FRANKFURT: As Germany’s banking capital, Frankfurt has long established itself as one of Europe’s leading financial hubs.
But the city, which has a rather staid and strait-laced image, is now vying with hipper and trendier centres around Europe to woo financial start-ups known as FinTechs which want to revolutionise the way the world of money does business.
FinTechs use computer and Internet technology to develop innovative financial services and applications.
They include such companies as online trader Money.Net and the automated investment service Betterment in the United States and the business financing company FundingCircle and money transfer service TransferWise in Britain.
“When people talk about start-ups, cities such as Berlin and London immediately spring to mind. But Frankfurt is also starting to have a very dynamic Internet scene of its own,” said Tarek Al-Wazir, economy minister for the regional state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is situated.
The western German city on the banks of the river Main likes to style itself as “Mainhattan” with its dense cluster of glittering glass and steel skyscrapers.
And its financial pedigree is certainly not in question.
It is home to Germany’s mightiest financial institutions, such as Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank; stock market operator Deutsche Boerse which is again trying to merge with the London Stock Exchange; and, of course, the European Central Bank.
But it has now set its sights on fostering financial start-ups, an area where “we want to advance very rapidly,” Al-Wazir told AFP.
Last week, Deutsche Boerse unveiled its own FinTech initiative, offering fully equipped premises to new companies and start-ups from April onwards.