It’s almost a crazy idea, but let’s assume that Deutsche Bank were turning a profit, no longer had any legal disputes to resolve and had a strategy for digitizing its business – that’s the kind of world in which Lars Reiner might still consider working for the bank.
But the real world is a bitter place, and in that world Mr. Reiner is no longer with Deutsche Bank but the head of Ginmon, a Frankfurt startup. The young company, which opened its doors in May, offers its customers the ability to invest money online or via smartphone, a fully automated service that requires no branches or fund managers.
So far the company has only a few hundred customers and manages only a few million euros, but Mr. Reiner believes in the idea. “We see extreme growth. The concept is just taking off,” he says, noting that companies like Ginmon are hitting “the nerve of the day, hitting a nerve with customers.”
In fact, these so-called fintechs are electrifying the financial sector. The idea for a company like Ginmon first came to Mr. Reiner when he was working for Deutsche Bank’s in-house consulting division. But, as he says, “I discussed the idea with a few people and noticed that there was too much resistance.”
The bank was too busy with its own problems to delve more deeply into digitization.
In late 2014, Mr. Reiner gave notice, drummed up some partners and founded Ginmon. Today he is 28, happy not to be wearing a suit all the time anymore, and convinced that his company, with its 14 employees, has more going for it than Germany’s largest bank.
“We have no outdated systems, no large organization and no fear of cannibalizing other businesses,” he says.