Comdirect study: Fintech growth is slowing down somewhat

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  • For the first time more than 900 financial startups in Germany
  • Investment startups are growing the most
  • Venture capital: record chase stopped

The German fintech sector cracks the 900 mark for the first time with 946 startups. Despite the new record, growth will be dampened slightly. With 105 start-ups in 2019, the number is 17% below the comparative value from the previous year (2018: 141). These are the results of the comdirect fintech study, which was carried out together with Barkow Consulting and main incubator, the early-stage investor of the Commerzbank Group.

“More than a decade after the first German fintechs appeared, more than two new fintech startups are currently being founded each week. The pressure to innovate on the financial sector remains high despite the slight decline in growth, ”says Matthias Hach, comdirect board member, Marketing & Digital Banking Solutions at Commerzbank AG.

So far in the current year there have been 48 fintech start-ups. That is five fewer than at the same time last year. This suggests that the start-up dynamic could continue to decline. It should be noted, however, that when setting up innovative companies it is customary to initially remain in the so-called stealth mode for a while. “In order to protect against imitators, public access is often only sought shortly before the product is ready for use. Since this stealth phase can last twelve months or even longer, final statements on the founding dynamics of 2020 and the influence of COVID-19 on this will only be able to be made in the course of 2021, ”says Michael F. Spitz, Managing Director of main incubator.

Top categories: Investment startups have grown the fastest since the end of 2018

Investment startups showed the strongest growth of all top fintech categories in 2019. The number (112 startups) increased by 29% compared to the previous year. “In times of low interest rates, we see a growing trend towards simple and mobile investment options. This is also reflected in the current start-up dynamic in the German fintech sector, ”says Matthias Hach.

This trend will continue in 2020. So far, investment start-ups have again made the largest contribution to growth, with ten start-ups. On the other hand, the strongest decline in growth is noticeable in blockchain startups, which only grew by one. “Blockchain technology has matured, we are seeing a strong adaptation on the market. With a time lag, the ICO fever has cooled noticeably, ”adds Michael F. Spitz, Managing Director of main incubators.

Overall, the proptech (203) and finance (189) sectors continue to be by far the most important categories.

Fintech investments will decline for the first time in 2020

For the first time since the fintech VC surveys began in 2012, the total of investments did not reach a new high. By the end of September 2020, EUR 953 million had been invested. That is 29% less than in the same period last year (1.3 billion euros). “Although 2020 will be the second best fintech investment year of all time in Germany, the lower number of mega-rounds with a volume of over 100 million euros is having a clearly negative impact in the current year,” says Matthias Hach.

The number of funding rounds, at 103, is also slightly below the level of the same period in the previous year (105). It is noticeable that the first two quarters of the current year were six transactions above the comparison value from 2019, while the third quarter was eight transactions fewer.

Financial aggregation category clearly ahead in venture capital

We continue to invest diligently in startups that offer products for bundling financial information. With 20% of the venture capital invested since the beginning of 2019, the financial aggregation category is again at the forefront, although it is the third smallest fintech category in terms of the number of startups. A few, but very large-volume funding reasons have once again contributed to the top ranking. This is followed by the categories Insurtech (19%) and Finance (16%).

Overall, fintech remains one of the driving sectors of the German venture capital market despite the current slightly weakened trend: Fintech made up 25% of all investments in German startups in the first half of 2020.

Since 2012, EUR 6.1 billion of venture capital has been invested in the German fintech sector in 897 financing rounds. In addition, there are investments through takeovers and outside capital, which were not included in this analysis.

Background to the study

The comdirect fintech study is based on Barkow Consulting’s Fintech Money Map, Germany’s leading and most widely used data source for fintech startups and fintech venture capital. The editorial deadline for the analysis was the end of September 2020. Fintech venture capital investments have been recorded since the beginning of 2012. Fintech startups and foundings have been integrated retrospectively since 2007.

The data of the Fintech Money Map are obtained through continuous analysis and evaluation of all relevant news sources and databases. Barkow Consulting relies on a combination of man and machine. The Fintech Money Map currently includes over 1,000 startups. In addition, more than 1,250 venture capital investors and over 6 billion euros in venture capital investments are currently recorded in the database.

Background to main incubator:

Main incubator is the research and development department of the Commerzbank Group and one of the leading strategic early-stage investors in tech startups with a corporate venture capital service. In the area of ​​prototyping, he examines selected technologies for their effects on the financial services sector and industry and then develops prototypes, often in collaboration with partners from industry and research. In community building, he promotes the tech ecosystem through active participation in opinion-forming processes and committee work, as well as through its own formats. Main incubator is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Commerzbank AG based in Frankfurt am Main.


Comdirect study: Fintech growth is slowing down somewhat was originally published in FrankfurtValley on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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