it would be very tough to bring crypto to the masses.

Paolo: Well, I will say the following, that the reason why Tamagotchi, if you remember the Tamagotchi, was so successful 15 years ago- Was it 15 years ago, yeah? – is because it was cool but the reason why it’s not there anymore is because it was only digital. It didn’t lead in the way they wanted. The reason why Amazon is so powerful, among the digital players, is that Amazon, the fact, is a link between real [inaudible 37:58] because it’s a market place for real assets so that means that every time you [inaudible 38:04] towards that they are [inaudible 38:06] you’ll be more powerful. So, to me, the reason why we check them is more powerful than [inaudible 38:14] at the end of the competition that you would do [inaudible 38:19] giants instead but [inaudible 38:21] have been majority off by the offline payments with an online technology, right? So, it’s better for capable of linking the pivot. So, now, what does it mean for crypto? I was hosting a stage at Singapore FinTech Festival last month and invited some guys talking about financial aid [inaudible 38:42] technology. And at the same conference, they had a keynote taught by Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, and she, publicly, basically, talked about the potential relevance of issuing centrally [inaudible 39:03 – 39:04]. So, basically, making cryptos or a form of that bank, which some guys I know will say that “F*** crypto. Okay, something else,” but using the technology could transform, like a wave with money, EDM but great, there will be truly revolutionary here because they will allow to link your land and your [inaudible 39:22] more. Now, this is not free of complications so I’m an institutionally [inaudible 39:29]. I believe in the rule and regulation, but I believe in the rule of conspiracy more than control. So, you know, the moment you make separate two elements, you also create more control for the [inaudible 39:40], not just for freedom. So, freedom is a romantic statement, but control is something little don’t figure out because they find the convenience and then find that at the end but everything, basically, that you do is somehow tied up by the [inaudible 39:54]. So there are many aspects that, I think, is to be considered and understood better to make sure that privacy and freedom in size is fully accounted for but I think that the real element that, for [inaudible 40:07] is not even Amazon use that but it’s for central banks to start playing at the game so that they will reconcile again at [inaudible 40:19 – 40:21].

Joe: You think there will be a crypto central bank money? Like, the only thing that is there as a real, usable international currency is US dollars but there is something else. It’s called Drawing Rights. It’s basically the share you have in the International Monetary Fund. You think there will be something like the Drawing Rights between central banks or something like this, based on crypto, in the future?

Paolo: Well, put it this way. What happened that they hire the big global franchemprise is that the Americans realize that they’re the probable franchise system. One of the consequences was the fight against the banking capacity so that Switzerland, you know, got [inaudible 41:05]. You know that. And so, Americans wanted to, later, create a lot of money so [inaudible 41:10], you have controlling how money flows, especially these days because the [inaudible 41:16] of mine, is unprecedented, is an important element before central banks and for policymakers. So now- I know that I’m controversial again. Lots of guys discuss the years off the deduction and the crypto should be free but then I’m like actually saying No even when it comes to the decline, like, I might consider you right there. If you read some of my articles about the [inaudible 41:39] at the end because there’s always somebody more powerful than somebody else, especially if the person [inaudible 41:45] one million of those big that you’re going to work with [inaudible 41:48] But the mechanism- I also facilitate that, basically, the capability of tracking the [inaudible 41:56] instantly, how many float? And that’s very powerful. It’s about taxation and of Germany’s accounts with whether people refer to pay cash as one of the biggest and more exciting pro-cash bankers in the world, if there is another one. So, what would happen if you will not be able to use that pitch? [inaudible 42:20 – 42:21].

Joe: Yes. Actually, in Germany it’s- Here in Frankfurt, there’s still a handful of- Unfortunately, we lost Yassin. I’ll invite him back. Maybe there’s some interruption with his internet. Actually, yea, there are some stores in Germany where you can only pay cash so no debit card, no credit card, no “We take Q&R code”. Nothing is working. So, that’s the way we are. But admittedly, I’m used to carrying cash around. I do pay a lot of the stuff I do in cash because it’s easier to keep an overview over that. Keeping the overview- I think we’re running pretty good in terms of time but let me talk a little bit about a few things I wanted to share as well because I do believe the FinTech world and the banking world are getting closer and closer together. Two examples that didn’t get a very good press coverage, especially internationally, have been the successful I.P.O’s of credit chaff of Frankfurt based  P to P credit platform for German mittelstand, smaller medium enterprises, as well as Dutch [inaudible 43:42], which is a direct insurance company but actually, they are seeing themselves more as a FinTech, each one race, double digit millions in the IPO and they’ve been the very first ones of their type here in Germany and nobody realized that if it would have been a startup from Berlin, the international press will be full with it but Frankfurt does have a problem in FinTech coverage, right?

Paolo: Well guys, that’s more for the [inaudible 44:17], I guess, is the question. I get that I only spend 5% of my time in Frankfurt but if there’s someone- if there’s someone taking the thing back to Frankfurt, saying that on the globe, that’s definitely me.

Dr. Yassin Hankir: See I think on this one, I think, yes, Frankfurt is having a challenging time if it comes to really competing, not only on job level but also on an international level. One must admit that Frankfurt is trying its best to catch up. I think it was quite some activity for the recent years but still, just a few days ago, a new [inaudible 44:52] study was [inaudible 44:55 – 44:56] very dear that in terms of number of FinTech’s money raised, routes complete in V.C funding and so on, praying for the best is number three in Germany. So, Berlin coming in first, then Munich being number two then Frankfurt coming in third only. [inaudible 45:14] Yes that is very true. On the other hand, side, if you look at the statistics, one must also honestly admit that, of course, the numbers from Berlin are a bit biased by the extreme outgoings, right? And that is what doesn’t make it so easily comparable, because if remember correctly, in 2018 and 26 alone raised 140 million Europeans, right? Then, just recently, Finley raised $40 million so if I add that together, I already come to more than 180 million euros of the funding which we are allocated to FinTech in Berlin. If I take these out from the ranking, then the story looks a bit different, right? And I think this is what one always needs to keep in mind is it always depends on which statistic you’re looking at and then you can really come to completion how representative and how fair the statistic is. But, yes nevertheless, I don’t want to give the impression that Frankfurt is much stronger than it actually almost displayed in this competition. At the end, I also have the question “Is it really so important if it’s [inaudible 46:24], if it’s [inaudible 46:25]. Me, at least for me, as [inaudible 46:28] more as the Germans FinTech space, we should put it that Germany, as a country, can [inaudible 44:33] in the competition. And also, I think Paolo can also share his international perspective to this one. Last, but not least, when you were saying about the IPO’s, yes, I mean, [inaudible 46:44] branch off IPO, right? I mean, the company has successfully raised 16 1/2 million euro and they’re forming this IPO and [inaudible 46:54]. So, you know, there are some tough and guidelines you need to fulfill and we need to have this perspective. They have done all that properly. I must say, I also know the founders personally, great shop, well-deserved. And at the end, if you look to the media coverage, the media was actually headlining, you know, what a creditor’s IPO was a disappointment. Honestly, I must say, I cannot understand this kind of journalism because here, again, as a very classical term and approach the negative [inaudible 47:27] of things. … positive way and one of the first sentiment for the German startup ecosystem and that’s what we’re not seeing. I see media rather bashing than celebrating, which, again, does not mean that media should be naive but could be a bit more positive around the successes which we do have in Berman FinTech industry, and we just discussed a few and that’s just not being visible in the media in [inaudible 47:53].

Paolo: I want to say something important here- there for your- about the think back history of Frankfurt there. Tonight, we go to the Christmas market together and we have something important to celebrate. In December 2008, I went to a notary in Frankfurt to establish my startup, my FinTech for candidates and at the end, both in 2013, they wanted to use the API economy to thrust forward my well management with clients [inaudible 48:24]. So, we can claim that the first ever FinTech in Germany was established in Frankfurt in 2008 and this is the [inaudible 48:31] year of celebrations.

Joe: We’ll totally make this claim. I don’t see any reason for that. We do have much more startup news if you go down here in the show notes. We have all the stories that have been coming through the IPOs, down rounds of credit check, which used to be the most valuable FinTech startup in Germany but apparently, it got downgraded to the value of only the money that got in and all this stuff like that but I do believe we should celebrate. We should end on a high note, celebrating 10 years of FinTech here in Germany, taking part in the API economy. Good.

Dr. Yassin: Okay. Great.

Joe: Great guys. Thank you very much. Was a pleasure having you all here and hopefully, see you next year.

Paolo: Absolutely.

Joe: Merry Christmas.

Dr. Yassin: Thanks so much for [inaudible 49:25].

Joe: Happy New Year.  Feliz Navidad.

Paolo: Buenos tardes.

Joe: Buenos tardes. Of course.

Dr. Yassin: Frohe Weihnachten

Joe: Frohe Weihnachten. Here we go.

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