By Mila Cramer, Investment manager at European early-stage VC Project A
Neo banks, consumer credit, digital tax solutions, neo brokers — Traditional finance has seen the rise of digital-first competition along the entire value chain. And a lot of these companies have one thing in common: they are targeted toward white-collar young professionals, the ones you will meet outside a Berlin-Mitte coffee shop lingering around with Airpods in their ears waiting for their next coffee date to arrive (guilty as charged).
That is the logical first step. They are easy to target — you can get their attention pasting the streets of said coffee shops with flashy pink and green posters, you know what else they are interested in online. They are relatively solvent and will grow into an even more attractive target group with time.
While building financial products for young professionals is fishing in a red ocean, people from the working class have been historically underserved by said products. They are harder to reach, their preferences are more heterogeneous, they are less solvent. But they are equally deserving and potentially, even more, needing of tools to get on top of and optimize their finances.
Max, the CEO of ExpressGroup, together with his co-founders Konstantin, Mehdi, Dennis, and Andreas, found a way of doing exactly that. They give users access to money they have been entitled to for a long time but have never had access to. No hidden debt in exchange for immediate cash, no barriers to entry. Full transparency. In Germany, there are around 12m people each year that do not file their tax returns. Why would they forfeit an average of over €1,000 a year? Because the system is built in an intransparent way that makes it hard to understand your rights and act accordingly.
ExpressGroup is going to change that. Their first product, ExpressSteuer, allows users to submit data for their tax return within 10 minutes and on the other hand delivers process intelligence and automation to tax professionals, allowing them to service users who usually might not be able to afford their support. With that, they have grown to a €45m run-rate in claims in less than 12 months.
And that is only the starting point. Today, we are announcing a €25m Series A round led by Project A and Insight Partners. We could not be more excited to join Max and his team on their journey to becoming the financial super app for the working class. A mission long overdue in Europe.