We all love stories of rivalry. We are fascinated by the clashes. Edison v. Tesla. Ford v. Ferrari. Tupac v. Biggie Smalls. They are a way to impose a narrative on facts, to turn numbers into vivid characters and exciting stakes. And oftentimes, they don’t make that much sense.
That’s what longtime duellists Deposit Solutions and Raisin, two of Europe’s largest FinTech have realized. In a deal 17 months in the making, they stop building in parallel and turn their two champions into one to dominate the largest financial products market: Savings.
A recap: Deposit Solutions is the leading B2B platform in the savings space. It counts 150 partners including Deutsche Bank. Raisin leads the European B2C savings and investments space. The new entity Raisin DS will offer both B2B and B2C products, directly serving 550.000 customers in 30 markets.
For savers, the merger means more product choice. Incumbent banks benefit from easier tools, funding sources, and consumer access. By catering to businesses and consumers alike, profitability is boosted with higher revenues, better unit economics, and cost-efficiencies.
With the merger, the financial industry can grow a more robust backbone with much-needed open banking standards. A € 37 trillion combined EU + US market is the reward.
This is also a story of 10 years working together closely: First as a Board member, then Chairman, now again as Board of the new entity. When we first partnered and invested in the Seed Stage, Deposit Solutions had the founder Tim Sievers and 1 full-time employee: his CTO Marco Holm. The merged company will now have over 500.
Many young founders have their strengths in the early start-up phase but fail to manage the challenges of a company of hundreds. By contrast, seasoned executives often lack the creativity, detail orientation, and risk-taking that a startup needs. Tim combines both. He has lots of what we call CEO fuel: The personality and skills to lead a company from idea to IPO.
When my good friend Stefan Wiskemann introduced us in 2011, what stopped us in our tracks was Tim’s approach. He’s soft-spoken. Understated. The kind of startup person to wear a tie: “I’d rather be the only person wearing one to an appointment rather than the only one who doesn’t”. And he’s extremely analytical, diligent, and collaborative. Not a person to be consumed by senseless duels.
He had built an early product-market fit in a small sub-segment (rental deposits). Unlike many digital entrepreneurs, such as neo-banks or robo-advisors, Tim didn’t try to replace established financial services companies but cooperated at eye level.
He went after network effects with established companies, not to waste resources (and venture capital) trying to fight each other, but to create innovative, cost-reducing business process changes in win-win constellations.
We were the first institutional investor. Together, we onboarded a group of top-level co-investors Peter Thiel, Kinnevik, Greycroft, Vitruvian, and many others we are deeply grateful for as Deposit Solutions continued to grow.
The choice of merging with Tamaz Georgadze’s Raisin is the natural step of this mindset: Achieve together something neither of us would be able to accomplish alone.
A huge congrats to everyone involved. You have both built a fantastic team and brought on board fitting investors at every stage.
Onwards in leading this new champion to set new industry standards and become a true global market leader, co-CEOs Tim and Tamaz!