Rocket Internet to launch European bank

Berlin-based company building powerhouse Rocket Internet plans to launch a new digital bank for European customers as part of a push on financial services technology. The firm has teamed up with Frankfurt-based FinTech Group AG, which offers white label financial services, to create digital banking services in the region with Rocket using the company’s tech infrastructure and liabilities.

The first step, say the firms, will be launching a bank which will piggyback on the banking license and core banking tech of FinTech Group subsidiary Bank biw AG which has an EU bank passport and can therefore offer banking services throughout the region. Details will remain limited in the short term, however, it seems with the press release about the partnership saying the firms “have also agreed not to disclose the details of their common European goals”.

Rocket Internet has taken steps into the fintech space already, with its Square clone Payleven recently merging with another mobile payments clone, SumUp. Another is Spotcap, which offers loans to small businesses. Launched in Madrid back in 2014, the firm is now led by Toby Triebel and Jens Woloszczak in Berlin. Rocket has made a name for itself with its aggressive company building and scaling, especially in the food delivery and e-commerce segments. Whether the company’s approach to building businesses will suit the world of banking and financial services will be interesting to watch.

The move comes as momentum builds in Europe’s challenger banking space. Telefonica Germany just launched its mobile banking service in partnership with Fidor Bank, which is providing the white label cloud banking tech to underpin it, plus a European banking license. Dubbed 02 Banking, the service is available on iOS and Android and comes with a corresponding MasterCard. Features include video link onboarding and sending money via phone numbers plus small loans.

Just this month, Berlin’s newly re-branded N26 announced that it has acquired its full license from the German financial regulation body (or German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority,  BaFin) and launched its first bolt-on product in the shape of an investment tool “for all of us”. Meanwhile, Finleap‘s Solaris Bank also just picked up its license in Germany, while Starling Bank joins the likes of Tandem and Atom which have a UK license.

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