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Fintech in Germany

Lindenpartners

With Eric Romba and Robert Oppenheim , Lindenpartners fields two specialists for all digitisation-related regulatory issues pertaining to cryptocurrencies and tokens, which are regularly instructed by banks, asset managers and fintechs. The range of advice encompasses, among other things, matters concerning the development of bitcoin-based decentralized finance (DeFi) models, licensing issues for the crypto custody business, blockchain-based securities products and other digital banking products.

Other key lawyers:

Eric Romba; Robert Oppenheim

Key clients

21.finance AG

Bankhaus von der Heydt GmbH & Co. KG

Bitwala GmbH

Blocklink GmbH

Bloxxter 1 GmbH

Futurum Bank GmbH

Hanwha Q Cells GmbH

Iconic Holding GmbH

KuhDo GmbH

Liquiditeam GmbH

Raisin GmbH

Solarisbank AG

Upvest GmbH

Hauck & Aufhäuser Bank AG

tokenstreet GmbH

Verifort Capital Group GmbH

Work highlights

  • Ongoing compliance advice (especially with regard to MiFID II) to 21.finance AG and advice on outsourcing agreements.
  • Advising Bankhaus von der Heydt GmbH & Co. KG on the implementation of the financial commission business for the acquisition of cryptocurrencies.
  • Advice to Bitwala GmbH  to develop a decentralized finance model (DeFi ) based on bitcoin in cooperation with CryptoLender Celsius .

Annerton Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Annerton Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH advises fintechs, financial services providers, online marketplaces and established international companies on German market entries, strategic cooperation and the implementation of new products, including digital currencies. In addition to supervisory, payment and money laundering law support, which is one of the particular strengths of the practice and regularly led by Susanne Grohé (Berlin) and Christian Walz (Munich), among others, the team also covers all relevant related subject areas; for example, Nasim Jenkouk's (Munich) promotion to the partnership in January 2021 underlined the importance of the group's coverage of IT and data protection-related e-commerce issues. At the same time, Florian Lörsch, who, in addition to payment and factoring issues, also deals with matters pertaining to funds and corporate law, made partner in the Berlin office. Frank Müller covers banking and capital market law issues.

Testimonials

‘In my opinion, the team is one of the leading FinTech teams in Germany that deals with all areas of FinTech. Several leaders with outstanding skills. They go beyond pure legal advice and have unique market knowledge.

‘Susanne Grohé and Frank Müller are market leaders. Peter Frey and Christian Walz are also notable members of the team. They are hands-on, pragmatic, affordable and pleasant to work with.

‘Efficient, well-positioned, friendly team that advises clients in the FinTech sector quickly and competently, especially in German-speaking countries .’

‘Frank Müller is my preferred lawyer for German FinTechs and Susanne Grohé has valuable in-house experience.

‘In particular, Alireza Siadat stands out for his wide range of practical experience in FinTech matters and his intelligent and business-oriented approach to the field.

‘Dr. Anna Izzo-Wagner has outstanding knowledge in providing regulatory advice to banking and financial services institutions as well as FinTech companies. On the one hand, she thinks very quickly, on the other hand, she manages to convey her knowledge to her counterpart in such a way that even highly complex topics can be understood.’

‘Due to his wealth of experience in the regulatory framework, Alireza Siadat is in the best position to support FinTechs and start-ups. The clients benefit from his practice-oriented solution proposals.’

‘We have mainly worked with Susanne Grohé, who is a great lawyer and person. She is well versed in financial services regulation and very available. Nasim Jenkouk and Frank Müller are also recommended.

Key clients

Billie GmbH

Business Service Solution GmbH

LendingPoint LLC

LAVEGO AG

Nufin GmbH

PAYONE GmbH

Penta FinTech GmbH

PPRO Holding GmbH

Prepaid Verband Deutschland e.V.

solarisBank AG

Tangany GmbH

Tomorrow GmbH

Accel Growth Fund V L.P.

Accel London VI. L.P.

artis Institutional Capital Management GmbH

Bank of Communications Co. Ltd.

Concardis GmbH

CQS (UK) LLP

Crosslend GmbH

DLE Deutsche Landentwicklung Holding AG

DVB Bank SE

Enertrag EnergieInvest GmbH

Feri Trust (Luxembourg) S.A. – Niederlassung Deutschland

Ferrari Financial Services GmbH

Founders Fund Trade Republic LLC

FTX Trading Ltd.

GS&P Kapitalanlagegesellschaft S.A.

Helaba Digital GmbH & Co. KG

HIH Warburg Gruppe

smava GmbH

Taylor Wessing – Provinzial

Teylor AG

Vie Finance AEPEY SA

VTB Bank (Europe) SE

Classic Token AG

Amazing Blocks AG

1inch Exchange

Decus Network GmbH

Blockchain Helix AG

DZ Bank

New Horizon GmbH

Saman Bank

Volksbank Mittweida eG

Work highlights

  • Advising Lending Point LLC in connection with its market entry in Germany and strategic cooperations.
  • Ongoing advice to PAYONE GmbH on various civil and regulatory issues and the implementation of new products.
  • Ongoing advice to Penta FinTech GmbH on all questions relating to banking, banking supervision, payment transactions, IT/data protection and money laundering law.

Bird & Bird LLP

The close cooperation between banking and tech experts makes Bird & Bird LLP an attractive advisor on payment services and e-money advice. Start-ups, fintechs and financial service providers regularly utilises the team's expertise in bitcoin regulation and other virtual currencies as well as in distributed ledger technologies (such as blockchain). Alongside the regulatory advice required during implementation and use of such currencies and technologies, the assistance to international investors with investments in companies that focus on digitization issues represents another mainstay for the practice. Michael Jünemann heads the finance and financial regulation practice and advises on all regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Michael Jünemann

Other key lawyers:

Johannes Wirtz

Testimonials

‘We work together in the area of scheme rules and in my opinion they have more know-how than any other law firm in Germany.’

‘Michael Jünemann and Johannes Wirtz are an excellent team. Michael always keeps an eye on the bigger picture and both have profound specialist knowledge.’

‘Bird & Bird has a specialist on hand for every legal question, including unusual areas of law. Bird & Bird thus offers a very broad spectrum, which is addressed not only competently but also very promptly by a central key contact.’

Key clients

8Pitch

CONCEDUS

Bunq BV

Dapper Labs Inc.

IDnow

Mastercard

Monese Ldt.

Niiio finance AG

Novem Gold

Volksbank Mittweida

Work highlights

  • Advising start-ups 8Pitch and CONCEDUS on the design of a platform for issuing security tokens based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
  • Advised Bunq BV on the local legal and regulatory requirements and procedures related to passporting based expansion from the Netherlands to Belgium, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
  • Advising a cryptocurrency exchange platform on regulatory issues regarding the issuance of DLT-based tokens.

Hengeler Mueller

With banking supervision and payment services law expert Christian Schmies Hengeler Mueller's fintech team is particularly known for advising on regulatory issues including in relation to the establishment of international payment platforms, cooperation agreements and matters relating to crypto assets. The assistance with investments and financing rounds is another mainstay and predominantly handled by Jens Wenzel. In addition, clients, including investors, banks and fintechs, benefit from the group's cross-practice cooperation and resulting capacities at the interfaces to IT, data protection, corporate and M&A.

Other key lawyers:

Christian Schmies; Jens Wenzel

Testimonials

‘Very well coordinated team, good harmony as a prerequisite for efficiency. Entrepreneurial thinking.’

Jones Day

Jones Day stands out due to its particular experience in distributed ledger and blockchain technologies and advises clients - including banks, fintechs, venture capital companies and asset managers – on transactions based on these technologies as well as on related financing rounds, the development of blockchain-based products and crypto custody services. Thus, Nick Wittek also combines his expertise in structured finance, derivatives and asset management with technological innovations know-how and thereby focuses on blockchain, cryptocurrencies and financial market infrastructure. He jointly heads the team with transaction expert Ivo Poslsuchny.

Practice head(s):

Nick Wittek; Ivo Poslsuchny

Other key lawyers:

Kerstin Henrich

Testimonials

The firm’s team is very partner-centric and interdisciplinary. The advice relevant to my situation was provided through seamless cooperation between partners from corporate, M&A, finance, regulatory law and taxes. The team was available at all times.’

The advice was incredibly precise and very quick. I was able to reach a partner personally at any time. Overall, I would rate the level of service as excellent compared to other law firms.’

In comparison to the competition, the unconditional willingness to provide service and the hands-on mentality should be emphasized.’

Key clients

Deutsche Börse AG

Main Incubator GmbH

Bessemer Venture Partners

yabeo Advisors GmbH

Testbirds

Seventure Partners

SAP SE

Celonis

Work highlights

  • Advising Deutsche Börse AG in connection with a wall bridge financing and subsequent Series B financing round.
  • Advising Main Incubator GmbH as the founder of the IDunion project, including on the implementation of its legal governance structure.
  • Advising SAP SE on the agreement of a partnership between SAP and investment company Dediq GmbH.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Thanks to its cross-practice cooperation, Latham & Watkins LLP's fintech group is able to act on all relevant intersections: Axel Schiemann regularly advises on banking and financial market regulatory issues as part of the structuring and implementation of innovative and cross-border business models – which include the development of electronic wallets and blockchain-based platforms as well as custody licenses for crypto assets – while Markus Krüger routinely advises on regulatory issues, transactional matters and investments in fintech companies. Clients include investors, traditional financial institutions and fintechs as well as technology and internet companies.

Practice head(s):

Markus Krüger; Axel Schiemann

Testimonials

‘Good team, great.’

‘Markus Krüger is great.’

Key clients

Dwins

eToro Group

Hedosophia Group

Toscafund Asset Management

DXC Technology Group

Trade Republic

DirectBooks

Work highlights

  • Advising Toscafund Asset Management LLP as lead investor in the financing round for the Berlin WealthTech platform Elinvar on all banking and financial regulatory issues, in particular on financial regulatory due diligence and in connection with owner control proceedings against BaFin and the Bundesbank to obtain regulatory approval of the transaction.
  • Advising Primary Markets LLC / Directbooks on German license requirements.
  • Advising Trade Republic on its $900m Series C funding round.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH‘s fintech offering foots on three pillars: regulatory advice on the development and implementation of blockchain-based business models, assistance with digitization strategies and advice to clients on investments in or cooperation with fintech companies. This extensive consulting approach has also resulted in a similarly diverse client base, including banks and payment service providers, IT service providers for the financial sector as well as platform operators. Financial services regulation and crypto assets expert Rolf Kobabe is one of the key figures alongside IT and data protection expert Stefanie Hellmich.

Other key lawyers:

Rolf Kobabe; Stefanie Hellmich

Testimonials

‘Strong and in-depth expertise in the fintech industry and regulation.’

‘Quick availability and responsiveness.’

Key clients

GOCARDLESS LTD

Leondra GmbH

Wirecard AG

Zinsbaustein GmbH

Volkswagen Bank GmbH

Cargonexx GmbH

Black Manta Capital Partners GmbH

N26 GmbH

WebID Solutions GmbH

Wechselgott GmbH

bloXXter GmbH

AUDITcapital GmbH (ecozins)

Work highlights

  • Comprehensive advice to WebID Solutions GmbH on entering the German market.
  • Advising Wechselgott GmbH on several financing and investment rounds as well as on the structuring of sales contracts with supplier banks and broker pools.
  • Extensive regulatory advice to bloXXter GmbH on the sale of tokenized bonds via a platform and third parties.

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke's regulatory capacities stand out as a particular strength and are regularly utilised to assist payment service providers, fintech platforms and crypto service providers with BaFin approval procedures and other regulatory issues that arise in relation to market entries, distribution via platforms and to the introduction of digital currency-based products. Tanja Aschenbeck heads the group and also focuses on assisting with payment transactions and other supervisory law.

Practice head(s):

Tanja Aschenbeck

Key clients

Token, Inc.

Liberis Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Token, Inc. on BaFin licensing proceedings for payment initiation services/account information services under the Payment Services Supervision Act.
  • Advising Liberis Limited on licensing proceedings at BaFin for the provision of factoring to German online retailers.

White & Case LLP

Due to its cross-practice and cross-location cooperation, White & Case LLP is adept at handling matters that encompass various legal subject areas and jurisdictions. This interaction results on one hand in a steady stream of instructions related to transactions and financing rounds and on the other hand in the team’s regular assistance with supervisory, data protection and IT law issues. In the latter area, the group also advises on the implementation of payment products and the development of platforms based on distributed ledger technology, while capital market expertise – for which Karsten Wöckener is also known – is frequently utilised in advising on the set up of cryptocurrency-secured bonds.

Practice head(s):

Karsten Wöckener

Testimonials

‘Enormous market presence in the fintech sector combined with deep expertise.’

‘Karsten Wöckener: Enormous commitment, also outside of matters, in the field of fintech. Broad knowledge beyond legal advice.’

‘Global coverage across multiple countries and industries with a wide range of skills. This gives us the cross-functional support we need.

‘Solution-oriented. Connected with financial regulators. Business-minded and easy to work with.

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

Facebook

Klarna Bank

Thinksurance

Finledger

ETC Holdings

FinanceApp AG

Tink

Fidelity

Corestate Capital

Deutsche Pfandbriefbank

Work highlights

  • Advising open banking platform Tink on the takeover of FinTecSystems.
  • Advising insurtech wefox, a leading pan-European digital insurance business and distribution platform, on the preparation, execution and closing of its $640m series C funding round, resulting in a post-money valuation of $3bn.
  • Advising ETC Holdings Ltd on the establishment of a cryptocurrency-backed bond issuance program to be issued by ETC Issuance GmbH, including three large-volume issuances in Spring 2021.

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance, the interaction between various practice groups results in strong regulatory capacities related to the development of fintech and crypto projects, such as the tokenization of assets and the development of digital financial platforms. Gregor Evenkamp is one of the key contacts here while Marc Benzler regularly leads advice on authorization and approval proceedings as well as on M&A-related regulatory issues. The case load also includes sector-specific M&A, corporate and financing matters as well as investments. Oliver Kronat is the key contact for structured financing.

Testimonials

‘For us, the most relevant point by far: the ability to creatively transfer solutions from the “established world of finance” to new business models in the fintech environment.’

‘CC was able from the onset to understand our commercial intentions (which definitely cannot be said of every law firm) and to explain to us “what works and what doesn’t” using specific practical examples, among other things. The team’s great interest in new applications is also very pleasant.’

‘CC always seems extremely enthusiastic to see what new business models can be realized with “existing legal solutions” in the fintech environment.’

‘Oliver Kronat: Extremely comprehensive technical expertise and “mental flexibility” to engage in new business models. Not only with regard to “good solutions” but above all solutions that can be implemented in a start-up in terms of resources (e.g. not every fintech company has its own KWG license right from the start). Very high availability (also via Whatsapp).’

Key clients

Postera Capital

UniCredit Bank AG

SSW Trading

Flatex

Digital Vault Services

Block.one

Work highlights

  • Advising UniCredit in connection with (potential) issuance of digital securities under the new e-securities regime.
  • Advised Block.one on the financing, cooperation and acquisition of a stake in a joint venture company to develop cryptocurrency mining solutions and other HPC activities and to invest in blockchain technology and related areas of information technology.
  • Advising Swiss Re on the establishment of a joint venture with Daimler to operate digital insurance platform Movinx and on their investment in InsurTech company Getsafe GmbH.

YPOG

At YPOG (formerly SMP), the individual expertise of its team members mirrors the group's respective priorities in the fintech and insurtech sphere: while Frederik Gärtner and Lennart Lorenz routinely lead advice on financing rounds, M&A transactions as well as corporate-related regulatory issues and matters that require regulatory expertise alongside investment supervisory experience, Daniel Resas is particularly experienced in assisting with digital assets and decentralized finance. Lorenz also handles regulatory issues pertaining to crypto tokens and blockchain-based business models. In addition to fintechs and insurtechs, the client base also includes prestigious banks and investors.

Testimonials

‘Very good knowledge and understanding of VC-funded start-ups.’

Key clients

Baloise

Coya

Creandum

ECBF Management

Exporo

Moonfare

IDnow

Publity

TTMzero

Trade Republic Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising IDnow on the acquisition of Wirecard Communication Services.
  • Advising publity AG, an asset manager and investor specializing in office real estate in Germany, on the tokenization of up to 50 million shares in its subsidiary PREOS Global Office Real Estate & Technology AG (PREOS).
  • Advising Project A, Creandum and Trade Republic on the fintech’s €62m Series B.

GÖRG Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB

GÖRG Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB's fintech sector advice foots on the close cooperation between its banking, IT and data protection practices; these synergies benefit start-ups, fintechs and banks seeking assistance with payment transaction issues, BaFin permit applications and license applications, owner control procedures and outsourcing projects among others. Payment transaction specialist Matthias Terlau leads the team and is known for his expertise in bitcoin, digital payments, AI and big data.

Practice head(s):

Matthias Terlau

Other key lawyers:

Michael Heise; Florian Schmitz

Testimonials

‘The team around Dr. Matthias Terlau is very well organised, very precise and technically excellent. The cooperation is based on partnership and is very pleasant.’

‘Dr. Terlau is an absolute specialist in its field. The handling of difficult contract negotiations is very professional. I also value his ability to bring difficult problems to a constructive solution.’

‘Dr. Heise was the key contact. He works efficiently, thinks very proactively, can quickly bring in the right specialists; hands-on mentality; always available even at “untimely times” and able to produce good work results in a short time.’

Key clients

paydirekt GmbH

Samsung Electronics GmbH

Landesbank Berlin AG

WEAT Electronic Datenservice GmbH

verimi GmbH

Deutsche Bank AG

Work highlights

  • Advising paydirekt GmbH on the takeover of giropay. With this transaction, paydirekt GmbH will also offer online payment method giropay and take over all relevant parts of giropay GmbH.
  • Advised Landesbank Berlin AG on the drafting and negotiation of co-branded credit card agreements and associated contracts.
  • Advising verimi GmbH on payment supervision law, in particular owner control procedures. Ongoing advice on IT contracts and service contracts.

GSK Stockmann

GSK Stockmann typically advises on issues requiring supervisory law, IT and data protection expertise, which results in instructions pertaining to  the structuring of digitized financing platforms, the establishment of digital and e-money-based products, digital identities or electronic signatures; supervisory law expert Timo Patrick Bernau  routinely leads on these matters.

Practice head(s):

Timo Bernau

Testimonials

‘I experienced Philippe Lorenz as meticulous and eloquent, a problem solver in supervisory law, calm and level-headed even in controversial discussions.’

Key clients

Bankhaus von der Heydt GmbH & Co. KG

Companisto GmbH / Companisto Holding GmbH

Aescuvest international GmbH

CrowdDesk GmbH, Companisto GmbH

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management gGmbH

Spendit AG

Immutable Insight Capital Management GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advising Companisto GmbH/ Companisto Holding GmbH on the structuring and implementation of various equity financing models for companies to issue via a digital financing platform.
  • Advising aescuvest international GmbH  on the issuance of debt securities across Europe in connection with various start-ups.
  • Advising Frankfurt School of Finance and Management gGmbH on the structuring of a digitized financing platform for cross-border investments in renewable energy projects in emerging countries.

Linklaters

Linklaters assists banks, fintechs and tech companies with transactions, investments and cooperation agreements on one hand and with regulatory issues arising during the development of DLT-based products and platforms on the other. Managing associate and payment services regulatory law expert Florian Reul is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Florian Reul

Other key lawyers:

Andreas Dehio

Schalast Law | Tax

Schalast & Partner Rechtsanwälte is valued for its experience in structuring credit and factoring platforms; here, banking and finance practice group heads Andreas Walter and Alexander Gebhard, who made partner in January 2021, regularly lead. Additionally, the group assists fintech companies with various (crypto) permit issues, cooperation agreements and product launches. The practice's investment structuring expertise broadened with the arrival of Thorsten Voß from Fieldfisher in June 2020; he also advises fintechs on licensing procedures.

Practice head(s):

Andreas Walter

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Gebhard; Thorsten Voß

Testimonials

‘Very well-coordinated team.’

‘Alexander Gebhard is very solution-oriented and very experienced in the fintech sphere.’

‘Dr. Walter is our main contact at Schalast and is characterized by his very sound legal knowledge and the ability to present complex legal issues in an understandable way and with the necessary practical relevance. He is a sparring partner who reacts extremely quickly and is always looking for the ideal solution for his clients’ legal issues.’

‘Based on an extremely sound legal knowledge the team not only reacts to specific questions and legal problems, but also addresses topics whose importance you may not yet fully understand, but which absolutely must be addressed. The firm and the people involved are particularly characterized by the fact that client support is not limited to answering legal questions, but also ensures that practicality in the search for the right answer/solution is never neglected.’

Work highlights

  • Advising the Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on a legislative process to establish a Social Impacts Fund using credit from contactless accounts.
  • Advising LUKSO Blockchain GmbH on the successful execution of their Reversible Initial Coin Offering, the world’s first blockchain-based transaction of this kind.
  • Advising fintech company MYOS on all legal issues relating to their product; including most recently the product launch in the US, Austria, UK and China.