Roland Folz (CEO), Andreas Bittner (Co-Founder, COO), and Marko Wenthin (Co-Founder, CCO) © Anne Schönharting
What inspired you to found your startup?
The idea behind solarisBank was created within the Fintech company builder Finleap: While building a fintech startup, most founders realise that they need a banking partner to fulfill regulatory demands. But when cooperating with traditional banks, most startups are being slowed down by the archaic tech infrastructure as well as the corporate mindset of these institutions. Out of this problem, the idea of a modern tech company with a banking license was born: solarisBank.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
We grow with our partners – so we connect our success with the success of our partners. We are working on building a leading financial ecosystem for fintechs, digital companies but also corporates and banks, which can create strong connections between all players. This will make access to financial services as simple, fast and seamless as possible.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
What problem does your product solve?
Fintechs often need a banking partner to fulfill regulatory requirements. When cooperating with traditional banks, fintechs often have to work with outdated technology and slow, manual processes. This reduces their time to market. Digital companies face the same technological difficulties when wanting to offer financial services and trying to integrate with incumbents. Thus, the solarisBank tech stack is built on state of the art programming languages with a focus on easy to integrate APIs.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
Within the next year, we want to start operations in a first Asian market together with our Japanese investor SBI Group. Within the next five to ten years, we plan to become a globally operating company, which has business in Europe, Asia and most likely the United States.
How are you different?
solarisBank is the first pure B2B banking platform, which has the main objective to empower finance pioneers. Until now, no other banking platform has received an own banking license and was therefore able to enable pioneering companies to offer their own financial services.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
This can vary from daily to just once in total:
Example 1: If a consumer requests a loan through a solarisBank client, then this will be most likely only one touchpoint with a solarisBank service.
Example 2: But if a consumer buys a coffee at ‘Backwerk’ every day and pays with the ‘Backwerk’ payment card, for which solarisBank handles the e-money, then our service shows up daily in the life of this consumer.
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
solarisBank helps to make financial services accessible when and where people actually need them by enabling various companies to become banking players themselves. This makes it easier and more convenient for every part of society to engage with financial services. One could say that by taking ‘banking’ out of the institution ‘bank’, financial services are being democratised.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
The Berlin startup ecosystem has certainly matured within the last years. Especially the fintech sector has been growing massively the past two to three years: Today, in the Berlin ecosystem you cannot only find unique players such as the only European fintech company builder as well as one of the biggest and fastest growing mobile banks in Europe but also leading players in the fields of insurtech or paytech.
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
Berlin is without a doubt the startup capital of Germany – maybe even of Europe. You have a very strong ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, young talent as well as tech and development resources, which are hard to find somewhere else. Also, with the combination of affordable living and a vibrant as well as multi-cultural scene it’s hard to find any cons of launching a startup from Berlin.
Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?
SolarisBank was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.