Smart banking built for freelancers: born out of one entrepreneur’s fight with banks
- A new bank account designed specifically for freelancers
- Kontist’s app calculates taxes and automatically sets them aside
- Goal is to automate 80% of all banking and bookkeeping processes for freelancers
Berlin, 02.02.2017 – Kontist, Germany’s first banking solution designed specifically for freelancers, is launching officially today after a successful beta testing phase.
The Berlin-based fintech startup solves an acute problem for people who work for themselves: the lack of a clear overview over how much they need to set aside for tax and VAT - and what they have left to spend. Kontist’s mobile business bank account solves this with an integrated personal finance manager that automatically calculates the taxes an individual needs to pay and sets them aside.
Kontist gives freelancers and people who are self-employed the same opportunities as employees when it comes to banking services. Additional features are in the pipeline.
Kontist is planning to expand into more EU countries this year to provide business banking for the region’s freelancer and self-employed communities, which have been poorly served by the traditional banks until now.
If Robin Hood were a freelancer
In Germany, the number of people who are self employed has risen by nearly 50% in the past 10 years.
Kontist solves two of their biggest problems: firstly, traditional banks don't offer products that cater to the complex business needs of freelancers, opting instead to offer accounts for individual employees or large companies.
The second problem is that getting an overview over their finances is difficult. Freelancers don’t just have to deduct value-added tax from their income, for example, they also need to account for pension contributions, health insurance, income tax, prepayments, advertising costs, liquidity buffers, loans and so on. Kontist’s app-based banking solution is designed just for this type of customer’s needs.
“Traditional banks simply don’t understand the needs of people who are self-employed which means they can’t respond to this segment of customers,” says co-founder and CEO Christopher Plantener.
“Many freelancers feel totally neglected by the banks. That’s why Kontist is building a product just for them. With Kontist we are fighting for the rights of people who are self employed.”
App-based banking - Tax savings - Automation
Kontist’s mobile-first solution and helpful features simplify arduous everyday tasks for freelancers:
- Banking processes are simpler, faster and paperless
- Income and value added taxes are automatically set aside
- Push notifications alert customers to account activity
- Kontist customer support is fast and easy to reach via chat, phone and email
- Integration with Debitoor’s accounting platform means that customer bank accounts and bookkeeping are always synchronized
In the next three years, Kontist aims to automate 80% of regular administrative tasks like accounting and banking for freelancers. That’s why Kontist is working on building close links with vendors selling services like invoicing and bookkeeping.
Kontist is gradually providing the services traditionally offered by the employer, offering people who are self employed services from tax rebates and taxation of income to handling health and other types of insurance, pensions and savings.
Banking for freelancers, by freelancers
Kontist co-founder and CEO Christopher Plantener understands the pains of handling freelance finances from personal experience. As a serial entrepreneur who has been self-employed his entire life, he spent a lot of time and energy fighting with banks just because he wasn’t working as a normal employee.
Plantener’s efforts to motivate banks to finally start offering special services and deals for freelancers were unsuccessful. So he decided to solve the problem himself. He joined forces with a team of other self employed people working in different industries to build Kontist: a banking solution for freelancers, by freelancers.
Partnership with solarisBank and Debitoor
Kontist’s solution is implemented through a partnership with solarisBank which was announced in September 2016. solarisBank provides a platform for digital companies and has a full German banking license.
Kontist also recently teamed up with Debitoor which enables Kontist to offer simple, automated bookkeeping of receipts, invoices and tax contributions.
Kontist will also become available to small businesses this year. That means legal entities like GmbH, GbR, OHG, KG, KgaA, UG or PartG can use the Berlin fintech company’s product.
Kontist’s next updates will include new features for the tax calculation tool, as well as a credit card and a native Android app.
Funding before launch
Kontist picked up EUR2m in funding round ahead of its launch. The investment, which came from startup studio Founders and Danish growth fund Vækstfonden, was raised to fund product development. Further fundraises are planned.
Kontist (www.kontist.com) is Germany’s first banking solution built exclusively for freelancers. With simple sign-up via smartphone and smooth onboarding, this modern business bank account is able to automatically calculate income and value added tax contributions and set them aside.
Kontist’s app gives people who are self-employed real independence, providing a real-time overview on spending and full control over their own finances. Kontist GmbH was founded in 2016 and provides banking services through its partnership with solarisBank.
The team is made up of 15 people who developed the product together, drawing on their combined years of experience working as freelancers themselves. The company’s CEO is Christopher Plantener, a passionate entrepreneur who previously co-founded accounting service Debitoor. He co-founded Kontist together with Alexander Baatz, formerly at N26, Sebastian Galonska, formerly at Bergfürst/StudiVZ and Madison Bell, formerly at Nextdoor.