Smartphone bank N26 loses its head of Germany

Georg Hauer

From big to small fintech: N26’s Germany boss, Georg Hauer, is hired by Hawk AI, a specialist in money laundering prevention. He is a member of the management there.

(Photo: Marc-Steffen Unger for Handelsblatt)

Frankfurt Georg Hauer, the head of N26 in Germany, is leaving the company. The 34-year-old is switching to the Munich-based financial start-up (Fintech) Hawk AI. He will become one of three managing directors there on November 1st. Hawk AI offers financial service providers software for money laundering prevention and uses, among other things, artificial intelligence (AI).

Tobias Schweiger, boss and co-founder of Hawk AI, told the Handelsblatt: “Georg Hauer should increase the awareness of our company internationally and establish the brand.” In this role, Hauer should set up “structures and processes” for growth “prepare further capital rounds in good time”, said Schweiger.

Hauer is moving up to the top management ranks at Hawk AI, but will work for a much smaller company in the future. Hawk AI last collected fresh funds at the end of June and has been valued at 30 million euros since then, according to the “Finance Forward” industry service – the N26 smartphone bank is around 100 times as expensive. The valuation is $ 3.6 billion.

N26 is aiming for a new financing round, as it was said in mid-July. Financial sources said the company wanted to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. The valuation would then rise to eight to eleven billion dollars. When the talks would be concluded and N26 would receive fresh funds, however, was open, according to an insider at the time.

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N26 is one of the so-called smartphone banks, whose core offering is a banking app for the smartphone. They are also known as “neobanks”. N26 now has more than seven million customers, a large number of them in Germany. In 2019 and 2020, the fintech, which was founded in 2013, made high losses.

Advanced successor searches

In mid-August it became known that the bank apparently had major problems with accounts that may have been used for fraudulent purposes, for example for online fake shops or fraudulent Ebay accounts. In addition, the financial regulator Bafin is considering restricting new business from N26, as the Handelsblatt reported shortly afterwards. The authority is disgruntled that N26 has still not remedied serious deficiencies in the organization or in the fight against money laundering and other illegal transactions.

N26 stated that the search for a successor to Hauer was “already advanced”. “We would like to thank Georg Hauer for his extraordinary performance after almost four very successful years at N26 and wish him all the best for the start of his new professional career.”

Hawk AI is one of the highly specialized fintechs that does not address private customers, but banks and other financial institutions. The company develops and sells software that monitors transactions and detects suspected financial crime and money laundering at an early stage. Hawk AI has 40 employees, ten of whom are external and not employed.

The company does not reveal how many customers Hawk AI has. It has a location in New York, and developers from Vietnam also work for Hawk AI.

More: N26 co-boss Valentin Stalf: “Do even more in the fight against criminals.”

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