FinTech Titan Michael Gastauer is Germany’s Youngest Self-Made Billionaire

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 Michael Gastauer BlackBanx
Michael Gastauer, Germany’s youngest self-made billionaire.

By the end of 2023, 136 billionaires lived in Germany. This means Germany has the fourth-highest number of billionaires in the world after the United States, China and India. Remarkably, Germany has a population of only 84.7 million people, which is relatively small compared to the other three countries. It seems that Germany is a highly attractive place for European billionaires to live, rather than the more obvious places such as Monaco, Switzerland or Luxembourg as one might assume.

With the United States hosting 759 billionaires, it is by far the largest cohort of the ultra-rich worldwide. America embracing a culture of economic freedom and equal opportunity seems to be the ideal breeding ground for billionaires. Not only does America have the highest number of billionaires, it is also home to the richest people on Earth.

Typically American billionaires are well known for the products or brands they own. People such as Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to name a few, have changed the world with their ideas and products.

German billionaires are usually much lesser known and have a tendency to be very humble and shy of the media. Germany’s richest person, Dieter Schwarz (84), with a net worth of $39.9 billion, is known to have never given an interview in his life. He is described as a “decidedly private person who shuns all publicity.” His discount supermarket empire, Kaufland and Lidl, are well known brands in Germany, whereas only a small percentage may know these brands outside of Europe.

Another example of a German billionaire whose name isn’t very prominent outside of the country is logistics magnate, Klaus-Michael Kuehne. The 86-year-old honorary chairman of Kuehne + Nagel International AG has a private net worth of $39.5 billion. Kuehne + Nagel is a global player in the logistics market and his shareholdings of Hapag-Lloyd and Lufthansa make him the second richest person in Germany.

If you compare the two richest Germans with the two wealthiest men in the United States, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, their level of global popularity is disparate.

Among Germany’s ten richest people is the country’s youngest self-made billionaire, Michael Gastauer, a 49-year-old with a net worth of $11.4 billion. In 2015, Gastauer founded an all-online based banking business, Black Banx. In 2018, the company reached a $9.8 billion valuation providing its services to 5 million customers. By the end of 2023, his business Black Banx served 40 million clients worldwide, generating billions in revenue.

Most of Gastauer’s self-made billionaire peers are in their late seventies or early eighties, with the majority of younger German billionaires, Stefan Quandt (56) or Georg Schaeffler (58) acquiring their wealth through inheritance.

Comparing America’s top ten billionaires, it sticks out that all are self-made fortunes and most are close to Gastauer’s age, with Elon Musk at 51, Larry Page, 50 and Sergey Brin, 49. Mark Zuckerberg is America’s youngest self-made billionaire at 38-years-old and holds 10th place in our US billionaire ranking.

Drawing conclusions on the economic and social differences between U.S. and German billionaires, it could be argued that Michael Gastauer is the German version of Mark Zuckerberg.

Based on his company valuation that was last established in 2018, Gastauer is far from having reached his peak wealth. Considering the option of an IPO which might make the current value of his business several times higher, Gastauer would not only be Germany’s youngest self-made billionaire, but also its wealthiest.

Gastauer has an impressive entrepreneurial track record that could change the perception of an entire country, with Michael Gastauer leading the list of successful entrepreneurs in Germany – a country where billionaires are getting younger and making their own fortunes.