Berlin-based company builder HitFox announced it is going into financial tech (FinTech) by starting an incubator called “FinLeap.” It plans to start four to six FinTech companies a year, each receiving between €500,000 to €5 million seed investment (roughly equivalent to U.S. $620,000 to $6.2 million, at current exchange rates).
Though London is known to be the hot spot for FinTech startups in Europe, HitFox, an ad-tech and big data company, has announced that its FinLeap division will open offices in Berlin and San Francisco.
While Berlin is known to be the startup capital in Germany, it is still an interesting choice, as banks and other FinTech related companies in Germany usually pick Frankfurt as their location, where many financial institutions are headquartered. Not only did the accelerator Startupbootcamp FinTech take place there, many FinTech startups and investors are located in the Rhine-Main area.
It’s a company builder, not an incubator
By analyzing the market and seeing issues, FinLeap’s experts will find new products, solutions and business models. The goal is to make services more transparent, cheaper or easier to use, the company states. It plans to build between four and six startups each year. Therefore, 150 new hires are planned.
Within three years HitFox opened offices on three continents for 8 companies with 300 employees overall. Besides two of its co-founders, Jan Beckers and Dr. Hanno Fichtner, other FinTech specialists, such as Jochen Siegert, the former director of strategy at PayPal Europe, will manage the new division.
Through synergies with other sub-companies within HitFox, a partnership culture will be developed to accelerate businesses. This model has been successful at the HitFox Group already, as it currently connects its existing businesses, including ad-tech and big data services.
The idea of a FinTech incubator/accelerator is not new: Commerzbank launched one and Deutsche Bank just announced its innovation labs in cooperation with Microsoft and IBM.
Jan Beckers, CEO and co-founder of HitFox, explained at BitKom why corporate accelerators often fail. Among other reasons, not focussing on its industry and wanting to see good results too soon is often why company incubators do not last.
Knowing these by heart may help FinLeap become a success.
This story originally appeared on VentureVillage. Copyright 2014