Becoming a billionaire is something everyone has dreamed of once upon a time. As an often unattainable dream, many don’t think about it past a young age. However, we recently spoke with Black Banx CEO Michael Gastauer, who gave us the ins and outs of forging his path to become one of Germany’s most notable billionaires.
While the path to enormous riches is difficult and needs remarkable devotion, strategic thinking, and a dash of luck, it is not an unreachable ideal. Gastauer launched Black Banx, a digital banking platform that has garnered over 20 million customers and a revenue of $1.1bn, but his journey didn’t start there.
Gastauer founded his first company by the age of 24. In less than three years, the business acquired over $1billion AUM and was sold for 16 million USD to a Swiss investment firm. Following on from this original venture, as one of the first in Europe Gastauer created an online payment system to offer global card acceptance and payment processing solutions for the eCommerce industry. He led the business to consistent growth and profitability, reaching a 480 million USD valuation before it was sold in 2008. After selling his second business, Gastauer founded the Gastauer Family Office (GFO), a single family office with $10bn assets under management. And in 2014 came his most notable company: Black Banx.
So, what does it take to become a billionaire? Michael Gastauer tells all.
- You need to commit to your business idea. It’s no good having a range of ideas but not putting your heart and soul into any. Things may take a while before they become profitable, it’s rare for profit to be made overnight, especially when talking about a start-up. Something Mark Zuckerberg once said stood out to me [Gastauer], and gave me the fuel to invest solely into Black Banx. He said, “Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started. If I had to know everything about connecting people before I got started, I would never have built Facebook.” Basically, take every day in your stride. Becoming a billionaire or multi-millionaire via a business idea takes patience and time.
- Be passionate. It’s easy to go and want to do something that is making a lot of money. The problem with going into business with something that is trending at the time, is that the market is often oversaturated. The best thing to do is look at customer wants, needs and pair those with something you are passionate about. I wanted to make financial services accessible to everyone, no matter their net worth or where they were in the world. That’s how Black Banx started and what strives me to keep going.
- Investing is always important. It does require money to start off with but it more often than not pays off. One of America’s top billionaires Warren Buffet –who has a net worth of $87 billion– is known for his savvy investments. In a 1996 Berkshire Hathaway chairman’s letter he wrote: “If you aren’t willing to own a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”
- Create a solution. Along with my passion for making banking accessible, there was also a gap in the market for this. The problem being that traditional banks weren’t catering to the underbanked and unbanked. So, I provided a solution. Black Banx lets users create an account from anywhere, providing they have internet access and a form of photo ID. It’s all about innovation and providing solutions, that’s my greatest advice to becoming a billionaire: don’t do something that someone else has already done, look at it from a new angle.
All in all, if you want to become a billionaire, you’ve got to think like a billionaire.