Raisin, the Berlin-based marketplace for deposits and investment products, is constantly growing. Recent examples include: its team-up with fellow tech company Yolt, its appointment of Paul Knodel to conquer the American market, as well as the entry of Orange Digital Ventures into its capital. Leaders League met its CEO.
LEADERS LEAGUE. Describe Raisin in a few words.
Tamaz Georgadze. Raisin is a fintech company with a very simple goal: to help consumers earn more on their savings. That means Raisin is dedicated to breaking down logistical and geographic barriers to provide savers easy access to a wide range of competitive transnational deposit products. Europeans in 31 countries can become Raisin customers and select from over 400 deposit products from across Europe, seamlessly investing their money around the continent at the bank of their choice – and we have almost 80 partner banks for them to choose from. Plus, Raisin’s German platform, WeltSparen, offers exceptionally cost-effective ETF portfolios with very low entry thresholds.
You recently welcomed Orange Digital Ventures (ODV) alongside existing investors in your Series D financing round. What are the ambitions of this entry?
We were thrilled that Orange perceived a strong alignment between its strategic objectives and our solution. Staking out a position in mobile financial services, ODV already has Orange Bank in Europe and Orange Money on the African continent, which aim to help customers better manage their finances and focus on offering both great products and a personalized customer experience – commitments Raisin of course shares. So Orange saw a big potential to connect with Raisin in
a mutually beneficial way.
What would you say are the pitfalls for a company choosing to raise funds?
Of course, it’s essential to have a unique selling point and be able to differentiate yourself from other players and competitors if you want to survive. Early on in fintech, nearly everything got financing because no one could tell who or what was really going to stick, and succeed. But we’re in a different phase now and it’s much tougher. There’s a lot of money pouring into Germany for fintech, for instance, but investors have much more data and clearer ideas of where this is going, who can scale, and so on. With respect to the investors you reach out to, we were very clear about what kind of relationships we wanted to have to our VC and strategic investors. Ideally an investor provides capital but does not envisage being involved operationally, can advise meaningfully but does not try to guide company management. Also, from the founder’s perspective, we’ve always had a preference for very clear and employee-friendly investment terms. Large VCs with good brand names typically deserved their standing in the past and take those very common founder interests seriously.
How is the fintech market in Germany doing?
We see an increasing number of fintechs embracing partnerships with other fintechs as well as with large incumbents. We’re doing exactly this too, offering open banking solutions for deposits to the likes of N26 and Commerzbank, and generally the mood is very encouraging for such win-win partnerships which create better customer solutions. The last year also saw more capital pouring into German fintechs than in any previous year and we’re now looking at an increase in consolidation and acquisition. Raisin is in this game as well: earlier this year we acquired our long-time servicing bank, MHB of Frankfurt, and in 2017 we bought and subsequently transformed PBF Solutions into Raisin UK (www.raisin.co.uk). Germany is still punching far below its weight though, as the largest country in the EEA. With more innovation-friendly policies, the next steps are towards a frictionless common market, better treatment of employee share plans, more pragmatic and risk-based treatment of distant and reliance customer identification methods are among concrete policy actions which can give a strong boost to the German fintech scene
Interview by Camille Guével