Thanks to its diverse economic base and high quality of life, Hamburg is one of the fastest-growing regions in Europe: heavy industry, shipping, logistics, aerospace, media, and the creative industries are all strong players in the city’s economy, as are life sciences, commerce, and finance. Focussing on finance and Fintech, Hamburg can boast a broad range of companies with diverse business models; the finance sector employs around 50,000 people in and around the city and generates annual added value of more than €5 billion. In this respect, Hamburg can be considered the capital of the hidden champions: in everything from asset management, export financing, and transport insurance through to material asset investments and specialised financial technology services, the city is home to market leaders.
Hamburg has over 40 Fintechs in analytics and research, assistants and self-service, banking, debt collection, comparison engines, finance, crowd investing, insurance, legal tech, payments, savings, and trade financing. Some of the biggest include Kreditech, a loans company offering short-term finance on the basis of online data, and Deposit Solutions, a platform bringing together savers’ deposits with banks looking for capital; Finanzcheck, meanwhile, is a loans comparison engine and online insurance broker, and then there’s Figo, a company which provides banks with the technical interfaces they need to integrate innovative finance products into their online banking architecture; Exporo is one of the market leaders in crowd-funded property development, while many more of the three dozen plus Fintechs in the city focus on B2B operations. Just go to our regularly updated Fintech Monitor to read up on these and many more of the financial technology companies in and around Hamburg.
In addition to thebustling, young Fintech scene, Hamburg has a long tradition in finance withvarious institutions deeply interwoven into the real economy: relations areclose, people know each other personally, and this networked approach issomething being developed by Finanzplatz Hamburg, a private cluster initiative for high-level exchange between decision-makers which also runs a Fintech initiative. When it comes to the legal framework in which companies can set up operations, both Germany generally and Hamburg in particular offer an entrepreneur-friendly business environment, and depending on the precise company statute selected and the specific object of operations, entities can be set up with comparatively few legal formalities.
Almost all forms of enterprise must be carried out by a registered company, but registering a business requires little by way of administrative activity; depending on the legal statute chosen for a new business, the company may have to be added to the commercial register. The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce offers advice on the various options for expanding into Germany and has a one-stop contact person for everything related to setting up and registering a company. There are some areas of economic activity which are subject to more regulatory constraints, including finance and, by extension, Fintechs.
Financial trades and banking operations may only be carried out in Germany with a licence from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin). The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce offers a good overview of the requirements for obtaining a licence, and in more complex cases, it can be advisable to take expert advice (and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!). In some instances, cooperation with an existing licenced institute can be a suitable alternative to obtaining a dedicated BaFin licence, and both the Hamburg-based Sutor Bank and Fidor in Munich run platforms for this kind of solution.
Do you need more information on Hamburg as a business location? Would you like an overview of companies operating in the city? Or are you looking for contacts in the Hamburg Fintech scene or in the established finance sector? Just get in touch with us and ask! We’re always happy to help.