To identify the most promising financial services companies across the globe, Informilo asked some of the most active investors in the sector to nominate and evaluate 10 companies outside their own portfolios. The other 15 companies (marked with an asterisk) are the finalists in a competition organized by Innotribe, the innovation arm of SWIFT, the global financial services provider. The 15 Innotribe finalists have been invited to present at Sibos, an annual conference organized by SWIFT which gathers 8,500 banks from around the world, which this year is taking place in Osaka, Japan October 29th to November 1st. Some of the companies on the list are well established, others are below the radar but unlikely to stay there for long.
Hong kong, china
What it does:Helps financial institutions tap into the explosive growth of online, social, and internal data.
Why it’s hot: DemystData’s pitch is that financial institutions including large global banks, online lenders, and under-banked service providers can gain traction by using its platforms. It says it has already signed up more than 15 financial services providers, including two major international banks. It recently raised Series A funding from Accion and Arbor Partners Asia.
new York, ny, U.s.
What it does:Global platform for sourcing and managing seed and early-stage equity investments.
Why it’s hot: Gust is used by over 225,000 early stage companies, 40,000 accredited investors, 800 angel networks and 200 venture capital funds in 95 countries. It’s the exclusive collaboration platform of the business angel federations in 15 countries; partners include Microsoft, the U.S. State Department and Startup America.
Hong kong, china
What it does:World’s first online platform to empower the emerging middle class to create communities to build their credit worthiness and access localized money management tools and financial services.
Why it’s hot: The Lenddo community has tens of thousands of members in over 35 countries and member growth continues to double every 60-90 days. Investors include Accel Capital, Blumberg Capital, Omidyar Network, iNovia and Metamorphic Partners — some of the same investors behind the world’s top technology companies, from Facebook and Groupon to Kiva and Prosper.
What it does:Creators of the first open-source analytics and risk management platform for the financial services industry.
Why it’s hot: OpenGamma aims to become the new standard for Quantitative Finance, radically democratizing the financial services industry and making it more transparent. In August it completed a $15 million Series C round of equity financing led by new investor ICAP plc, a leading interdealer broker and provider of post-trade risk and information services. Demand for lower-cost risk analysis tools like OpenGamma’s is growing rapidly with increased regulation and rising data volumes; the company is well-positioned and well-funded to take advantage of market trends.
montclair, nj, u.s.
What it does:Offers a comprehensive solution for the problems that arise due to the widespread use of aging legacy-based accounting systems in the financial services sector.
Why it’s hot: Pendo Systems is the first cross-vertical, global investment accounting application to enter the market in over 20 years. Members of its management team have served in senior positions in the investment accounting, financial services, and financial technology sectors..
the currency cloud*
What it does:Makes international payments and transfers simple.
Why it’s hot: The Currency Cloud’s service enables businesses to send, receive, track and automate their cross-currency payments process, significantly lowering costs and reducing expensive payment failures while increasing control and transparency. Over 250,000 businesses and consumers have access to the company’s cross-border payment capabilities through 100 application partners and financial institutions.
san francisco, ca, u.s.
What it does:Secure and easy-to-use smartphone-based authentication system.
Why it’s hot: The service allows users to secure online log-ins, reject fraudulent credit card transactions, authorize wire transfers/mobile payments, grant access to secret company data, lock files to specific devices, and more, all through a single mobile application.
What it does:Operates a B2B cyber monitoring service that continually assesses an organization’s risk of attack.
Why it’s hot: Financial sector organizations and their employees expose a great deal of information online, particularly through social media. Hackers increasingly use this information to launch tailored, focused attacks on their targets. Spanning over 45 million sources in 19 languages, Digital Shadows delivers an up-to-the minute “hacker’s eye view” of an organization, identifies risks, and helps clients mitigate those risks.
funding options *
What it does:Makes it easier for small firms to access finance, while addressing key lender challenges of high administrative costs and poor information quality.
Why it’s hot: Winner of the UK government’s 2011 “Tech City Launchpad” competition to identify London’s most promising digital firms, Funding Options works with many of the largest lenders in the UK. It can also reach thousands of trusted small business advisors through a distribution partner.
new york, ny, u.s.
What it does:Automates the parts of investment management that add cost but not value.
Why it’s hot: NestEgg offers a private-label financial-education and wealth management platform that enables users to build portfolios driven by clients’ investment philosophy, analyze accounts, and understand their financial situation. NestEgg management has worked at leading banking and wealth-management firms such as Barclays, UBS, Lehman Brothers, and Deutsche Bank. More than 20 banks, credit unions and financial advisors use NestEgg today.
roswell, ga, u.s.
What it does:A scalable mobile financial services solution that brings secure, low-cost banking to the unbanked consumer.
Why it’s hot: P2P Cash is first to market with a Visa clearing and settlement strategy creating a worldwide standard to meet the needs of the under-banked in emerging markets. Its services enable any retailer to offer money transfer and other financial services to any mobile phone user, generating new sources of revenue for the retailer. It is working with the World Bank to establish worldwide mobile banking standards
What it does:Bill payment by mobile; users scan bills with their smartphones and the service extracts payment info.
Why it’s hot: Photopay’s first banking customer increased mobile bill payment transactions by more than 2000%. The service works by recognizing specific payment slips that are often standard in a country. The service currently supports Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia; Germany and other countries will be added in Q4 2012.
What it does:Designs technology for children that ties money management to real life, real dollars and real impact.
Why it’s hot: The company leverages game mechanics for behavioral change, empowering children with the curiosity, knowledge, skills, and tools needed for financial capability. Parents have a separate platform to monitor, reward, and engage with their child’s progress, guiding good role-modeling behavior in the family based on the child’s money habits.
hamilton, ontario, canada
What it does: Turns a smartphone into a point-of-sale machine without the need for additional hardware.
Why it’s hot: Merchants of any size can start to accept mobile payments in minutes rather than waiting days for an attachment in the mail. Snappay’s technology motivates consumers to pay using their smartphones with incentives like loyalty rewards, resulting in increased sales for merchants and increased payment data analytics for financial institutions.
new york, ny, u.s.
What it does:Integrates proven geolocation mobile-based technologies to securely verify a mobile phone’s location.
Why it’s hot: XVerify delivers “Fourth Factor” authentication, adding both ‘where you are’ and ‘who you are’ credentials. Fraud risk is significantly reduced based on the authenticating mobile device’s distance from a point of sale or other business, home or postal shipping address location, without any mobile app or download. The geolocation verification service could well become an essential part of the way people make and accept trustworthy mobile transactions.
What it does:Seeks to provide a zero-friction online payment solution that allows consumers and merchants to interact with each other safely and simply.
Why it’s hot: Klarna lets the consumer receive the goods first and pay afterwards, while the company assumes the credit and fraud risks for the merchants. Klarna is one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies; in the past even years it has grown to 700 employees operating in seven European countries with over seven million consumers.
san francisco, ca, u.s.
What it does:Revolutionizing everyday transactions between buyers and sellers with free credit card reader for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, allowing anyone to accept credit cards anywhere, anytime.
Why it’s hot: Over two million individuals and businesses can now accept credit and debit payments using Square. The company is processing over $8 billion in payments on an annualized basis. Closed a Series D financing round in September; investors included Starbucks.
What it does:Digital, real-time short-term loans for consumers and businesses
Why it’s hot: Wonga’s technology platform allows it to make swift credit decisions, yet maintain positive cash flow with very tight lending restrictions (in 2011 revenue exceeded £73 million and profits were £16.6 million). Recently named the number one company in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100. Allegedly considering a stock market float in the US as early as next year which could value the company above £1 billion.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
What it does:Social investment network.
Why it’s hot: 1.75 million traders have placed more than 17 million trades through eToro’s award-winning OpenBook and WebTrader platforms since January 2012. Traders can learn from each other, share live trading information and use on their collective trading power. Received Best of Show at FinovateFall for its Social Trading Index, which enables traders to create their own indices and make them available to the eToro investment network.
mountain view, ca, u.s.
What it does:Helps companies safely and securely manage their B2B payments online in real time.
Why it’s hot: The Traxpay platform was built in partnership with Accenture, validated by SAP, and is being used by major companies worldwide, including Japan’s DoCoMo.In June the company received a $4 million in investment from Earlybird Ventures to support further expansion in Europe, and entry into the U.S. Online B2B payments represent a nearly $250 billion market with many inefficiencies, which represents a massive opportunity for this kind of innovation and disruption.
des moines, iowa, u.s.
What it does:Online payment system.
Why it’s hot: Dwolla takes no percentage by fees; it charges 25 cents per transaction over $10, and transactions under $10 are free. Dwolla aims to create a new payment method that’s credit card (and credit card fee) free. The company now processes between $30 million and $50 million per month in transactions, both online and on mobile.
What it does:Online marketplace to help businesses find fast finance, and investors get better returns.
Why it’s hot: Small, local businesses are the unsung heroes and driving force of the UK economy, employing 60% of the private sector workforce and generating 50% of the UK’s GDP. But major banks charge them high interest rates and fees for borrowing. Funding Circle empowers SMEs to choose the best deal for their needs. Backed by Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures and a number of prominent angel investors. More than 1,000 businesses have borrowed £53,766,060 to date.
What it does:Web pawnbroker; offers short-term loans up to £1,000,000 secured against personal assets including jewelry, luxury watches, fine art, antiques, prestige and classic cars, fine wine and more.
Why it’s hot: Charges interest rates between 2% and 6% per month; as of July had made £2.5 million in loans. Says 62% of customers are small business owners using Borro to provide working capital. In October 2012 gained £16 million in new funding from Canaan Partners and Ribbit Capital. The funds will be used for expansion in the UK and U.S.
What it does:Foreign currency transfer services.
Why it’s hot: Transferwise keeps currency transfer costs down by using the real exchange rate and charging a low service fee. Can currently handle payments between the UK and eurozone countries, but it’s adding more currencies soon. Backed by IA Ventures, Index Ventures, Kima Ventures, Seedcamp and The Accelerator Group as well as private individuals who have built, or are building, PayPal, Wonga, Skype, Betfair and Simple.com.
chicago, il, u.s.
What it does:Payment platform enabling merchants to accept online and mobile payments quickly.
Why it’s hot: One of the top mobile processors in the industry — empowering consumers and helping businesses conduct more than $1 billion in mobile transactions annually, and growing fast. Overall, Braintree is processing more than $5 billion in payments annually for over 3,000 mobile and online merchants. In October it raised a $35 million Series B round of funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with participation from existing investors including Accel Partners, bringing total funding to $70 million.