It was a long session on Monday evening.

At 11 p.m. everything was in the towel and approved by the notary, as Eric Podzuweit, one of the founders and managing directors of Scalable Capital, reports in an interview with the FAZ.

The Munich-based fintech is raising 180 million dollars in a new financing round, about half of which is provided by the Chinese tech group Tencent.

The company, which only started as a robo-advisor in 2015, is now worth $ 1.4 billion to its investors.

Tim Kanning

Editor in business.

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    Podzuweit cannot hide his joy: “With Blackrock we have had the largest western asset manager on board since 2017.

    Now we've also convinced the largest Chinese venture capitalist. ”6.5 percent of the Munich-based company now belongs to Tencent, which is best known for its Chinese WhatsApp counterpart Wechat, but also has major stakes in Tesla, Spotify and Snapchat.

    The Chinese have also already bought into the Berlin Neo-Bank N26.

    Chat platforms and videos planned

    At Scalable Capital, according to Podzuweit, the shareholders are now divided into three roughly equal groups: a third hold Blackrock, a third hold the founders and employees and a third various venture capitalists, including Tencent. The Chinese do not want to interfere in terms of content in Munich. According to Podzuweit, Scalable is not currently planning to enter the Asian market either. But there are big plans in which the Munich-based company can learn a lot from the makers of the Wechat Pay payment service: “We want to integrate more social elements into the broker, be it chat platforms on which users can exchange information about certain shares or be one Explanatory videos from Youtubers on specific investment topics. "

    Scalabe Capital started in 2015 as a robo advisor, offering investors automated financial investments primarily through various index funds (ETF).

    In the meantime, Scalable Capital has become a fully-fledged neo-broker through which customers can also trade securities and create savings plans.

    Scalable has launched a new payment model á la Netflix, with a monthly flat rate of 2.99 euros.

    Customers have now invested the equivalent of more than $ 5 billion at Scalable, says Podzuweit.

    Two thirds of this was accounted for by the robo-advisor and one third by the brokerage business.

    Focus on France, Spain and Italy

    Most recently, the normal investment business in particular grew strongly due to the stock market upswing. In the longer term, Podzuweit assumes that both segments will be in balance. Expansion abroad is now also on the agenda: "In the second half of the year we also want to actively expand to France, Spain and Italy." The number of employees is growing rapidly. At the end of 2020, Scalable still employed 140 women and men, currently there are 240. By the end of the year, Podzuweit expects 400 employees.

    With the new financing round, Scalable Capital now has a comfortable buffer for the planned growth, says Podzuweit.

    It has not touched anything of the 50 million euros that the start-up raised last year.

    “In the long term, we can envision going public, but not in the next year or two,” says Podzuweit.

    "Celebrities who have no idea about the subject"

    Even the Spacs that recently sprout from the ground, i.e. purse jackets that initially collect money from investors without content in order to then find suitable takeover objects, have already knocked on Scalable several times, says Podzuweit: “But I see them rather critically.

    Sure there are also good Spacs, but many just want to benefit from the current stock market euphoria and advertise with some celebrities who have no idea about the subject.

    Recently, several German start-ups have announced large financing rounds and are now officially “unicorns” - they are valued at more than one billion euros. Just a few weeks ago, for example, the Berlin online broker Trade Republic caused a sensation with mega financing. Various investors around the venture capitalist Sequoia had put a total of $ 900 million into the five-year-old company, making it one of the most valuable European financial start-ups. Trade Republic is now worth around $ 5 billion, having valued at $ 730 million at the end of 2020. The Berlin Neobank N26 is currently valued at $ 3.5 billion.

    Investors apparently expect that financial transactions will continue to shift to the cell phone. Podzuweit naturally expects this to be the case and sees itself confirmed by the home market of its new major investor: “Mobile brokers are becoming more and more important. People do their stock market trades on their cell phones. This is even more pronounced in Asia. Many people don't have a computer at all, their mobile phone is their access to the Internet. "

    For large investors, however, Scalable Capital also makes doing business with other companies interesting. According to Podzuweit, the fintech developed the investment platform for the British major bank Barclays and implemented similar projects with the Spanish Banco Santander and the Austrian Raiffeisenbank International. In Germany, Scalable grew up primarily through a cooperation with the largest direct bank ING, which connected the robo-advisor directly to its online banking.