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Billionaire Fintech Entrepreneur Michael Gastauer Maintains Place Among Germany’s Richest Men

kokou adzo

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Fintech is easily one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. It is presently valued on the global market at over $3 trillion, and is also one of the most heavily invested in industries, with over $1.5 trillion in venture capital funding raised in the past decade.

Not surprisingly, many people have grown their wealth via fintech, and those deemed the richest have done more than use the evolving technology. As industry investors and innovators have defined and redefined fintech, they have found themselves earning prominence both in financial technology and their own financial earnings.

Someone who is both an investor and an innovator? Black Banx CEO Michael Gastauer.

Early Ventures and Entrepreneurial Drive

Gastauer’s foray into the finance industry began with the vigor and determination of a young and ambitious professional. He kick started his career at a Munich-based venture capital fund, where he honed his skills and gained invaluable insights into the world of finance and technology.

At the tender age of 24, Gastauer took a bold step by founding his first company—an asset management firm based in Switzerland. What sets this venture apart is the astonishing speed at which it grew. In less than three years, the company’s assets under management (AUM) soared to over US$ 1 billion. This remarkable achievement didn’t go unnoticed, and the firm was eventually acquired by a Swiss investment powerhouse for an impressive US$ 16 million.

Pioneering the Payment Processing Revolution

Gastauer’s journey of entrepreneurial success didn’t stop there. He ventured into the realm of online payment systems, aiming to provide global card acceptance and payment processing solutions tailored for the burgeoning eCommerce industry. It was a bold vision that would ultimately reshape the way businesses conducted financial transactions on a global scale.

Under Gastauer’s leadership, the company saw not just growth but sustained development and profitability. The business’s valuation skyrocketed to an astonishing €480 million, an achievement that would make anyone’s career. In 2008, Gastauer made yet another strategic move by selling the company, solidifying his status as a savvy entrepreneur.

The Birth of Gastauer Family Office

After the successful sale of his second business, Gastauer embarked on a new venture—the creation of the Gastauer Family Office (GFO). This single-family office would become a formidable entity in the financial world, managing billions worth in assets.

Through GFO, Michael Gastauer has earned and established an overall net worth of over US$11.4 billion, and stands firmly among the top 10 wealthiest people in his native-Germany.

It’s worth noting that the Gastauer Family Office isn’t just about wealth management; it also has a venture capital arm that actively invests in financial technology firms.

Redefining Global Digital Banking

Perhaps the pinnacle of Gastauer’s entrepreneurial journey is the establishment of Black Banx, a fintech company that has revolutionized the financial industry. Founded in 2014, Black Banx was Gastauer’s vision for a borderless financial system where money could flow freely, transcending geographical boundaries and making financial services accessible to all.

In 2015, Black Banx officially opened its doors to the public, and the response was nothing short of remarkable. Within its first year, the company had already amassed over 200,000 customers, a testament to the demand for its innovative services. What followed was a whirlwind of expansion and growth.

Operating in over 180 countries, Black Banx offers both private and business accounts in 28 FIAT currencies and 2 cryptocurrencies. This diversity of offerings simplifies cross-border transactions, making them as straightforward as local transactions for customers. The company’s commitment to providing accessible financial solutions has driven its rapid rise.

Continued Expansion and Record Growth

The years that followed Black Banx’s inception saw an astonishing trajectory of growth and expansion. In 2016, the company set up offices in the USA, UK, and Hong Kong, marking its global footprint. It was during this time that Black Banx introduced cryptocurrency as a deposit method, further diversifying its services and attracting a growing customer base, which reached 1 million by the end of the year.

The year 2017 was marked by another leap in Black Banx’s journey as it tripled its customer base to 3 million and expanded its operations with offices in Singapore, Brazil, India, and Russia. This global presence laid the foundation for the company’s vision of creating a worldwide banking ecosystem.

In 2018, Black Banx introduced a fully-fledged cryptocurrency trading platform with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) as core offerings. This move positioned the company at the forefront of the cryptocurrency revolution and attracted even more customers. To support its growing operations, Black Banx expanded its presence further by opening offices in Canada.

The year 2019 witnessed another phase of expansion, with Black Banx setting up offices in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. By this point, the company’s customer base had grown impressively, boasting as many as 8 million customers. The fintech disruptor was on a mission to redefine banking and finance on a global scale.

Navigating Through Economic Challenges

The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges to the global economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses struggled, but Black Banx was among the successful few that managed to thrive even in the face of adversity. During this challenging period, the company not only weathered the storm but also achieved significant milestones.

Black Banx seized the opportunity to officially launch in China, a move that would prove pivotal in its growth story. By the end of 2020, the company had exceeded 10.5 million customers, a remarkable feat considering the economic downturn affecting many industries.

Continued Expansion and Innovation

The year 2021 saw Black Banx expanding its reach even further, this time setting its sights on Japan. This strategic move was accompanied by an increase in the customer count to a staggering 12 million, cementing Black Banx’s position as a global fintech powerhouse.

As of the end of 2022, Black Banx’s financial performance was nothing short of spectacular. The company reported revenues of US$1.1 billion, a testament to its ability to navigate complex financial landscapes and deliver exceptional value to its customers. The total customer base had exceeded 22 million, a remarkable achievement in just eight years since its inception.

Fast forward to mid-2023, and Black Banx shows no signs of slowing down. The company has already added over 6 million customers, bringing its total customer base to an astounding 28 million. Revenue has seen a remarkable 47% increase, surging to US$997 million compared to US$680 million just six months earlier. This rapid growth underscores Black Banx’s ability to expand into new territories at an astonishing rate.

As Black Banx continues to surpass its prior milestones, the company is positioned to be among the headliners of fintech’s overall growth, bringing further value to GFO, and in effect further raising Michael Gastauer’s place among Germany’s elite.

Driving Innovation and Financial Inclusion

One of Michael Gastauer’s enduring legacies in the fintech industry is his commitment to innovation. He has consistently explored emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to reshape the financial sector. Gastauer’s ability to anticipate industry trends and leverage cutting-edge technology positions him as a pioneering force in fintech.

A notable achievement attributed to Gastauer and Black Banx is the revolutionization of cross-border payments. By harnessing advanced technology and forging intelligent partnerships, Black Banx eliminated the traditional barriers associated with international financial transactions. This innovation made international money transfers not only quicker but also more affordable for both consumers and businesses.

Furthermore, Gastauer’s dedication to financial inclusion is evident in Black Banx’s mission. The company aims to provide essential financial tools to the unbanked population, bridging the gap between them and traditional banking systems. This commitment has far-reaching implications, especially in regions with limited access to banking services. It opens doors to increased economic prospects for millions who were previously excluded from traditional banking systems.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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