How a German Fintech Startup Expanded to Southeast Asia & Raised A €50M Refinancing Facility

Nomitri Logo

Company Name:

entrafin provides alternative digital financing models to medium-sized businesses in Germany and Asia.



Christoph Bauer
Frauke Kempken 


Fintech, Finance

Founded in 2016, entrafin provides alternative digital financing models to German medium-sized businesses. Using their expertise in digitalization, entrafin accelerates the possibilities of corporate financing through their various services.

From their inception, entrafin entered the industry as a fintech startup poised for innovation both domestically and internationally. From their 6 years of experience in the German market, the company noticed that 15-20% of their German clients held a strong market presence in Asia. As a leading startup in a thriving industry, the entrafin team was already well-connected to markets in the People’s Republic of China – the first step into Asian markets. However, the idea to expand their business to Southeast Asia only came during the pandemic.

Headshot of Trinh Le-Fiedler

“In 2017, our colleagues asked if we wanted to expand outside of Germany. At that time, we were focusing more on our German operation business. But when the pandemic started in 2020, we took the opportunity to step forward and put our second product in place in Southeast Asia.”


Christoph Bauer | Founder and Managing Director of entrafin

Why entrafin Chose German Accelerator to Expand to Asia

entrafin took part in the Asia Market Access program and India Market Discovery program at German Accelerator. Even before becoming a part of the German Accelerator ecosystem, many of entrafin’s business operations relied on imports from China. However, during the pandemic, China was a difficult market to enter because of the country-wide lockdowns. In response, the team pivoted, deciding to focus on many other smaller markets in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand and the Philippines.

Headshot of Trinh Le-Fiedler

“Those markets are not flooded with fintech yet, so we thought it was a good time to dive into Southeast Asia and get a good overview on the countries.”


Frauke Kempken | Chief Operating Officer & Managing Director at entrafin

Kempken and the entrafin team were introduced to German Accelerator at a business fair back in 2017. So, when it came time to expand, they knew German Accelerator had access to the network and insights they needed for success in Southeast Asia.

“I remember having a contact to German Accelerator, and I didn’t hesitate to recontact them again when it was time to expand,” said Bauer.

How German Accelerator Helped entrafin on Their Expansion Journey

During the German Accelerator program, the entrafin team faced some market entry hurdles. German Accelerator’s expertise in the region gave entrafin the tools needed to transform those barriers into opportunities.

“We decided to expand during the pandemic, so flying to different countries back to back was one of the challenges. Video calls are a good alternative but meeting face to face shows commitment.”


Frauke Kempken | Chief Operating Officer & Managing Director at entrafin

During the program, the entrafin team not only got to understand Asian markets from an insider’s viewpoint, but they also received training for pitching in various regions.

“Doing business and business financing is different, especially when we are dealing with two different markets,” said Kempken. “It was really helpful to have pitch training and get feedback on it.”

Pitching and marketplace insights were just the beginning. When the team needed the right legal support for the entrafin business expansions, German Accelerator mentors stepped forward with needed advice.

“Refinancing for the business setting abroad was not easy. But with the fast progress in the German Accelerator program, we were able to convince Raisin Bank to provide us with a refinancing facility of up to €50M for our expansion into Southeast Asia,” said Bauer. “Mentors like Claudia helped with the legal stuff. Oliver, Joseph, and Roman also helped with our first two trips to Asia.”

Even after the program, entrafin has found the German Accelerator network invaluable.

“Mentors at German Accelerator have a strong quality network, and we still call them nowadays.”


Frauke Kempken | Chief Operating Officer & Managing Director at entrafin

The entrafin team’s biggest takeaway from the German Accelerator program was learning how
markets really interact in Asia.

“When you understand the market, you know what to focus on for your platform,” said Kempken.

What entrafin Achieved during the Program & Beyond

During the program, entrafin made an invaluable connection with Forto – a logistics provider from the same German Accelerator cohort – who is operating their business in both Asia and in Germany.

“We have mutual customers in Asia, so we set up a call to swap information on data and business intelligence. They were a lot of help for us as well.”


Frauke Kempken | Chief Operating Officer & Managing Director at entrafin

After the program, entrafin opened its first office in Thailand and hired its first employee there. In January 2023, entrafin entered the market with its export financing platform built specifically for the Southeast Asian market and has already won its first customers from Thailand and Singapore. Several cooperation agreements have already been signed or are in the pipeline, including a possible cooperation with the state-owned Export-Import Bank of Thailand as well as a cooperation agreement in the Philippines expected by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

As a result of these expansions, entrafin has kickstarted its Series A financing round, targeting investors from Southeast Asia. The first pitches took place at the Tech Investment Show 2023 in Bangkok with other pitches following shortly thereafter.

“We are extremely confident that the step into Southeast Asia was exactly the right one for us. The move was not only underpinned by great customer interest, but also the interest from investors from the region that is already starting to show.”


Frauke Kempken | Chief Operating Officer & Managing Director at entrafin

For the entrafin team, the decision to expand to Asia during the pandemic was a bold move.

“If you think it is time for you to go beyond the German market, do it,” said Bauer. “The situations might not always be in your control, but you will manage well within your area of control.”