| NEW YORK, March 13
NEW YORK, March 13 Japanese financial
conglomerate SBI Holdings Inc and a subsidiary of
German media company Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA have
backed Berlin-based solarisBank AG, a fully licensed startup
bank that enables businesses to offer digital financial services
to their customers, solarisBank executives said on Monday.
They said the bank has raised 26.3 million euros ($28
million) from investors including SBI Holdings, the former
investment arm of Japan’s e-commerce company SoftBank Group Corp
, and Arvato Financial Solutions, Bertelsmann's
financial services group.
Existing investors including German technology company
builder FinLeap and venture firm yabeo Capital also participated
in the new round.
Italian banking group UniCredit Spa has also
participated in the latest investment, executives of the startup
SBI and Arvato will help the company expand into Asia and
Europe respectively, the company said.
SolarisBank, which obtained a banking license from German
regulators a year ago, enables businesses including financial
technology companies and e-commerce firms to incorporate
regulated financial services in their offering, ranging from
lending to payments.
While fintech startups have become increasingly popular in
recent years by claiming they will displace established
financial institutions, many still rely on infrastructure
powered by existing players like banks to carry out the
SolarisBank has developed a platform that gives fintech
startups and other businesses the opportunity to easily
piggyback on its technology, compliance and regulatory
The company was created by FinLeap after its other fintech
businesses had to overcome the challenges involved with finding
established financial institutions that would let them plug into
the infrastructure they needed to operate.
The startup will formally announce on Tuesday that it has
bolstered its executive team by appointing former Deutsche Bank
AG executive Roland Folz as CEO. It also named Gerrit
Seidel, a partner and managing director at yabeo Capital and
former executive at payments firm Klarna, as chairman of the
Folz said as CEO he will also focus on helping the company
find a U.S. strategic partner to help it expand into America.
SolarisBank is among several young, tech-savvy companies to
secure a banking license in Europe over the past 18 months.
Unlike most of its digital banking peers, such as UK-based
Atom Bank and Monzo, and German firm N26, it does not offer
banking services to consumers. This helps keep the cost of
acquiring customers low, Seidel said.
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)