wajve, the Berlin-based financial app for Gen Z, has raised a €5 million seed round, led by EQT Ventures with participation from 468 Capital. The funding will be used to accelerate the roll-out of the platform, which has just launched, for the first customers in Germany before expanding into other European markets.
Founded in 2021, wajve enables excellent financial decisions in seconds for the younger generation, combining banking, financial education, and advice in one app, with a special focus on Gen Z. Now the largest generation, constituting 32% of the global population, these digital natives have unique spending habits and growing expectations of a digital-first economy.
Having experienced huge financial upheavals, including the COVID-19 crisis (young workers were more than twice as likely to lose their jobs than older workers) and rising student loan costs, Gen Z are becoming increasingly mindful in planning for their financial futures. Wajve is a trusted advisor to this new generation, helping them become active participants in the new digital-first global economy.
To be launched in full later this year by 24-year-old Bastian Krautwald (CEO and co-founder), alongside David Meyer (co-founder), wajve was created following the success of their first fintech, deineStudienfinanzierung, an app that enables students to find the best loans and scholarships to finance their studies. Students can apply online and get a reply within 18 minutes, minimising the financial stresses of going to university.
In November 2020, deineStudienfinanzierung was approved as the first digital platform to offer the German government-backed study loan from KFW. The student financing app now has over 100,000 registered students and earns a 6-digit monthly EBITDA. It will operate a ‘lock-in’ model to make money, leveraging initial customer acquisition to increase sales of financial products. The company now employs 20 people, with 20 more positions to fill, and has been profitable since late 2020.
Along with EQT Ventures and 468 Capital, the new fintech wajve has attracted support from Finleap, Europe’s largest fintech ecosystem, and top tier business angels including Lucas von Cranach (CEO of OneFootball), Roland Grenke (co-founder of Dubsmash and Acapela Group), and Christian Gaiser (CEO of COSI).
Bastian Krautwald, CEO and Co-Founder commented: “EQT Ventures expertise in fintech and scaling companies internationally made them stand out as an investor. It’s our ambition to become a trusted financial advisor to Gen Z across Europe, supporting the next generation to achieve financial stability and independence. It was clear that the EQT Ventures team joined by the 468 team understood the importance of this, so working together was a natural fit.”
Lars Jörnow, Founding Partner of EQT Ventures commented: “Swiftly after initial discussions, we saw the team’s unparalleled understanding of the needs of Gen Z. As a trusted financial advisory app, wajve has the opportunity to become a key fintech player in the European market, going where no company has before. Bastian’s long-term vision and the company’s strong go-to market strategy made wajve an irresistible opportunity for EQT Ventures to team up with”.
Alexander Kudlich, General Partner of 468 Capital, added: “We currently see a very large potential for reimagined banking solutions that also really solve needs for Bastian’s generation. With wajve, we will aim to fill this gap in Europe and provide the new generation with guidance in the sometimes overwhelming financial ocean.”