Berlin: where SME banking innovation happens

Berlin: where SME banking innovation happens

Hufsy, a Denmark-based fintech start-up focused on SMEs, is expanding into Germany. Its banking partner in Germany is SolarisBank.

Marko Wenthin, co-founder at SolarisBank, comments: “Especially in the beginning, start-ups are well-advised to focus mostly on their product. To work with a banking partner, who takes care of all regulatory and industry specific tasks while having the same startup mindset, is a huge advantage for young companies.”

SolarisBank holds a full banking licence. It has also recently received a €26.3 million capital injection from SBI Holdings, Unicredit and Bertelsmann, and made a number of senior management appointments.

Hufsy promises to “change the way SMEs experience banking and gradually welcome users during 2017”.

The offering is tailored for start-ups. “It is a one point entry and therefore an easy and timesaving way for small businesses to handle finances,” Hufsy explains. It also uses artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

To begin with, the company will focus on Berlin, as its research has found that 30% of German start-ups are located in the country’s capital and the region has 177,000 SMEs.

Hufsy’s founders are software engineer Rafal Lipinski and entrepreneur Maria Flyvbjerg Bo.

The company’s chairman is Frank Schwab, former CTO of German challenger bank Fidor.

SMEs get the love

The European fintech market sees a lot of potential in the SME space.

BankUP, a new fintech venture based in Kontich, Belgium, looks to tap into the European SME banking market.

Tide has recently launched with its business account app for SMEs in the UK.

Also in the UK, Acorn Financial Partners (AFP) submitted a banking licence application for an SME bank last year.

Penta, a new digital bank for SMEs, is gearing up for launch in Germany.

Holvi, a Finnish SME-focused fintech (now owned by BBVA), has been rolling out its services across Europe.

IbanFirst launched Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) for SMEs in Europe last autumn.

FairFX, a UK-based multicurrency payments service, plans to move into SME banking with the acquisition of Q Money and its e-money licence.