COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A German fintech business backed by Silicon Valley VC Peter Thiel is planning to launch its investment platform in the UK.
Max von Bismarck, Chief Business Officer and Managing Director of Deposit Solutions, told Business Insider at the Money2020 conference in Copenhagen this week that the company plans to launch its Zinspilot platform in Britain later this year.
The Hamburg-based startup, founded in 2011, currently has one person based in London and is looking to scale-up UK operations. Von Bismarck said Zinspilot will also likely be re-branded for the British market.
Zinspilot is a platform that lets people invest in savings products from a variety of banks across Europe using just one centralised account. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer fintech platforms. Launched in September 2015, more than €2 billion (£1.7 billion) has already been invested across its platform.
Von Bismarck said Zinspilot actually began as a side project for Deposit Solutions. Its core business is a marketplace platform for banks, not their customers, that lets lenders connect with each other and access each other’s consumer deposits and products.
Post-2008, banks around the world have to make sure they hold diversified forms of capital. Retail deposits are seen as among the best forms of capital so most banks want at least some retail money. This is a problem for specialist banks, however — small business lenders, mortgage providers etc.
Rather than straying outside of their expertise to build and maintain a retail client base, Deposit Solutions’ technology allows these banks to access the retail customers of other banks in return for good savings rates. UK investment bank Close Brothers uses the platform to access euro deposits, for example.
Close Brothers or any other bank on the platform will typically offer an attractive savings rate to the customer, who is clearly told they’re accessing a product provided by another bank. This means that the customer’s primary banks can continue to “own” the relationship with the client, rather than losing them to a rival bank with a more attractive savings rate.
Deposit Solutions has banks from 10 European countries signed up to its platform, including Deutsche Bank, and it wants to become the “pan-European middleman for deposits,” von Bismarck says. He likens the platform to an Airbnb for banking, allowing banks to take advantage of different offers from different providers through one centralised marketplace.
The company’s main focus is signing up banks but it decided to launch Zinspilot so that customers of banks not yet using the technology can take advantage of the network it has built up. Zinspilot has proved to be a runaway success, although von Bismarck says it is still a relatively small part of the overall business.
Zinspilot has raised close to $US25 million (£19.2 million) since launch, most recently raising €15 million (£13.1 million, $US17 million) last July from a range of investors including renown Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel. von Bismarck says the company was valued at €110 million (£96.9 million, $US125.9 million) post-money in that round.
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