Hamburg News: Hamburg Invest and Finanzplatz Hamburg e.V. want to attract more international fintech companies to Hamburg with the new location agency. Which countries do you have in mind?
Dr. Rolf Strittmatter: Maybe we should not talk about countries. Basically we are looking at all start-up hotspots across the globe, no matter in which country. But the focus is certainly on the north and the Baltic countries as well as the English-speaking region. Copenhagen, Malmö, Tallinn, London, San Francisco, Boston or Chicago are set. But Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Vienna or Budapest are also attractive locations for fintechs. We cannot ignore them. We recently opened the Northern Germany Innovation Office in San Francisco with Schleswig-Holstein, and Petra Vorsteher, founder of Smatoo, is flying our flag there in her function as Hamburg Ambassador. Hamburg is already Germany’s most important location for digital companies from Silicon Valley. We also want to achieve this position with fintechs.
Hamburg News: What role does Britain play in view of Brexit?
Dr. Rolf Strittmatter: Many questions linked to Brexit have not yet been clarified. And of course, in addition to Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and Luxembourg are also mentioned before Hamburg when it comes to company relocations from the City of London. But Hamburg has its niches and a very attractive fintech scene, especially in the B2B sector. This also makes us interesting for start-ups from Britain. We also offer a British way of life at lower prices. And Hamburg knows how to do business successfully. Fintechs appreciate that. We are in good talks there. The city wants to support people and companies from Britain to live, work and to do research or business in Hamburg in future. The German right of residence provides a wide range of opportunities for that. We offer competent contacts with the Hamburg Welcome Center in Hamburg as well as in Britain.
Hamburg News: What role will Hamburg Invest play in the new offer?
Dr. Rolf Strittmatter: We want to make it easier for international fintech companies to settle in Hamburg. Hamburg Invest is the one-stop agency for relocations and investments in Hamburg. We will operate within this framework and offer a comprehensive service. The spectrum ranges from information about the location, initial information on residency and taxation, assistance with visa issuance and networking to the search for business premises. And of course we will use our networks to promote “Fintech Hamburg” as a business location. We have 34 honorary Hamburg Ambassadors in 24 countries, plus a few representative offices. We are already represented at almost all important fintech locations and are still expanding our networks.
Hamburg News: Hamburg Invest has been supporting knowledge and technology-orientated start-ups since the beginning of the year with its own Startup unit. Will the location agency complement the unit’s range of fintech services?
Dr. Rolf Strittmatter: Naturally, Hamburg Invest offers support from a single source to start-ups, those interested in setting up a business and to founders with a focus on knowledge and technology-oriented business models via its Startup Unit. It views itself as the main point of contact for all questions concerning start-up offers in Hamburg, financing as well as important events and networks in the Hanseatic city. And this offer is also available to fintechs.
Hamburg News: Many thanks for the interview.
Interview by Karolin Köcher
The full interview can be found on October 15, 2018 in Fintech Magazin, which is being published to coincide with Fintech Week (October 15-20, 2018) in Hamburg.