Fintech Talents Road Trip – Berlin
Join the Fintech Talents Team for our first European Road Trip as we stop off in three exciting fintech hubs in France, Sweden, and Germany. On Friday 21st April we get to the final stop – Berlin! The German capital, home to many up-and-coming fintech firms, will see more than 35 speakers and 100-plus C-Level attendees building connections during the visit.
Few European cities have undergone such a dramatic transformation as Berlin in recent years. Today, Berlin offers a great deal of support to entrepreneurs and high-growth companies with the aim of ensuring enterprises that want to scale-up have every opportunity to do so.
Being located in Germany, the largest market in Europe, provides tech firms with easy access to both the wider European Union and one of the most important global economies. There are not many other European cities that can rival Berlin when it comes to the quality of living.
Jeff Parker, SVP and Managing Director at Marqeta International, said Berlin promised to deliver an inspiring finale for the Fintech Talents Road Trip.
“Germany is renowned around the world for its industrial and technological prowess – and its fintech sector, which is notching up impressive innovations in blockchain, neobanking and B2B expense management, is a big part of that reputation. I’m super excited about visiting Berlin this month as the final stop of the Road Trip, as I know that the focus on this unique scene will inspire innovation ideas and partnerships across Europe,” he said.
It’s extremely difficult to establish and maintain a strong tech ecosystem without the continuing support of local and national governments. In Berlin, frameworks have been set-up to assist growing firms and support innovation. For example, the Berlin Start up Scholarship offers promising tech firms more than €2,000 per staff member each for a year, as well as incubation, mentoring, connections with peers and co-working space.
German’s state-owned bank, Investitionsbank Berlin, has been a major funder in Berlin’s tech ecosystem since 1997, with more than €250 million invested in the city since then. The bank subsidizes half of all early costs for innovative firms, including office expenditure.
The launch of a €10 billion Future Fund by the German government in mid-2021 illustrated the commitment to start-ups across the country. With its relatively low living costs, youth friendly environment and strong social security net, talented people can be found across the city.
Across fintech, energy and finance, Berlin boasts a number of high-profile firms that have reached unicorn status. Neobank N26 completed a funding round in 2021 that saw its valuation reach $9 billion, higher than most traditional German banks. Consumer-tech subscription platform, Grover, also joined the unicorn club in 2022, after $110 million equity and $220 million in debt funding, to be valued at $1 billion.
Berlin-based tech firms experienced a record €14.3 billion in funding in 2021, or more than 25% of the total funding in the whole of Germany, according to Unquote data. The amount of money raised by Berlin start-ups has been steady over the last decade, with fundraising in 2021 being close to three times higher than the average year.
It’s no secret that bureaucracy in Germany can present challenges to all types of companies, including tech start-ups. Regulatory barriers and often slow approval processes remain an issue for firms, although the situation has improved somewhat in the last decade. Looking forward, the strong infrastructure found in Berlin, the young population and connected tech ecosystem, make the city a solid contender for many entrepreneurs from both within and outside of Europe.
Find out more about each of the three stops here.