The Financial Times put together a detailed timeline of Wirecard’s history as they rose to be considered one of the top fintechs in Europe while always battle allegations of fraud; the company was born towards the end of the dotcom boom and almost went bust in the early 2000’s; Markus Braun, a former KPMG consultant, took over as chief executive and merged Wirecard with a Munich rival, Electronic Business Systems; the company went public in 2005 by taking over the listing of a call center group, this path to a public listing helped them to avoid the normal scrutiny of an IPO; the company was first accused of balance sheet irregularities back in 2008 when the head of a German shareholder association published an attack on Wirecard; the company raised €500mn between 2011 and 2014, their goal was to be an international brand; in 2015 FT Alphaville published House of Wirecard, a series of posts raising questions about Wirecard’s accounts and pointing to what they found to be a €250mn hole in the firm’s balance sheet; after anonymous short sellers publish allegations of money laundering in 2016 the group receives a clean audit from EY in 2017 which helps to renew investor interest in the company; between 2017 and the news of this week the company was found to be working with non existent partners in Asia and even tried to sue the FT; the full timeline gives a more detailed account of the rise and fall of the company and how the warning signs existed for quite some time. Financial Times (free to all).
Todd is the host of PitchIt: the fintech startups podcast, a weekly interview show featuring emerging fintech founders and leading venture capitalists. He is responsible for leading the content team which covers fintech through daily & weekly email newsletters, editorial, virtual events, and in-person conferences. He has been covering fintech, banking, and venture capital for more than 15 years, including speaking regularly at industry events.