Valentin Stalf was just 28 years old when he decided that the long-established and powerful financial industry to attack. In February 2013, the Austrian founded together with Maximilian Tayenthal the first for the Smartphone-optimized banking: N26. The claim: Bank transactions are not nervous, you need to go fast – all over the world. 2015 then followed the Launch with a checking account and Mastercard. In July 2016 granted to Bafin and the ECB, the Start-up of the full banking license.

this Thursday it actually looks after the two Berlin-based Start-up founder would come to your destination, a global digital deutsche Bank building, a significant step closer. Because the Start-up is moved up in the exclusive circle of the unicorns. The So-called young companies, which are valued by investors more than a billion dollars. Once investors had bought a share in the amount of eleven percent for 300 million, the value of the entire company at $ 2.7 billion. For comparison, investors in the Berlin Start-up rate is higher than the third-largest publicly traded Bank in Germany, the Wiesbaden-based Aareal Bank, which was established almost a century of real estate financing. N26 is on top of that, thanks to the new round of financing, the most valuable financial technology companies, in short, Fintech, Europe.

international investors pumping million into the young company, it is not surprising. For N26 is one of the few Apps from Germany, the large, international appeal. “If a Start-up from Germany has the potential to revolutionize Banking worldwide, then it is N26,” wrote Frank Thelen, a known Internet pioneer and Investor from the TV Show “the cave of The lion”, recently in the “Handelsblatt”. Founder Stalf have early recognized the need to adapt the stale financial services industry to our present time and needs.

Start-up wants to branch to a global market leader

in fact, the Smartphone has Long been our daily companion, nevertheless a lot of people go into a Bank to make a Transfer. It seems as N26’ve done, what traditional financial institutions is difficult: The App is intuitive, easy to use and significantly more stylish than the competition. N26 dispensed with a costly branch network and has no legacy IT infrastructure. This makes the checking account a lot more affordable than the traditional banks. According to N26, the Bank costs a customer just a sixth of what you must spend on traditional banks.

The digital Bank claims, your account model radically according to the needs of a young, digital-savvy target audience. Currently, she advertises with a large poster campaign in the main stations to customers, the Slogan of the Bank: “first Bank, you’re going to love.”

But consumer advocates fear that the rapid growth of the company could be gone at the expense of safety. A few months ago, several testers for the “economy had found out week” that customers will be able to open the N26 an account with a false passport, without that, the Bank realized it. The financial Supervisory authority Bafin reported, therefore, in the case of the Bank accounts under a false name often used by Criminals to launder money or to move illegal.

Also in terms of dealing with the customers, had to N26 corners already of criticism. In 2016, about the Bank caused a stir when they announced hundreds of clients in the account – presumably because they had to be withdrawn frequently from an ATM.

However, it seems that these stories of the Bank would not have been harmed so far: More than a Million customers N26 has, in the meantime, in Germany. And this year alone, N26 want in-chief of Stalf to double the number of customers. Globally, the company aims to be the market leader in mobile Banking. N26 is already active in 24 countries, soon the USA, Australia and Brazil are expected to follow.

However, Expansion and a lot of customers are not sufficient on duration alone, to the investors to satisfy, and to justify the billion valuation. Because, as each Bank must also earn N26 money. And since there is still. The digital Bank is currently money in the case of card transactions, offers paid premium accounts and want to sell it to customers easily via the App to other financial products such as funds and insurance companies.

Already this year, the company profit will be profitable. If everything goes smoothly, you could then start preparations for an IPO.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.