Blessing wants to help a European fintech with an “elevator” to the stock exchange

The former CEO of Commerzbank collects money from institutional investors for a space. For a long time he tried to make large companies faster. Now he wants to make fast companies big, he announced in an interview with the FAZ.

Martin Blessing during an interview in 2018

Dhe former Commerzbank CEO Martin Blessing wants to help a young European financial technology company (“Fintech”) with a current company valuation of at least one billion euros (“Unicorn”) make a quick stock market debut. “We need such companies in Germany and Europe and we also have to provide them with capital for growth. I would like to help ensure that fintechs receive growth capital via a European exchange and that they are not forced to switch to an American exchange, ”said Blessing in an interview with the FAZ

To this end, Blessing, together with the former Barclays banker Ben Davey and Nick Aperghis, who previously worked for Deutsche Bank in the Netherlands, initiated a “Spac” called the European FinTech IPO Company (EFIC1). This still empty corporate shell is currently attracting up to 415 million euros from institutional investors and should make its trading debut on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange before Easter, according to a declaration of intent (“intention to float”) published on Monday. This means that information from a few weeks ago that was not confirmed by Blessing has come true.

Initiators take risks

After the initial public offering of Spac, Blessing and his partners will then have 24 months to select an unlisted fintech to buy with which to fill the Spac. Blessing and his partners are raising the 8.5 million euros in venture capital for the operation of the Spac. The investors who provide the money for the target company are not buying the pig in a poke right now. After all, you can vote on the fintech that Blessing and his partners have selected for purchase at a general meeting. The Dutch investor HTP Investments, which also owns the motorhome builder Knaus Tabbert, has already committed 40 million euros.

Blessings Motivation

When asked about his personal motivation, Blessing answers. “So far in my professional life I have mainly tried to make large companies faster. Now I’m working with Spac to make fast organizations like fintechs bigger, ”said the now 57-year-old Blessing on Monday in an interview with the FAZ

From May 2008 to May 2016, Blessing led Commerzbank through the financial crisis as CEO. After the takeover of Dresdner Bank, Commerzbank had to be supported by the state with 18 billion euros in winter 2008/2009. In 2016, Blessing left Commerzbank for UBS. He became a member of the business performance of the major Swiss bank, but left UBS in autumn 2019. Now Blessing is driving the young, innovative fintech sector, because he doesn’t want to become an investment banker with Spac. “Our goal is not just to go public, but to support the target company in the long term and make it successful. To do this, we offer the founders help, for example in dealing with financial supervision, ”says Blessing. For many fintechs, raising growth capital is also about speed, and a normal IPO is not always enough. “For me, the IPO is the escalator to the stock exchange, the Spac is something like the elevator,” says Blessing in a nutshell.