Austria Digital Banking

Part
01
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Part
01

English Usage: Austria

Austria has a very high level of proficiency according to the EF English Proficiency Index 2018 and has around 6.4 million Austrians that use it as a second language. Only 0.16% of people in Austria use it as a mother tongue, while 40.48% use it as a foreign language. Vienna is the city with the highest level of proficiency and the best-ranked region is Wien. English is commonly used for business, but people in Austria are often not comfortable speaking English. There are a lot of ads in Austria that use the English language, but only around 8.05% of news and media sources are available in English.

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY LEVEL IN AUSTRIA

  • According to the EF EPI 2018 Austria has a very high level of proficiency and was ranked 12th among 88 countries with a score of 63.13.
  • Cities that have the highest proficiency levels are Vienna, Graz and Linz, while the top-ranked regions are Wien, Steiermark and Salzburg.
  • The female population has a slightly better knowledge of English with a score of 64.40 vs. men who have a score of 61.88 as stated by EF EPI.

ENGLISH AS A MOTHER TONGUE OR SECOND LANGUAGE

USE OF ENGLISH IN BUSINESS, ADVERTISING AND MEDIA

  • English is commonly used in business communication in Austria.
  • German is the preferred business language in Austria, but "most upper level managers are quite capable of carrying on a conversation in English". It is recommended to hire an interpreter in order to "avoid any misunderstandings".
  • Austrians are often not comfortable speaking English and they will respect if you try to learn their language.
  • There are a lot of English-speaking jobs available as well as websites with listings in English for all job types across Austria.
  • Government of Austria, Study in Austria and some popular news and magazines such as the Local have a translation in English.
  • Only 7 out of 87 outlets are available in English according to a list of news and media sources in Austria. Based on this information there are merely 8.05% (7/87x100) of the country's news and media sources available in English.
  • According to the Ads of the World, there are a number of ads in Austria that are in the English language. Austrian Airlines campaign “Waltz into the World” is an example of advertising in Austria that uses English words.
Part
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Part
02

Registering a New Company: Austria

Starting a business in Austria is relatively easy compared to other countries, and setting up a bank account takes only up to one day, once relevant documentation is provided and fees are paid. However, setting up a business in Austria requires paying specific attention to the high degree of regulation within the country.

STARTING A BUSINESS — OVERVIEW

  • Starting a business in Austria takes between 20 and 26 days.
  • A business name must be reserved online.
  • Depending on the nationality of the business owners/partners, passports and ID must be notarized.
  • A lease contract which proves the presence of the company will have within Austria must also be available.
  • The statutory documents of the business (Memorandum and Articles of Association) must be drafted and notarized.
  • The documents are then processed by the Trade Register for approval.
  • A corporate bank account must be opened.
  • The business details and documentation must be cleared by the Austrian Economic Chamber.
  • Registration with the tax authorities is the longest part of the process, and can take up to two weeks.
  • Employees must be registered for social security, and the business must be registered with the municipality.
  • The business must apply for its business license. A sole proprietorship and any partnership being set up in Austria will require the services of a statutory manager for this purpose.

SETTING UP A BUSINESS ACCOUNT

  • Business owners of a corporate entity (in this case, a partnership) in Austria are required to open a business account within Austria to deposit initial capital and help keep track of income, expenditure and taxation.
  • Once supporting documents (company documents, signature specimen and identification of directors and legal representatives) and fees are available and presented to a selected bank, opening a corporate bank account will take up to one day only.
  • Opening a bank account online is allowed by some banks in Austria. While the process is still very straightforward, non-resident expatriates might have limited services provided by local banks due to legislation, and will have to ensure that the bank of their choice is able to meet their needs.

COMFORTS & CHALLENGES

  • Austria is ranked 26 on the Doing Business 2019 Ease of Doing Business Score, higher than the regional average, and ahead of countries such as France, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
  • Generally, Austria is considered very conducive to foreign investors in terms of business. The Austrian government is supportive, and has made it a goal to reduce the tax rate to support this and make the business environment even more friendly to investors.
  • Although conducive, one challenge in conducting business in Austria is regulation. Austrian business processes are highly regulated, often in addition to EU minimum standards.
  • Any business partners in Austria will request extensive information about the products being considered.
  • While this is not an immediate concern, it is worthy of note that Austrians are generally a risk-averse people. This makes it difficult to introduce new businesses and their innovations to market.

A BRICK & MORTAR STORE VS. AN ONLINE BUSINESS

  • In both cases of setting up a store/shop and an online business in Austria, the business owners will be required to register a company and open a foreign account. However, there are slight differences in the reasons for doing such. There are also differences where legislation is concerned.
  • An online business is required to do the above in order to be in line with most regular legislation as well as to set up a merchant account for online payments.
  • A brick and mortar store does not need a merchant account, but will need to go through the company formation process to get a VAT number, which is considered essential.
  • When setting up an online store in Austria, founders will need to be cognizant of the E-commerce Act, the Electronic Signature Law, the Contract Law and the Intellectual Property Law, among others.
  • With regard to brick and mortar stores, there is not much overlap here with the online store, but the Commercial Law in Austria is important.
Part
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Part
03

Digital Banking: Austria

About 58% of individuals in Austria use internet banking. Online banking services in Austria are commonly accessed directly through websites. Users require pre-allocated TAN codes to complete secure money transfers.

DIGITAL BANKING POPULARITY IN THE AUSTRIA

  • Austria is experiencing a steady adoption of digital banking, 22% of individuals in Austria used internet banking in 2015 as compared to 58% percent in 2018.
  • About one-half of Austrians use Contactless payments.
  • According to previous OeNB survey, about 7% of Austrians used online banking in 2000 compared to 58% in 2018.
  • About 70% of Austrian Internet users conduct online banking.
  • In 2018, 58 percent of all people used the internet for online banking, "but usage was higher among those who had used the internet within the last three months, at 67 percent."
  • According to Internetlivestats, Austria had 6,953,400 active internet users in 2016.
  • Austria Card payments are on the rise, representing 40% of cashless transactions.
  • In 2018, Austria ranked 16th place in the EU online banking services.
  • Austria has five million online banking customers.
  • One of the most acknowledged digital banking platforms George developed by Erste Group has about one million users in Austria.

ACCESS TO DIGITAL BANKING IN AUSTRIA

  • Online banking services in Austria are commonly accessed directly through websites. Users require pre-allocated TAN codes to complete secure money transfers.
  • Around 38% of online banking users conduct online banking using a desktop computer or a notebook while already 62% use a smartphone or a tablet.
  • According to a recent survey, roughly 52% of online banking users access online banking services via a web browser, 33% use a web browser and banking apps, 11% exclusively use banking apps and 3.8% use specialized programs.
Part
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Part
04

Apple Pay Statistics: Austria

Although there is limited availability of data points related to Apple Pay usage in Austria, we found that Apple Pay is accepted by Avia, Back Wark, Billa, Burger King, Douglas, and tens of thousands more merchants in Austria.

APPLE PAY USAGE IN AUSTRIA

OTHER RELATED DATA

  • In 2019, the total transaction value involving mobile POS payments in Austria amounts to €132 million, while the average transaction value per user is €1,060.5.
  • There are about 0.1 million mobile POS payments users in Austria.
  • A PwC study revealed that about 32% of transactions in Austria are done via mobile payments on smartphones and tablets. Twenty-two percent of total mobile payment transactions are for clothes, shoes, and accessories purchase, 20% are for money transfer, while 19% are for utility payments.
  • Ninety-eight percent of Austrians are of the opinion that cash payments will still be used in the country in the next five years.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To provide statistics on the usage of Apple Pay in Austria, we commenced our research with a thorough search on official reports, press releases, and the website of Apple Inc. in Austria. This search attempt only provided insight into the banks that support Apple Pay and a select number of merchants in the country.

Our next approach was to search on credible payment statistical databases such as the Central Bank of Austria, the European Central Bank, PWC, among others. While these sources provide information related to digital payments in Austria, there was no data or information specific to Apple Pay.
We also searched for articles and expert analysis for any useful data point on the usage of Apple Pay in Austria. In the course of our research, we found that Apple Pay was launched in Austria in April 2019. We deduced that the newness of the product in the country is likely the reason for the unavailability of data points related to its usage in the country.
With the knowledge that pre-compiled data has likely not been computed, we resorted to triangulation. First, we searched for information on the general transaction value, volume, and the number of users of mobile payment, as well as the market share of Apple Pay in Austria. We hoped to utilize these data points to estimated data for Apple Pay in the country. While we found the total mobile transaction value of Apple Pay in the country, the market share of Apple Pay in the country was largely unavailable. This is probably because of its relative newness compared to other options in the country. Hence, we could not proceed with our triangulation attempt.
Part
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Part
05

Co-Working Space: Austria

DAS PACKHAUS, Funkensprung, and Regus are the only co-working space providers with at least three co-working locations in Austria.

CO-WORKING SPACES IN AUSTRIA

  • As of 2017, the total number of co-working spaces in Austria was 130, up from 46 in 2015.
  • The major co-working space providers with at least three locations in Austria include DAS PACKHAUS, Funkensprung, and Regus.

1. DAS PACKHAUS

2. FUNKENSPRUNG

3. REGUS


RESEARCH STRATEGY

We began our search by looking for a precompiled list of co-working space providers in Austria. We hoped to locate them and carry out further research on the companies to determine those with at least three locations in the country. However, our search only returned lists of top/best co-working spaces in the region. The sites visited include EU-Startups, Metropole, and Deskbookers, among others. A report from Metropole provided some insights into the number of co-working spaces in Austria as of 2017.

Thus, we decided to search for co-working directories which would provide the available co-working spaces in the region. From there, we hoped to find filters that would help to narrow the search to companies with at least three locations in Austria. We visited Coworker.com and found a list of all co-working spaces operating in Austria. Previously, we stumbled upon a report by ABA which listed some top co-working service providers in the country. As we reviewed the list provided by Coworker.com, we identified some of those companies, but upon further research, we found that most had only one location in Austria. For example, SPACES, a company on the list, has only one location in Austria but plans to set up two other locations in October and December 2019.

After researching the 100+ co-working space providers on the list provided by Coworker.com, we found three companies that have at least three locations in Austria.
Part
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Part
06

Google Pay Statistics: Austria

A deep search in the public domain shows that Google Pay is not available in Austria. Below are the helpful findings pertaining to the topic of research.

Helpful Findings

  • According to the official Google page, Google Pay is not available in Austria. Currently, Google Pay is only available in Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, UK, and Italy.
  • Some people in Austria are trying workarounds, such as using Revoult accounts and alternative app stores to access the service or by connecting their Boon account to Google Pay through an updated version.
  • However, the Boon Austrian site does not include Google Pay as a supported payment method. The site only shows options for Apple Pay, Fitbit pay, Garmin Pau, Swatch Pay, and Wena.
  • Another alternative is a DKB account, the German bank started to work with Google Pay in May 2019 and it serves 30,000 Austrians, however, the app still needs to be downloaded from an alternative marketplace.
  • As of April 2019, the major banks in Austria had no current plans to work with Google Pay, and Google stated that there were currently no concrete plans to launch Google Pay in Austria.

Austrians and Mobile Payments

  • A survey conducted by PwC showed that 7 out of 10 Austrians under the age of 40 intends to use mobile payment in the next five years.
  • Penetration rates of mobile payments are still low in Austria, with only 32% penetration. Also, mobile payments are likely to complement traditional payments rather than replacing them.
  • The use of mobile payments ranges from 22% to 11% across 16 different categories with taxi journeys having the lowest use (11%) while buying clothes having the highest use (22%).
  • Forty-one percent of respondents have never made a mobile payment in Austria, 39% have concerns about data protection, and 36% said they don’t need it and prefer paying cash.
  • Also, 77% of participants worry about their phone being stolen and misused during the payments, 71% have concerns about their personal information and identity theft, while 73% said it enables them to buy/purchase products more quickly.
  • When it comes to how Google is perceived, 54% of respondents find Google to be innovative and progressive, 51% find it competent, while 11% believe their data is secure with the company.
  • As for their personal information, 77% of Austrians would feel comfortable sharing their personal data with the banks, while 33% prefer to share their information only with Google.

Research Strategy:

We started our research by looking for information about the number of Google Pay users in Austria. We first conducted this research in English, but we could not find a lot of relevant information, so we switched to German, hoping that by performing the research in the country’s official language, we would get better results. The research in German led us to several articles stating that Google Pay is not available in Austria. To confirm this information, we went to the official Google Pay page and we could find that Austria is not listed as one of the countries where the service is available (it's only listed as one of the countries that have access to Google Play).
To provide further insights, we scoured through several articles in German to find possible alternative ways to use Google Pay in Austria. We could find some unofficial and uncredible ways on how to use Google Pay in the country. The very nature of some of these detours makes it difficult to provide hard data about the number of users that may be using Google Pay in Austria through unofficial methods. The most official way we could find is for those with DKB accounts (around 30,000 Austrians), but information about how many of those users are connecting their account to Google Pay is not available, probably due to the fact that in order to use this option, they have to download the Google Pay app from an alternative marketplace such as APK Mirror.


Part
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Part
07

Digital Banking By Industry: Austria

No information was available on the industries that have most embraced digital banking services in Austria. Below is an overview of the information that was available.

Helpful Findings

  • The biggest industries in Austria are the food and beverage industry, the assembly and construction industry, the chemistry and automotive industry, the electronics industry, and the carpentry and paper industry.
  • The industries that are using digital solutions the most in Austria are the insurance and banking industry, the information and consulting industry, the tourism and leisure industry, the retail industry, the manufacturing industry, the craftsmanship industry, and the transport industry.
  • In Austria, more than 30% of businesses in the customer relations industry use digital services to do business. Twenty-five percent of businesses in the product and services and workplace sector rely on digital solutions to do business, and around 22% of businesses in the operations sector use digital solutions, which is a decrease compared to 2017.
  • Most businesses in Austria report privacy policy regulations (2018 Datenschutzgrundverordnung) as the main reason preventing them from implementing digital solutions.
  • Twenty-two percent of businesses in the insurance and banking industry and 17% of businesses in the consulting industry report digital solutions have helped them gain a head start over their competitors, while 6% of businesses in the craftsmanship and 4% of businesses in the transport industry have reported the same.
  • Forty-two percent of businesses in the craftsmanship and transport industries have reported they do not intend to implement new digital solutions in their processes, while only 27% of those in the manufacturing industry have said the same.
  • In 2018, 34% of businesses in Austria have reported they are planning to implement internet banking in their processes in the next 12 months, 22% have reported they are planning to start using electronic billing services, 21% have reported they are planning to start using cloud-based services, and 16% have said they are planning to start using accounting software.

Research Strategy

We commenced our research by searching for local business and banking industry publications (on sites such as Diepresse, Kurier). We had hoped to find reports on industries that are increasing their usage of digital banking in Austria. However, we could find no reports that focus on industries that have most embraced digital banking services. What was available was reports on the general digitalization of industries globally and future predictions for the Austrian banking industry.

Next, we searched governmental and research sources (such as the website of the government of Austria, WKO, Verband der Marketforscher Oesterreich (VMOE)) for relevant studies. We had hoped to find quantitative data on the topic such as "85% of businesses in the XYZ industry use digital-only banking services". No studies focused specifically on this topic. While reports on digitalization across industries in Austria were available, they did not focus specifically on the implementation digital banking services across industries but on topics such as the number of businesses per industry that are increasingly using technology in their business processes.

Next, we decided to identify the biggest industries in the country and look through local industry analyses to determine which industry mentioned an increased demand for digital banking services. We found the biggest industries in the country on the website of Advantage Austria. We then searched for industry reports for each identified industry hoping to determine if there was an increase in demand for digital banking services in that specific industry. Unfortunately, we found no relevant information in these reports because they focused on industry trends such as the increase in small businesses in the industry, the increasing demand for eco-friendly equipment and other irrelevant topics.

We also searched for lists of digital-only banks in Austria to look through their business filings and see which business lines use their services the most. We searched for digital-only banks, in industry-specific publications (such as OENB, Banken Verband), but failed to locate any relevant lists or mentions of digital-only banks. Nevertheless, we also looked into business reports of banks that provide both digital and traditional services in Austria, such as Raiffeisen Bank, Austrian National Bank, Erste Bank and so on. No relevant insights were found in these banks' business reports, the available information was on topics such as the concentration of risks per industry ("Risikokonzentrationen").

Last, we searched for information on industries that use fintech the most as we saw fintech as a proxy for digital banking services. To find reports on this topic, we searched publications that focus on fintech (such as Finanz Markt Aufsicht (FMA) and Fintech Austria). The information found focused on the implementation and importance of fintech within the financial industry rather than the industries that are increasingly using fintech. Even after searching for industries that have most implemented fintech as a proxy, no relevant insights were found.


Part
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Part
08

Business Statistics: Austria

In 2017, Austria had 332,062 registered businesses, comprising about 73.6% of businesses registered as a sole-proprietorship business. Medium-sized companies with less than 250 employees and €50 million annual turnovers include about 1.6% of all businesses in Austria. In 2018, about 38,327 new businesses were registered in Austria.

TOTAL NUMBER OF BUSINESSES IN AUSTRIA

According to a 2018 report by the European Commission, the total number of businesses in Austria in 2017-18 were as follows:
  • Micro-sized businesses — 289,698 entities were comprising about 87.2% of all businesses in Austria.
  • Small-sized businesses — 35,924 entities were comprising about 10.8% of all businesses in Austria.
  • Medium-sized businesses — 5,320 entities were comprising about 1.6% of all businesses in Austria.
  • SMEs total — 330,942 businesses were comprising about 99.7% of all businesses in Austria.
  • Large businesses — 1,120 entities were comprising about 0.3 % of all businesses in Austria.
  • The total number of businesses in Austria were 332,062.


PROPORTION OF BUSINESSES BY EMPLOYEE SIZE

SOLE-PROPRIETORSHIP BUSINESSES
  • According to WKO statistics, the percentage of sole-proprietorship businesses of all the businesses in Austria stood at 73.6%. Additionally, the sole-proprietorship and GmbH businesses form about 95.13% or 315,900 businesses of all businesses in Austria.
BUSINESS SIZE: LESS THAN 10 EMPLOYEES
  • Micro-sized businesses with less than 10 employees comprise about 87.2% of all businesses in Austria. In 2017, the segment employed about 718,484 people comprising about 25.4% of all employed workforce.
BUSINESS SIZE: 10-50 EMPLOYEES
  • Small-sized businesses with less than 50 employees comprise about 10.8% of all businesses in Austria. In 2017, the segment employed about 681,414 people comprising about 24.1% of all employed workforce.
BUSINESS SIZE: 50-250 EMPLOYEES
  • Medium-sized businesses with less than 250 employees comprise about 1.6% of all businesses in Austria. In 2017, the segment employed about 532,554 people comprising about 18.8% of all employed workforce.
BUSINESS SIZE: MORE THAN 250 EMPLOYEES
  • Large businesses with more than 250 employees comprise about 0.3 % of all businesses in Austria. In 2017, the segment employed about 895,569 people comprising about 31.7% of all employed workforce.


PROPORTION OF BUSINESSES BY ANNUAL TURNOVER

  • In Austria, the classification of companies by annual turnover is in accordance to the European Commission's guidelines, i.e., micro-sized businesses with less than €2 million annual turnovers; small-sized businesses with less than €10 million yearly turnovers; and medium-sized businesses with less than €50 million yearly turnovers.
  • The total number of businesses in Austria that have annual turnover below €50 million comprise about 99.7% of all businesses in Austria; while the businesses with less than €2 million annual turnovers comprise approximately 87.2% of all businesses in Austria.


NUMBER OF NEW BUSINESSES STARTED IN RECENT YEARS

  • According to recent reports by the WKÖ Statistic 2018, the total number of new businesses started in Austria in 2018 stood at 38,327.
  • Alternatively, recent reports by the European Commission states that the number of businesses in Austria in 2017 and 2018 were 326,505 and 332,062 businesses respectively, registering a net increase of 5,557 businesses over the preceding year.

Part
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Part
09

FinTech Companies: Austria

No FinTech companies in Austria received Series A, B, C or D funding in 2018 or 2019. The only FinTech company in Austria to have ever received Series A, B, C or D funding is wikifolio. Bitpanda launched an Initial Coin Offering instead of a venture funding round, but it was included here because of the significant funding amount that is typical of later-stage venture funding. kompany raised an undisclosed funding round that might or might not be Series A, B, C or D.

COMPANIES THAT DO NOT FIT ALL CRITERIA

WIKIFOLIO

  • wikifolio is a social trading platform. Traders can turn their portfolios into "wikifolios", and then other investors can invest in those portfolios through the wikifolio trading platform.
  • wikifolio is the only FinTech company in Austria to have ever received Series A, B, C or D funding. It closed a Series B funding round (on 6/1/2017). It received an undisclosed amount of funding from NewAlpha Asset Management.

KOMPANY

  • kompany offers a platform for business verification and business KYC (know-your-customer). It provides "real-time access to official and audit-proof commercial register information, including company filings".
  • kompany closed an undisclosed funding round on 8/6/2019. UNIQA Ventures and Elevator Ventures (subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank) were the investors in this funding round.

BITPANDA

  • Bitpanda is a FinTech company that allows individuals to invest in Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, gold, and other digital assets. One interesting feature of Bitpanda is that users can purchase cryptocurrency with credit cards.
  • Bitpanda launched an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) on 8/7/2019. The unconventional funding method raised €43.6 million.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To identify the FinTech companies in Austria that meet all criteria, we first consulted Crunchbase, a credible investment information database. Unfortunately, this did not yield any results. We have then checked other databases and performed a general press search to find some FinTech companies in Austria that have received series A, B, C or D funding in 2018 or 2019. The general press search revealed that wikifolio is the only FinTech company in Austria to have ever received Series A, B, C or D funding. We have also found that kompany did not disclose its funding round, so we could not be sure if it was a Series A, B, C or D.

Blockpit GmbH, TMIAA, Monkee, Morpher, Trality, Digital Claim, and handcheque are seven FinTech companies in Austria that have received some funding in 2018 or 2019, but not Series A, B, C or D funding. The companies mostly received seed funding and various grants, suggesting that the FinTech industry is still in its early stages in Austria.
Part
10
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Part
10

Digital Services Trends: Austria

Some trends in terms of digital services being offered to businesses in Austria include the proliferation of payment services, remittances services, online services, alternative lending services, digital asset management services, and alternative financing services.

PAYMENTS SERVICES

  • Some of the most prevalent services being offered in the financial services sector to businesses in Austria include "digital payment services."
  • The market's most significant market segment covered by financial technology companies in Austria is digital payments with a worth of about $13.893 billion in 2019.
  • Coinfinity is one of the disruptive financial companies that provide ways to quickly and securely make payments in over 600 retail outlets across Austria. Coinfinity also offers consulting services that help merchants accept payments through Bitcoin.
  • KWallet is a financial technology company that combines the use of a digital wallet and loyalty card storage. The company processes mobile payments are using a system known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The payment app supports bonus features, including the collection of K-points used to redeemed redeem gifts at restaurants.
  • The growth in demand for non-cash-based payment will continue to drive the growth of the digital payment industry and provide opportunities for payments providers. Austria has benefited from this growth.

REMITTANCE SERVICES

  • "Digital remittance" services are among the top services being offered in the financial services sector to businesses in Austria.
  • The value of the digital remittances segment of Austria is worth $1.516 billion in 2019.
  • The transaction volume of digital remittance is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.7% between 2019-2023 reaching S$2.718 billion by 2023.
  • Remitly is a United States-based remittance firm that recently went into partnership with the Paytech known as Stripe to process transactions across European countries including Austria.
  • One of the trends driving the growth of the remittance sector includes increasing incidence of electronic transaction, growth in digital commerce, and growing activities occurring across borders.

ALTERNATIVE LENDING AND ALTERNATIVE FINANCING SERVICES

  • Some of the most prevalent services being offered in the financial services sector to businesses in Austria include alternative lending services.
  • The largest segment of the alternative funding segment is Crowdlending (for businesses), which has a total transaction volume of about $23.8 million in 2019.
  • According to Lexology, (screen capture available here), the Austrian law places "strict requirements on lending" as well as loan brokerage, lending platforms may be operated without requiring any banking license requirement. However, this is possible only through careful structuring of contractual agreements among lenders.
  • P2P lending in Austria and crowdfunding have enormous potentials when compared to several other European countries. This potential is because Austrian businesses have invested less in crowdfunding so far. The medium-term potential for crowdfunding segment in Austria is approximately "€65 million per year."
  • Some top six P2P lending platforms in Austria include Rendity which was founded in 2014. As of 2019, more than 1100 registered investors had benefited from the lending platform. Over 2,141,000 number of business loans have already been funded via Rendity.
  • Alternative lending services such as the peer to peer (P2P) lending market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 51.5% between 2016 and 2022. This growth is due to new/emerging markets, increasing knowledge of the lending marketplace, higher investment transparency, as well as "lower interest rates" of the service.

ONLINE SERVICES

  • Fintechs across Austria, also known as online "digital-only banking" service providers operate without branches and offer several services, including online services.
  • Some online payment methods to which businesses in Austria subscribe include credit card payments, which is used online by about 58% of shopper’s.
  • Austrian e-commerce businesses also subscribe to PayPal payment services. PayPal is used by about 41% of online shoppers
  • Another payment service used by companies in Austria includes SOFORT.
  • More than 35,000 merchants offer SOFORT online payment options to their customers through e-commerce platforms. Collectively, merchants accept over 2 million online transactions each month via SOFORT.
  • The growth of online payments in Austria is attributed to the growth of e-commerce and internet penetration. Austria's internet penetration is currently 76.7% and is estimated to be up to 79.6% by 2021. The penetration of smartphone is 59.8% and would grow to 73.4% by 2021.
  • Among Austrians within the age limit of 16 to 74 years, 62% purchased services or goods from online retailers in 2017. Austrians spent about $7.9 billion in 2017 to buy items from "domestic and foreign online retailers." Consequently, businesses in Austria keep requiring more online digital financial services to satisfy their customers.

DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT

  • Some of the most prevalent services being offered in the financial services sector to businesses in Austria include digital asset management services.
  • The market for digital asset management (DAM) is projected to surge from $2.4 billion in 2017 to about $5.7 billion by 2022, with a CAGR of 18.3% for the forecast period. Some countries leading this growth include Austria. CELUM (Austria) is one of the leading DAM solution providers.
  • Austrian Fintechs are developing technologies and artificial intelligence to support established market players to manage their portfolios.
  • With an office in Vienna Austria, Ithuba FinMill is a B2B capital market's advisor that has provided advisory roles for client assets worth over €100 billion. Ithuba FinMill is an enterprise FinTech, as well as a dedicated InsurTech venture capital firm.
  • According to PwC, an increase in the size of investable assets from $64 trillion to $102 trillion will occur between 2017 and 2020, at a CAGR of 6%. Consequently, more assets would be sold pan-regionally across Europe.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

The research included Financial media publications such as Fintech News, Fintech Futures, etc. We reviewed trends in terms of digital services being offered in the financial services sector to businesses in Austria. We researched factors driving various trends, and companies at the forefront of each trend. This strategy revealed some trends, such as payment services, remittances services, online services, etc. We have included services offered by Austrian financial technology firms (Fintechs) known to provide online "digital-only banking" services to businesses in Austria.
Part
11
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Part
11

Challenger Digital Banks: Austria

Holvi, N26, Revolut, and Bunq are challenger digital banks that offer business banking services in Austria. Bunq is the newest competitor in this market.

REVOLUT

  • Revolut was founded in 2015 and is based in London. In 2017, they reported $15.67 million in revenue, and $17.31 in 2018. From 2016-2017, their revenue growth was 443%. They offer personal and business products.
  • Their market valuation is currently $1.7 billion, with $336.5 million in total funding over 12 rounds, with the last being March 27, 2019. They are a private company and considered a tech unicorn.
  • Revolut has completed a total of 350 million transactions at a total value of $48.9 billion.
  • Revolut states they have 7,000 new accounts opened daily.
  • They have nearly 20,000 businesses as customers, along with 4.5 million customers total. In the UK, they have 1.6 million customers.
  • Businesses may hold, receive, and exchange 29 currencies without charge.
  • Revolut claims they are ten times cheaper than a bank.
  • They have had significant reported losses.
  • Their business customers have an Open API to integrate their Revolut account into their current workflow and stack.
  • Revolut operates in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  • Their website may be viewed here.

N26

  • N26 is a Berlin bank that operates in 20 countries in Europe. They have 2.5 million customers worldwide and were founded in 2013. They are a Late Stage Venture and have raised $682.2 million in funding over seven rounds. Their latest round was July 2019.
  • N26 has a current market valuation of $3.5 billion.
  • In 2017, they generated revenue of 11.24 million Euros which was a 2000% increase over 2016.
  • In late 2018 they had two million customers. They currently have over 3.5 million. Their monthly transaction volume exceeds 1.5 billion Euros.
  • N26 offers banking for freelancers and the self-employed.
  • They operate in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
  • N26 is planning to expand to the US in 2019.
  • Their website may be viewed here.

HOLVI

  • Holvi was founded in 2011 as a private company. They operate in Germany, Finland, and Austria. From 2017 to 2018 they saw year-on-year growth of 60 %.
  • Holvi has raised 4.3 million Euros over six funding rounds. Their last round was in 2015.
  • The majority, 85%, of their customers are freelancers.
  • Holvi has over 150,000 micro businesses across Europe as customers.
  • They describe themselves as "a simple one-stop-shop for small businesses to collect income, manage expense and get an understandable real-time view of their company finances. New Holvi accounts can be opened in minutes online and Holvi customers don’t need a separate bank account."
  • Holvi was voted the "Hottest Startup in Helsinki".
  • E-Residents may business bank with Holvi.
  • Their website may be viewed here.

BUNQ

  • bunq was founded in 2015 by Ali Niknam.
  • They offer banking services to sole proprietors in Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, and Ireland.
  • In 2018, they had $115.71 million in deposits. This was an 800% increase over 2017.
  • They claim that nearly 10% of all instant payments processed are processed by bunq.
  • In April 2019 they had 614,300 visits to their website.
  • bunq claims they are a totally independent bank that removes borders to traditional banking, and provides immediate access through a mobile device.
  • bunq uses Maestro MasterCard, and allows users to share bank accounts. "Share your business account with your employees or even your bookkeeper. You have the option to give them full or limited account access."
  • They also offer bookkeeping services, can automatically set aside VAT payments, and have an API.
  • bunq is a private business that has raised over $18.5 million in one funding round, which was their seed round.
  • Their website may be viewed here.


RESEARCH STRATEGY

To locate the top challenger digital banks, we first located industry articles that stated who the best digital challenger banks were. To be included in the next stage of our research, a bank had to be mentioned multiple times. Once we had our list, we then researched each bank separately to obtain an across the board metric. This proved difficult, as some banks did not list their annual revenue. We believe this happened because some banks are operating at a loss due to how new they are. Our next approach was to order them by their customer numbers. This again proved difficult, as the biggest bank we researched did not separate their customer base, and some banks only do business banking. Active users and monthly transactions also ran into the same issues. To combat this problem, we holistically looked at all the metrics we obtained to get our top listings.

Due to the small amount of banks that offer the desired services, we have presented information on all the challenger banks that operate in Austria.

To assess the market penetration, we began by locating industry reports and market studies. This did not give us enough information to triangulate a market share, as most of the information was global. Consulting business press releases from Globe Newswire, PR Newswire and from each business’ website gave us the bulk of our information. To finish our research, we researched available banking information from the government. Again, this gave us a few facts. Ultimately, we were able to put together a snapshot of the market, but not exact figures.
Part
12
of twelve
Part
12

FinTech Climate: Austria

The fintech industry in Austria has strong governmental support, a thriving incubator/accelerator industry, and a relatively low level of adoption by consumers.

Government Support

  • According to The Law Reviews, the Austrian government is supportive of the fintech industry. For example, the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) maintains the FinTech Navigator. This is a publicly available resource which provides overviews of the regulations in the industry, as well as information on licensing requirements.
  • In 2018, the FMA established the FinTech Advisory Council, which will help develop rules to guide the young and emerging industry.
  • Another initiative of the FMA was to approve the establishment of a regulatory sandbox. Although reporting indicated this was expected to go live in the first half of 2019, no details confirming the launch of the sandbox were found during the research.
  • The FMA also established the FinTech Point of Contact, which provides a single location for fintechs to ask for clarification on "licensing requirements, the obligation to publish a prospectus, compliance or anti-money laundering regulations, how FMA procedures are conducted or costs involved." Licensing requirements in Austria can be strict and fintechs may be required to apply for a license under the Banking Act, Securities Supervision Act 2018, E-Money Act 2010, or several others.
  • The Austrian capital of Vienna is embracing fintech by creating a blockchain token which will be used to incentivize residents to take certain actions such as providing feedback to the city or riding a bike to work. The token is in the early design stages and will likely have multiple uses.

Incubators and Educational Programs

  • The Vienna Business Agency has a list of over 25 incubators located in Austria that support business development for startups.
  • The World Bank - Vienna Financial Sector Advisory Center organized a 2-day fintech conference in Vienna in May 2019. The conference was invite only and its purpose was to gain a deeper understanding in the following areas: "regulatory and supervisory responses to fintech; suptech and regtech; operational risk arising from fintech; Distributed Ledger Technology; and evolution of consumer lending."
  • The CFC Society Austria hosted Fintech Week Austria in November 2018. Specific details on the events from the week were not available on the website as it is under construction for the 2019 event.
  • The 3rd Annual International Payment Forum will be held in Vienna in November 2019. The focus will be on regulations in the fintech industry.

Fintech Landscape

  • According to a July report from Tracxn, there are 152 fintech startups in Austria. Some include Wefox Group, WikiFolio, Bsurance, Kompany, and DaoPay.
  • Invyo Insights reported in June 2018 that there were 162 fintech companies in Austria, and that 85 of those have their headquarters registered in the country.
  • Several fintechs were on Seedtable's list of top 100 startups to watch in Vienna for 2019. These included Bsurance, Kompany, cashpresso, Morpho, Digital Claim, and Durchblicker.

Fintech Adoption

  • Business France is organizing the FinTech Tour Germany Austria + Switzerland 2019 for November. The goal of the event is to increase adoption of fintech in Germany Austria and Switzerland. Although the event is focusing on French fintechs, the fact that the event is going to Austria shows the importance of the market.
  • A 2018 study found that a relatively small number of Austrians had embraced fintech, with a large number still visiting bank branches and paying for purchases with cash.
  • Following were the results of the number of Austrians in the survey that used a certain type of fintech/were aware of but didn't use/weren't aware of: mobile apps for financial services (21.0%/31.3%/62.3%), crowdfunding (1.5%/32.9%/65.7%), crowd investment (0.5%/22.5%/76.9%), account information services (2.1%/18.7%/79.2%), and roboadvice (0.5%/ 17.6%/82.0%).
  • The EY Index on fintech adoption that looked at 27 markets (not including Austria) found that 64% of consumers, on average, had adopted the use of fintech. This seems to indicate that the adoption rate in Austria is significantly behind many other countries.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Among the most sought investment industries are banking, trading and information technology which play an important role in the development of the country's economy. The legislation also favors the opening of new companies and foreign investors can benefit from a transparent and flexible company registration process."
Quotes
  • "As an employer in Austria you should be aware of the key attributes of Austrian labor law. Austria boasts a considerable degree of flexibility when it comes to terminating employment relationships."
Quotes
  • "Because business processes are highly regulated, expect Austrian business partners to request detailed information about products in order to investigate what kinds of registration, transportation, storage and disposal regulations will apply. The process for entering the Austrian market is likely to take longer than it would in many other countries."
Quotes
  • "When opening a corporate bank account, the bank will require some of the company’s documents, such as the Articles of Incorporation and perhaps signature specimens for the directors; this also applies to branches of foreign companies."
Quotes
  • "A foreign investor who intends to set up a legally independent subsidiary may choose from a wide range of legal entities. The choice will depend upon the business priorities of the investor."
Quotes
  • "Austria offers a myriad of reliable, high-quality banking institutions for expats to choose from. Popular local banks include Bank Austria, Erste Group Bank, and Raiffeisen Zentralbank. There are also multinational banks with a presence in the country, including Deutsche Bank, CitiBank and Western Union Bank."
Quotes
  • "Foreign enterprisers who want to establish an online shop in Austria are recommended to first get acquainted with the legislation imposed by the authorities. "
Quotes
  • "Creating a business plan and registering a company are the first steps when considering opening a shop in Austria. With respect to the company formation process, it is very important for investors to know that the VAT number is essential when opening an Austrian shop."
From Part 07
Quotes
  • "Die Branche „Bank und Versicherung“ hat den einstigen digitalen Vorreiter „Information und Consulting“ überholt"
  • "Besonders im Bereich „Betrieb und Tätigkeiten“ sehen sich KMU weit weniger digital als noch in 2017, die Arbeitskultur ist digitaler geworden"
  • "2018 stellt die in Kraft getretene DSGVO die größte Herausforderung der Digitalen Transformation dar, auch finanzielle Hürden sind häufiger"
  • "Technologische Fortschritte lassen die Diskrepanz zwischen tatsächlicher Ausnutzung und Potenzial der Digitalisierung für KMU größer werden"
  • "Der eigene Webauftritt sowie die Datensicherung sind eine Priorität für die KMU in den nächsten 12 Monaten"
From Part 10
Quotes
  • "Alternative financing is often referred to as Peer to Peer (P2P) or Business to Business (B2B) lending"
Quotes
  • "Major solution and service providers in the DAM market include OpenText (Canada), CELUM (Austria),"
From Part 11
Quotes
  • "Single-owner Business / Sole Proprietorship • Based in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain or Ireland. "
Quotes
  • "bunq is the Bank of The Free. A totally independent bank that removes borders and barriers in traditional banking. We're a totally independent bank that removes borders and barriers in traditional banking. No branches, no queues, no paperwork, just immediate access from a mobile device. Users can share bank accounts with whomever they want, pay with worldwide Maestro and Mastercards wherever they go and get support whenever they need it."
  • "Founded Date 2015 Founders Ali Niknam Number of Employees 101-250Legal Name Bunq B.V IPO Status Private "
  • "bunq has raised a total of €16.7M in funding over 1 round. This was a Seed round raised on Sep 30, 2015."
Quotes
  • "Website Visits (Apr 2019) 614.3 k "
Quotes
  • "Nearly 10% of all instant payments are processed by bunq. There was an 800% increase in user deposits over 2017. "