The financial capital of Germany and of Europe more broadly is Frankfurt, right? Well, if you’re talking about classic financial institutions, then yes, that may well be the case: the skyline features the gigantic new European Central Bank, the twin towers of Deutsche Bank, the Commerzbank skyscraper… When it comes to start-ups in finance, though, Hamburg is more than a match for the traditional banking centre, with a lively, flourishing FinTech scene: of the 575 start-ups currently based in th city, more than 40 are FinTechs.
Tradition meets digital
Hamburg’s financial sector has a long and impressive history: before Germany’s econs biggest bank, Commerzbank, went to Frankfurt, it was founded here; meanwhile, the country’s oldest private bank, Berenberg, has never left its home in the Hanseatic metropolis. Then there is Hamburger Sparkasse, Germany’s first savings deposit bank and its largest to this day. The city’s stock exchange, Hamburger Börse, is the oldest in Germany – and Hamburger Feuerkasse is the oldest insurance firm worldwide. So if anywhere in Germany has a tradition in innovative financial products, it’s Hamburg. Today, banks such as Sutor and comdirect are joined by a growing number of over 40 FinTechs in the city’s shift towards digital finance; besides Hamburg’s high quality of life, new businesses are attracted by its strong digital ecosystem, featuring not only German headquarters for companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter but homegrown digital businesses such as Xing and a range of companies in the games, media, and IT sectors; VC funds, business angels, incubators, and network providers complete the scene.
Who are the biggest FinTechs in Hamburg?
Most of the city’s FinTechs were set up in recent years, and two of the largest to date are Kreditech, a lender using data available online to offer short-term loans outside of the German market, and Deposit Solutions, a platform bringing together savings held by private investors and banks looking for capital. Another notable FinTech, Finanzcheck, is an online comparison engine for lenders and insurance brokers, while Figo offers a technical interface which allows banks to integrate innovative financial products into their online banking environments; in fact, many of the more than three dozen FinTechs in Hamburg have a clear B2B focus. Take a look at our FinTech Monitor to get details on finance start-ups in the city.
What kind of FinTech products are being created in Hamburg?
Hamburg FinTechs are working with a wide variety of business models – as the breadth of our classification shows: analytics & research, assistants & self-service, banking, collection, comparison sites, credit & factoring, crowd investing, insurance, legal tech, payments, savings & trade finance. Our FinTech Monitor offers a more detailed description of each of these categories.
What kind of support do FinTechs get in Hamburg
When it comes to state support for FinTechs, Hamburg is behind other major cities. While there are investors here – many of whom have put capital into the Big Four FinTechs in Hamburg – the public purse has yet to offer any particular support for the financial technology sector.
With FinTech Hamburg, companies in the city’s finance sector want to encourage the growth of FinTechs: a lively financial technology scene is of benifit to the industry as a whole – and therefore both to the 50,000 people in the city who work in it and the business and households who use its varied, high-quality services. One of Hamburg’s real assets is its annual FinTech Week, unique in Germany since its debut in 2016. As part of the first conference, the requirements of companies in the digital finance sector were mapped out: the diagram to the right shows what they need to keep growing sustainably (click to enlarge; text in German).
What does the future hold for FinTechs in Hamburg?
There is still a widespread assumption that FinTechs and banks are, at a basic level, opponents; yet the fact that traditional banks and financial institutes are investing in financial technology start-ups and, increasingly, working hand-in-hand with them should be proof enough that this simply isn’t the case. What established banks have is a deep weel of experience, a broad customer base, and consumer trust; FinTech entrepreneurs have hands-on digital skills and lots of new ideas.
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