Matthias Hübner, partner at Oliver Wyman, is a jury member for the FinTechGermany Award 2019, the leading investor-driven FinTech Award in Germany. Amongst other things, we asked Matthias Hübner what he pays special attention to when judging FinTech applicants.
What is especially important to you when judging applicants for the FinTechGermany Award?
I find two aspects to be crucial: First of all, a need for a product should be clearly identifiable, which means that the product should offer a solution to an actual problem facing customers. Secondly, it must be innovative. Unfortunately, we have recently seen many copycat products that lack a clear differentiation from existing ones. In my opinion, most of them will not stand a chance in becoming established in the long run.
What are the biggest challenges for FinTechs in Germany? How can start-up companies be supported more? What can platforms like the FinTechGermany Award do to help?
The scalability (i.e. reaching the critical and long-term profitable size) is what most start-ups struggle with – and this doesn’t only apply to the FinTech sector. This is something the FinTech Germany Award helps with: It enables companies to get in contact with potential investors for financing of growth and award winners get a chance to increase their brand awareness.
How will the German FinTech ecosystem evolve in 2019?
With regards to the Fintech ecosystem, Germany still has room for improvement but is developing dynamically and catching up with other countries. This trend should continue in 2019, especially since some of the early FinTechs now have more sophisticated business models and are thus, increasingly growing out of their niche.
How can Frankfurt become one of the leading Fintech hubs in Germany or Europe?
I think that the decentralized structure in Germany is not very helpful in establishing a leading international FinTech hub. However, we should move away from the traditional “Frankfurt vs. Berlin” discussion and instead highlight the strengths of both locations. Frankfurt has the advantage that it offers companies proximity to leading partners such as banks or the stock exchange and has a well-established infrastructure of consulting services. Those are essential aspects for FinTechs with a focus on B2B.