1. December 2014–
Berlin-based company builder HitFox announced going into FinTech with starting “FinLeap”. It plans to start four to six FinTech companies a year, each receiving between €500,000 to €5 million seed investment.
Bringing FinTech to Berlin
Though London is known to be the hotspot for FinTech startups in Europe, HitFox, the AdTech and Big Data company, has announced its new company builder FinLeap will open offices in Berlin and San Francisco.
While Berlin is known to be the startup capital in Germany, it is still interesting as banks and other FinTech related companies usually pick Frankfurt as their location, where many financial institutions are headquartered. Not only did the accelerator Startupbootcamp FinTech take place there, many FinTech startups and investors are located in the Rhine-Main area.
It’s a company builder not an incubator
By analyzing the market and seeing issues, experts will find new products, solutions and business models. The goal is to make services more transparent, cheaper or easier to use, the company states. It plans to build between four and six startups each year. Therefore, 150 new hires are planned.
Within three years HitFox opened offices on three continents for 8 companies with overall 300 employees. Besides two of its co-founders, Jan Beckers and Dr. Hanno Fichtner, other FinTech specialists, such as former Director of Strategy at PayPal Europe, Jochen Siegert, will manage the FinLeap, the new division at HitFox.
Through synergies with other sub-companies, a partnership culture will be developed to accelerate businesses. This model has been successful at the HitFox Group already, as it currently connects its existing businesses, AdTech and Big Data services.
Independent company builder vs. company accelerators
The idea of a FinTech incubator/accelerator is not new: Commerzbank launched one and Deutsche Bank just announced its innovation labs in cooperation with Microsoft and IBM.
Jan Beckers, CEO and co-founder of HitFox, explained at BitKom why corporate accelerators often fail. Among other reasons, not focussing on its industry and wanting to see good results too soon is often why company incubators do not last. Knowing these by heart can help FinLeap become a success.