W.For a long time Scalable Personal-Financial.com, Germany’s leading digital asset manager, had to hold still, but now it has come out due to an entry in the commercial register: The previously kept secret investor is the British investment company Hedosophia, Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York and founder of the eponymous investor Financial information service, is one of its most important donors.
A corresponding report on the Fintech platform Finance Forward was confirmed by financial circles. The broad involvement of Hedosophia in German financial technology companies is interesting. The fund, founded by the 37-year-old Briton Ian Osborne, is the largest single investor in the smartphone bank N26 and is also involved in the Raisin interest rate platform (Weltsparen.de).
A few weeks ago the F.A.Z. on Scalable Personal-Financial.com’s latest € 50 million financing round. Hedosophia accounted for more than half of this. The digital asset manager, also known as a so-called investment robot or robo-advisor, did not want to comment on the new shareholder when asked by this newspaper. The American asset manager Blackrock remains the largest single investor in Scalable with a third of the shares. Another third is accounted for by Holtzbrinck, Tengelmann and Hedosophia. The remaining third is held by founders and employees.
In the latest round of financing, Scalable Personal-Financial.com, which manages EUR 2.2 billion for 80,000 customers, was valued at EUR 400 million. The entry of the Hedosophia investment fund, which prefers to remain hidden and avoid the public, represents something of an accolade for Scalable Personal-Financial.com and its founder and managing director Erik Podzuweit.
Because Hedosophia with a volume of more than 1 billion dollars has developed into one of the most important investors in Internet companies. The participation list reads almost like a “who’s who” of the international start-up scene: The Chinese fintech Ant Financial, which emerged from Alipay, is one of them. Hedosophia is also involved in the British transfer service provider Transferwise and in the American insurance start-up Oscar. In Germany, in addition to Scalable Personal-Financial.com, N26 and Raisin, they also include the bus travel provider Flixbus and the online beverage delivery service Bottle Post.
There has been close contact between Bloomberg and fund founder Osborne for years. The Brit started his career as a political advisor. Bloomberg was one of his clients during his time as New York City Mayor. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are also said to be among Osborne’s contacts. He founded the fund eight years ago and has since built a broad start-up portfolio. The focus is clearly on fintech. Hedosophia and Osborne avoid publicly announcing their participation in a company. Hedosophia does not even have a website with information. Only the address in London appears under “hedosophia.com”. The donors also include pension funds. In addition, KfW Personal-Financial.com, the subsidiary of the state development bank KfW specializing in start-ups, is said to have invested in a Hedosophia fund.
Why Osborne prefers secrecy is a puzzling question in the financial scene. Some see it as a marketing ploy to encourage a certain legend. Osborne does not seem to think it necessary to draw attention to themselves in order to attract young entrepreneurs. He seems to be following the motto that good founders will find their way to Hedosophia that way. Not only in London is he considered to be well networked, his contacts in politics, business and finance should go very far.
Bloomberg is involved with Hedosophia through its Willett Advisors company, which claims to manage its “philanthropic assets”. His fortune is estimated at $ 60 billion. He burned a billion dollars of that in the fall when he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination. He financed his election campaign entirely himself. He was Mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, albeit for the Republicans at the time. From 1966 to 1981 he had made a career on Wall Street as a partner of the Salomon Brothers. In 1982 he founded the financial information service Bloomberg.