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Billionaire Ceo Michael Gastauer On Keeping Businesses Afloat Amid Economic Turmoil

Global finance has had a trying year, with many think tanks witnessing a funding drought. Despite this, fintech continues to be a highly valued industry, with an estimated global worth of $851 billion by 2030.

Founded by German billionaire, Michael Gastauer, digital bank Black Banx has been key in helping not only keep fintech afloat, but all businesses working in the international and digital markets in general. 

With a net worth that surged to an impressive US$11.4 billion, Gastauer has demonstrated through Black Banx an uncanny ability to not only weather economic turbulence but also steer businesses to unprecedented heights. So, what can be learned from one of Germany’s top ten wealthiest about keeping businesses afloat amid economic turmoil?

Recognizing problems and inefficiencies is the first step in driving change

The story of Michael Gastauer’s rise to financial prominence begins with a simple yet powerful realization. He recognized the myriad flaws in cross-border banking, international wire transfers, and account opening in foreign countries. This lightbulb moment struck in mid-2013, prompting a mission to disrupt the traditional banking industry.

“It’s essential to understand the gravity of the situation and to remain strong in your position. Being decisive and adaptable are the two most important qualities a successful leader must possess. Scenarios like this should be strategized beforehand, ensuring the business is prepared for any bumps along the way. This is especially important for startup companies that don’t yet have as much capital. Remaining confident in yourself and your employees is significant in pressurized situations.”

Gastauer knew he couldn’t accomplish this mission alone. He assembled a team of seasoned software experts, shared his visionary ideas, and challenged them to create a groundbreaking online banking platform. The core functionalities he envisioned were instant account opening for both private and business clients worldwide and global real-time fund transfers in a variety of FIAT and cryptocurrency options.

Evolution is essential

After rigorous testing of an early platform version initially launched under the project name WB21, Gastauer took the plunge and founded Black Banx. This marked the inception of a business that would grow into a group of financial institutions offering digital banking services in an astonishing 180 countries. 

“Vision comes from personal experiences where we want to solve a problem or offer a product or solution that doesn’t exist or makes things better. In this case, it was to make banking across countries so easy that it can rival local banking. Once I and the rest of Black Banx had clearly formulated, everything we did and continue to do has been in service of this goal. So no matter the highs and lows in the market, by keeping a goal in mind, it informs every decision you make, be it the skills you hire for, the innovations you pursue for your customers, or opting to operate via sole investment.”

Black Banx’s offerings are now as diverse as they are impressive. They provide private and business accounts in 28 FIAT currencies and 2 cryptocurrencies. This diversity makes cross-border transactions as effortless as transacting locally, simplifying financial matters for their customers.

The trajectory of Black Banx is nothing short of phenomenal. Just a year after its launch in 2015, it boasted over 200,000 patrons. Fast forward to 2023, and Black Banx has already welcomed more than 11 million customers, serving a grand total of over 33 million individuals. The financial growth of this venture is remarkable, with year-on-year revenue growth rates of 72% in the third quarter and 47% in the first half of 2023.

“Since 2020, Black Banx has seen a consistent growth in its revenues and profits. Despite a large portion of our revenue being reinvested to fund our growth, we have still been able to generate profits and grow our profit margin over the last few years. Being wary that tides can turn at any time is what drives us to not settle on what we earn, and continue reinvesting it in our own operations to make the foundations of our business even stronger.”

One compelling facet of Black Banx’s journey is the remarkable increase in Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) clients, which surged by 21% overall and a whopping 32% in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. This growth is a testament to the fact that Black Banx’s business offerings significantly ease the banking woes of entrepreneurs in these areas, allowing them to focus on their businesses.

“We simply want to make banking across borders simpler for everyone. And through the continued pursuit of this seemingly basic goal, we’ve helped numerous businesses in their being able to access markets they would otherwise have not been able to reach because they can transact with customers to and from almost anywhere. So even if they may experience some challenges in their own markets, they also have customers to turn to in other locations that can help them continue earning revenue.” 

Among Black Banx’s key achievements has been its transformation of cross-border payments. Through the Black Banx platform, local real-time settlement systems in various countries can facilitate quick and cost-effective international money transfers. This innovation sets a new industry standard.

Muhammad Qasim

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