Centralway Numbrs was founded in 1999 by Martin Saidler originally under the name of “Centralway Holding”. In the course of time, the object of the organisation changed a few times. During the first 11 years, the company exclusively focused on venture capital, before positioning itself as a company builder for the subsequent 4 years. The company established itself as a technology company in the digital financial services sector which it is today.
At present, Centralway Numbrs is developing an independent and one of the most advanced mobile banking platforms. Since our foundation we developed and changed, and we’d like to give you more insight into our history.
1999 to 2010 — Venture Capital
Martin Saidler founded Centralway Holding in 1999 and since then built and funded more than 200 internet firms mainly in Central and Eastern Europe, Germany and Switzerland. The investments were made alongside noted companies such as Index Ventures and Google Ventures. Over the years, a large number of the companies funded by Centralway Holding became market leaders in their respective industries. Among the buyers of these companies were Axel Springer, CME (Time Warner), Daily Mail and Deutsche Telekom.
2010 to 2014 — Company Builder
VFrom 2010 to early 2014, Centralway Numbrs operated as a company builder in the financial technology sector (FinTech). During that time, the team size increased from 5 to 100 employees.
Today — Mobile Banking
Since 2014, Centralway Numbrs is a financial services technology company focused exclusively on the development of mobile banking software applications.
Our team develops and distributes products for the execution of banking transactions, the purchase of financial products and the management of assets. The focus of our activities is the banking application “Numbrs”, which launched in Germany in 2014. With 1.5 million downloads and 1.5 million managed banking accounts, the “Numbrs” app is the most popular independent banking app in Germany.
The company headquarters of Centralway Numbrs is located in Zurich. At this location, we have a team of more than 100 permanent employee.
Every story begins somewhere. Our starts in a small town near Zurich. Centralway Holding took a share in the company “Netvision”, an internet agency with local expertise in Switzerland and office space in the city of Winterthur. The agency was completely taken over in 2012. Under the leadership of Centralway Numbrs, the number of employees increased over from 20 to 100 the years.
The opening of the first headquarters in Zurich, Binz.
In September 2012, Centralway Numbrs moved to its first headquarters in Zurich, Binz. On 1.000m2, the completely newly furnished office offered many facilities, such as a fully equipped cinema and a fully functional café.
First external shareholders and partners
Until September 2012, Centralway Numbrs was financed exclusively by the company founder Martin Saidler and his family office. Marcel Ospel, former CEO and Chairman of UBS, as well as his wife, Adriana Ospel-Bodmer, became the first external shareholders of the company.
Today, the circle of investors of Centralway Numbrs consists of 46 of the most influential families in Europe and Israel, and private investors from the European banking and financial sector. Among the renowned investors are:
- Sir Ronald Cohen, former Chairman and co-founder of APAX Partners
- Family Pierre Mirabaud, controlling the Mirabaud private bank.
Visit of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
The Entrepreneur Club of the university ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) visited the Centralway Numbrs headquarters to present and discuss the ideas and business models of young entrepreneurs. The ETH is one of the world’s leading universities for mathematics, science, research and engineering. Martin Saidler was listening with great interest to the individual presentations of the students.
Numbrs receives TÜV seal
As a result of an intense inspection, Numbrs is certified with the “tested app” seal of TÜV Saarland. The German institution tested the ease of the user experience, the security of the data transfer, and the overall data security. Since then Numbrs has been continuously tested for safety and data protection by several German institutions. You can find detailed information on the topic of data protection and security on our website. Learn more
App launch and first TV-campaign
The mobile banking app “Numbrs” was released in Germany on the 1st April 2014. The app-release was celebrated with the airing of the 1st TV spot in the history of mobile banking apps. In addition to the launch, Centralway Numbrs secured a “media for equity deal” with the ProSieben & Sat1 Media Group. Learn more
Connection to Commerzbank, Santander and Targobank
Due to technical challenges, the three major banks Commerzbank, Santander and Targobank were not initially supported by Numbrs until September 2014. At the request of thousands of Commerzbank customers and the Commerzbank itself, our technology team persistently worked on a solution that was successfully implemented five months after the app launch in April 2014.
Redesign of the app
At the beginning of 2015, we presented our users with a completely revised design of the app. The new design, especially the clarity and simplicity, convinced our users and resulted in an increase of engagement with the app. Since then, thoroughness, accuracy and intelligibility in the design of the app have become our guidelines. To this day, our design sets standards in the app industry. Learn more
Introducing a new company logo
Centralway Numbrs launched its new company logo in March 2015. The circle, the main feature of the logo, was deliberately chosen and designed based on the manifold meanings associated with the shape. Representing totality and timelessness, the circle is regarded as a sign of infinity because it is formed of an infinite line. Ultimately, the circle in its entire surface always stands for completeness and perpetuity.
Since May 2015, app users can receive up-to-date and direct notifications of their financial situation. Particularly striking is the personal and motivating content of these messages. In this way, users can receive the latest summary of their incoming and outgoing transactions every morning or can be informed about their budget planning in each category. Notifications of planned transfers and security notices can also be sent to users.
Building a strong partnership with Israel’s technology and startup scene.
Since June 2015, Martin Saidler regularly travels to Israel to strengthen the strong partnership of Centralway Numbrs and the family office Saidler & Co. with the Israeli technology industry and startup scene.
“Israel is called the start-up nation for a reason. The force behind the development and speed of the market is unique. I look forward to the many projects and hopefully many successful partnerships” Martin Saidler said in June 2015.
In Tel Aviv, Martin Saidler also met with Shimon Peres, (Israel’s president from 2007 to 2014) and discussed with him the importance of technology for the development of Israel.
Investments in Israel
In September 2015, Elevator, an Israeli company builder with offices in Tel Aviv and New York, announced the closing of a new round of investments led by the family office of Martin Saidler. The investment in Elevator was followed by an investment into the venture capital fund “State of Mind Ventures”. Today, the family office holds various investments in Israel.
Centralway Numbrs and the family office of Martin Saidler are closely linked to the technology & startup scene in Israel. Both young and very experienced entrepreneurs regularly visit our headquarters in Zurich to discuss opportunities for cooperation. Learn more
Next to its investment activities, the family office of Martin Saidler also maintains a partnership with the University of Haifa. In October 2016, the family office and the “Swiss Friends of the University Haifa” invited 70 private investors from Switzerland and Liechtenstein which attended a presentation by Prof. Fuad Fares of the Department of Human Biology about his development of groundbreaking research into treatments for cancer. The event took place in the headquarters of Centralway Numbrs in Zurich.
The University of Haifa is the largest research university in northern Israel. The university is a home to 18,000 students from all segments of the Israeli society.
Image campaign “Go-The-Centralway”
In August 2015, Centralway Numbrs presented its first image campaign “Go-the-Centralway”. The campaign described our company culture and characterised the people for whom the app “Numbrs” was developed. The campaign consisted of a TV spot and a poster campaign and is still the only image campaign that deals with the topic of “privacy”.
In September 2015, Centralway Numbrs launches the Android version of its mobile banking app. Within a few weeks, the app becomes the most popular banking app on Android.
Machine Learning enables fully automated analysis feature and an improved Future Timeline.
The use of sophisticated machine learning algorithms allows our users to fully automate the analysis of their income and expenses for the first time. The newly developed feature “Analysis” gave users a simple way of creating, managing and controlling personal budgets for each category. The new feature is supported by the improved “Future Timeline” function, which allows the user to manage future transactions and long-term orders reliably.
#1 of all mobile banking apps in Germany
Centralway Numbrs becomes market leader in independent banking apps in Germany and reaches the top of the download charts in the Finance category in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.
The new headquarter
In October 2015, we opened the Centralway Numbrs headquarters in Zurich on Edenstrasse. The newly built company center offers a unique work environment for every employee of the company. Modern and representative, the work and office spaces are very adaptable. Inside, minimalist design meets an open space concept and offers a dedicated and cooperative atmosphere for each of our employees. Learn more
The office building on Edenstrasse (Zurich) was renovated from scratch in 2015 and is part of the Swiss architectural history of the 1950’s. Still today, the building sets standards for functionality and space utilization.
The headquarters has generously proportioned rooms and high ceilings. Soundproofing materials, special curtains and wall claddings absorb noise and create a quiet working atmosphere.
The furnishing concept is based on our company values simplicity, focus and no compromise. The strict color scheme and the clear design decidedly differs from the often colorful and playful offices of other technology companies.
Every detail of the spacious and modern rooms has been tailored to our requirements and the individual needs of the various departments. The office desks for example are made of birch wood have been made to measure. They are 25% larger than the industry standard, offering more space and freedom for employees.
The separated meeting rooms set new standards in terms of functionality and equipment. Soundproofing materials and specially aligned seating areas contribute to a concentrated working atmosphere.
We employ the best people and strive to develop their skills further. The cinema is regularly used for internal training purposes such as panel discussions and weekly team updates.
Centralway Numbrs employees can catch-up and grab a bite to eat in our restaurant, or share ideas over a coffee in the in-house Centralway Café.
In our restaurant, Centralway Numbrs daily offers employees a fresh breakfast and a rich lunch buffet. In this way, our employees can concentrate completely on the development of the best products.
A dedicated and professionally equipped gym including individual showers is available to all staff free of charge.
A small exhibition area in the Centralway Café displays the early technology icons of Apple, such as an Apple II and a MacIntosh Plus.
Germany’s best rated banking app
In January 2016, the banking app “Numbrs” was awarded 4 stars by our users in the German iOS App Store and Google Play Store. One year later this rating even improved to 4.5 stars. This makes “Numbrs” the best-rated banking app in Germany.
Damit unsere Nutzer ihr Geld schneller, einfacher und sicherer in mehr als 30 Ländern überweisen können, unterstützt Numbrs seit Februar 2016 das SEPA-Verfahren für internationale Überweisungen. Die internationalen Überweisungen sind innert einem bis maximal drei Bankwerktagen ab Ausführung des Überweisungsauftrages auf dem Konto des Zahlungsempfängers verbucht.
High ranking visitors
On April 20th the Centralway Numbrs team received high-ranking guests at our offices. The former President of South Africa, Mr Frederik Willem de Klerk, andformer member of the Swiss Federal Council, Mr Kaspar Villiger, visited our headquarters to deliver a speech to the staff of Centralway Numbrs and particularly invited and international known guests.
Frederik Willem de Klerk is a former South African politician who served as the country’s President. Serving as President of the Republic of South Africa from 1989 to 1994, he was seventh and last head of state under the apartheid era, which he brokered to end. Together with Nelson Mandela, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his work.
The family office of Martin Saidler is a friend and supporter of the FW de Klerk Foundation. The foundation seeks to nurture the fledgling democracy of South Africa. Its foundational principles are based upon those of the South African constitution, multi-party democracy and free-market economics.
Since June 2016, our users can comfortably and completely securely schedule, set up and delete all their standing orders in the Numbrs app. With this feature, we responded to the many user requests for this function.
Improved registration process and Android Fingerprint authentication
In August 2016, we significantly revised the registration process to make it even more convenient. Since then, new users, or existing users who want to add an additional account to numbers, can connect to their bank much easier. Additionally, Android users can also open the app with fingerprint authentication.
By launching the Numbrs Store, we developed “Numbrs” from a pure banking app to an independent financial platform that offers a variety of financial products with the best value for money. For the first time ever, the “Numbrs” app gives users the opportunity to compare the conditions of banking-related offers using a mobile platform, and to apply for an account, a loan or a credit card directly via the app. The Numbrs Store is the first bank-independent distribution platform for financial products in Germany.
With the Numbrs Store, we introduced the independently developed Numbrs Store Chat for the first time. The chat makes complex application forms a thing of the past. Users can simply chat with one of our Store Experts, who will individually guide them through the product application process. After only a few minutes the user receives a personal offer.
Additionally, users will be informed about the status of their application in real-time, and instantly receive their digital contract in the chat. The entire process runs directly through the app — it is no longer necessary to go to the branch or complete complex forms. The “Numbrs” Chat sets a new standard when it comes to user-friendliness and convenience. Learn more
Partnership with renowned banks
Since January 2017, the well-known German banks Postbank and norisbank offer their financial products in the Numbrs Store. This partnership gives users of the app the opportunity to apply for accounts, loans and credit cards directly and straightforwardly via their smartphone. Both banks belong to the world’s leading banking group Deutsche Bank. Learn more
With around 14 million customers, 19,000 employees and a balance sheet total of EUR 147 billion, the Postbank Group is one of the largest financial services providers in Germany.
The norisbank is a modern direct bank, which is available to its approximately 560,000 customers online and by phone 24/7.
Centralway Numbrs appoints new CEO
In February 2017, Centralway Numbrs appointed Øyvind Oanes as CEO of the company. Oyvind Oanes brings more than 18 years of banking experience to Centralway Numbrs. Prior to joining Centralway Numbrs, he spent five years working for the online bank Zuno, initially as Chief Marketing Officer and most recently as Chief Executive Officer. Previously, he was a managing director of the successful turnaround of Bawag PSK in Austria. Oyvind Oanes started his career at GE Capital, where he worked as Chief Marketing Officer for the GE Money Bank in Russia.
The founder of the company, Martin Saidler, took on new role as Executive Chairman, focusing on product development and strategy. Learn more
Sovereign wealth fund of Dubai invests in Numbrs
Centralway Numbrs secures funding from the Investment Corporation of Dubai, the most important investment arm of the Emirate of Dubai. This is the first investment of the sovereign wealth fund of Dubai into a FinTech company. The funds’ investments include: Emirates National Oil Company, The Emirates Group, Dubai Islamic Bank, Dubai World Trade Center and many more. Learn more
The best-financed FinTech in Europe
The investment of the sovereign wealth fund of Dubai increased the total invested capital into Centralway Numbrs to 125 million USD, making our company the best-financed FinTech startup in Europe. Learn more
Centralway Numbrs wins Foreign FinTech Award
Centralway Numbrs was awarded the “Best Foreign FinTech on the German Market” in April 2017. The award is given in six categories by the business angels FrankfurtRheinMain e.V., Frankfurt Main Finance e.V., TechFluence and the WM Group (Börsen-Zeitung).
“Centralway Numbrs has impressed us massively and clearly asserted itself against strong European as well as transatlantic competition, not only with its highly innovative products but also with its outstanding financing, scaling and value creation,” said the chairman of Business Angels FRM e.V., chairman of the panel of judges and award coordinator.
Introduction of the remote work program Campus
We believe that remote work is the model of the future, as the implementation of our vision requires exceptional talent all over the world. We believe this to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the industry for the better. In this globalised world, we believe in remote work as the model for the future as the fulfilment of our mission requires exceptional talents spread around the globe. Therefore, Centralway Numbrs developed the program Campus as a network of remote employees and as an integrated part of the company.
As a result of the introduction of campus, the number of employees at the company headquarters in Zurich was reduced and rebuilt within the remote network. Learn more
In May 2017 we launched the B2B portal store.centralway.com, enabling banks to integrate their financial products into the Numbrs Store in just a few steps, digitally, free of charge, and without cost and effort being spent on IT. The B2B portal is accessible at store.centralway.com. Learn more
Numbrs launches beta test program in the UK
Numbrs is preparing for market entry in the UK. Since July 2017, any interested user in the UK can register as a beta tester and try out the features of the Numbrs app. We take great care not to compromise on quality. Therefore it is important for us to carry out a detailed and comprehensive beta test before the official market launch.
Numbrs launches Brazil Blog
Following the beta test in the United Kingdom, Numbrs is already slowly paving its way to Brazil. As a first step Numbrs is launching the Numbrs Brazil blog, where we will continuously be publishing priceless information on how to wisely control one’s finances.
Numbrs develops own video identification process
In August 2017 Numbrs presented its own video identification process. Users of our app that are interested in a financial product from our Numbrs Store can request to be identified using a video identification process in a convenient, safe and legally compliant way, which takes only a few minutes. This saves our users the cumbersome trip to the post office and the unnecessary exchange of letters.
With new video identification process Numbrs follows the “full stack” principle. By the term “full stack” we mean complete independence from third parties in every area of the company. We take this approach especially seriously in our technology department, by developing the entire IT platform independently and without the help of external suppliers. Learn more
Technion President visits our Headquarters
On Monday 4th September, Professor Peretz Lavie, the President of the Technion University visited Martin Saidler, Executive Chairman and Founder of Numbrs, at our headquarters in Zurich. It was already the second visit of Prof. Lavie to outline a potential cooperation in the fields of Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics and Blockchain.
Martin Saidler endorsed Professor Peretz Lavie’s ideas about the partnership and added that an organised and continuous exchange of information and knowledge would bring substantial benefits to both parties. Learn more
First asian investor
In September 2017, a group of respected business persons from Singapore have joined the list of notable investors backing our company. A cluster of families has completed the due diligence process at our headquarters in Zurich and signed a significant equity investment.
The event signifies the increasing interest of investors from Asia to join the ranks of those recognising the potential of our digital banking platform Numbrs and its continued development. The new investors from Singapore followed the example of prior investors from the Middle East — namely, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Dubai (ICD). Learn more
Numbrs launches UK
Starting from September onwards, UK users will be able to download the Numbrs app for free in the Android and iOS stores.
Following the release of Numbrs in Germany in April 2014, the United Kingdom is the second country where our app will be available. This is an important milestone in the history of our company. Learn more.
We announced in September that our brand and our product will go by the same name: Numbrs. The introduction of Numbrs also marks the end of Centralway. Centralway was the foundation for everything that will follow in the future. It laid the foundation and determined the value-set that we will continue and bring into this new era of Numbrs.
The name Numbrs was chosen carefully. The title of our product and our new brand name represent our focus on providing our users with the insights and facts necessary to make the right financial decisions and to be in control of their money. In the financial services industry, facts are made by numbers. Learn more.
New Marketing Campaign and Germany’s best current account.
When opening a top current account from the Wüstenrot bank in the Numbrs Store, every new customer receives a €175 cash reward. This amount of the cash bonus is unparalleled in Germany and makes the account from Wüstenrot and Numbrs the best current account in Germany.
Additionally, we have created a 15 & 30 second TV commercial to advertise the especially attractive current account. The Wüstenrot Bank is one of Germany’s most trusted and biggest financial institutions. Learn more
Numbrs hits top 3 download list in German AppStore
Our banking app “Numbrs” has hit the top 3 on the list of financial apps in Apple’s App Store for Germany. After the success of our marketing campaign in October, we were able to secure the much sought-after spot on top of the list. Doing so, we managed to get ahead of the apps of several large German banks, such as Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, ING Diba, DKB, as well as the apps of well known FinTechs like Klarna and Check24.
Numbrs launches new partner program for banks and a new website
Our new B2B program enables partner banks to increase their sales. The feature the Numbrs Store functions as a new distribution channel with many additional advantages for our partner banks.
We aim to assist our partner banks on every level when it comes to the sale of their products. An in-depth description of the additional services can be found on our new B2B website at store.numbrs.com. Learn more.
Numbrs B2B website at store.numbrs.com