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Leadership Lessons from German Billionaire

kokou adzo



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A CEO’s job isn’t easy. It is an intricate job of leadership and decision-making. This role demands a nuanced understanding of the industry, a strategic vision that navigates the complexities of the market, and the ability to steer a company through challenges.

The entrepreneurial journey of German billionaire Michael Gastauer is marked by transformative ventures and a commitment to revolutionize the fintech landscape. With a net worth of US$11.4 billion, Gastauer has made a significant impact in the financial industry, particularly through his leadership at Black Banx.

His success as a CEO and his emphasis on innovation and strategic vision offer valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders. Let’s lowdown on what it takes to be a leader for the digital banking platform Black Banx.

Embrace entrepreneurial thinking

Gastauer started his first company at the age of 24 and has since built a successful career in the financial sector.

In 1999, Gastauer, fresh out of university, began his journey at Gorilla Park, a Munich-based startup incubator, where he played a key role in establishing their Zurich office.

In 2001, Gastauer and three partners founded a Zurich-based asset management company. Within three years, a portion of the business was sold to a German hedge fund, eventually fetching $15 million from a Swiss investment firm.

In 2003, Gastauer set his sights on e-commerce payments, creating a global platform for card payments. Breaking ground in high-risk online industries like gambling and adult entertainment, the business expanded globally, reaching a valuation of $480 million before being acquired by an Asian Banking Group in 2008.

Undeterred by success, Gastauer founded his family office, GFO (Gastauer Family Office), in 2008, where he has served as President since.

Don’t be afraid to start

Despite the achievements, Gastauer did not stop from finding greater heights. He started his brainchild Black Banx in 2015.

Black Banx is different from regular banks. It is faster, easier to use, and safer than older options. It lets you move money without any limits, so you can send and get payments fast, whether it’s local or from around the world.

It keeps its customers handle money in different types of currency, including cryptocurrencies. These services are available for both regular folks and businesses.

Black Banx has cool things like no monthly fees or hidden charges. It lets you send money internationally right away and has a built-in tool to track spending and keep your money in check. It’s banking that’s simple, fast, and doesn’t sneak in extra charges.

These make them successful. Starting with 200,000 customers in 2015, Black Banx has grown remarkably, now serving 33 million clients this year. This growth in less than a decade showcases its significant impact on the fintech sector, challenging norms and introducing innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of people and businesses globally.

Have clear vision and strategy

Gastauer’s vision for Black Banx was crystal clear: he aimed to establish a universally accessible financial service that catered to both well-developed economies and underbanked countries.

With a strategic focus on inclusivity, his goal was to provide financial services that transcended geographical and economic boundaries, ensuring that individuals from all walks of life could benefit from the offerings of Black Banx. This commitment to a broad and inclusive vision reflects Gastauer’s dedication to bridging the financial gap on a global scale.

The swift and efficient payment processing of Black Banx significantly contributed to the company’s impressive pre-tax profit of USD 158 million this year. This marks the highest figure in the past nine months since 2015.

By connecting people and businesses globally, it got USD 9.8 billion in net inflows, and the money it manages for private clients has gone up to a remarkable USD 21.8 billion.

Innovate and adapt

Under Gastauer’s leadership, Black Banx has introduced innovative financial services, profitable strategic alliances, and adaptable solutions to address financial challenges.

Black Banx’s success is rooted in its advanced technology. Gastauer and his team used artificial intelligence and blockchain to build a strong and secure financial system.

The technology not only makes the platform efficient but also protects user data and transactions. In a time when cyber threats are a big concern, Black Banx stands out as a reliable and secure place for transactions.

Even though it’s relatively new in fintech, Gastauer is still pushing ahead in changing finance using technologies like blockchain and machine learning.

Maintain a strong company culture

Gastauer’s leadership has been instrumental in Black Banx’s success, as he has been able to create a positive and innovative work environment that attracts top talent.

Black Banx is actively reducing its global office space through the implementation of the “Work from Anywhere” program, an initiative aimed at diminishing its economic footprint and achieving a net-zero emissions goal.

This program allows employees to work from any country, regardless of whether Black Banx has a physical office in that location. By doing so, the company is creating more opportunities for job applicants, emphasizing inclusivity irrespective of nationality or country of residence.

Despite already boasting a diverse mix of genders and races, Black Banx has set a target to expand its global workforce to 8,000 employees by the end of 2025. The company is committed to further diversification, aiming for a minimum of 40% representation of females and an increasing proportion of women in leadership roles.

Black Banx key priorities encompass diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity, and non-discrimination, all anchored in a foundation of mutual respect for building trust and effective partnerships. The company upholds these values in their Culture and Code of Conduct and employment policies, emphasizing social equality and their commitment to racial and gender equality.

Michael Gastauer’s leadership is the secret behind Black Banx’s success. His vision, entrepreneurship, and commitment to change drive the company’s thriving journey in finance and technology. Despite big wins, Gastauer isn’t slowing down; his passion keeps pushing for innovation and fuels him to move for greater heights.


Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of 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

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