HitFox Hatches FinLeap, A New Startup Factory Targeting Fintech

Not content with incubating and acquiring startups in the adtech and Big Data space, HitFox Group, the Berlin-headquartered company builder, has hatched a second company builder.

Dubbed FinLeap, the German-styled ‘startup factory’ will be targeting fintech and plans to hatch 4-6 startups per year with a focus on “new technologies and scalable business models” that provide cheaper, simpler and more transparent digital services to both businesses and consumers.

With offices in Berlin and San Francisco, the new venture will be headed up by HitFox founders Jan Beckers and Dr. Hanno Fichtner, along with fintech veteran Jochen Siegert, who helped build PayPal in Europe as Strategy Director EMEA.

At launch, FinLeap boasts a team of 30 — spanning entrepreneurs and financial services experts, engineers, and product managers from companies such as HitFox Group, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, DKB and Fab.com — all of whom are currently working on the company builder’s first startups.

Over the next 12 months, FinLeap says it expects to add 150 or more to that headcount for itself and the companies it hatches. A startup factory’s production lines don’t power themselves, after all.

In a call with Jan Beckers, he described the new venture as expanding HitFox’s “proven” business model into a new market — essentially taking that model of “synergetic companies” and applying it to one of the “hottest” spaces out there,.

By ‘synergetic’, Beckers is referring to the way in which a vertical incubator can benefit from scale, with each hatched company feeding and complimenting each other, both in terms of the market being addressed and also technology, expertise and other resources.

It’s also a model that Beckers believes eliminates many of the risks otherwise associated with building a single startup, though he also says the incubator model is more difficult overall, likening it to creating a software platform rather than a single app.

Interestingly, I also understand Beckers — who recently won the German ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award by Ernst & Young, which is bound to open a few doors — has a personal interest in the fintech space, having traded on the stock market since the age of 15.