German billionaire, entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Michael Gastauer is well-known for his accomplishments in the fintech sector. His entrepreneurial journey is a testament to innovation and perseverance in the industry.
Serving clients in 180 countries, Black Banx is a group of financial institutions, of which he is the founder and group CEO. As of June 2023, he has a net worth of US$11.4 billion, placing him among the top ten richest Germans.
Growing up, Gastauer showed a natural ability to study and solve problems—qualities that would later characterise his spirit of entrepreneurship.
In 1999, after graduating from university, Gastauer received offers from Andersen Consulting, ABN Amro, and Deutsche Bank. In 2001, he started working at Gorilla Park and opened their Zurich office.
He co-founded a Zurich asset management company in 2001, part of which was later sold for US$15 million to a Swiss investment company and a German hedge fund manager.
Gastauer established an international card payment infrastructure for e-commerce in 2003 and expanded into high-risk industries. The company expanded to a US$480 million valuation until an Asian Banking Group bought its assets in 2008.
Gastauer established the GFO (Gastauer Family Office) after that and has served as its president since 2008.
When Gastauer decided to revolutionise the financial services sector, his entrepreneurial journey took a transformative turn.
Motivated by the difficulties in international banking in the middle of 2013, Gastauer developed an online banking platform by putting together a group of software specialists. This platform, formerly known as WB21, provided real-time fund transfers in a range of currencies, including cryptocurrency, and quick global account opening.
From there, within ten years, Black Banx has grown to become a network of financial institutions servicing millions of customers in 180 countries. Black Banx was made possible financially by Gastauer’s previous endeavours.
To set up the platform, Gastauer purposefully allocated over $380 million from his Family Office between 2014 and 2018. Black Banx became one of Europe’s most valuable fintech companies at the end of 2018 when it was valued at $9.8 billion.
Gastauer’s position as a significant player in the fintech space has been cemented by his entrepreneurial skills and industry experience.
In the first nine months of 2023, the Black Banx Group brought in USD 1.5 billion in revenue and added 33 million new retail customers, marking the highest profit and revenue since the company’s founding in 2015.
Gastauer plans to expand the company’s service and geographical offerings, even if Black Banx has continuously maintained its position as one of the most prominent digital banks in the world. His entrepreneurial journey is still up and running.
With Gastauer slated to acquire a federal bank in California, Black Banx is planning to grow into the North American market. Black Banx’s global network accounts for almost 90% of the world’s GDP, trade, and capital movements.
Black Banx was able to establish offices in South Africa, Japan, China, Brazil, India, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Singapore.
The primary geographic regions from which Black Banx conducts business and generates revenue are Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Additionally, given that 45% of adult Africans do not have access to financial services, Black Banx has established a subsidiary in Monrovia, Liberia, to focus on providing digital banking services in the West African market.
Apart from geographical expansion, Black Banx’s continuous progress in terms of its service offerings is a mark of Gastauer’s continuing entrepreneurial journey. For instance, its crypto service is one that is currently expanding.
Along with BTC (Bitcoin) and ETH (Ethereum), customers can now choose USDT on Black Banx. Choices for Black Banx users seeking fast BTC transactions and USDT settlements include Solana, Lightning Network, and Tron/TRC20.
Aspiring business owners may learn a lot from Gastauer’s incredible entrepreneurial journey, including the value of having a long-term plan, leadership, and innovation.