Plug & Play Launch Event Overview

Plug and Play (PPTC) and TechQuartier launched the Fintech Europe – The ultimate fintech innovation platform on May 29th, 2018.

The goal of Fintech Europe is to revolutionize the financial services industry by working with the best startups and digital-driven corporations.

The event was kicked off by Plug and Play Fintech Program Director in Frankfurt, Fernando Zornig. Following Fernando’s opening remarks, TQ’s Managing Director, Dr. Sebastian Schaefer took the stage and gave a short introduction about TQ’s formation and TQ’s mission to become the leading multi-corporate innovation platform.

Marckus Pertlwieser, member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Bank Private and Business Clients AG, shared his view that a collaboration between banks and fintech firms is a mutually beneficial deal. He also stressed on the fact that proximity to regulators and access to capital are two important ingredients that position Frankfurt to become the leading Fintech hub in the world.

Following Markus’s note, Amir Karimpour went on to tell the origin story of PPTC and how they have grown over the past two decades. PPTC’s signature program in Germany with Diamler in 2011 propelled them to come up with more partnerships and strengthen their base.

PPTC measure success in Germany by considering the number of pilot projects and the projects which are in implementation phase. The objective of PPTC is to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and other cities in the world and empower entrepreneurs in different cities become successful.

Saeed Amidi- “80% of startups want to help banks while 20% want to disrupt”

Saeed Amidi, CEO and founder of Plug and Play Tech Centre agreed with Markus that Frankfurt has all the right elements to become the biggest fintech hub in the world. His vision is to have a portfolio of more than 1000 successful startups by 2025.

Saeed Amidi (CEO, Plug and Play) and Sebastian Schäfer (CEO, TechQuartier)

The Panel

The introduction was then followed by a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Amidi. The participants were-

Jared Preston- Division Manager, Digital Experience and Data at Deutsche Postbank Group.

Ewan MacLeod- Chief Digital Officer, Nordea.

Jon Schäffer- Head of Strategy and Business Development at MobileLife, Danske Bank.

When it comes to banks having their internal accelerator program, Ewan was of the view that it sounds fancy and cool to have an accelerator program, but it is quite different to work with startups and an internal accelerator is costly and provides limited exposure. In such a scenario, partnering with an ecosystem makes more sense than going for an internal accelerator.

Jared said that for a lot of banks, partnering with a startup can be scary. The corporates think that the startups would eat their lunch but what they don’t see is that the size of the pie is not fixed meaning a partnership with a startup can create a bigger pie and bigger lunch for the bank as well as for the startup. So, partnering with a startup is actually a win-win situation.

Jon shared his view on open banking saying that it will not disrupt the existing banking landscape, but it will deliver more benefits. His advice for corporates was to always bet on those technologies that serve more people.

Saeed used an analogy to explain the advantages startups have over big banks when it comes to mobile banking. Banks are like huge ships managing big customers, so when they want to turn, it is a slow and difficult process. But when you consider startups utilising mobile banking, they are like boats, it is easier for them to make shifts.

Regarding the challenges faced by corporates, Ewan stressed on the fact that a lot of corporates usually see the big picture. Most of the time, the sponsor is unable to understand the underlying benefits a startup is going to bring. Jared added that founders must find the right sponsor at the right time.

Saeed agreed with Ewan and Jared and further called for a need to break down barriers in organizations as restrictions within an organization will not bring any change. He further said that organizations must make their culture more open and develop an attitude to include startups.

Jon, in his closing remarks, agreed that for founders, one of the biggest challenges is getting in touch with the corporates. His final advice was for founders to come up with technologies that can easily integrate with the banks.

Ewan’s closing remark for founders was short and simple- if the founders can’t get a sponsor, they shouldn’t waste their time.

The Pitches

The panel discussion was followed by startup pitches consisting of the following companies

1. Moxtra
Founded in 2012, Moxtra delivers a mobile-first, embeddable cloud collaboration service that lets people work the way they want to — simply and flexibly, in real-time or any time.

2. Giromatch-
Frankfurt based Giromatch democratizes banking by bring investors and borrowers together directly. The money invested via the Germany portfolio is made available to the borrowers on the giromatch platform. The monthly repayments and interest payments that a borrower pays are forwarded directly to investors.

3. Alcméon-
The French company, Alcméon provides a frontline platform for leading B2C brands to increase and better their engagement on social media and mobile.

4. Valoo-
With a motto to simplify your life on daily basis, Valoo is a Digital Management Platform for belongings — allowing its users to register, estimate and manage everything they own.

5. Handcheque-
Handcheque changes the way people pay but not their habits. They do so by producing products for payments such as state-of-the-art payment devices, offline wallets and a data driven ecosystem and help its clients understand their customers.

6. Viasema
Founded in 2010, Viasema specializes in Artificial Intelligence with expertise in Natural Language Processing, Semantic Data, and Enterprise Knowledge Graphs. Over the past 7 years they have used Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to create a revolutionary Semantic Data Platform called Andromeda.

7. Onfido
Having raised more than $30 million, Onfido is a software company that helps businesses verify people’s identities using a photo-based identity document, a selfie and artificial intelligence algorithms

8. Token-
With nearly 4000 banks in its network, TokenOS gives banks and third parties PSD2(Payment Services Directive 2) compliance and smarter, quicker data aggregation and bank direct payments driven by Smart Token technology.

9. Voxo
With the objective of simplifying communication, Voxo provides solutions that are straightforward and easy to manage, allowing their client organizations to collaborate with ease while optimizing business communication.

10. Open Legacy
Headquarted in Reston VA, OpenLegacy helps organizations quickly launch innovative digital services by extending their core (legacy) systems to the web, mobile and cloud in days or weeks versus months.

11. Algodynamix
Making financial risk forecasting easier, AlgoDynamix provides analytical tools to provide advanced warning about major market movements without requiring historical data or considering past disruptive events.

12. Duco
Having secured $28 million in investment from Insight Venture Partners, Duco enables financial services firms to control complex data using light-touch, self-service technology. They are shaping the core of new, efficient operations with customers on the sell side, buy side and major service providers.

13. Dreamquark
Based in France, DreamQuark develops innovative data analysis technologies around deep representation learning to help insurance, financial services, and healthcare professionals take better advantage of the data they have stored.

14. Optiopay
The Berliner company, Optiopay is an online payment platform which increases payments by offering higher-value gift cards as a payment method.