More and more foreign Fintechs, challenger banks and providers for SMEs are active in Germany or are announcing their imminent launch. This was to be expected, because in their home markets they have in many cases (also with the help of investor funds) meanwhile reached a size that makes it interesting for them to now also want to gain a foothold in this country and to conquer the German market, after all the largest economy in Europe.
It is well known that competition stimulates business. For the national Fintechs and neo-banks, however, this means that in future they will have to fight not only against local competition for the favor of customers, but also against providers from abroad. The advantage of German Fintechs is they are ahead when it comes to assessing the national characteristics of German customers and serving their needs. As is well known, many companies have already put their teeth into this.
“There’s plenty of room for more suppliers”
The extent to which international competitors will therefore have to adapt their offers to the customs and expectations of German customers, during the expansion phase, will become apparent in the near future. A simple copy-paste will not be the strategy. Qonto’s Country Manager for Germany, Philipp Pohlmann, told Payment&Banking at the beginning of this year: “There is still plenty of room for more providers. Probably more will follow.”
Pohlmann’s forecast is correct, and we have summarized which companies have set up their tent in Germany since the beginning of the year. And which ones still want to follow.
Already in January, Qonto, the French business bank for SMEs and freelancers, announced its launch in Germany. However, the product has been tested under the radar for quite some time. With their service, the French are directly competing with German competitors such as Kontist or Penta. Fyrst, the offer of the Deutsche Bank, also blows the same horn.
Almost unnoticed, the Estonian Fintech Modularbank opened its office in Berlin at the beginning of this year. The company is managed by Vilve Vene. Fintech, based in Tallinn, is part of the FinTech Power 50 2020, an annual list of the most influential and innovative people and companies in the FinTech industry. Modularbank is a spin-off of Fintech Icefire. Icefire has been developing financial technology for banks and Fintechs for 17 years. The Fintech offers a banking platform through which corporate clients can, for example, have a new loan offer built.
Competition from Russia
With the Russian Fintech Finom, another company with a start-up investment of 6.5 million euros is making the leap to Germany. Finom combines accounting, financial management and banking functions for early-stage companies and SMEs in a “mobile-first” product.
Companies can set up an online account with accounts payable and accounts receivable in a relatively short time, both via the app and via the website. The company was founded by the team that has already brought to life the Module Bank, the “neobank” for SMEs in Russia.
Competition for N26 comes from Russia with Vivid Money, which wants to offer customers not only a current account and a free Visa debit card, but also savings and investment products. The company, founded by Alexander Emeshev and Artem Yamanov, offers customers the choice between the free Vivid Standard account and the premium version Vivid Prime. Both founders come from the Tinkoff Bank management and want to gain a foothold in Germany before further expansion plans within Europe become concrete. Vivid Money has moved into its offices in Berlin – certainly not by coincidence. For the provision of services Vivid Money cooperates with solarisBank, which provides the banking infrastructure.
International Fintechs are starting in Germany
The Greek FinTech Viva Wallet is coming to Germany. Yannis Salavopoulos as the Country Manager for the expansion is managing from the office in Berlin. Viva Wallet offers merchants a payment package that enables online and offline card acceptance on the one hand and includes debit cards for the merchant on the other. A kickback system is used to offset the expenditure with the debit card against the transaction fees for card acceptance.
As early as 2020, Germany is to become the most important market for the Dutch company mollie. Currently, some 65,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are already using mollie’s cloud-based platform to process their online payment transactions. With an investment, the Amsterdam-based company, which up to now has only had a small branch in Germany, wants to take off in the local market.
The Spanish app Cobee will be launched in this country this year to compete with Spendit and Lunchio. The Spanish startup has developed an app that allows companies to distribute discounts (for example at gyms) or meal subsidies for their employees. The free trial version of Cobee will include discount coupons from brands such as Zalando, Ikea and Nike.
However, the premium version is to be rolled out by the end of the year, reports Finance FWD exclusively in advance.
According to FinanceFWD, there are increasing signs that the US asset manager Vanguard is starting up in Germany. The financial magazine says that Vanguard wants to venture into the local market with its own Robo-Advisor. These rumors are at least worth keeping an eye on, as Vanguard’s competitor Blackrock, after all the world’s largest asset manager, is invested in the German Robo-Advisor Scalable Capital. According to the report, a small team in Berlin is already working on the secret project.