Digital Overhaul Deutsche Bank Invests in Fintech Trust Bills

Germany's largest lender wants to acquire a 12.5-percent stake in Hamburg-based fintech firm Trust Bills, Handelsblatt has learned. It is one of the few direct investments in a startup by Deutsche Bank.
Deutsche Bank will acquire a stake in Hamburg-based firm Trust Bills. Picture source: DPA

Deutsche Bank is set to expand its technological footprint by buying in to Hamburg-based financial technology firm Trust Bills, Handelsblatt has learned.

Germany's biggest bank plans to acquire a 12.5-percent stake in the startup that was founded by Jörg Hörster two years ago. Trust Bills allows short-term investors to connect to receivable sellers and aims to become the first international market platform for trade receivables.

Deutsche Bank and Trust Bills did not disclose the financial details of their transaction.

The market is particularly attractive to large-scale investors struggling to find profitable investment opportunities in times of ultra-low interest rates. Already last year, Germany's DZ Bank acquired a 25-percent stake in the company, marking that lender's first fintech acquisition.

It’s also rare for Deutsche Bank to invest directly in fintechs. The bank’s approach has been to partner with fintechs through its innovation labs in London, Berlin, New York and Palo Alto.

Rival Commerzbank, by contrast, has a fund dedicated to acquiring promising fintechs. Germany’s second-largest bank already has three startup incubators – Commerz Ventures, Main Incubator and Start-up Garage at its subsidiary Comdirect.

Deutsche Bank’s decision to buy into Trust Bills does not signal a change in strategy, according to Handelsblatt sources in the financial industry. Trust Bills simply fits well with Deutsche’s corporate banking business, the sources said.


Michael Maisch is currently the deputy editor of the finance section for Handelsblatt in Frankfurt. To contact the author: [email protected]