Consulting firm Innopay opens office in Frankfurt, Germany

12 April 2016

The Dutch consulting firm Innopay has opened an office in Frankfurt, Germany. It marks Innopay’s first office abroad. To lead the new venture the consultancy has hired former Capco and Oliver Wyman consultant Nils Jung, who joins as Country Managing Partner Germany after a COO role at London based consultancy Phi Partners. 

Innopay was founded in 2002 by two co-founders, among which Douwe Lycklama, who still serves the firm as a partner. Shikko Nijland – a former Accenture partner and as of early 2012 Managing Partner of Innopay – leads a growing team of team of 30 consultants from their office in Amsterdam. The consultancy firm supports clients with advisory and implementation services, spanning strategy, co-creation and implementation.

Last year Nijland drafted a new strategy for the firm, a move which led to, among others, a sharpened positioning in the market. One of the pillars of the new strategy is to build a pan-European footprint, with the first step in realising the ambition the opening of a new office in Frankfurt, Germany’s main financial capital. Innopay holds a traditionally strong position in the financial services industry, building on its expertise in payments, and fuelled by growing demand from international clients the firm eyed opening a foreign hub. Commenting on the choice for Frankfurt, Nijland says “the commitment of several launching customers in the region paved the way for us to formally open a base,” and adds that the city also represents the “heart of the European Banking community and serves as an ideal hub for the German speaking market including Austria and Switzerland.”

To lead the new venture, Innopay has recruited Nils Jung, a consultant with more than 10 years of experience in the consulting industry. After his University graduation in Finance, he started his career in banking, although, after completing his 2-year traineeship at Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers, Jung moved to Capgemini Consulting, where he was involved with several large strategic transformation projects in the financial services industry. He gradually built a specialisation in the payments domain and, in his last role with the firm, served as co-Head of the German Payments service line. In 2010 Jung, who holds a Six-Sigma Green Belt and the PRINCE2 certification, moved over to rival Capco, a consultancy dedicated to the financial services sector. He spent 3.5 years with the firm, in his last role as Principal Consultant in the Banking and Capital Markets Practice and Head of the firm’s Payments practice across the Central European region. In this capacity, he among others led the complete payments transformation of all Asian branches of a global bank.

After a brief spell with Oliver Wyman in 2013, Jung moved to London in October of that year to join Phi Partners, a London based consultancy which operates across the transaction services value chain. Jung was a member of the Management Team and worked in several executive functions, including holding the helm for all on and near shore back-office functions as well driving the strategic positioning of the company.

Early this year, Jung was approached by Nijland with the offer to take on the role of Country Managing Partner for Innopay in Germany, and within the space of a few days he decided to embark on the adventure. “After hearing the story, I was immediately sold. I am impressed by the ambitions of Innopay and the service portfolio the firm provides its clients. I am delighted to be part of this ambitious and exciting adventure,” he reflects.

The German office will, according to Jung, have a similar service portfolio to the Dutch office, with much of the themes the firm works on (e.g. innovation, FinTech, APIs, open banking, Digital Identity) also relevant in the German market, albeit with a local flavour. In terms of client focus, he eyes serving the space in between the traditional financial services world and the new FinTech players. “In the Netherlands Innopay has built an impressive consulting footprint in this space, and can say that it has played a role at the forefront of innovation in the transaction industry.” The firm’s ambition in German is to “mirror this performance”, he reflects, positioning the firm as a niche player that is “regarded as the link between the two domains.”

Launched formally two months ago, Jung, who relocated to Germany to run the venture, says the office has benefited from a flying start. The first projects have been secured, in conjunction with the Dutch team, and the office is in the process of recruiting new consultants. Growth to an on-the-ground team of around 5 -7 consultants has been earmarked as the key target for the end of 2016, however “quality will always overshadow quantity”, says Jung, suggesting that the firm will, at the expense of opportunism, remain faithful to its long-term business model. 

Looking ahead, Nijland says that he is looking forward to the latest milestone in the firm’s 14 year history, adding that, if all goes according to plan, they see Germany as a first step of a possible wider expansion strategy. “In the light of the growing need for innovation and technology advisory across industries, the opportunities are scaling-up, and the market is buoyant”.


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Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

05 April 2019

A Newcastle-based consultancy has announced it will open its first office in Iraq. The news comes despite warnings that the area remains “high risk” for businesses.

16 years after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nation remains a shadow of its former self. The continued chaos wrought by the Iraq War – which eventually played a role in the rise to prominence of Daesh, further destabilising the region – means that even now, the nation’s capital is deemed to have the lowest quality of living in the world. According to a recent survey from Mercer, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the other two being determined as the worst cities on the planet for personal safety.

However, as with the wider Middle East, the oil-rich state presents a lucrative destination to businesses willing to take the risk. To that end, a Newcastle recruitment consultancy has announced the opening of its first presence in Iraq’s capital city. Samuel Knight has taken the decision to open its Baghdad locale in order to grow its business in the Middle East.

Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

While businesses remain wary of the region, Samuel Knight specialises in recruiting talent in the energy and rail sectors, and in a release it said the new office would continue to focus on these areas. It will also allow the firm to make sure it abides by local compliance laws. The new location will be headed up by Haider Kadhim, Samuel Knight’s Iraq country manager, who will work as the first point of contact for clients and candidates. Representatives from the Department of Trade Industry are expected to attend a launch event for the office, which will be held this month.

Commenting on the new office,  a spokesperson for Samuel Knight said, “We probably don’t see it as a risk, but more of an opportunity, as we operate in the Middle East extensively already. We have contacts in place in the country location and with the consultants we have. We felt it was a great opportunity to expand into a country we are already doing work in. It means we have an on-the-ground team to help our clients. From our perspective, it is that we are looking to expand into new territories, but we are also supporting countries that are starting to redevelop after years of warfare.”

Steve Rawlingson, CEO at Samuel Knight, said, “Our aggressive five-year growth plan is manifesting at  an impressive rate, taking the company to exciting new territories. The team is working diligently to surpass expectations set out in the plan, and to ensure Samuel Knight is cemented as the leading global energy and rail recruitment specialist. Our Baghdad office will give us a distinctive edge over our competition and allow for more exciting business opportunities. Once the office becomes more established and client acquisition develops, we will certainly be adding more consultants and manpower in the city.”