HandEX raises Seed Round to revolutionise the inefficient export finance market

  • Fully integrated lending and insurance process for small-ticket finance, including the Euler Hermes Guarantee, issued on behalf of the German government
  • Seed round led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), joined by angel investors Andrew Shaw (Coya), Ingo Saleck (Start-up investor) and others
  • Seed round will be used for expanding the team and ensuring full market entry into German machine engineering field by the end of the year


HandEX is revolutionising the market by using leading technology, to revamp processes and make it as easy as possible for exporters and importers alike to access the financing they need for international trade. Today, if an exporter would like to search for financing for their exports, particularly to emerging markets for loans for an amount under EUR 5M (“small tickets”), they are frequently turned away by their bank. As much as 50% of “small-ticket” export finance loans are rejected by banks, even before appraisal.

HandEX is targeting SMEs with a mid- to long-term financing requirement of up to EUR 5M. Having founded less than a year ago, the team has built strong relationships with financing banks and insurance companies. HandEX facilitates and integrates the issuance of export loans and export insurance covers, including guarantees issued by the German government, for which the export credit agency Euler Hermes is mandated.

HandEX’s goal is to become the global export finance partner for SMEs, particularly “hidden champions”, to compete on the global stage. Many of these “hidden champions” in Europe, lose out to bids from other regions due to lack of corresponding financing products.

HandEX will focus initially on financially facilitating exports of German mechanical engineering companies (“Maschinenbauer”) to the LATAM region

Small-ticket export finance in particular as usually required for SMEs, causes us further problems. The SMEs lose out on taking on additional business, because the accompanying Hermes Guarantee is too much work”, explained Brodtmann, Managing Director of the Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (VDMA).

Germany has the highest exports per capita in the world and with macroeconomic conditions evolving rapidly, the importance of solidifying and growing international trading relationships dramatically increases. The “Maschinenbau” space is of particular relevance due to its high share of export business and primarily suffers from a lack of financing, as often reported by German press and associations, such as the VDMA. One such growing market for German “Maschinenbau” and other exporters is the LATAM region, especially in the context of recent political developments with respect to trade relationships. HandEX will therefore target German “Maschinenbauer” exporting to LATAM in thefirst instance, while already planning the expansion into other verticals and regions. Once established within Germany, HandEX will expand into other European markets.

We’ve identified a gap in the funding market, which is of importance for the exports of the entire Eurozone, leaving SMEs at a detriment when competing on a global scale, even though the products are just as good, if not of a superior quality”, explained co-founder and CEO, Vincent Lauer. He previously worked at Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners and Kreditech and is joined by co-founders Patrick Kupitz (CFO) and Asfandyar Malik (CTO). Both bring a great wealth of experience in the fields of corporate finance and FinTech, with Patrick having worked at Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners and Deposit Solutions, and Asfandyar as an early member of the Kreditech software team.

Loans originated through the HandEX platform are insured via the ‘Hermes Cover’. Demand for these insurance products has risen greatly of late and the easy to use, integrated platform offered by HandEX allows a customer to access a loan and/or insurance product in one single application, without needing to manage multiple complicated processes.

HandEX is solving a huge problem in the market

Tobias Schulz, Investment Manager at HTGF, provided his view on the topic: “As a fund, that is backed by the BMWi, we are well aware of the Coalition’s Agreement to support “Small Ticket” export finance for German SMEs. HandEX has come up with a fantastic solution to an age-old problem, to combine both export insurance and export finance in one streamlined process. Digitalisation in the space is still extremely low, with some 4 billion pieces of paper still in use within the market today. This leaves enormous room for cutting-edge innovation from HandEX to completely re-write the way export finance is handled today and in future.”

Through HandEX’s improved access to data and rapidly reduced time to issuance, HandEX has significant advantages over traditional lenders that retain paper-based processes, whose processes are staff intensive and time inefficient.

HandEX is pleased to be joined by the reputable German early-stage venture fund HTGF alongside prominent Angel Investors such as Andrew Shaw (Coya AG), Ingo Saleck (Start-up investor) and others.

Further information:

Vincent Lauer

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
HighTech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven startups. With EUR 892.5 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 520 startups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech startups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemistry and life sciences.

To date, external investors have injected over EUR 2 billion into the HTGF portfolio via about 1,400 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 100 companies. Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, BAYER, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.

High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Tobias Schulz
Schlegelstraße 2
53113 Bonn
T.: +49 228 82300130