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Savings platform Raisin taps Goldman for top-up investment

By Douglas Busvine

* Berlin startup developing 'deposits-as-a-service' platform

* Targets U.S. market launch in 2020

* Has brokered 14 billion euros in deposits

By Douglas Busvine

FRANKFURT, July 16 (Reuters) - Raisin, a Berlin-based savings and investment marketplace, said it had tapped investment bank Goldman Sachs for top-up funding as it joins other European fintech players in targeting the U.S. market.

Goldman's investment of 25 million euros in Raisin follows a recent Series D funding round that raised 100 million euros. All in, the seven-year-old startup has won 195 million euros ($220 million) in backing from investors.

Raisin declined to give a valuation that the investment put on the business but said Goldman's resulting percentage shareholding would be in the low single digits. Based on a rough calculation, that means Raisin is worth more than 500 million euros.

In an era of very low interest rates, Raisin is positioning its "deposits-as-a-service" model as a chance for savers to scour the market for better deals, and as a way for banks that need liquidity to access additional funding.

Raisin, which collects an undisclosed margin on deposits sourced via its platform, has brokered a total of 14 billion euros in deposits for 185,000 European customers, on behalf of 80 banks. That's up from 10 billion euros at the start of 2019.

Frank Freund, co-founder and chief financial officer, said the $12.7 trillion U.S. savings pile was too big an opportunity to ignore. "The deposit base in the United States is larger than in all of Europe combined," he told Reuters in an interview.

While large U.S. banks are typically overliquid, said Freund, Raisin would offer a route for smaller banks to grow and manage their deposit bases once it launches there next year.

Raisin follows Berlin-based smartphone bank N26, with which it partners, in expanding into the United States - part of a wider push by European fintechs seeking to achieve scale, generate meaningful revenue and turn a profit.

Goldman has launched an online bank called Marcus and while its investment in Raisin is not directly tied to that venture, it did show that the investment bank "understood the power of retail", said Freund.

Raisin, whose backers include Index Ventures, Orange Digital Ventures and Paypal, operates under the brand WeltSparen in German-speaking markets. It runs country-focused savings platforms in six European countries, as well as a site that caters to all 28 countries in the European Union.

($1 = 0.8878 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; edited by Arno Schuetze and David Evans)