Published on July 8th, 2016

Interview with Christian Tiessen and Marko Wenthin

FinLeap’s ventures Savedo and solarisBank have began a collaboration together as solarisBank has become Savedo’s second partner bank from Germany. We interviewed Christian Tiessen, co-founder of Savedo and Marko Wenthin, co-founder of solarisBank about the process of cooperation, the overall benefits, and future goals. How does the process behind the cooperation look like?

Christian: The cooperation with solarisBank fulfils the same requirements and conditions like every other cooperation with a partner bank in Europe. When investing in solarisBank’s fixed-term deposits, our clients get the same free current account at biw AG. solarisBank is our second partner bank from Germany and is, therefore, subject to German deposit protection. This fact is important to many customers when it comes to their decision for a fixed-deposit. Furthermore, solarisBank is mainly a tech company but with a full German banking license. API banking is therefore used and thus, the processes for our clients can be realized with high efficiency. How do the two business models work together?

Marko: It’s a natural and great fit. As a bank, making loans is an important part of our offering. In order to make loans, we need capital to lend against. But since we see ourselves as a tech company with a banking license focused on serving digital companies, we don’t want to get involved in directly soliciting deposits from a B2C audience. That’s a completely different business in and of itself. Savedo offers us a great solution to this dilemma – it offers its customers access to great fixed-term deposit opportunities with banks throughout Europe, and now we’re proud to be one of those banks. It’s an elegant slution, because it creates a lot of value for both of us. We don’t have to acquire depositors or service them to the extent that we otherwise would need to and Savedo can offer its customers very lucrative interest rates for deposits of 12, 24 or 36 months and gets to extend its customer offering which increases their appeal as an investment platform. I think Savedo is especially happy, because we share the same Fintech heritage and were able to get up and running in a fraction of the normal timeline. How will Savedo profit from the cooperation with solarisBank?

Christian: Savedo will profit in several ways. On one hand, solarisBank brings us high interest fixed-term deposits from Germany as well as German deposit protection on our portal. Thus, this cooperation will enhance the trust of our customers. On the other hand, the cooperation shows that Savedo can take over the entire deposit business and customer service of a bank.

Other interesting partner banks for us could follow this example. solarisBank is a technology partner which means, that we not only have the same understanding of modern banking, but also share the technological know-how to offer clients the best banking experience. How is it going to benefit solarisBank?

Marko: Fintechs are among our most important customers and therefore we’re always striving for partnerships with Fintech companies. We offer modular banking services a lá carte, so you can combine different services, which are composed of individual bricks such as (KYC/customer identification), to build your product. To offer a deposit service, we simply had to rearrange the bricks in our credit service (graphic) which shows the agility and flexibility of our business model. Savedo is the first to use our deposit service and we hope it encourages other Fintechs to use our banking bricks to create new and innovative products. We hope to grow in part by increasing the opportunities for Fintechs to innovate.

And it’s basically banking 101: If you want to give out loans you have to get deposits as well – therefore a partnership with a successful company in this field like Savedo has many advantages for us. What are the partnership’s future goals?

Christian: The solarisBank integration should become a model which will help us fill additional banks from Europe with enthusiasm about our technological standards and Savedo as a whole. With solarisBank as an example, others will be able to see how efficient and successful a cooperation with Savedo is. solarisBank should become the pioneer in paperless regulated processes and thus, help our current and potential partner banks to organize a lean application process and to support paperless procedures. What can other ventures learn from this collaboration?

Marko: We were able to get online with Savedo and offer deposits to their end customers in a stunningly short period of time. Apart from our superior technology and internal structure, that’s down to two reasons – working together made so much sense that it was obvious, a true synergy in this case even though the term is often overused. Working together created a lot of business value for both sides. Second, we know each other from the FinLeap family so there was a lot of trust which made the normal negotiations and processes go far quicker.

A valuable lesson for other ventures is that the junction of strong relationships and business value is the best place to do business. We don’t work with every FinLeap venture, because it isn’t mutually valuable. But working in an environment where you trust your partners, helps you pick low-hanging fruit quickly and boost your growth.