Adelheid Luise Spitzeder was born in Berlin in 1832 and won minor fame as an actress, debuting to great acclaim in 1856. In subsequent years, however, she was unable to achieve a level of success sufficient to sustain her lifestyle. In 1869, desperate for money, she borrowed 100 gulden (roughly £400 today) from a woman she met in Munich, promising that she knew someone who was willing to take the sum and pay 10% a month for it. Spotting her opportunity, Spitzeder advertised similar services via a newspaper and the number of people who were willing to lend to her increased exponentially. She set up the Spitzedersche Privatbank in 1869. By 1872 the bank was so successful that she was considered to be the wealthiest woman in Bavaria.