Our Members

We select a diverse mix of the world’s top startups, from early to later stages and handpicked established corporates, . Above all, we value the community-fit with utmost importance.
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Our Mentors

Without our mentors, our startups could not thrive. Our mentors share their industry experience with the community and help pave the road to success.
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Hackethal
    Prof. Dr. Andreas Hackethal
  • Christian Hoppe
    Christian Hoppe
  • Christian Sewing
    Christian Sewing
  • Corinna Sander
    Corinna Sander
  • Christopher Schmitz
    Christopher Schmitz
  • Dirk Elsner
    Dirk Elsner
  • Daniel Höfelmann
    Daniel Höfelmann
  • Dr. Lars Friedrich
    Dr. Lars Friedrich
  • Dr. Markus Pertlwieser
    Dr. Markus Pertlwieser
  • Dr. Michael Reckhard
    Dr. Michael Reckhard
  • Dr. Oliver Waldburg
    Dr. Oliver Waldburg
  • Eric Leupold
    Eric Leupold
  • Franz Welter
    Franz Welter
  • Dr. Gerhard Kebbel
    Dr. Gerhard Kebbel
  • Jörg Sandrock
    Jörg Sandrock
  • Michael Weidmann
    Michael Weidmann
  • Oliver Zimmermann
    Oliver Zimmermann
  • Sven Korschinowski
    Sven Korschinowski
  • Tomas Peeters
    Tomas Peeters

Our Partners

Not only do our partners provide financial support, they invest lots of time to meet with our startups. May it be technical services, advice, consulting or simple administrative support, they push for the success for each of our startups.
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Prof. Dr. Andreas Hackethal

Andreas is a Finance Professor at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He is a principal investigator at the research center SAFE, heads the University’s startup center and serves as a director of E-Finance Lab. From 2011 to 2015 he was the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration and now serves as the Dean of studies. His empirical research is on individual investment behavior, the role of financial advice and on financial innovations. Andreas is a member of the advisory council of the German Financial Supervisory Authority BAFIN and a member of the Exchange Experts Commission, which advises the German Federal Ministry of Finance. He won many teaching awards and regularly appears in national and international media. He co-founded the Roboadvisor vaamo and sits on two further supervisory boards of startups

Christian Hoppe

Christian Hoppe is the creative brain behind main incubator and driven by the passion to pave the way for the future of banking in times of digitalization. His drive also shows in his role as Head of Credit Solutions for Commerzbank’s SME Banking division.

Christian began his career as a Business and Financial Controller in Corporate Banking at Dresdner Bank, and was Credit Portfolio Manager at Dresdner Kleinwort.

He founded his first company at the age of just 21, and, alongside his banking career, he had been managing partner of a leading information platform for German corporate bonds. Christian has co-authored several articles and edited a number of reference books.

Christian Sewing

Christian Sewing, born in 1970, has been a member of the Management Board since January 1, 2015. He is responsible for Deutsche Bank’s Private, Wealth & Commercial Clients business.

Sewing joined Deutsche Bank in 1989. He was Head of Group Audit from June 2013 to February 2015, prior to which he held a number of management positions in Risk. From 2012 to 2013, he was Deputy Chief Risk Officer. From 2010 to 2012, he served as the Bank’s Chief Credit Officer. He has worked in Frankfurt, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto.

From 2005 until 2007, Sewing was a member of the Management Board of Deutsche Genossenschafts-Hypothekenbank.

Before graduating with a diploma from the Bankakademie Bielefeld and Hamburg, he completed a bank apprenticeship at Deutsche Bank in 1989.

Corinna Sander

Team leader Segment Control and development: Strategy & Innovation at Union Investment Privatfonds GmbH with a fairly large network in the cooperative financial network. MBA focusing on financial services and sustainability management. Mentor for innovation management and corporate development. Facilitator of agile innovation methods and creative techniques for business ideas and improvement of new business approaches.

Christopher Schmitz

Christopher Schmitz is a partner in EY’s Financial Services Transaction Advisory Services practice and has more than 20 years experience in advising Financial Services industry clients. Chris heads the Operational Transaction Services team in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Furthermore, he is the head of the German EY FinTech Team and the European EY payments team in transaction advisory and is the Frankfurt contact person for EY’s cross-industry start-up initiative. Before joining EY Chris gained experience in an international strategy consulting firm and at Deutsche Bank.

Dirk Elsner

Senior Manager Innovation and Digitization. Trained banker and business graduate. Specialist mentor for lending business, capital markets business, new technologies and business models, business planning and cooperation. In case of need and interest establishes contacts to specialist departments in the DZ BANK Group.

Daniel Höfelmann

In October 2016 Daniel was appointed Director Innovation Management at Aareal Bank Group in Wiesbaden. Daniel and his team are responsible for driving innovation and digitization projects, incl. ideation, scouting of new ideas, and prototyping.

After his studies at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Daniel held various positions at Credit Suisse in Zurich, Switzerland, and was one of the main drivers of the bank’s startup and innovation activities, such as partnering with Kickstart Accelerator, Swiss FinTech Innovations, and the relationship to Impact Hub. After 9 years Daniel returned back to Germany and is looking forward to help RheinMain in general and Frankfurt in particular thrive as a #FinTechCity.

Key interest topics of Daniel include FinTech, RegTech, PropTech and Digital Transformation. He is happy to help connecting startups both to the experts in Aareal Bank Group (incl. Aareon) and to startups, banks and experts in Switzerland.

Dr. Lars Friedrich

Lars Friedrich is head of Corporate Strategy at Commerzbank since 2014. He and his team monitors strategic market developments as well as conduct competitors analysis and support strategic projects. This includes the bank-wide coordination and acceleration of digitisation and innovation initiatives.

After joining Commerzbank in 2008 he was one of the responsible programme managers for the integration of Dresdner Bank and head of Customer Excellence for the group-wide quality and lean six sigma programme.

Lars started his career in 1998 with Accenture in the strategy consulting arm. Afterwards he changed to the client side as head of Corporate Development at SEB Germany from 2006 to 2008.

Dr. Markus Pertlwieser

Dr. Markus Pertlwieser is member of the Management Board Deutsche Bank Private- and Commercial Client AG as well as Chief Digital Officer (CDO) in the department Private, Wealth and Commercial Clients (PW&CC).

Dr. Pertlwieser completed his diploma in economic engineering at the University of Karlsruhe in 2000 and was awarded a PhD at the University of Kassel in 2004. From 2001 until 2008, Dr. Pertlwieser worked for McKinsey & Company Inc. with focus on the financials and services sector. Since 2008, he has held various management positions at Deutsche Bank.

In his current role, Dr. Pertlwieser heads the digital factory, owns the digitalization strategy, is responsible for digital transformation of the business model and the delivery of the digital roadmap of PW&CC.

Dr. Michael Reckhard

Dr. Michael Reckhard is a member of the Management Board of Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturbank Hessen (WIBank). He completed his legal studies in Hamburg and finished his PhD in International Law at Philipps-University Marburg. Prior to joining WIBank in 2003, he worked for the United Nations in New York. Reckhard is responsible for the promotion of economic development, treasury, strategic affairs and European Structural Funds. Currently, he focuses on the digital transformation of the business environment and funding of start-ups.

Dr. Oliver Waldburg

Oliver is a German Rechtsanwalt in the banking and finance practice. He gained broad experience regarding different types of financings.

Oliver is steering Allen & Overy’s fintech initiative in Germany. He is experienced in setting up internet platforms for finance providers and financial activities. Together with our multi-disciplinary fintech team he advises on new business models and the legal challenges, primarily regulatory requirements and data protection regulations. Clients include start-ups, mid- and medium-sized as well as leading German credit institutions and securities dealers.

Eric Leupold

Eric Leupold has been with Deutsche Börse Group since August 2009. From January 2014 to March 2016 he was Head of the “Issuer & Primary Market Relations” section. As of May 2016 Eric is Head of Department “Pre-IPO & Capital Markets”. He started at Deutsche Börse Group Compliance section, where amongst other things he was responsible for both the avoidance of insider trading and for compliance training sessions.

Eric Leupold ist seit August 2009 bei der Gruppe Deutsche Börse tätig. Von Januar 2014 bis März 2016 leitete er die Section „Issuer & Primary Market Relations“. Seit Mai 2016 leitet er als Head of Department die Abteilung „Pre-IPO & Capital Markets“. Zuvor arbeitete er im Bereich Group Compliance der Deutsche Börse AG, wo er unter anderem für die Vermeidung von Insiderhandel und Compliance Trainings verantwortlich war.

Franz Welter

Head of Department Innovation and Digitization at DZ BANK. Information Technology Manager, BBA, MBA focusing on financial services industry and Certified Manager of Banking (ADG/SHB). Specialist mentor for innovation management, creativity techniques, corporate entrepreneurship, corporate venturing and the development of innovative ideas
In case of need and interest establishes contacts to specialist departments in the DZ BANK Group.

Dr. Gerhard Kebbel

Gerhard Kebbel is a Managing Director at Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen and is responsible for the digitization project in the bank. Before that, he was a consultant at KPMG in the area strategic management consulting for financial services companies between 2013 and beginning of 2016, and at BCG in the same areas for seven years until 2003. Between 2003 and 2013, he worked in various positions at Eurohypo and Commerzbank, always focusing on strategic development and restructuring.

Jörg Sandrock

Jörg Sandrock is a partner in PwC Strategy&’s Financial Services Practice and leads the digital platform in Europe. Prior consulting he worked for 4 years at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and San Francisco as a Think Tank for Deutsche Bank’s IT department and a corporate venture fund. Jörg finished his PhD and his diploma in Business Engineering at the University of Karlsruhe. Holding 14 years of experience in Financial Services Jörg advises senior executives on strategic issues such as innovation strategy and the strategic use of technology to achieve business and growth objectives.

Michael Weidmann

Michael Weidmann is a member of the board and the Chief Sales Officer at Sparda-Bank Hessen eG in Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

In his more than twenty years of being with Sparda-Bank Hessen eG Michael Weidmann has been instrumental in growing the bank into the modern banking facility it is today. He has played an important part in implementing digitalization throughout the bank. His very close relationship to the bank and value-based customer orientation are characteristic of Mr. Weidmann.

Michael Weidmann is a firm believer in allowing dedicated and promising junior staff the room to grow and further their careers, very much like the opportunity he was provided when he started with the bank many years ago as a young trainee.

Oliver Zimmermann

Oliver Zimmermann is Head of Financial Services/ Business & Platform Solutions Atos Germany. He is responsible to define and execute the Go to Market strategy in this area and therefore also is building up and maintaining a network of partners such as Fintechs/ Insurtechs. Oliver studied Business Administration and Computer Science at University of Technology Darmstadt and started his sales carrer in Financial Services 21 years ago. Before joining Atos he held global and local management positions for other global IT Enterprises.

Sven Korschinowski

Sven Korschinowski leads the “Payment, FinTech & Innovation” Consulting solution as a partner of KPMG. Since 2008 he is a consultant at KPMG in the areas payments, mobile payment and digital transformation. Over the last years he focused his attention on the area of FinTech and payments. He advises companies as well as banks in strategic M&A-Deals of Payment-FinTechs.

Furthermore he is consulting FinTech startups, develops mobile payment strategies and business transformations (B2C, C2B, B2B). His extended knowledge in the field allows him to participate as speaker on events, where he talks about the current developments in the FinTech and payments sector. He also is blogging on various means of social media to topics as FinTech, Banks, Regulatory and Consulting etc.

Tomas Peeters

In March 2014 Tomas Peeters was appointed Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) for ING-DiBa, next to his responsibilities as COO for ING Commercial Banking Germany.

His career at ING-DiBa started in 2002 as a project manager followed by a new role as a Department Head in Mortgage Operations. In 2006 became Head of Project Management of ING-DiBa and end of 2007 he was appointed as “Vice President Investment Products” at ING Direct in Italy. Tomas worked in Italy as COO (VP Operations) and interim CIO as part of the senior management team. After four years at ING Direct Italy he returned in 2011 to Germany, where he is, next to his COO function at ING Commercial Banking, responsible for the development of the strategy of ING-DiBa.

Key themes of interest for Tomas are: digitalization of End-to-End Processes, the Transformation of banking and Fintechs.

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